Thol lake Bird Sanctuary is a shallow freshwater body surrounded by marshes on the edge and scrubby forest embarking the sides. The lake sanctuary covering an area of 7 square kilometers was declared officially in 1988 and is also known by the name of Thol Bird Sanctuary.
The shallow water reservoir speckled with reed beds gives it a distinct ambience while being an ideal dwelling for varied species of birds and insects. The agricultural land surrounding the lake provide ample amount of food for quite a number of birds while the hydrological ecosystem takes care of the others. One gets overwhelmed with flocks of bird flying together and crating graphical patterns on the sky while long-legged elongated necked cranes keep stalking for fishes and small insects. The still and serene ambience of the locale gets melodiously symphonized with the echoing of thousands birds and illustrated by the varied movements of these spirited creatures.
It was an eventful weekend. Started with the Sufi performance on Friday at Sarkhej Roza (as a part of Heritage Week, Gujarat). It was good but maybe not as great as I expected it to be. Somehow I always though that anything Sufi would take me to another plane and all that, which didn't exactly happen this time. But I enjoyed it nevertheless.
Saturday was superb...drowsy and lazy!
And Sunday morning we (Risha, Nidhi, Bhavin & me) went to Thol Lake, and frankly speaking I was quite surprised with the place. The place is mighty, and though its a bird sanctuary, we hardly saw any exotic birds there. You will find plenty of exotic Indian sparrows, crows, mynas and so on...but few imported ones. However, this did nothing to dampen our spirits and we were just happy to see whatever we could, even the black crows, which are such a rare sight now!
Basically Thol lake is a bird sanctuary on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, at a distance of about 20 kms. The road is decent and almost empty, except perhaps Sunday mornings. Evenings are also a nice time to be there, especially to witness the sunset when the sky gets red and birds fly back to the trees and make tremendous noise and amazing patterns in the sky (I witnessed the sunset on a later and more personal trip).
The excursion also gave us (Bhavin and me) a chance to completely harass the two Textiles girls with us , so much so that Risha finally realized why she never became friends with me in two and half years of NID. I guess Nidhi was more aware and kept silent!
I recommend chai at the chai-walla galla on the way back just on the main road, maybe with hot bhajiyas. And maybe even catch a ride on a bullock-cart, like Dang did. Bhavin's bike was much in demand that day, with the girls even attempting stunts on it. My proud TVS Victor looked more like a Luna!
Post rains in between and during the beginning of November to February a drive down to the Thol Lake is an ideal way to be away from the maddening rush of the city life. While driving to the lake, keep a watch for the variety of birds which populate the pools and canals on the way. Toddle around the lake while you get acquainted to large and small, textured and plain, and their mesmerizing concord of sounds.
The place is worth spending an entire day capturing the different movements and behavior of the birds in alliance with nature.