Karnala bird sanctuary, Maharashtra
Karnala in Maharashtra offers a refreshing, energising and completely revitalizing getaway from the hectic pace of city life - come here to watch the birds and wildlife, picnic or trek. Karnala is located in the mountain range of the Western Ghats, is surrounded by many hills and is a trekker's paradise. It has a protected wildlife park on the Konkan coast and its tiny sanctuary; barely 4.8 sq km is home to over 150 resident bird species and about 37 types of avian migrants. The monsoons rouse a number of feathered musicians, amongst them the paradise flycatcher, magpie robin and the Malabar whistling thrush. This is the season when the stillness of the forest in the Karnala Bird Sanctuary is ruffled by the melodies of these songbirds and the antics of the racket-tailed drongo as it mimics the calls of other birds. Winter heralds the journey of migratory birds as they flock to Karnala - the ashy minivet, red-breasted flycatcher, blackbird, black-headed cuckoo-shrike, blue-throat, the blue-headed rock thrush and many others. The four-horned antelope, wild boar, common langur, are amongst the commonly seen wildlife at Karnala Bird Sanctuary.
The closest airport is Mumbai 49 km away. The nearest railhead is at Panvel, 12 km from the sanctuary. State Transport buses also run from Mumbai Central to Karnala.
December to February is the best time to visit Karnala, as the weather is pleasant with temperature varying between 20°C and 32°C making it an ideal time to explore outdoors. During the summer months, from March to April, the temperature can escalate up to a level of 42°C and can be extremely hot and uncomfortable. During the monsoon months, from July to September, Karnala experiences medium rainfall. This is the time when one can get a glimpse of songbirds such as the paradise flycatcher, racket-tailed drongo, the malabar whistling thrush and magpie robin in the Karnala Bird Sanctuary.
The Karnala Fort, once a Maratha bastion, now reigns over the forest area. A half hour trail takes the trekker 450 m above the forest to the fort, where the Karnala Pinnacle sticks out like a crooked thumb. From this Pinnacle in the Karnala Bird Sanctuary, you get a bird''s eye view of the Mumbai coastline, the tree canopy that shades the woods and the Sahyadri hills in the distance. This is a particularly pretty climb during the monsoons when the peak is veiled in mist and the entire forest is a lush green. Karnala Pinnacle offers refuge to endangered birds like the peregrine falcon, king vulture and the crested serpent eagle.
The Karnala Bird Sanctuary is bisected by the Mumbai-Goa Highway. The sanctuary is permanent home to about 150 species of natural aviators, but is also temporarily visited by another 40 species of migratory birds.
Outdoor Activities in Karnala include bird-watching and trekking. However, winter months, from December to February would be ideal to visit the Karnala Bird Sanctuary to see different species of birds, the rich and varied flora and fauna and go for trekking. There are more than 37 species of migratory birds and more than 140 species of domestic birds.
There are two trekking routes in the sanctuary. Avoid trekking during the monsoon months.