Rujuta Phadke is an ardent and intrepid birdwatcher from Mumbai. She is also among the coordinators of the Mumbai Birdwatchers Club. Read on more about her.
1. Please tell us bit about yourself. What do you do and where do you live?
Hi! I am Rujuta Phadke and I live in Mumbai. I’m a finance professional and a yoga instructor.
2. When and how did you get interested in Birding?
When I was a kid, my parents and I would go trekking often. That helped develop an interest in nature and I began going for tiger safaris with my friends. It was then that I was fortunate to meet some good guides who showed us birds as well – I was intrigued! Around 2009, I got to know about the Mumbai Birdwatchers Club which was very active at the time, and the very first walk that I attended was led by stalwarts Adesh Shivkar and Mayuresh Khatavkar. I was very inspired after that and the experience got me hooked on to birding!
3. Do you have a favourite bird or birds? Why is it/are they your favourite?
Not really, because I find that the experience of watching birds in their habitats in its entirety is most fascinating. But if I have to choose, I would say trogons and the wren-babblers because they are very difficult to see, but when you do see them, it’s amazing and extremely rewarding!
4. Where do you enjoy birding the most?
I have travelled to quite a few places across India and I enjoy wader-watching as well as the rich biodiversity of the Western Ghats. However, birding in the north-east Indian forests is magical.
5. Do you have a birding partner or a group you enjoy birding with? How is birding alone different from birding with others?
I’ve almost always birded in a group or with a partner. This has been especially easy since luckily for me, my husband is also an extremely enthusiastic and untiring birder. It is fun to go birding in a group because there are more eyes and ears looking out for birds and their calls, and because you are able to share the joy of a beautiful sighting with someone who appreciates it as much. I’m sure birding alone would also be an enjoyable experience, and more meditative.
6. Anything on the birding bucket List? (Doesn’t have to be a bird, could be a place, witnessing a phenomena, etc)
Yes! Lots of places in India that I have not visited as yet. Top on the list are the Andaman & Nicobar islands and the south Assam hills.
7. Has eBird changed how you bird? How?
Yes! eBird has been great in helping me maintain my bird lists. It also makes recording observations in the field easier, especially with features such as sharing lists with fellow birders. It makes it easier to see the records of not just vagrants but also any bird you wish to see and track the migrations of (winter/summer/breeding migrants) in your region.
8. Have you set any birding goals for the coming months?
I do not have specific goals as such but I just want to keep birding anywhere and everywhere I get a chance to, and keep learning about birds.
9. What is your message for fellow birders?
Keep birding, spread the joy of birdwatching and maintain your data on eBird for the benefit of generations of birders to come!
Cover Image: Curlew Sandpipers by Sachin Kumavat