India

Pashan Lake – Pune

KSP_2560

Grey Heron

Although I would consider Pune a relatively green city compared to many urbanised areas of the country, I still find myself occasionally longing for a little more greenery, but somewhere close so it’s only an Auto ride away.

About five years ago I got to hear of Pashan Lake. This is in fact a man made lake, built to accommodate the water requirements of the Pashan and Sutarwadi suburbs of Pune. The lake was once a source of drinking water, but the boom in urbanisation and silting of the lake has degraded the water and made it now unfit for drinking.

The lake attracts a number of migratory birds, so has become a popular spot for bird watchers. Although I have to confess bird watching is not really my thing, I don’t mind taking up the challenge of photographing them once in a while. And so over the years I’ve been to Pashan Lake quite a few times, access for me is relatively easy as of late I’ve stayed in the Baner district of the city.

These are a few shots of the bird life I have managed to capture from my most recent visit in Feb 2018. I will go back through my photo archive from previous years shortly to see if there are any more worth adding to the set.

 

Birds spotted on the lake include :

  • Wooly necked Stork
  • Painted Stork
  • Coppersmith Barbet
  • White cheeked Barbet
  • Black Drongo
  • Ashy Prinia
  • Plain Prinia
  • Lesser Cormorant
  • Little Egret
  • Cattle Egret
  • Red Vented Bulbul
  • Red Whiskered Bulbul
  • Peasant tailed Jacana
  • Great tit
  • Tickell’s blue flycatcher
  • White browed fantail flycatcher
  • Oriental Magpie Robin
  • Indian Robin
  • Shikra
  • Black Kite
  • Southern Coucal
  • Indian Plaintive Cuckoo
  • Jacobin Cuckoo
  • White throated Kingfisher
  • Common Kingfisher
  • Pied Kingfisher
  • Purple Moorhen
  • White breasted Waterhen
  • Grey Heron
  • Indian Pond Heron
  • Rose Ringed parakeet
  • Plum headed Parakeet
  • Indian Grey Hornbill
  • Red rumped Swallow
  • Wire Tailed Swallow
  • Common Iora
  • Common Myna
  • Jungle Myna
  • Brahminy Starling
  • Baya Weaver
  • Paddy Field Pipit
  • Pale billed Flowerpecker
  • Common coot
  • Orange headed thrush
  • Laughing Dove
  • Pied Bushchat
  • Green bee-eater
  • Scaly breasted Munia
  • Asian Koel
  • Brown Crake
  • Purple Heron
  • Oriental Honey Buzzard
  • Marsh Harrier
  • Spot-billed Duck
  • Small Minivet
  • Long-tailed Shrike
  • Eurasian Spoonbill
  • Black-headed Cuckooshrike

 

Sadly the state of the lake, and therefore the wildlife it attracts, seems to be on the downturn. Recent deforestation on the nearby hills has caused the lake bed to silt up, resulting in the lake becoming shallower. There’s also an issue with Ipomea weed, which is often covering over half the lake, in effect choking it and preventing the growth of other plant life.

The problem has been compounded further thanks to the washing of trucks nearby, resulting in oil and petrol polluting the lake, in addition to some sewerage seeping into the body of water.

In 1998, the Pune Municipal Corporation discontinued providing drinking water from the lake, although now the lake is being studied for providing potable water again. During the financial year 2004–2005, PMC spent $160,000 (USD) for de-silting Pashan and Katraj lakes, and Reactivation of the Pashan purification plant is also under PMC consideration.

So Pashan Lake has been through the wars a little, and continues to struggle. Even in the short 5 years that I have been visiting, I have noticed a decline in both the habitat and the birds that frequent the Lake (taking into account seasonal migratory fluctuations). But having said all that, it remains a pleasant escape from the manic and dusty nature of city life, and is still worth escaping to once in a while.

 

How To Access Pashan Lake

There are two main access points to the lake, both marked with red stars below.

map

Option 1

This is on the west side of the lake via a small road that runs parallel to the AH47 expressway. This will take you to the shore of the lake from where you can either :

Turn left – and head beyond what appears to be a lake office (always closed) onto a “jogging track” that runs along the north side of the lake.

KSP_1858

Turn right – and head along the western extent of the lake. Here there are plenty of gaps in the vegetation so you can get a decent view point. The path continues beyond the Shiv Mandir Pashan Lake temple to a rather quaint footbridge, after which the path ceases to exist.

 

Option 2

This is via a trackway off of Sutarwadi Road on the left just before you reach a bridge. This goes down to a small temple from where a gateway leads you towards what has been marked in Google Maps as “Pashan Lake Bird Watching Zone”.

When I explored this route in Feb 2018 the gate was in fact locked at 9am, probably because cows are now kept in this area. You can however get beyond the gate by climbing over a low wall right by the shore of the lake.

This path looks to extend to the southern shore of the lake, but my exploration was cut a little short as the path goes through a waterlogged muddy area with a stream. If you’re keen to really see the extent of this path you may need to have suitable footwear with you !

 

There is another access point via Pashan Lake Park, a gate out the back of the park takes you on a path and flight of steps to halfway along the jogging track. I’ve tried this route twice, once the park itself was locked, and on another occasion I was asked to leave the park just as I entered it.  I’ve got no idea why such a well maintained park seems to not want any visitors !

Next to this park is the Ahele-Sunnat-wal-Jamat mosque, it looks like you may be able to also access the lake from there via the same flight of steps onto the jogging track.

 

 


 

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If you’re interested in using any of my photography or articles please get in touch. I’m also available for any freelance work worldwide, my duffel bag is always packed ready to go…

KevinStandage1@googlemail.com

 

 

14 replies »

  1. I spent almost 10 years in Pune and living 10 mins walking distance from Pashan Lake. Last year, I moved out of Pune. You gave me all my memory back. 🙂 Amazing clicks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Kevin beautiful photography.I stay at Pune and visited the lake many times.its beautiful though the nature around is fast degrading due to human interference

    Like

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