Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Victoria Park - the lost reserved forest

Not sure if many people have heard about Victoria park, so let me start with some introduction of Victoria park.

The reserved forest (Victoria park) is situated 3 km south of Bhavnagar City, Gujarat State, India. The hot, dry climate supports scrubby and thorny vegetation. It has variety of bird life and is also home of animals like Neel Gai (Blue bull), fox, hynea, porcupine. Just next to the park there is a small reservoir (Gaurishankar lake) where plenty of water birds can be found.

I have spent my entire child hood and part of my adult hood in Bhavnagar and this was one place which I never missed a chance to visit. Even now when I am no longer residing in Bhavnagar and have moved out of Gujarat, when ever I get chance to visit Bhavnagar a trip to Victoria Park is first on my list. I had been to Bhavnagar this year in January 2010 and had made couple of trips to Victoria park with my friend Kalpesh and of course my Nikon D40 camera. Having acquired a new 55-200mm lens few days before the trip I was rearing to try out some bird photography and capture commonly seen birds and mammals in the park.

Trip 1 (Jan 12, 2010)

Started off early in the morning at around 6.30 AM, and headed to the lake. The first look of the lake really disappointed me as major part of the lake was dry. We went down and walked some distance to reach the water and finally we were greeted with a lovely sight of birds of different kind. Pelicans, Painted stork, Black winged stilt, River tern, Shoveller, Darter are few to mention. I was able to capture few of them, though the light was not ideal and would have loved to have little more reach with the lens. Of course this was my first attempt to picture birds and I am no expert. Here are few shots:

Black winged stilt

Spotted bill pelicans in flight

Darter/ Snake bird

After spending some time at lake and finding out that the birds are too far from my camera's reach, we quickly headed to the park for a place called Golden path which is near one of the machans (watch tower). When passing by, I saw a couple of ladies on the machan with camera and big long lens, probably they too were nature lovers like me. I really envied those long lens ;) During our walk we saw many common birds like Green bee eater, tailor bird, ring necked dove, brown shrike, indian robin, red vented bulbul, magpie robin, spotted owlet, common babler, sun bird, drongo and silver bill. Here are some snaps

Red vented bulbul

Magpie robin

Tailor bird

Green bee eater


Ring necked dove

Silver bill

Sunbird - female

Spotted owlet

Finally at around 10 AM we decided to call it a day and headed back home. I was really very happy that my first trip yielded good results (especially was happy with the Spotted owlet).

Trip 2 (Jan 13, 2010)
Today we decided to head straight to the park. Started at around 6.45 AM and this time got in from the front gate of the park. We quickly left the park's main path and went inside the scrub forest expecting to see more birds and if lucky a neelgai. It was a beautiful winter morning and we witnessed beautiful sunrise.

After roaming around for a while without much luck, we got on the main path of the park and suddenly we saw a male nilgai crossing the path. We stood still as it stopped and stared at us. I had my camera ready and quickly took couple of snaps. After this we were lucky again to see a female nilgai along with its fawns.

Male nilgai

Female nilgai

We also saw a fox scampering around but it was too fast for me to take a shot. Finally we called it a day as sun was climbing up and it was getting hot. When returning back to the main gate we saw few rose-ringed parakeets and a shikra which I happily photographed.


Rose ringed paraket

It was also last day of my stay in Bhavnagar and I left in the evening. It is was a satisfying experience and felt happy to spend time at a place which I visited so many times during school and college days. Its always good to recall good old memories.


  1. Excellent!! I remember when I visited victoria park some 16-17 yrs back. Your snaps brought memories back! Good work!! I like it!

  2. hiii amit
    how are you
    i felt nostalgic after seeing these photos
    went back to old times when we used to go to victoria park even in the night... and ncc boat house our best place to hangout
    great job
    but i m angry why didnt you take me with you at victoria park this time this is wrong yaar.

    sukesh aggarwal

  3. yes this is one place where we had real good times. I am happy that I reminded you of the good old times.

    Well next time I am there we will defiantly plan a trip.

  4. It's very nice photos, I am also from Bhavnagar and it's great to see photos of victoria park on Yahoo. Great work Amit.

  5. First of all, thanks for writing this. For those of us who have been born and brought up in Bhavnagar, Victoria Park has been a place to go to- far from the crowds of the city. However I wish to bring to all those concerned with wild life and the park that since past few years, more and more land of this natural abode is being brought under construction and is also being diverted to non forest/not natural uses like enclosures and fencing off of large areas, construction of offices as well as a meeting hall, more nurseries, etc. This is nothing but tempering with the natural landscape/indigenous vegetation and wildlife. This is extremely worrisome. Some of us have personally tried to bring to the notice of the forest department to let the park be- in its natural splendor but alas our pleas have so far fallen to deaf ears!

    1. Yes Nandini, its really sad that because of some vested interests of few this lovely place is getting wiped out. In fact last time when i visited Bhavnagar I saw few Nilgais moving out of the park during late night and searching garbage dumps for food. This is because their natural habitat is getting affected by human activities.
      I just hope that concerned authorities take proper measures to protect this place and restore it.

  6. Very nice article, Amit. I am happy that I still visit the victoria park one every 4-6 months. You have take some nice snaps, best of them is female nilgai.

  7. Very nice article Amit. I am happy that I still visit the victoria park one every 4-6 months. You have take some nice snaps, best of them is female nilgai.

    1. Thanks Devang. I wish I can visit Victoria park so often.


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