Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary
This protected area packs in an incredible diversity of ecosystems into the relatively small area of 6 square km. The sanctuary, created over the 1920s and '30s, is formed from two man-made dykes that separate fresh water from sea water, creating the opportunity to simultaneously observe species that belong to each ecosystem, and some that share both. Along with the marine and fresh water habitats, there are also marshy lands, mangroves, Prosopis areas, mudflats, salt pans, creeks, forest scrub, sandy beaches, and even farmlands bordering the area. This provides a haven for more than 220 species of resident and migratory birds, including globally threatened species such as Dalmatian pelican, Asian open bill stork, Black-necked stork, Darter, Black-headed ibis, Eurasian spoonbill, and Indian skimmer, and provides birdwatchers with a delightful chance to sight rare birds in large numbers.
There are no overnight lodges, but facilities include watchtowers, trails, and paddleboats, to help visitors engage with this diverse community. As a visitor, keep in mind that conservation in any area is a difficult process, and that in Khijadia there have been complications with how water is used by local cultivators which affect the ecosystem within the tiny protected area, so if you’re interested, you can ask around about the issues, and find out what impact even your own visit has on the process.