Introducing Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary
Three rivers flow out to sea at Bhitarkanika forming a tidal maze of muddy creeks and mangroves. Most of this 672-sq-km delta forms Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary (
Bird-watchers will find eight species of brilliantly coloured kingfishers, plus 190 other bird species. A large heronry on Bagagaham Island is home for herons that arrive in early June and nest until November. Raucous open-billed storks have set up a permanent rookery here.
The sanctuary also protects the Gahirmatha nesting beach of the endangered olive ridley turtles. Gahirmatha is out of bounds due to a missile-testing site on one of the nearby Wheeler Islands. Rushikulya is a more accessible nesting beach.