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In 'dry' Chenai, a hint of an avian oasis

CHENNAI: After the northeast monsoon skipped Chennai, avian visitors from afar had been a no-show at Pallikaranai as maximum portions of the wetlands remained dry. A small 10-acre patch, then again, had painted storks, spot-billed pelicans and purple moohens nesting and breeding within the bushes around a small pond.

This little oasis is on the campus of the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), with plenty of water and little noise or different pollution. “We have left the place to nature, undisturbed and untouched. We were not conscious that our efforts may just reap the sort of result,” mentioned NIOT director MA Atmanand.

NIOT scientist V Gowthaman, an avid hen watcher, mentioned the collection of birds used to be however less this yr — down from around 800 once a year to 500 to 600 this yr. “It used to be a sluggish begin to the season. The collection of nests had been additionally less,” he mentioned.

According to environmentalists, no less than 13 species of migratory birds come to the Pallikaranai marshland and the NIOT campus, once a year. These are spot-billed pelicans, white ibis, spoonbills, cormorants, gray herons, night time herons, painted storks, little egrets, median egrets, spot-billed ducks, inexperienced herons, pond herons and painted storks. Most of those migratory birds arrive between October and May for roosting and breeding. The most effective different places within the town the place those birds may well be observed had been Perumbakkam and Sholinganallur, but they had been most effective feeding there.

Bird watcher and retired leader photographer of the Geological Survey of India E Seshan mentioned though the season started overdue within the town, it picked up later, as more birds got here down south due to the serious winter within the north. “We spotted raptors just like the Greater Spotted Eagle, Montagu’s Harrier and Osprey in Perumbakkam and around the marsh area,” he mentioned. “There will have to had been a complete of 450 birds.”

Environmentalists mentioned the Vedanthangal hen sanctuary, which draws greater than 40,000 birds once a year, saw most effective 2,500 birds this season due to monsoon failure and a dry lake. “Maduranthagam lake within reach would most often be the feeding ground for those winged visitors,” mentioned KVRK Thirunaranan, Nature Trust. “Open billed, white ibis and pelicans are the primary ones to arrive at Vedanthangal while painted storks are the final.”

At least 370 species of migratory birds had been reported to consult with the Indian subcontinent once a year, of which 310 predominantly use wetlands as habitats.

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