Dushyant Singh Pundir
Chandigarh, November 19
The Chandigarh Bird Club has identified 49 species of migratory birds, but no waterfowl was spotted in a survey conducted today at Sukhna Lake and its surrounding areas.
According to the survey, which was conducted from 7.30 am and 10.30 am, 321 birds were spotted. Of these, the most common species was the Indian spot-billed duck with 39 sightings followed by 22 sightings of the jungle babbler and 18 each of common moorhen and great cormorant.
The club conducts the annual survey of Sukhna Lake to commemorate the Birdman of India, Dr Salim Ali, on his birth anniversary, which happens to coincide with the arrival of migrating waterfowl.
Rima Dhillon, president of the club, said the lake was divided into three transacts with 244 grids of 100m/100m and 13 birders from the club took part in the survey.
“It was a disappointing morning as there were scarcely any birds to be seen on the water. It is too soon to enumerate the reasons but there are always the usual reasons to fall back on — habitat degradation and global warming!,” she observed. “It may sound clichéd but these are major factors and there is no denying it,” Rima added.
Birds will migrate when it gets too cold in their breeding grounds in the Tundra regions depleting food sources. If food can still be found in plenty, then the birds will delay their migratory journey. However if the areas they have been frequenting traditionally are degraded then they will be forced to divert to other places, Rima adds. To find reasons for why the migrating waterfowl may have forsaken Sukhna Lake, the club, along with the Avian Habitat & Wetland Society, has been conducting invertebrate surveys of the lake and its water sources in the Nepli and Kansal forests to establish a baseline data for study, she says.
“In today’s survey count, there were only four ruddy shelduck and common pochard, five gadwall, 39 spot-billed duck, 18 great cormorants, one darter and the elusive stork-billed kingfisher. It flashes into sight at regular intervals lest we forget. It is the hero of the lake as it has managed to survive all the disturbance and destruction of its environment over the past few years,” stated the club president.
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