Black-necked crane ar­rives with a sunny day in Gangtey – Phob­jikha

Bhutan Times - - Home - Lhakpa Tsh­er­ing

The Gangtey-Phob­jikha val­ley's out­look is very pleas­ant with sunny skies when the first three, a fam­ily with a ju­ve­nile Black-necked crane swooped into the val­ley on 27 Oc­to­ber at 12 noon, fol­lowed by 10 cranes on the next day.

As count fol­lowed by, 18 cranes have now been recorded in the val­ley in­clud­ing two ju­ve­niles un­til yes­ter­day. The Royal So­ci­ety for Pro­tec­tion of Na­ture (RSPN) in Phob­jikha ex­pects more cranes in the fol­low­ing days.

A day prior to the ar­rival of cranes, the RSPN in Phob­jikha car­ried out an­nual Black-necked crane roost main­te­nance with the vol­un­teers from Amankora and Gangtey lodge in Phob­jikha.

Ac­cord­ing to the record with Black-necked crane vis­i­tor cen­tre in Phob­jikha, the cranes ar­rive at dif­fer­ent time of the day and mostly dur­ing mid day on clear days.

In 2016, the first lone crane ar­rived on 22 Oc­to­ber at 2:30-pm and three cranes flew to the val­ley at 1:23-pm on 6 Novem­ber in 2015. A group of five cranes ar­rived on 31 Oc­to­ber at 1-pm in 2014 and three cranes ar­rived on 27 Oc­to­ber at 12:30pm in 2012. In 2011, four cranes ar­rived on 7 Novem­ber at 10-am and three cranes ar­rived on 2 Novem­ber at 1:25-pm in 2010, while three cranes ar­rived on 29 Oc­to­ber at 3:10-pm in 2009.

This win­ter vis­i­tor to Bhutan gen­er­ally ar­rives in late Oc­to­ber and re­mains en­joy­ing mild win­ter grounds un­til early March, when it de­parts for sum­mer breed­ing grounds in Ti­bet.

The RSPN is the or­gani- za­tion re­spon­si­ble for un­der­tak­ing all man­age­ment and ac­tiv­i­ties in the val­ley. To mon­i­tor the crane in the val­ley, RSPN also es­tab­lished a Black-necked crane in­for­ma­tion cen­tre in Phob­jikha.

Phob­jikha, as one of the world­wide wet­lands for watch­ing birds, the spot at­tracts high­est num­ber of cranes each year.

Ac­cord­ing to the RSPN, the black-necked crane vis­i­tor cen­tre in Phob­jikha recorded 626 Black­necked cranes in­clud­ing 77 ju­ve­nile from Oc­to­ber 2017 to Feb­ru­ary 2018. Of the to­tal, Phob­jikha recorded the high­est num­ber with 504 in­clud­ing 55 ju­ve­nile and one Eurasian.

In 2016 – 2017, the to­tal count was 555 cranes in­clud­ing 52 ju­ve­niles. Of the to­tal, 437 cranes spent their win­ter in Phob­jikha.

How­ever, some habi­tats have been see­ing lesser birds. Last year, Bumdel­ing re­ceived the sec­ond high­est at 102 cranes in­clud­ing 17 ju­ve­niles, while Lhuntse had only two cranes with a ju­ve­nile.

As sea­sons change, Black-necked crane win­ters in Phob­jikha and Kho­takha in Wang­due Pho­drang, Bumdel­ing in Trashi Yangtse, Bum­tang and Lhuntse.

The RSPN record shows an in­crease in the num­ber of the cranes fly­ing to Bhutan from over 300 birds in the mid 1980's to over 600 in the re­cent years.

Over 30 years of its ef­fort in con­ser­va­tion of the first- class pro­tec­tive birds, the RSPN noted the high­est count of 609 cranes in 2015 – 2016.

The leg­end dic­tates that the first cranes cir­cle the an­cient monastery at Gangtey three times be­fore land­ing on the broad marshes that line the Phob­jikha Val­ley. It is one of the Bhutan's six con­ser­va­tion ar­eas, and a po­ten­tial can­di­date for Ram­sar site des­ig­na­tion.

Black-necked crane is cat­e­go­rized as vul­ner­a­ble in the In­ter­na­tional Union for Con­ser­va­tion of Na­ture's Red List of threat­ened species.

The black-necked crane is an en­dan­gered bird species and legally pro­tected in Bhutan. A per­son com­mit­ting of­fence in re­la­tion to the pro­tected bird species is li­able for a crim­i­nal of­fence of fourth de­gree felony un­der the Pe­nal Code of Bhutan.

The RSPN cel­e­brates the an­nual mi­gra­tion with the Black-necked crane fes­ti­val on 11 Novem­ber, when stu­dents in crane cos­tumes per­form swirling dances in the court­yard of Gangtey monastery in Phob­jikha.

The Royal So­ci­ety for Pro­tec­tion of Na­ture (RSPN) in Phob­jikha ex­pects more cranes in the com­ing days.

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