Mi­gra­tory birds give Al­war wa­ter bod­ies a miss this year

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - - Region - Deven­dra Bhard­waj

AL­WAR: Due to scanty rain­fall in mon­soon, the num­ber of mi­gra­tory birds vis­it­ing the wa­ter bod­ies in Al­war are rel­a­tively less this year.

The num­ber has de­clined from more than 10,000 in the last few years to only about 2,000, said Nis­hant Singh, bird ex­pert. These birds fly­ing thou­sands of kilo­me­tres start ar­riv­ing in Al­war in Jan­uary and stay there till March.

As­sis­tant con­ser­va­tor of for­est, Sariska Tiger Re­serve ( STR), Anand Ku­mar, said with low wa­ter level in the ponds and lakes, the num­ber of mi­gra­tory birds have dropped this year.

Singh said that in the last few years, more than 10,000 mi­gra­tory birds used to visit var­i­ous wa­ter bod­ies of Al­war.

But this year, only about 2,000 birds ar­rived, which was dis­cov­ered dur­ing the count­ing of mi­gra­tory birds from Jan­uary 5 to 10 in eight wa­ter bod­ies in the dis­trict.

Sariska lake has been fa­mous as a win­ter­ing ground for mi­gra­tory and lo­cal birds in the dis­trict.

Dams were con­structed at var­i­ous places in Al­war for stor­age of wa­ter for agri­cul­tural and drink­ing pur­poses, which later led to wet­lands for con­ser­va­tion of aquatic flora and fauna.

The lakes Silis­erh, Mansarovar, Man­gal­war and Som­sagar are habi­tats for a wide range of birds, es­pe­cially dur­ing win­ter.

Singh said that mi­gra­tory birds like Grey­lag goose, Wool­ly­necked Stork, Black-necked stork, Sarus Crane and Great crested grebe were not seen dur­ing count­ing this sea­son. The other mi­gra­tory birds that were spot­ted this year are Bar-headed Goose, Great Cor­morants, Lit­tle Cor­morants, Ori­en­tal Heron, Grey Heron, In­dian Pond Heron, Coot, Painted Stork, Spot-billed duck, Com­mon pochard, North­ern Pin­tail, Flamingo, Grey White Pel­i­can, Com­mon sand­piper and Lit­tle grebe, which mi­grate from Euro­pean coun- tries. In 2015, Been Goose was re­ported for the first time at Mansarovar lake.

Many birds fly over three to five thou­sands to reach the lakes ev­ery year.the lakes around Sariska are par­adise for bird watch­ers. To pro­mote bird watch­ing, Al­war Bird Fair was or­gan­ised in 2011 in Silis­erh Lake with the help of World Wide Fund for Na­ture.

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