2Red-necked phalaropes, a bird rarely sighted, spotted in Uran after 15 years
Navi Mumbai: Two rare wetland birds of the Red-necked phalarope species were spotted along the Panje coast in Uran on Friday after a long gap of nearly 15 years. Naturalist and documentary filmmaker Aishwarya Sridhar managed to take photographs of the two waders (in picture) along the shore, much to the delight of the birdwatchers community.
“The very fact that such a rare wader like the Red-necked phalarope is being seen in Panje after so many years, once again strengthens the case to protect the last surviving wetlands of Uran since so many birds come here, including flamingos,” said Sridhar who has been filming and documenting the Uran wetlands for nearly a decade now.
She said that currently there are two such waders at Panje. This species breeds in Eurasia and travels all the way to Sri Lanka and New Zealand to spend its winters.
Environmentalist D Stalin said, “It is indeed good news that the rare Red-necked phalaropes are now being seen at Panje. “This only goes to show that the wetlands here have a very rich biodiversity and therefore need to be preserved.”
Sridhar said that there is an urgent need to protect and preserve the last surviving wetlands along the Panje-Funde coast where several hundreds of birds like flaming- os, waders, ducks and others flock every year.
“Nearly 85% of Uran’s wetlands have already been destroyed due to man-made landfilling. So, if this wetland patch also vanishes, there will be no more birds flying into this region,” said Sridhar.
The red-necked phalarope is migratory and, unusually for a wader, it swims in the sea. They develop a red neck during breeding season otherwise the young birds are grey and brown above, with buff underparts and a black patch through the eye. In winter, the plumage is grey above and white below.
Environmentalist Debi Goenka said, “A birds survey report of Bombay Natural History Society has clearly mentioned that the wetlands at Panje must be saved so that the birds do not go towards the proposed site for the Navi Mumbai airport, thereby causing accidents when planes take off or land. The state government should ideally declare the stretch as a wetland sanctuary, before it is too late.”
A SURPRISE VISIT: Unusual for a wader, the migratory bird swims in the sea