28,000 birds arrive in Ramnad district to enjoy season

Melaselvanoor-Keelaselvanoor is the most sought after destination for them

RAMANATHAPURAM: The recent census of birds conducted in different parts of the district revealed that as many as 28,000 birds including those from far away countries have arrived in Ramanathapuram district to enjoy the season.

Though birds have been seen in all sanctuaries of the Forest Department such as Kanjirankulam, Chirankudi and Melaselvanoor-Keelaselvanoor and backwater areas and water bodies in the district, the census shows that Melaselvanoor-Keelaselvanoor is the most sought after destination for them.

HAPPY SOJOURN:Birds at the Melaselvanoor-Keelaselvanoor sanctuary in Ramanathapuram district.

Out of 27955 birds, 7156 have been nestling or breeding in Melaselvanoor-Keelaselvanoor bird sanctuary alone. The 321.48-hectares Melaselvanoor tank has attracted huge congregations of migratory birds, including spoon bills, spot-billed pelicans, painted storks, grey herons, white ibis, open billed stork, darters, cormorants and local water birds.

An interesting observation of the senses is that Ramanathapuram Peria kanmoi (big tank) and Sakkarakottai tank, which have not been notified as bird sanctuaries, have topped the list next only to Melaselvanoor-Keelaselvanoor sanctuary. The arrival is larger than the other two sanctuaries in the district.

According to the data available with the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park, which organised the comprehensive and synchronised bird population estimation recently, the big tank and Sakkarakottai tank have received 6442 and 4617 birds respectively in this season. Kanjirankulam and Chithirankulam sanctuaries received 1933 and 2805 birds of different species.

A large number of birds were seen in back water areas in Valinokkam, Pillaimadam, Kothandaramar temple and islands of Gulf of Mannar such as Hare, Manoli and Manoliputti, Kurusadai too.

M. Sundarakumar, Wildlife Warden, GMMNP, told The Hindu that about 10,000 greater flamingos, came from different continents, had been wandering in Kothandaramar lagoon area near Dhanushkodi alone. They were seen in large numbers in Big tank and Sakkarakottai tank.

While flamingos arrived a little late this season, most of the other migratory birds had been camping in the district from October and November. The availability of abundant food and conducive climate in the current season for breeding were the main reasons for the arrival of migratory birds. They would continue their stay till March-April, he added. Another interesting observation was that the birds were seems to be following a hierarchy in occupying the trees. The pelicans and painted storks occupied the babul trees. Medium-sized trees were occupied by darters, spoonbills, open billed stork and white ibis occupied the canopy.

C. Jaishankar From THE HINDU

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A weekend of faith and love

BANGALORE: Long weekends offer a welcome respite from the busy and fast-paced life of the average Bangalorean. The ongoing weekend, that kicked off with Shivaratri and includes Valentine’s Day, is the first long one of the year. Many are headed out to popular tourist spots.

“Gokarna, famous for Om beach and the Mahabaleshwar temple that houses a particularly revered Shivalingam, has witnessed tremendous increase in travel bookings,” KSTDC spokesperson Ratnakar said. “People are also going to Nandi Hills,” he added.

Valentine’s Day is another reason for Bangaloreans to hit popular getaways such as Mysore, Kodagu, Hassan and Chikmagalur. Pondicherry and Chennai are the other popular options. Deepthi, a 20-year-old student, said: “A chance like this is rare and I’d like to make the most of it.”

“Resorts, cottages and guesthouses in these places are seeing heavy bookings, especially by families,” added Ratnakar. The fact that there are no special packages available for the occasion doesn’t seem to make a difference.

Many students are taking a break to visit places like Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary and Bheemeshwari’s Cauvery Fishing Camp. “This weekend is a great opportunity to enjoy a trip outside the city with friends,” said Gaurav, a student of PESIT. He is off to Goa with friends.

Shreya Jain and Aparajita Mridha – TOI

Erode: New migrant birds at Vellode sanctuary

ERODE: Nature lovers and bird-watchers have good news from the skies: the Vellode Bird Sanctuary has new winged visitors this season. And some are from as far away as Antarctica.

Erode District Forest Officer P. Jaganathan told The Hindu that the great white pelican, the garganey, the little stint and the temnick stint were the new visitors. Their presence at the 77.18-ha sanctuary came to light when the department carried out a census.

Acting on an order from the State government, the department carried out a State-wide census on January 23. Four teams comprising forest rangers, guards, anti-poaching watchers and others carried out the operation from 5.30 a.m. to 8.30 a.m. to monitor birds flying out, and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. to look for birds flying in.

Erode Forest Ranger U.K.T. Nagasundaram said that between 8.30 a.m. and 4 p.m. the teams went inside the sanctuary to look for resident birds and the young ones in nests. “In all, the teams recorded 90 species of birds,” he said. “The total number at the census stood at 32,892.”

The census revealed that the cattle egret is the most common bird in the sanctuary, followed by the house swallow, the common swallow, the black-crowned night heron, the little cormorant and other species. The department has made bird-watching arrangements at the old watchtower and constructing a new one.

Karthik Madhavan From THE HINDU

Chennai: Migratory birds ending up on dining tables at city restaurants

CHENNAI: Thousands of native and migratory birds, which fly long distances to visit the protected Pallikaranai marsh on the city’s outskirts, are ending up on the dining tables of restaurants. Poachers, who had beat a retreat after 317 hectares of the marsh was declared protected forest area in 2007, are now making a comeback.

While ‘narikuravas’, originally nomadic forest hunters, are known to hunt birds and animals across the state, a group of poachers from the Karapakkam area is killing black-winged stilts and teals in large numbers, according to forest officials. The birds are often sold to restaurants, which pass them off as quail meat.

The Karapakkam poachers have adopted a unique method to catch the stilts alive without creating much noise. They use a single bird as a live ‘bait’ to attract a flock. The bird’s eye is sutured shut and its legs tied before it is propped up in the middle of a net. The bird’s cry attracts others flying by. As a flock descends on the net, the poachers, who sit some distance away, pull the strings to net the birds.

“They catch as many as 30 birds at one go. These birds are either sold here or transported outside the city to be sold to restaurants,” a forest department source said. Kancheepuram forest officials came face to face with such a gang a couple of days ago, but the poachers managed to flee.

“We have registered 35 cases of bird poaching in the Velachery range alone since April 2009,” said forest range officer David Raj.

From TOI

Eco-Tourism: Karnataka a Tourist Paradise

Both nature and human efforts have combined to make Karnataka a Tourist Paradise. Its long sea shore has silvery beaches. The tall Western Ghats have lush green forests full of varied fauna, flora and a number of east and west flowing rivers emanating from the Ghats, enrich the soil of the land and contribute to State’s agricultural prosperity. The rivers create many water falls which are a feast to the eyes of the on lookers. The plain area is renowned for its beautiful river banks and projecting wonderful stony hills looking like rock parks that are natural creations. The hilly tracks have many Wildlife sanctuaries. The Gangas, Kadambas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas, Vijayanagara

Rulers, Bahamanis of Gulbarga and Bidar, Adilshahis of Bijapur, Wodeyars of Mysore, Nayaks of Chitradurga and the Keladi rulers have raised wonderful forts, beautiful temples with impressive plastic art in stone and magnificent mosques and mausoleums of Indo-Saracenic style. The advent of the Portuguese and the English introduced European Renaissance architecture imitation of both gothic and Indo-European styles. They built imposing churches and captivating public as well as private buildings in Karnataka. The National Parks, the Animal and Bird Sanctuaries can provide the tourist the sight of wild animals like elephants, tigers, bisons, deers, blackbucks, peacocks and a variety of animals in their natural habitat. The National Parks also acquaint the visitor with a rich variety of flora like tall trees, bushy plants and creepers that try to entwine him. Karnataka is known for its aromatic sandal wood and broad beautiful trees of pipal and banyan with their hospitable  road shade. If one is spiritually inclined, there are living seers, whether Hindu, Christian or Muslim who can provide one with spiritual solace. There are also tombs of great religious leaders of Hindu,  Muslim, Christian, Jaina or Veerashaiva. In the precincts of these tombs even today people seek spiritual solace.

Karnataka is blessed with many waterfalls and the tallest water fall in India is at Jog (Shimoga District) where the river Sharavati jumps from a height of 293 mts. into four cascades of everlasting beauty. Presently the falls will be active with full zoom only during one month following the rainy season (July- October).The Cauvery at Shivasamudra falls (in Mandya district) has twin jumps,

For More Information – Bangalore Orbit

Delhi: Season on at Sultanpur as visitors fly in

The onset of winters might have been delayed this year, but the winged visitors have not disappointed, flocking to the Sultanpur Lake by the hundreds and making it a perfect destination for a peaceful weekend getaway.

22 varieties have flocked to the bird sanctuary this month

The bird sanctuary recently underwent an eco-friendly revamp by the Forest and Tourism department, and the place is already teeming with 22 different kinds of migratory birds, ranging from the Pintail, the Mallard to the Whistling Teal, which fly in from all over the world.

The Tourism department, meanwhile, is making arrangements to attract more visitors with the start of the peak tourist season — December to February — as well as keeping in mind the Commonwealth Games next year.

“We have revamped the existing motel for visitors, keeping the Commonwealth Games in view,” said Keshni Anand Arora, financial commissioner, Tourism department, Haryana.

From INDIAN EXPRESS

Chennai: Pulicat bird sanctuary to shrink, 13 villages to gain

CHENNAI: The saint-like stillness of tall flamingos standing in the shallow waters and schoolchildren clambering on to bullock carts that wade across the lake to reach the mainland — these are the two common sights at the Pulicat lake bird sanctuary.

Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary is a 481 km² Protected area in Thiruvallur District of Tamil Nadu state and Nellore District of Andhra Pradesh in South India.

For long, the fisherfolk living in islets within the sanctuary have held that efforts to protect the pristine environs for the exotic birds have denied them the fruits of development. Now, some relief is on the way. The state forest department has proposed to exclude 13 villages from the limits of the 153-sqkm sanctuary to allow development works there.

A bridge is being built after the state government obtained special permission from the Union environment ministry; it will be inaugurated next month.

“When the sanctuary was set up in the lake lying along the TN-Andhra Pradesh coast, the villages were also included within its limits. The department has decided to exclude 13 villages from the sanctuary’s limits after realizing that it would not be affected,” said a senior forest officer.

From TOI