Chennai: Guindy park woos fewer migratory birds

CHENNAI: The northeast monsoon last year did bring above average rainfall in the city and the storage reservoirs have enough water to tide over the summer, according to authorities. However, denizens of the Guindy National Park, the country’s only such facility within a city, may not be as lucky as Chennaiites. The park has water to last only six months.

This is due to the late arrival of the monsoon and availability of less water in the Appalankulam tank in the reserve area, say park authorities. The tank serves as a favourite spot for nearly 132 species of migratory birds. So far during the migratory season (October to December), the park, spread over an area of 2.82 sqkm and having five natural ponds, has attracted fewer than the usual number of birds.

“Although there is minimum water in the Appalankulam pond, we are still hopeful of more birds coming,” says G Kamaraj, biologist at the park. The annual rainfall the park receives is not adequate for migratory birds to stay for a long period, he points out, adding: “Winged visitors from far-off places drop in here for short stays, on their way to Vedanthangal and other nearby sanctuaries that are bigger. During the season, they look for algae formations in the Appalankulam pond as a sign of welcome, and stop over for a while to feed on the fish. The open billed stork, rare painted stork, night heron, pond heron, little egret, dab chick, common teal, whistling teal, gargany and pink-tail duck are some of the regular visitors here.”

After park authorities deepened water channels, four tanks are now brimming with water, enough to take care of the park’s water needs for the next six months. However, the Appalankulam tank, located at one end of the park, depends on surplus water from the other four tanks. The National Park has more than 350 species of plants and 14 species of mammals, including the black buck, spotted deer, jackal, small Indian civet, bonnet macaque, black-napped hare, hedgehog and Indian pangolin. The park attracts an average of 3,000 visitors daily.

From TOI