They are dot on time. The large-winged gray-white avians `Spot-billed Pelicans’ (Pelecanus philippensis) have begun arriving with the rains filling Uppalapadu and Ramachandrapalem community ponds.
Classified as near threatened species, these are regular visitors to these two palaces in Guntur district in addition to Kolleru lake in Krishna district and Telneelapuram in Srikakulam district, where Spot-billed pelicans nest in colonies, returning to the same trees and the same position each year. The breeding season is dependent on the rains and this year delayed rain threatened their arrival as pairs begin to constructing their nests in September and lay two to three eggs in October or November.
Last year Uppalapadu witnessed unusual overcrowding due favourable conditions and they colonised in the Ramachandrapalem village tank nearby, which had ideal conditions for their nesting. Mid-October these pink-billed Pelicans with gray spots began arriving and villagers were happy to protect them. A casual visit to Ramachandrapalem would give visitors a very close view with naked eye from the tank bund all around, while taking an evening stroll.
Chicks fledge around within three months of laying and give place for the painted storks. Department of Forests has meanwhile, improved the facilities at Uppalapadu sanctuary, where an elevated view point has been created on the bund to provide a better overall picture of the entire colony of birds. This is providing the visitors a great deal of satisfaction.
According to the estimates of Bird Life International the total population was 2,500–5,000 individuals in South Asia, 3,000–5,000 individuals in South-East Asia and less than 25 in Sumatra. Populations are declining owing to factors such as human disturbance at the nesting grounds, hunting, loss of wetlands, pollution and over-fishing.
Another species of bird prominently seen is Ibis and with a sparse spread of ducks swimming around in the waters of the pond.