Held in the outer sea in small fishing vessels

Pelagic bird surveys are for those who are raring to go.

Many bird enthusiasts may not be able to stand up to the challenges posed by the sea bird survey, which is held in the outer sea in small fishing vessels. One need not expect a smooth voyage in sea as the vessel would often be tossed around by the lashing waves when the sea is rough.

But those who have triumphed over the challenges offered by sea say that it’s a risk worth taking.

Those at Cochin Natural History Society belong to that group of brave hearts who would not be unnerved by the rough sea and strong winds that send the vessel pitching and rolling. They have been regularly sailing into the sea to take stock of the pelagic birds that hover over the waves and vessels.

The team, which took a trip to the sea, last week, was rewarded by the sight of over 300 flesh-footed Shearwater that were flocking together. After sailing 12 km into the sea from Munambam and spending nearly seven hours there, the team returned to the shore with photographs of a few pelagic bird species.

This was the fifth such survey organised by the society from Kochi. The latest one was carried out in cooperation with the Social Forestry Division of the Forest Department, said Vishnupriyan Kartha, the secretary of the society.

Besides nearly 30 great crested tern, the voyagers sighted Wilson's storm petrals, brown noddies, lesser crested terns and pomerine skuas were sighted during the voyage. The team consisting of 13 members were led by K.G. Dileep, the president of the society.

The society has offered to take on board bird enthusiasts, who could overcome the challenges of the journey, for the next voyage. Details of the next voyage cold be obtained from Mr. Kartha, who could be contacted at 94464 37410.