A team of birdwatchers from WWF-India survey Polachira wetlands

A Spot-billed pelican was spotted for the first time, along with a number of other migratory birds, in the Polachira wetlands near Chathannur in Kollam on Saturday by a team of birdwatchers from WWF-India.

The huge greyish white bird was swimming in the deep waters when it was spotted. The vast wetlands provide enough food and shelter for thousands of waterbirds, both resident and migratory.

Another 50 species of birds were spotted, along with 32 species of wetland birds, and nine migratory ones.

More than 1,000 Pigmy cotton geese, lesser whistling teals, and Garganey teals were scattered around the wetland.

Around 20 Northern Pintails and beautiful Spot-billed ducks each were also sighted during the four hours from 11 a.m.

Common coots and little grebes were competing with these wild ducks for the food.

The drastic fall in the number of waders was a disappointment as they were found in large numbers in the previous years, A.K. Sivakumar, team leader and senior education officer, WWF-India, said. Loss of feeding grounds owing to the lack of paddy cultivation could be the major reason, he said.

Only two spotted sandpipers and a common sandpiper were spotted. A good number of Purple swamp hens were seen.

The larger number of juvenile Bronze-winged Jacanas was an important sighting.

The team included C. Harikumar, Neha Waikar, Kiran R.C., and Jaichand Johnson.