Early arrival of migratory birds to various waterbodies in and around Chennai has surprised birdwatchers and ornithologists.

K. Gnanaskandan, member of the Madras Naturalists’ Society (MNS), said the members had sighted 29 species since July-end. Normally, the migratory season starts from mid-September. This time it has begun nearly 20 days in advance.

Of the 29 species two are very important. One is the Ruddy Turnstone, which has been sighted after several yeas. The Spotted Redshank, which is not very common, has also been sighted.

The Adyar estuary, Pallikaranai marshland, backwaters at Kelambakkam and Mudhaliarkuppam are some of the areas where the migratory birds have been sighted, he said.

Every year, the members record the sighting of 75 special of birds during the migratory season, which peaks during October. The winged visitors stay till April, Mr. Gnanaskandan said. During the middle of last month, the MNS members sighted 200 flamingos in the backwaters of Kelambakkam.

The members have recorded their sightings on their website. Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Gujarat participated in recording the sighting of the migratory birds. Tamil Nadu topped the list. The MNS is planning to organise regular nature walks. Recently during the Madras Week celebrations, it organised a visit to the Pallikaranai marshland. Nearly 50 persons participated.

The participants were showed nearly 30 species of birds during the visit, Mr. Gnanaskandan said.

An exclusive page on Facebook has been created for the benefit of those interested in participating in the nature walk. They can log on to: http://www.facebook.com/events/421933291175806/ or contact him on his e-mail: gnanaskeshav@gmail.com