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Updated: January 8, 2012 02:16 IST

Flamingo Festival off to flying start

G. Ravikiran
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A lone Greater Flamingo searching for food in Pulicat in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh.
The Hindu A lone Greater Flamingo searching for food in Pulicat in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh.

Bird lovers make beeline for Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary and Pulicat

The two-day Flamingo Festival got off to a flying start in this rocket town on Saturday, with bird lovers from far and wide making a beeline for the Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary and the Pulicat brackish water lake for a spectacular bird sighting.

Greater Flamingos, the long-necked, long-legged migratory birds, offered a rare appearance to visitors, who thronged the view points on the SHAR Road. One or two birds here and there on either side of the road could be seen during the day, though local fishermen said that not many birds were visible this season.

Standing 125 cm high and feeding on worms and marsh plants, flamingos offered a majestic sight. But only a lucky few saw the huge wading birds. The sightings were more in the evening hours, said T. Mithaiah, a fisherman belonging to Vatamvedu in Tada mandal. Providing a visual treat to visitors were open-bill storks, spot-billed pelicans, little cormorants and other migratory birds.

Acknowledging the bird enthusiasts' concern at the inaugural function of the festival, Finance Minister Anam Ramanarayana Reddy and Tourism Minister Vatti Vasantha Kumar promised to lend greater support by including Flamingo Festival in the list of State festivals. Also, they promised to develop Pulicat and Nelapattu into full-fledged tourist destinations with good facilities.

At the Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary, the day was hectic with schoolchildren from different parts arriving in large numbers to view the migratory birds. Pelicans, open-bill storks, little cormorants, egrets, pond herons and other birds were around to delight the visitors.

Forest department officials at Nelapattu developed nearly 8 mounds to provide roosting facility for the birds. The nearly 5-kg weighing pelicans nested atop barringtonia trees considering the flexibility of their branches suitable for their body weight. Nearly 1,000 pelican nests were found at Nelapattu and 554 chicks were spotted.

C. Parthananda Prasad, divisional forest officer, Wildlife Management Division, Sullurupeta, said pedestrian paths and sitting areas would have to be developed at Pulicat for more comfortable viewing for visitors and tourists. Nearly 30,000 visitors were expected during the festival.



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