Over hundred experts are expected in Chilika, the biggest lagoon in Asia, on Tuesday to count water fowls, which have flown to the Lake to take shelter during winter.

Ornithologists from the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON), noted bird expert U.N. Deb and local wildlife activists will take part to count the number of birds taking shelter in the blue lagoon, officials said.

The bird census would start from 6 am and continue till 11 am, Divisional Forest Officer, Chilika Wildlife Division, B.P. Acharya said.

Fishermen and tourists have been requested not to enter the Lake during the period. “We cannot legally prohibit them. We only appeal to them to cooperate for smooth conduct of the census,” he said.

The wildlife officials divided the 1,150 sq km area of the lagoon into 17 zones and each zone is entrusted with a group to count the birds. Ahead of the census, training was imparted to participants at Chandraput on Monday, Mr. Acharya said.

Experts from several other institutions including universities in Orissa would also be involved in the counting, he added.

The winged guests from Palaearctic region beyond the Himalayas in Northern Eurasia, (Caspian region, Siberia, Kazakh, Lake Baikal and remote areas of Russia and neighbouring countries) visit the Chilika every winter to escape biting cold in their regions.

The Lake had hosted around 8.91 lakh birds of 155 species in the last year. Of them over 5.12 lakh of migratory birds had visited the 15.59 sq km Nalabana bird sanctuary inside the lake, officials said.