Subha J Rao and K. Jeshi explore the less famous tanks around Coimbatore and come away enchanted at the birds they saw there

Ukkulam Tank

Near Poondi, 30 km from the city

It’s the first lake fed by River Noyyal and it is pristine and unpolluted. Take the diversion at Iruttupallam on Siruvani Road and in a short while an expanse of shimmering water welcomes you. The Western Ghats form the backdrop and it is enveloped in silence. Rare birds such as woolly-necked storks are often spotted at Ukkulam tank

Kalapatti Tank

The tank is 5 km from the Kalapatti-SITRA junction

This tank may be small, but makes up in the number of migratory words birds it receives. The migrants love this tank, which falls outside of the Noyyal system.

You can spot Sandpipers (wood, common and green), Wagtails (yellow and white), besides the Blyth’s Reed Warbler, the Indian Roller, the Common Kingfisher and the raptor Shikra.

Senkulam Tank

On Palakkad Road, 8 km from Town Hall

Located between Perur big tank and Kurichi tank on Palakkad Road, near Kovaipudur Bypass Road. It is calm and serene and cut off from the din of city traffic. Snipes, Little Grebes, Cormorants, Pheasant-tailed Jacanas and Bronze-winged Jacanas can be spotted here. It also serves as a nice picnic spot.

Puttuvikki or Sundakamuthur tank

Park near the Perur temple and walk down to the tank. Or, drive down the bypass from Ukkadam and park just where the tank ends

This tank is a preferred abode of migratory birds. You can spot the Garganey Duck, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveller, the regular migratory birds and storks (open-billed and painted). It’s a lovely lake where lilies bloom by the hundreds, but the bund is badly-maintained and is used for defaecation. Walk with an eye on the ground.

Achankulam

Two km from Neelambur, opposite Kathir College of Engineering

This tank brims with water, and fishing is common here. The abundance of marine life is probably why the birds are here in great numbers too. Among the regular visitors are spot-billed pelicans, egrets (little, great and intermediate) and herons (grey and purple). Right now, because the tank is full and there is no visible shoreline, there are fewer storks, ibis and shore birds.

A kilometre before Neelambur is a haven of sorts for Rosy Starlings that fly in from beyond the Himalayas.

Food is dumped here and that’s probably why the starlings (nearly 400-plus) have chosen this place to roost. They sit on the electric lines, on coconut trees and emerge by the tens out of a lone neem tree inside a just-tilled field. You can also sight black drongos in numbers here.

Vedapatti Tank

Perur is about five km from the city. Vedapatti Tank is five km from Perur.

Five kilometres from Perur is the lesser-known Vedapatti tank. There are two other tanks on the Northern and the Eastern side which are much larger than the Vedapatti tank. The tank is surrounded by thickets of green making it secure for the birds. Thankfully no drainage inlets enter the tank. You can spot exotic species of ducks from Europe during the migratory season. Asian open-billed storks frequent the tank. Painted storks are seen in plenty.