On the pelican trail

Subha J Rao
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Cormorants at Kannampalayam Lake in Coimbatore.Photo:K.Ananthan
Cormorants at Kannampalayam Lake in Coimbatore.Photo:K.Ananthan

Fifty birders walked around waterbodies in Singanallur and Kannampalayam in quest of the pelican. Harshit and Mehan, students of class I, were there. So was Harikishan, 75. They walked about, binoculars in hand, along waterbodies in Singanallur and Kannampalayam in quest of a bird with a long beak and a large throat pouch. 

It did not matter that it was a Sunday, or that the Sun was yet to peep out. Fifty people, 35 of them members of the Coimbatore Nature Society (CNS), set out for Singanallur Lake to take part in the Pelican Trail, organised as part of Coimbatore Vizha. They spotted some coots and a purple moorhen before deciding to travel further down Trichy Road to the waterbody in Kannampalayam.

That provided quite a sight for eyes that craved to see wetland birds. There were more than a hundred Asia Open Bill Storks, some Painted Storks, a couple of Western Reef Egrets, Black-winged Stilts, Yellow-wattled Lapwing, Yellow Wagtail, Little Stint…

“We sighted more than 50 species today,” said G. Parameshwaran, executive member of CNS. He and P.R. Selvaraj, CNS president, led the walk. There was great excitement when a flock of Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse flew past. Binoculars were whipped out and everyone ran to catch a piece of the action. Parameshwaran ensured the kids got to see the birds through a spotting scope. “We really want children to experience this. That way, they turn into nature lovers, and later, become responsible members of the community,” he said.

Among those part of the trail were R. Sivashankar and Vriddhi, who said birdwatching gave them a chance to develop a new hobby as also develop more environmental awareness.

It was about 8.30 and the Sun was out. But, the search was still on for the pelican. It proved elusive till the very end. But, there’s always another Sunday!



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