Coastal birds make a stopover at Achankulam

A Sanderling spotted at Achankulam near Coimbatore recently.  

Despite having lost a major portion of its shores to development works, Achankulam continues to attract a variety of migratory birds.

Birdwatchers who continuously monitor the avifauna of the tank recently spotted two unusual visitors in the tank – Lesser Crested tern and Sanderling, both long distant migrants that are primarily spotted in coastal areas.

City-based nature enthusiasts-cum-photographers D. Gajamohanraj and Sharang Satish spotted the two rare migrants during their birding trip to the tank which is located around 20 km from the heart of Coimbatore.

“Sighting of these two passage migrants in Coimbatore has not been recorded before. This could also be the first record of their sighting in inland Tamil Nadu. They are normally seen in coastal areas and they could have made a stopover at Achankulam,” said Mr. Gajamohanraj.

While Lesser Crested Terns were sighted on September 20, the duo spotted a Sanderling on October 10.

eBird checklist for Tamil Nadu shows that Lesser Crested Tern and Sanderling were spotted in Point Calimere on October 12.

Lesser Crested Tern is a medium-large tern with orangish more slimmer and slender tipped bill.

Upper parts are more uniform and slightly darker grey, including rump and tail centres.

Sanderling is a type of Sandpiper which breeds in Arctic tundra and is often seen on the coastal beachside in winter. They are light grey on the top and white on the bottom with a stout black bill, black legs and lacks hind toe, which easily identifies it as a Sanderling.

Mr. Gajamohanraj said he along with Mr. Sharang had been observing migrant shorebirds in the lakes in and around Coimbatore city for the last two months. They recorded a number of regular and passage migrants ranging from gulls and terns to waders.

“Some notable sightings included Heuglin’s Gull, Lesser Crested Tern, Common Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Kentish Plover, Lesser Sand-Plover, Pacific Golden-Plover, Ruff, Common and Spotted Redshanks, Black-tailed Godwit, Terek Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Sanderling, Long-toed Stint and Little Tern. Apart from these, regular migrants such as Common, Wood, Green and Marsh Sandpipers, Little and Temminck’s Stints and Common Greenshank were also present in good numbers in many tanks,” said Mr. Sharang.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 8:50:57 AM |

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