Madurai

Bird watchers flock to Venthankulam to see garganeys

See over there: Visitors scanning the Venthankulam tank in Palayamkottai on Wednesday.

See over there: Visitors scanning the Venthankulam tank in Palayamkottai on Wednesday.  

The water birds from Europe, and other species, are camping in the tank where fingerlings were released recently

After welcoming new year, over 300 bird watchers, mostly children and youth, gathered on the banks of Venthankulam near new bus stand here on Wednesday morning to watch the arrival of garganeys (Spatula querquedula) from Europe to the recently desilted tank.

As Agasthiyamalai Community Conservation Centre (ACCC), in association with Nellai Nature Club, ATREE, Mayan and TVS Groups, proposes to conduct Tamirabharani Water Bird Festival 2020 in select water bodies being fed by the perennial river in Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts, the first ‘bird walk’ event was organised at Venthankulam. The winged visitors from Europe are camping at this new-look waterbody where around 5,000 fingerlings were released to feed the water birds. The number of birds camping in the tank has increased enormously.

More than 18 species of water birds could be seen here,” said researcher Soubadra Devi of ATREE and Mathivanan of ACCC.

Besides distributing brochures carrying colour photographs of Tamirabharani basin water birds, ATREE and ACCC volunteers had installed a spotting scope and gave a good number binoculars to the public to take a closer look at the birds either swimming in the tank or relaxing in the artificially created sand mounds so that they could easily identify them.

Birds sighted

The visitors walked along the northern bund and saw Common Coot’s nest at two places - one with egg and the other with a chick - and Common Coot pairs defending their territory by chasing away other birds entering into their ‘land’ to save the egg and the chick from the intruders that included a Black Kite hovering at low altitude.

“It’s so nice to see the Garganey and Lesser Whistling Duck that breeds in Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia in such large numbers. With the release of good number of fingerlings, the waterbody will attract more birds. Hence, the desilted fresh-looking tank should be carefully protected by all means,” said renowned wildlife photographer J.C.R. Sridevi.

District Forest Officer K. Thirumal agreed to supply a good number of tree saplings to be planted along the bund of Venthankulam and also grown-up babool trees to be planted in the sand mounds so that the birds can easily build their nests.

The ACCC plans to organise similar ‘bird walk’ events at Vaagaikulam near Alwarkurichi on January 5 and at Arumugamangalam near Srivaikundam on January 12 between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 2:46:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/bird-watchers-flock-to-venthankulam-to-see-garganeys/article30456918.ece

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