It was a treat for birdwatchers as a large number of birds, including migratory ones, flocked Pulicat lagoon in Nellore district thanks to favourable climatic conditions.
The winged visitors arrived from far-off lands in large numbers this time. Thanks to opening of the sea-mouth on the Tamil Nadu side, the avians are able to find enough prey without any difficulty. The opening of the sea-mouth had a beneficial effect on the Pulicat ecosystem.
“'Twenty-five different varieties have been spotted so far this year. Their number is likely to go up significantly during November,” said Sullurpeta Divisional Forest Officer (Wildlife) D. Ravindranth Reddy. The arrival of the first Greater Flamingo was recorded on September 12 and their numbers are going up each day, he said.
Other bird species that were spotted include Grey pelican, Painted stork, Grey heron, Open-billed stork, Glossy ibis, Pond heron, Large egret, Little egret, Cattle egret, Eurasian coot, Indian moor hen, Dab chick, Common kingfisher, Kingfisher, Purple swamp hen, Redwattled lapwing, Night heron, Curlew, Little Cormorant and Seagull.
The number of greater flamingos arriving at the second largest brackish water ecosystem in the country after Chilika is going up year after year. It is expected to cross 70,000 mark this year. The number of Spoon Bills is also going up significantly in the last couple of years, added Forest Range Officer Venu Atmakuri. The situation is highly conducive for the winged visitors at Pulicat. The easy availability of prey had some species of birds to stay back in and around Pulicat without leaving in March/April.
The 759 sq-km Pulicat supports rich flora and fauna. It is the home for 189 bird species from 52 families. Over 100 plant species from 46 families thrive in the wetland in the wake of adequate inflow in Arani, Kalangi and Swarnamukhi rivers.
Dredging work will be taken upon getting the Centre’s nod based on the study conducted by Salim Ali Centre for Orinthology and Natural History (SACON), sources said. It had recommended opening of the seamouth at Rayadoruvu in Nellore district as the exchange of water between sea and lake will stabilise the salinity levels, thereby increasing the diversity and abundance of planktons and fish availability in the lake. This in turn can help in sustaining larger wetland bird population in Pulicat Bird Sanctuary, it said.