First set of migratory birds flock Chennai’s Pallikaranai marshland

Despite threats of new infrastructure and encroachments, winged visitors continue to arrive at the marshland, where 196 species including 72 migratory birds have been documented over two decades, says birder K.V.R.K. Thirunaranan

October 15, 2023 09:43 pm | Updated October 16, 2023 12:26 pm IST - CHENNAI

Common teal

Common teal | Photo Credit: The Nature Trust

With over 150 garganeys, and several other species, including waders and raptors, flocking the Pallikaranai marshland, the curtain for the migratory season has been raised. 

Birder and The Nature Trust founder K.V.R.K. Thirunaranan said garganey, northern pintail, northern shoveler, common teal, western yellow wagtail, grey-headed lapwing, common sandpiper, and wood sandpiper have arrived. Raptors, such as red-necked falcon, osprey, and greater-spotted eagle were also sighted.

Western yellow wagtail

Western yellow wagtail | Photo Credit: The Nature Trust

Good rainfall in Chennai during the southwest monsoon has kept the Pallikaranai marsh filled and there is freshwater coming in from nearby lakes, said Mr. Thirunaranan. He added that from monitoring birds in Pallikaranai for 13 years, it has been observed that the western yellow wagtail arrives from northern latitudes at the marshland every first week of September and the grey-headed lapwing comes between September 28 and October 2. “This year also both arrived on time as expected,” he said. 

Grey-headed lapwing

Grey-headed lapwing | Photo Credit: The Nature Trust

White wagtail and forest wagtail are expected to arrive in ten days and one month respectively, he said. Despite threats of new infrastructure and encroachments, winged visitors continue to arrive at the marshland, where 196 species including 72 migratory birds have been documented over two decades, according to Mr. Thirunaranan.

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