Have a great bird day

Lovely :Check out the birds.

Lovely :Check out the birds.  


The HSBC Bird Race saw enthusiastic participants criss-crossing the city. Here's a look at the birds the group from Vidya Sagar managed to spot.

Bird spots in Chennai

Guindy National Park : Entry requires written permission from the Forest Ranger.

Telephone : 044-22301328

Indian Institute of Technology : Entry is restricted. Contact Prakriti, IIT Madras Wildlife Club or the IIT security section. Walker's passes are issued by the security section on request.

Pallikaranai marshes : Marshland near Thoraipakkam. Is a protected area, but can be visited.

Nanmangalam Reserve Forest : Protected forest. So entry only with permission.

“Did he do it, did he do it?” the cries were clear in the briny air near the Buckingham canal. We spotted the red wattled lapwing that screeched his “accusation” as he was ferociously being chased by crows. We learnt that this was a trick of the lapwing to distract the crows from the precious store of eggs that were laid on the rocks. They sit on another rock away from the “egg rock” and hoodwink the crows.

This was one interesting episode that the birders witnessed during the HSBC Bird Race held recently. The race started later in the day for this special team (for the others it was from 6.00 am. to 6.00 pm). Four kids from the Vidya Sagar along with their helper-friends from the M. CT. M Chidambaram Chettyar M.H.S.S., in three cars were ready to take on the birds in the Pallikaranai Marsh.

Winged visitors

“I saw lots of ducks,” said a smiling Prakash. Little grebes and pond herons with their peculiar hunch-backed stance were the day's visitors, apart from the hordes of egrets. A white breasted kingfisher was a bonus.

A dash down East Coast Road, towards Kovalam proved more fruitful. At the Buckingham Canal stretch, there were swifts and swallows flying about while painted storks, a group of whimbrels and a lone pelican enjoyed the waters. The field books were shown to the kids from the Spastic School. As their eyesight is rather weak, focussing on long distant objects, even through the binoculars, is not too easy. Therefore, looking at the field guide to birds at close quarters was important as they would link the picture of the bird to the actual bird. This was how Tariq was able to identify the pelicans all on his own.

Prakash, Rakesh, Tariq and Rohith belonged to the Nature club in their schools and were enthusiastic about the tree walks and the tree surveys they had participated in. By touching the trees they were confident about what they were doing. They were also part of the “waste audit” in their school. Four waste bins were kept for the different types of rubbish, the bio-degradable and the non-bio-degradable. But sadly, the grabage collector mixes them all up.

Speeding to different destinations, spotting the birds and then off again, lent much excitement and was immensely enjoyed along with the munching of snacks. And the next stop was Adayar Poonga. Shamnad, Shanmugam, Meera and Saranan the students from the MCtM school, helped them on the wheelchairs and made their way to the small lake. Cormorants, common moorhens and a pair of pied kingfishers were spotted. But then, the day came to a close too soon for some and it was time to head back to Hotel Savera, for the finale of the Bird Race.

Around 40 teams registered and 33 teams came back with their log books on time! The Bird of the Day was the Ruddy Breasted Crake. Some interesting rare birds like the red munia, lesser whitethroat were spotted. There were contestants who had come all the way from the Palani foothills to participate in the race. Hilarious moments were part of the race like when a team spotted an ostrich which turned out to be in a farm and tree pies were confused with “tree pipes”.

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