The onset of winter in India not only brings with it chilling winds but also waves of hundreds and thousands of migratory birds from the northern latitudes beyond the Indian subcontinent. Varying in sizes between a thumb-sized bird to that of crane, their “arrive and return” falls during the Sept-Apr period. Thus the recent mid-winter water-bird survey in the wetlands of Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts of Tamil Nadu as expected, lead the observers into spellbound sightings of species that not only move over large distances, but also travel in “unison” in large and sometimes mixed flocks numbering over thousands.
Two such species of migrants, the gull-billed terns and blue-tailed bee-eaters which were seen by many participants in small flocks numbering 10s and 20s over the 42 tanks surveyed, were spotted in hundreds, as a couple of us chanced upon their roosts on a late evening. Apart from the 600+ bee-eaters balling up in the sky, hordes of terns in batches of 80 to100 were seen dotting the evening sky, probably flying into a roost, leaving us observers awestruck with their excellent sense of orientation and direction. So much so, it felt as if they were mocking at us, who spent hours referring to toposheets, satellite images, route maps etc. to locate these tanks!
Volume 5, Issue 1
Editor: Allwin Jesudasan
Associate editor: Rajkamal Goswami
Editorial Review: R. Ganesan, M. Soubadra Devy, T. Ganesh
Design and presentation: Kiran Salegame
A S H O K A T R U S T F O R R E S E A R C H I N E C O L O G Y A N D T H E E N V I R O N M E N T
-Prashanth M B
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