A few seasons of water-bird surveys in the foothills of the KMTR reserve had revealed lots of little hotspots over the last two years, but, little was known about the diversity and status of the larger wetlands that are encountered closer to the mouth of the Tamiraparani river. As a result, a sprinkling of large and small wetlands was chosen for the winter survey and a total of 53 tanks were surveyed during January 2011 and 2012. About 42 tanks were surveyed in both the years and a host of 62 species of waterfowlwith their total numbers ranging from 30 to 32 thousand each year have been counted in the specified area. Kadambakulam a large 800 hectare tank close to the coast was found to be unique with a large sheet of sprawling wetland vegetation. Hundreds of hiding whistling teals taking off from the sides of the bund, and wigeons flocking in thousands have beenwitnessed here. Tenkarikulam that lies a few kms west of this tank is another huge sheet of water during these seasons, which in total contrast is deeper and completely devoid of vegetation.
If not for the lurking ducks in the vegetation, this tank was home to hundreds of Terns fishing in the deep blue waters. The diving ducks, the pochards too chose to be in their niche areas in this tank. An egret that was skinned clean from its feathers lay on the bund reminding us of the effervescent threat to waterfowl. Pudukudi Sunai, located near the red sand dunes was distinct in holding riparian and swampy vegetation, which may have existed before this stream was walled with a sprinkling of ducks and ibises. The long chain of huge tanks formed by the Kaspa, Perungulam and Armugamangalam tanks were home to thousands of migratory ducks. Two other tanks that were home to such flocks have been the ones at Nanguneri and Vijayanarayanam. Far away from the coast in the plains, was another wetland at Maanur, whose shallow waters were home to a few thousand migratory ducks and the submerged Acacias invited about four thousand roosting egrets.
Editor: Allwin Jesudasan
Associate editor: Rajkamal Goswami
Editorial Review: R. Ganesan, M. Soubadra Devy, T. Ganesh
Design and presentation: Kiran Salagame
Volume 6, Issue 1
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
Wintering waterfowl census: counting over the last two years
- Prashanth M B
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