Expect nothing, live frugally on surprise.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Delhi welcomed visitors

It’s not just the nip in the air after sunset that is signalling the arrival of winter. After several years, Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary wears a busy look once more with the arrival of 5,000 migratory birds of various types
Names of birds which have already arrived from Siberia, Europe, Central Asia this year- Common teal Pintail Wigeon Gargenery Shoveler Whisteling teal

A good monsoon and a comprehensive revamp plan have ensured that Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary is witnessing a revival of sorts. With the arrivaf around 5,000 migratory birds of various species from Central Asia and Europe, a record turnout is expected this year

This number is expected to soar to 50,000 by the end of the season. The flow of migratory birds to the sanctuary had dwindled drastically in the last few years as the lake had dried up. Six species have arrived so far from European countries, Siberia and central Asia but sanctuary officials hope that after many years the 100 odd varieties that used to flock to the park may be seen this year. It may be “a treat for birdlovers”, they said. The lake has an adjacent stretch of marshy land and a salt pan to boot, making it a favourite of the winged visitors. Said Shahid Khan, wildlife inspector of the park,‘‘The marsh has been converted into a water body and down the years, hundreds of species of migratory birds have flown in. Winter brings in birds from as far as Siberia. Flocks of geese come from Europe. The bird population also includes Darters, Egrets shovellers, Gadwell, Cranes and Storks. There are also water birds like Teals, Kingfishers, Lapwings, Sandpipers and Demoiselle cranes.’’ Crustaceans, fish and insects thrive during floods here, attracting a number of birds from colder parts of the world.

The last few years however had not been very good for the sanctuary. The lake had almost dried up and birds had stopped coming. This year the good rains coupled with an extensive management plan by the authorities have borne fruit with species like Common teal, Pintail, Widgeon, Garganey, Shoveller and Whistling teal already having been spotted. The lake was cleaned and connected to a water channel to improve its quality and a stone wall was also constructed around the park to keep away village dogs who prey on the birds. Gopi Sunder, a research associate for India with International Crane Foundation, is very enthusiastic about the positive changes in the sanctuary. “Because of ongoing development work going in the area such as SEZ, significance of the park increases all the more. I am very happy to see that ecosystem in the park has improved a lot as the presence of top predatory birds like the Falcon indicates a healthy food chain,” he said. “The sanctuary is perfect for bird lovers. There are watch tower facilities for bird observation and camping facilities for hire as well,’’ said Bajrangi, a bird lover who had come in the park from Hisar.

Himanshu Malhotra, a wildlife filmmaker, said: ‘‘Sultanpur lake is a small but beautiful park. You get to see many rare kinds of birds there. It seems like nature-lovers are in for a treat.’’ Suresh Sharma, in-charge of the interpretation centre at the sanctuary, said other animals in the sanctuary include Blackbuck, Nilgai, Hog deer, Sambar, Wild dog or Dhole, Caracal, Wild cat, Hedgehog, Mongoose, Striped hyena, Indian porcupine, Rattle/Honey badger, Leopard, Wild pig, and Four-horned antelope.


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