Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pallikaranai Marsh Bird Sanctuary

The Chennai visit this time was quite a treat – Chennai heat has not yet peaked, migratory birds were still around and my parents were on this mission to pamper us with never-ending south-indian meals and snacksJ.

Alton had made a list of birding places to visit in Chennai. From the time we started birding, every place is looked at from a different perspective. I have passed Pallikaranai almost daily while going to office at Shollinganallur, but had never stopped to look at the flying friends.
We took the Velachery route to reach the marsh. There is a rough boundary around the marsh but no fence has been laid. This means that the place can be trampled or dumped with debris by anyone. This could be seen throughout the boundary – Concrete and garbage was visible on the periphery.

Nevertheless, the birds did not seem to mind the happenings across the street. On climbing a small mound, we could see the marsh more clearly and were pleasantly surprised. You could see hundreds of birds flying around, happily carrying out their activities in the morning sun.

Here’s the first glimpse of the wetland:

Black winged stilt in flight

Throughout the area boards have been put up in Tamil stating that it is a “Birds living place”.

We moved to the road cutting the marsh into two – this road connects Velachery to OMR and the IT corridor. We stopped on the side of the road and started observing some species . Most of them were birds that we had seen before and I was getting increasingly disinterested at the lack of variety. Then, we noticed some large birds flying across the road to the other side of the marsh – huge pelicans perched on tree tops and with them were painted storks. They were putting up a show across the sky.  We crossed the road and noticed that there were more birds on this other part – it was less disturbed and hence more preference. We also met two doctors who work with the Kanyakumari medical college. They showed us some pics they had clicked of a pheasant tailed Jacana and common moorhen.

This board urged people to conserve the lake – saying it is a nature given gift for transforming waste water to fresh water.

As we headed back, we noticed that huge mounds of garbage were encroaching a large part of the marsh. Seems, there have been law suits filed by environmentalists and despite the court condemning such destruction, the garbage yard was growing. As we were passing this stretch, Alton noticed on the right hand side, a flock of birds on the water. We took a u-turn and went back to observe them – and that made the day for usJ.
Flamingos, flamingoes, flamyngoes  everywhere – pink, white, red; flying, walking, courting – beautiful, lovely and delicate. They looked so pretty on the water roaming free and enjoying their day.

Majestic Flamingos



As we returned home, I realized that in my 25 years of living in Chennai I have never noticed anything apart from crowsJ. We are sure to visit other birding places in chennai on our next trip.

List of bird species seen on this trip (* are new ones)
  1. Greater Flamingo*
  2. Pied- cuckoo*
  3. Grey headed wagtail*
  4. Cattle egrets
  5. Painted stork
  6. Black-winged stilt
  7. Whiskered Tern
  8. Little cormorant
  9. Spot-billed pelican
  10. Green shank
  11. Purple swamphen
  12. Glossy Ibis
  13. Black headed Ibis
  14. Garganey
  15. Common moorhen
  16. Pheasent-tailed Jacana
  17. Common Mynah
  18. Asian Koel
  19. Crow
  20. Jungle Crow
  21. Barn Swallow

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