Lapwings of Madayi Para
Madayi Para is a laterite mount on the northern bank of the Pazhayangadi river in Kannur district of Kerala. It lies somewhat north-south to the south east of Ezhimala that currently houses the Naval Academy. It is a place of immense eco-cultural significance. This unique geographical formation is a biodiversity hotspot and is pregnant with the reverberations of the past.
The mount has immense historic and archeological importance. This laterite plateau like formation at the edge of the sea once housed ancient Jain sacred groves, Jew synagogues, mosques and temples. The relics and reminiscences of ancient heritages are still visible in shattered and scattered forms. An old rock-cut pond is still known as the Jew pond.
Madayi Kavu is the relic of an ancient Sramana shrine and sacred grove converted later to Hinduism after the Brahmanical conquest. The southern tip of the hillock facing the river estuary still has a fort that once checked the upstream traffic. It was also a strategic defense and administrative location of the Kolathiris and the Mushika dynasty who ruled from Ezhimala nearby.
I visited the place on Sunday 8th of August , 2010. The red soiled mount was covered in green because of the monsoon showers. The place has plenty of grass species and associated flora. Paddyfield Pipits and Malabar Crested Larks are also abundant in the green cover. Red and Yellow Wattled Lapwings are also nesting in the hillock. Black-headed and Scaly-breasted Munias are commonly seen reaping the seeds of grass.
Indian Rollers are seen in dry areas while the water bodies have some cormorants and egrets. Butterflies like Blue Tiger, Tony Coaster, Common Rose etc. are abundant in this weather. Some water sources would not dry up even in the hot summer say local people. Madayi Kavu houses plenty of rare and endemic medicinal plants along with numerous fauna and some small mammals and reptiles.
The banks of the river Pazhayangadi also host plenty of mangroves, especially white and stilt varieties. The view of the estuary, the sea line and the Ezhimala coast from the top of the fort on the Madayi hillock is breathtaking. Blue-tailed Bee-eaters are plenty on the hillock. Common Mynas and House Crows are not uncommon. But during my exploration the Yellow-wattled Lapwings were unusually high in numbers and they were nesting and breeding in the area even amidst increased human infiltration into their heartlands and last resorts.