Curlews in ThalangaraThe birdman of India Dr Salim Ali is remembered all around the country in all the cities through Bird Race programs today, on November 14, 2010. Being in the boundary away from the cities in Kasaragod I decided to roam around in search of some fresh air, sunlight and twittering avian friends. At around 8 in the morning I hit the highway with my bike.
From Kasaragod town first I went north on the NH to Mogral Puthur beach and estuary. But I could not find any migratory birds there. I went up to Kumbala bridge where I saw red shanks a few weeks ago and found a small group of seven Pacfific Golden Plovers resting on the shallows amidst the mangroves, exactly in the same place.
After a few takes I went to Thalankara, the estuary of river Chandragiri situated towards the south west of the ancient mosque on the west coast, Malik Dinar, a cultural landmark of Kasaragod. I like the place for its pristine air and sun. It fills me with a lot of creative energy and tranquility.
As I approached the lagoons and sandy islets in the estuary through a narrow concrete road that climbs down from Nellikunnu I noticed a big wader about 200 m away on a sand bank. Two more joined it and I could see the long and curved beak with which they probed the sandy shores and shallows. They were a group of Eurasian Curlews. I rememberd seeing such a small loose group of curlews a few years ago in Ponnani estuary along with Whimbrels and Godwits with Dr Dileep and Manoj.
Shorebird experts like Mr Arif working in Kadalundi estuary says that we see curlews and whimbrels so rarely now. Curlews are a near threatened species and their breeding population in Europe and Irland has been shrinking over the years by more than 80%. Their migratory asylums and wetland resorts are also shrinking and getting devastated and damaged through pollution and illegal mining all around the Kerala coast.
But the bio diversity of Kasaragod is amazing! Yesterday morning in a few hours I could see Paradise Flycatcher (white morph), Black-naped Monarch, Pompodour Green Pegions, Chestnut-tailed Starling, Golden Orioles, Black-hooded Orioles, Small Sunbirds and plenty of leaf warblers through my window in the adjacent wooded grove in Vidyanagar. This could be one of the few places where we could see forest/high altitude birds and shorebirds together.