Oystercatcher Revisiting Chavakad: The Voyages of a Challenged Bird
// April 7th, 2013 // Eco Watch
I remember a small group of five Eurasian Oystercatchers at Chavakad beach during the last migratory season 2011-12. I made a trip to Chavakad and Ponnani while teaching at Government College Thrissur then. Yesterday, 7 April 2013 when I revisited Tiruvathra Puthan Kadapuram on the Chavakad coast from Kutipuram through Ponnani, I saw the same group again. The injured bird who lost its left foot was among the group. This limping bird provided the vital link to relocate them after a whole year. This time I could see only three in the group from European shores perhaps.
There were a small group of Stints wading along the shore. I followed them to find a group of 100 gulls and terns. They included Brown and Black Headed Gulls, a few Yellow-legged Gulls and Lesser Crested Terns. Gull-billed and Whiskered Terns were also seen. A solitary Whimbrel was also with the gulls.
It seems that the migratory birds, most of them have gone back because of the unusually rising temperatures in Kerala. Nowadays no gulls are seen in Kutipuram or high up on the Perar. They used to be here till early March. Even terns are rare now and waders have also declined in number.
The unusually hot summer and encroaching of the dry weather through the Palghat pass from Tamil Nadu and the lack of summer showers in Malabar could be the reasons. The increased deforestation and mining on the western ghats bordering grasslands and devastation of sholas and evergreeen forests could be the reason of this unusual dry spell and totoal change in climate and bird life.