Oystercatcher Revisiting Chavakad: The Voyages of a Challenged Bird

// April 7th, 2013 // Eco Watch

Eurasian Oystercatcher limping without the left foot at Chavakad beach on 7 Apl 2013.  The same injured bird was seen in the summer of 2012 on the same location at Tiruvathra Puthan Kadapuram, Chavakad.

Eurasian Oystercatcher limping without the left foot at Chavakad beach on 7 Apl 2013. The same injured bird was seen in the summer of 2012 on the same location at Tiruvathra Puthan Kadapuram, Chavakad.

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.

Oystercatcher in flight along the Chavakad coast on 7 apl 2013.

Oystercatcher in flight along the Chavakad coast on 7 apl 2013.

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.

A yellow marine crab feeding at Tiruvathra Puthan Kadapuram, Chavakad. 7 apl 2013

A yellow marine crab feeding at Tiruvathra Puthan Kadapuram, Chavakad. 7 apl 2013

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.

A lone Whimbrel among the small gulls at Chavakad, 7 apl 2013.

A lone Whimbrel among the small gulls at Chavakad, 7 apl 2013.

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.

Lesser Crested Terns at Tiruvathra Puthan Kadapura, Chavakad on 7 apl 2013.

Lesser Crested Terns at Tiruvathra Puthan Kadapura, Chavakad on 7 apl 2013.

Little Stints at Chavakad beach. 7 apl 2013

Little Stints at Chavakad beach. 7 apl 2013

 

Chavakad Tiruvathra Puthan Kadapuram teaming with migratory birds including small gulls, terns and waders on 7 apl 2013.

Chavakad Tiruvathra Puthan Kadapuram teaming with migratory birds including small gulls, terns and waders on 7 apl 2013.

Just three Oystercatchers were seen this summer in 2013, last year there were 5 individuals in the party.  Anyway the challenged bird is still sailing well...

Just three Oystercatchers (only 2 in photo) were seen this summer in 2013, last year there were 5 individuals in the party. Anyway the challenged bird is still sailing well…  hope to see it next winter as well…

 

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