River Manjeswar meets the Arabian sea at Manjeswaram estuary between Bengara and Manjeswaram. Once it was a thriving port town and attracted many cultures and people to its beautiful banks. The Arabs, Jains and Konkan Brahmans and Baniyas came and settled in this little cosmopolitan town and made it truly multi-cultural. Many Jain Bastis and temples and old buildings still survive along its old streets. The river mouth is the sight of an ancient dismantled stone temple and a small fish landing centre now. I visited the place yesterday at noon (Friday, 24 Dec. 2010) with Mr Satheesh K V.
The place is rich with aquatic and avian life. Shore birds and waders are abundant here. We saw plenty of Egrets, Pond Herons and Reef Egrets. Green and Red Shanks were active inside the estuary as well as on the sea shore. On the southern bank Satheesh spotted more than 200 Sand plovers playing with the waves.
In the morning at Kumbala estuary we saw a small group of around 20 Open-bill Storks perched on the mangroves to the east of the highway. At the estuary and near the river mouth we could see more than 1000 seagulls. The mixed flock included Black/Brown Headed Gulls and Lesser Crested Terns. A group of 10 Eurasian Curlews were also seen.
Fishing inside and around the estuaries has almost ceased now because of pollution, waste dumping and illegal sand mining. Plastic wastes and toxic residues brought by the river are also chocking the precious ecosystem.