Kadalundi: A Community Reserve in Kerala

Gulls in Kadalundi estuary, 27 March 2011

The rich  blue and green mangroved estuary has always fascinated me on my train journeys through it between Kozhikode and Parappanangadi.  Kadalundi is a well known bird sanctuary and estuarine ecosystem in Malabar.  It is also known as the first community reserve in Kerala.

Small gulls inside the sanctuary in low tide

It has lured plenty of birds and birders over the years.  But unfortunately due to human interventions and pollution it is diminishing and vanishing from its former glory.  On 27 March 2011 at around noon I could see only a few species of migratory birds onthe sand banks of Kadalundi sanctuary though it was low tide.

Mangroved estuarine system of Kadalundi: A view from rail bridge

I was stealing some time from the National Theatre Fest at Kozhikode and visited the estuary briefly for a few hours at noon.  I had a panoramic view of the estuarine ecosystem from the old and dilapidated footpath on the rail bridge towards the west of the rail road.  I noticed a few Reef Egrets and a Grey Heron.  There were also a few Sand Plovers.  There was a congregation of small gulls towards the mouth of the estuary near the road bridge.

A Grey Heron in Kadalundi

In between the gulls and the mangroves there was a fairly large group of 20 Whimbrels wading in the mud and shallows.  This is the largest group I have ever seen in Kerala.  A few months ago I saw just 3 or 4 in Kumbala estuary.  According to Mr Arif who is doing his research in Kadalundi on migratory shorebirds the numbers and species had dwindled considerably.

Black and Brown-headed Gulls in Kadalundi

But compared to the diversity of species Kasaragod estuaries are far better than Kadalundi.  Kasaragod estuaries like Thalangara, Kumbala and Manjeswaram thrive in migratory birds even in this mid-summer.  It is high time that those precious ecosystems must be declared as protected sanctuaries.  The good work of forest department in Kadalundi needs to be extended to Kasaragod as well.

Whimbrels in Kadalundi 27 March 2011