Migratory Birds in Kasaragod: Season 2011

Terek Sandpiper and Sand Plover, Manjeswar river mouth, March 2011

Kasaragod the northernmost  district of Kerala is endowed with beautiful beaches and estuaries that host a range of winged visitors from far and wide.    Manjeswaram, Kumbala and Thalangara/Chandragiri form the major estuarine habitats  of Tulunadu that welcome the migratory birds from all over the world in large numbers.

Sand Plovers at Manjeswar beach, March 2011

Since I am currently teaching at Govt. College Kasaragod I am able to observe the biodiversity and ecological importance of rivers and estuarine wetlands in the Kasaragod coast that lure the shorebirds from thousands of miles afar.

Paradise Flycatcher, Vidyanagar, Kasaragod, Feb 2011

My isolated evenings and weekends in the margin of Kerala were cheerfully blessed and environmentally sensitized by these feathered friends from alien shores.  Thanks to these ancient navigators and globe trotters I learn many things from them.

Waders and shorebirds near Manjeswar river mouth, March 2011

Now that we have got rid of the agent of end and it requires years for the cleaning up of rivers and wetlands, I repeat my earlier idea for conserving these unique environmental treasures by declaring them as community reserves at least after the success story of Kadalundy where the numbers have dwindled this season.

Red Shank and Green Shank, Manjeswar beach, March 2011

As the migratory season is coming to a close and the world is observing Migratory Bird Day on 14 and 15 May 2011 let me present my snaps of shore birds, waders and migratory birds that I encountered on the beaches, wetlands, estuaries and woodlands of Kasaragod.

Migratory shore birds near the mouth of river Chandragiri, Kasaragod, Feb 2011

I salute their instinct for survival against all the pressures of development, pollution, urbanization, reclamation and increased human encroachment and alteration in their natural habitat and wetland ecology.

Sanderlings and Curlew Sandpipers, Thalangara estuary, Kasaragod, Jan 2011

Let us salute the enduring spirit of life that transcends continents and let us uphold the ethics  and politics of conservation for the endangered and for all of us.  Let us protect these little ones and protect our future and the future of our planet.

Black and Brown headed Gulls in Kumbala estuary, Jan 2011
Western Reef Egret, Thalangara/Chandragiri estuary, Jan 2011
Kentish Plovers, Kasaragod beach, Feb 2011
Gulls, waders and shore birds at Chandragiri river mouth, March 2011
Dunlins and Sanderlings, Kumbala beach, Feb 2011
Waders mostly shanks, Punjavi beach, Kanjangad, Feb 2011
Pallas' Gull, Thalangara/Chandragiri estuary, March 2011
Eurasian Curlews, Thalangara estuary, Jan 2011
Sunset in Thalangara/Chandragiri estuary, Kasaragod, Jan 2011

Curlews in Thalangara

Eurasian Curlews in Thalangara estuary, Kasaragod
The 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.
Mogral Puthur beach

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.
Pacific Golden Plovers in Kumbala estuary

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.
Malik Dinar mosque, Thalangara, Kasaragod

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.
Eurasian Curlews, Thalangara estuary, Kasaragod 14 Nov. 2010

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.
Magical and Ethereal: Thalangara estuary of Chandragiri river

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.
Paradise Flycatcher, Vidyanagar, Kasaragod

Black-naped Monarch, Vidyanagar, Kasaragod

Chestnut-tailed Starling, Vidyanagar, Kasaragod