Manjeswaram and Kumbala Estuaries

Rocks rocked by the roaring Arabian sea for ages: Manjeswar river mouth

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.

Red Shank, Manjeswar estuary

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.

Sand Plovers at the beach, Manjeswar

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.

Kumbala estuary: Satheesh with local children

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.

Asian Open-bill Storks, Kumbala estuary
Satheesh at Mogral Puthur estuary
Green and Red Shanks on the beach, Manjeswar. Photo: Satheesh K V
Curlews in Kumbala estuary, Dec. 24, 2010
Mogral Puthur estuary Photo: Satheesh K V

Redshanks in Kumbala

Common Redshanks in Kumbala estuary

Arctic waders are here in Kerala!! These cozy tourists may be from Europe or from further north west. Anyway they are having a nice time at Kumbala river-mouth where the river meets the sea with all its meandering lagoons and mangrove islets. It is an ideal location for these migratory birds to land and repose for a while.
Today, 18 October 2010, at around 10am, I saw a small group of ten Common Redshanks in the mangrove covered mudflats of Kumbala estuary. These winter visitors were in non breeding plumage with reddish legs and longer and partially red beaks. They were lazily preening themselves in the sun that sparkled in the blue waters and green mangrove leaves. They were also producing occasional piping calls of alarm.
Grey Heron in Netravati estuary, Mangalore

Yesterday at the estuary of river Netravati in Mangalore I saw a large Grey Heron, a Grey Wagtail, a few Western Reef Egrets and plenty of common Sandpipers. I also saw an unidentified group of waders there. Perhaps it could be this same cool shanks. To my surprise I also spotted a pair of peacocks at the mouth of the river Netravati near the sea!
Pelagic Peas: Peafowl pair at the mangroved estuary of Netravati at the edge of Arabian sea

Today too I saw a peacock in the sacred grove surrounding the old Jain Basti in Bengara, Manjeswar, on the southern banks of the river Manjeswar. Also saw plenty of common Sandpipers and Small Blue Kingfishers at the estuary of river Mnjeswar.
Small Blue/Common Kingfisher, Manjeswar estuary