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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.