Tag Archives: shore birds of Ponnani

Oystercatcher Revisiting Chavakad: The Voyages of a Challenged Bird

Eurasian Oystercatcher limping without the left foot at Chavakad beach on 7 Apl 2013.  The same injured bird was seen in the summer of 2012 on the same location at Tiruvathra Puthan Kadapuram, Chavakad.

Eurasian Oystercatcher limping without the left foot at Chavakad beach on 7 Apl 2013. The same injured bird was seen in the summer of 2012 on the same location at Tiruvathra Puthan Kadapuram, Chavakad.

I remember a small group of five Eurasian Oystercatchers at Chavakad beach during the last migratory season 2011-12.  I made a trip to Chavakad and Ponnani while teaching at Government College Thrissur then. Yesterday, 7 April 2013 when I revisited Tiruvathra Puthan Kadapuram on the Chavakad coast from Kutipuram through Ponnani, I saw the same group again.  The injured bird who lost its left foot was among the group. This limping bird provided the vital link to relocate them after a whole year. This time I could see only three in the group from European shores perhaps.

Oystercatcher in flight along the Chavakad coast on 7 apl 2013.

Oystercatcher in flight along the Chavakad coast on 7 apl 2013.

There were a small group of Stints wading along the shore.  I followed them to find a group of 100 gulls and terns.  They included Brown and Black Headed Gulls, a few Yellow-legged Gulls and Lesser Crested Terns.  Gull-billed and Whiskered Terns were also seen.  A solitary Whimbrel was also with the gulls.

A yellow marine crab feeding at Tiruvathra Puthan Kadapuram, Chavakad. 7 apl 2013

A yellow marine crab feeding at Tiruvathra Puthan Kadapuram, Chavakad. 7 apl 2013

It seems that the migratory birds, most of them have gone back because of the unusually rising temperatures in Kerala.  Nowadays no gulls are seen in Kutipuram or high up on the Perar.  They used to be here till early March.  Even terns are rare now and waders have also declined in number.

A lone Whimbrel among the small gulls at Chavakad, 7 apl 2013.

A lone Whimbrel among the small gulls at Chavakad, 7 apl 2013.

The unusually hot summer and encroaching of the dry weather through the Palghat pass from Tamil Nadu and the lack of summer showers in Malabar could be the reasons.  The increased deforestation and mining on the western ghats bordering grasslands and devastation of sholas and evergreeen forests could be the reason of this unusual dry spell and totoal change in climate and bird life.

Lesser Crested Terns at Tiruvathra Puthan Kadapura, Chavakad on 7 apl 2013.

Lesser Crested Terns at Tiruvathra Puthan Kadapura, Chavakad on 7 apl 2013.

Little Stints at Chavakad beach. 7 apl 2013

Little Stints at Chavakad beach. 7 apl 2013

 

Chavakad Tiruvathra Puthan Kadapuram teaming with migratory birds including small gulls, terns and waders on 7 apl 2013.

Chavakad Tiruvathra Puthan Kadapuram teaming with migratory birds including small gulls, terns and waders on 7 apl 2013.

Just three Oystercatchers were seen this summer in 2013, last year there were 5 individuals in the party.  Anyway the challenged bird is still sailing well...

Just three Oystercatchers (only 2 in photo) were seen this summer in 2013, last year there were 5 individuals in the party. Anyway the challenged bird is still sailing well…  hope to see it next winter as well…

 

Ponnani: Eco-cultural Legacies and Minor Histories

Ponnani estuary: The sun, sea and the river meet in a spectacular ensemble, a view towards north west from Ezhava Thuruthy, 16 Feb 2013.

Ponnani estuary at noon: The sun, the  sea and the river meet in a spectacular ensemble, a view towards north west from Ezhava Thuruthy, 16 Feb 2013.

Big gulls including Heuglin and Yellow-legged Gulls (first and second wintering) at Ponnani beach. 16 feb 2013.

Migrants from distant shores: Big gulls including Heuglin’s and Yellow-legged Gulls (first and second wintering) at Ponnani beach. 16 feb 2013.

 

Public Office or colonial court complex at Ponnani 1838.

The British legacy: Public Office or colonial court complex at Ponnani 1838.

A group of Sand Plovers in Ponnani shore.  16 feb 2013

A group of Sand Plovers in Ponnani shore line. 16 feb 2013

Thottunkal Pally, Ponnani one of the ancient mosques in Kerala founded in 8th century.  Ponnani houses around 50 Pallys and is known as the Mecca of the south east.  It also hosted the Al-azhar University of Islamic and Arabic studies in the early middle ages.

Tottunkal Pally (the Pally by the river Perar) in Ponnani; one of the ancient mosques in Kerala founded in the 8th century. Ponnani houses around 50 Pallys and is known as the Mecca of the south east. It also hosted the Al-azhar University of Islamic and Arabic studies in the early middle ages.

 

Green Shanks and big gulls at Ponnani beach.  The colonial light house in the back ground.  Ponnani was also one of the important ports after Muziris.  The Zamorins of Calicut made it their second capital as their naval chiefs Marakars were originally from here.

Green Shanks and big gulls at Ponnani beach. The colonial light house in the back ground. Ponnani was also one of the important ports after Muziris. The Zamorins of Calicut made it their second capital as their naval chiefs Kunjali Marakars were originally from here.  It is also the home of Sheikh Zainudin Makhdum who wrote the first anti colonial history from Kerala soil, The Tufatul Mujahidin (Tributes to the Holy Warriors who resisted the Portuguese) in the 16th century.

 

The little Mecca of the south east.  Ponnani was the seat of Islamic learning from AD 8th century onwards.  The congregation of mosques and minarets at the southern bank of the mouth of the Perar.  A view from the shore to south east. 16 feb 2013

Paravais and Pallys: The little Mecca of the south east,  Ponnani was the seat of Islamic learning from AD 8th century onwards. The congregation of birds, mosques and minarets at the southern bank of the mouth of the Perar is remarkable. A view from the seashore to south east. 16 feb 2013

Wintering big gulls on Ponnani beach. 16 feb 2013

A view in itself: Wintering big gulls on Ponnani beach. 16 feb 2013

 

Kutikad temple in Ezhava Thuruthy, Ponnani.  The place name Kutikad clearly signify a Sramana past.  Words Kuti, Kottam and Vattam originally refer to a Buddhist or Jain Pally.

Kutikad temple in Ezhava Thuruthy, Ponnani. The place name Kutikad clearly signify a Sramana past. Words Kuti, Kottam and Vattam originally refer to a Buddhist or Jain Pally as in Ganapati Vattam/Sultan Batery or Kutipuram.

Turning the pot and tilling the land:  Potter's wheel and kiln in a Kumbhara alley in Ezhava Thuruthy by the Perar near Ponnani.

Turning the pot and tilling the land: Potter’s wheel and kiln/Chula in a Kumbhara alley in Ezhava Thuruthy by the Perar  on the southern bank near Ponnani.  As the Kumbhara or Kosava potters made black and red ware the Ezhava or Uzhava clans tilled and cultivated the land and nurtured the earth with paddy and coconut that desalinated the region and made it fertile and livable.

 

A Heuglin's Gull first wintering in Ponnani coast in Kerala, 16 feb 2013.

A Heuglin’s Gull first wintering in Ponnani coast in Kerala, 16 feb 2013.

A humble coconut leaf thatched tea shop in Ezhava Thuruthy.  Mr Premdas Ponnani a local poet and artist before the humane hut amidst astonishing coconut groves by the Perar.

A humble coconut leaf thatched tea shop in Ezhava Thuruthy. Mr Premdas Ponnani a local poet and artist before the humane hut amidst astonishing coconut groves by the Perar. 16 feb 2013

 

The renovated fish landing in Ponnani, a view from sea shore.  Due to extensive dredging in the estuary the migratory birds and fish have abandoned this river mouth of Perar.

The renovated fish landing in Ponnani, a view from sea shore. Due to extensive dredging in the estuary the migratory birds and fish have abandoned this river mouth of Perar.

Big gulls in flight along the Ponnani coast.

Big gulls in flight along the Ponnani coast.

 

Premdas Ponnani a local poet and artist by the Perar in his nativity of Ezhava Thuruthy, 16 feb 2013. Premdas helped me to get out of the mud by the river where my bike was stranded and gave me a sumptuous lunch in his home and an aesthetic treat with his poems and paintings, thanks to Prem and his mama.

Premdas Ponnani a local poet and artist living by the Perar in his nativity of Ezhava Thuruthy (literally the islet of Ezhava people), 16 feb 2013.   Premdas helped me to get out of the mud by the river where my bike was stranded and gave me a sumptuous lunch in his home and an aesthetic treat with his poems and paintings, thanks to Prem and his mama.

A visual composition with the river, the tree and the sky by artist and photographer Premdas Ponnani, 16 feb 2013.

A visual composition with the river, the tree and the sky by artist and photographer Premdas Ponnani, 16 feb 2013.

 

Ponnani Valiya Jaram or the big Makham of Ponnani, some 400 years old by the NH 17. An Islamic missionary from Arabia is laid to rest here who directly belong to the lineage of the Prophet.

Ponnani Valiya Jaram or the big Makham of Ponnani, some 400 years old by the NH 17. An Islamic missionary from Arabia is laid to rest here who directly belong to the lineage of the Prophet according to legend.

A migrant group of Sand Plovers landing on Ponnani coast, 16 feb 2013.

A migrant group of Sand Plovers landing on Ponnani coast, 16 feb 2013.

 

A Western Reef Egret at Ponnani beach, 16 feb 2013.

A Western Reef Egret at Ponnani beach, 16 feb 2013.