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.
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.
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.
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.
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.