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.
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.