About 118 bird species spotted at Sarobar
Kolkata: The lockdown measures imposed due to COVID-19 pandemic situation has proved to be a boon for the bird lovers with 118 species of birds spotted in the vicinity of the sprawling Rabindra Sarobar lakes since the third week of March till October.
About 16 of these avian species have been recorded for the first time at least since the last decade in and around the sprawling waterbody.
The Rabindra Sarobar that was shut down completely since the imposition of lockdown from March 23 was opened up for morning walkers on July from 5.30 am to 9.30 am. But nobody was allowed beyond that timing except the security and maintenance staff. The rowing activities in the Rabindra Sarobar too has remained suspended since lockdown. November the lake has opened up for two hours in the late afternoon.
"The tranquillity prevailing in the vicinity of the waterbody through out the day has naturally proved to be an important factor along with minimum pollution. After a gap of four years we have found Painted Stork
nesting here. On October 25 nine species of these birds were spotted. They are expected to give birth to young ones here," said Sudip Ghosh, an IT professional and a keen birdwatcher at the Sarobar.
Among the winged visitors who have been recorded for the first time at least in a decade includes Pied Harrier, Martin SP, Brown Headed Seagull, Swinhoe's Minivet, Grey Backed Shrike, Indian/Blyth's Paradise, Blue Tailed Bee Eater, Peregrine Falcon, Hooded Pitta, Little Egret, Common Tern, Large Hawk Cuckoo, Black Winged Kite and White Throated Fantail. Great Egret has also been perhaps photographed for the first time on October 31.
"We are apprehending that the good beginning for winter birdwatching may not sustain if Chhath Puja is again allowed. Crackers are burnt and drums are beaten during the rituals which drives away the winged visitors," said another birdwatcher.
The National Green Tribunal has turned down an appeal from Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) to allow Chhath puja at the Sarobar but the latter had moved the apex court challenging the order of the green bench. The matter is expected to be heard on November 16.
On an average the birdwatchers spot around 100 migratory birds during the winter
months. But this year before winter has arrived in full swing already 118 birds have been photographed. "We are expecting more in the
months of November and December," said Ghosh.
The Lake has opened up for three hours in the late afternoon from November 2.