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Migratory birds flocking Ganga banks a little earlier this winter

It is winter once again and it is the time for the migratory birds to visit the banks of Ganga. Thousands of migratory birds from the Palearctic regions, including Mongolia, China, Siberia and other parts of Russia, have darted to Bhimgoda barrage and Misserpur wetlands beside Asan barrage of Dehradun. A pair of Plass Gull and Cormorant is commonly known as Jal Kaag among others was first sighted in Misserpur wetlands in the third week of October. The banks of Ganga are dotted with the winged guests once again, announcing the onset of the wintry breezes. Ruddy Shelduck, the duck with orange plumage commonly called as Chakwa Chakwi pairs, arrived soon after the Cormorants early this month. Led by Prof Dinesh Bhatt of Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya, some students are now engaged in registering the arrival of the migratory birds. When the first pair of migratory birds was sighted in Haridwar in October this season the temperature here was 21 degrees Celsius. This season the winter has arrived a bit early here and this accounts for the early arrival of the migratory birds, said Professor Dinesh Bhatt, an internationally-renowned ornithologist. Speaking to The Pioneer, Bhatt said that the pair of ‘holy’ Rudy Shelduck always stays together and eats vegetables at night. The followers of Buddhism consider this bird pair as holy. “In all the Buddhist countries and also in the Tibet region, there is a ban on killing this bird. This is why, the species is still thriving, ” he said. Dwelling on the list of the avian guests which come from far-off lands, Bhatt said, “Pintail, wall creeper, sandpiper, gulls, teals, swans and mallards have also flocked to Haridwar. Hopefully, the Rajhans would also reach Haridwar by the end of November since they started their journey from Mansarovar quite early this season.” Speaking of the Indian birds which migrate from the Himalayan ranges and fly down to the plains, including Haridwar, Vinay Sethi of Uttarakhand Sanskrit University said that Wagtail, Red Start, Warbler and Fly Catchers generally come down in the winter for food since food becomes scarce in their own lands. Local migratory birds like black winged Stilt and Grey Pond Heron also come during the winter for the same reason, he added. However, the ornithologists and the bird lovers are concerned over the dwindling number of the avian guests here over the past 10 years. They had earlier said that the number of bird species visiting Ganga wetlands had come down by 30%. They had cited the instance of Pintail and said that Pintail, which earlier used to come to Haridwar in their hundreds, was being rarely sighted. Asked about the reasons that have caused the fall in their number, the bird specialists say that environmental changes, resulting in rising temperatures, are blocking their flights to their earlier destinations. They also ascribe the fall in the number of avian guests in this part of the world to the mining activities. read more posts… Tuesday, 27 November 2018 | Radhika Nagrath | Haridwar

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