Around 18K winged guests flock to Sultanpur National Park for winter sojourn

| | Chandigarh
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Around 18K winged guests flock to Sultanpur National Park for winter sojourn

Monday, 14 December 2020 | MANOJ KUMAR | Chandigarh

Around 18,000 migratory birds of 64 species have arrived at the Sultanpur National Park located at Sultanpur village on Gurugram-Jhajjar highway for their winter sojourn.

 “More winged guests are expected to arrive at Sultanpur in the coming days this winter season,” said Kalesar forest (wildlife) range inspector Rajesh Chahal while talking to The Pioneer.

Birds arrive during the winter migration season from about 29 countries between September and October and return to their native habitat by March, he said.

Chahal said that following the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Forest (wildlife) has not yet decided to open the Sultanpur National Park for the visitors.

The wildlife officer said that as many as 64 species of birds were seen during the week-long first round of bird watching trip held recently. This year, 18000 migratory birds of 64 species have been recorded against 80 species that had visited the park during the same period last year.

Every year, we conduct bird census in the park as the exercise helps us to understand the pattern of migration and the ecology of the park, he said.

The migratory bird that were spotted in the park this year include White-Tailed Lapwing, Green Sandpiper, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Mallard, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Pochard and Ferruginous Duck, among many other species. Some of the resident birds that were sighted on the bird count day were White-Throated Kingfisher, Red Munia and Black-Winged Stilt, among others. We have also spotted rare bird species due to less pollution this year, Chahal added.

The wildlife officer further said, “There are over 600 species of fauna, including birds, amphibians and butterflies at the Sultanpur National Park. There are over 417 species of birds that have been reported from the park. Additionally, there are 16 mammal species, 40 species of butterflies, 16 reptile and five amphibian species. The ‘Duck Point’ is the most attractive spot in the park.”

Every year, the park witnesses more than 300 species of winter migratory and resident birds. While there are some species of resident birds, many others come from distant regions like Siberia, Europe, Central Asia and Afghanistan. Some migratory birds also use Sultanpur as a stopover point before heading further south, Chahal added.

When contacted, Haryana Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF), wildlife, ML Rajvanshi, said that India is one of the most favourable landscapes for varied bird species to breed and nurture in particular seasons.

As the winter season approaches, the country readies itself to welcome numerous avian creatures to its abode. During this season, the temperatures in Haryana make it a suitable landscape for migratory birds coming from harsh climates of Siberia and other parts of the world, he said, adding that many species like Siberian Cranes, Ruff, Blyth’s Reed Warbler, Common Rosefinch and Red-breasted Flycatcher prefer India during winters.

“These birds visit between October and March depending upon the situation here. Most of them fly only if there is adequate water in the lake, which is directly dependent on the amount of rainfall the city receives during the monsoon. The other factor they consider for visiting is whether the place is safe for them to feed, breed and nest,” he added.

Rajvanshi further said that some development works funded by the Central Government have been completed here in the region over the last two years. Over 40, 000 migratory birds are expected to arrive here this year. The park has 180 resident species of birds while the total number of species, including migratory ones, has increased from 250 to 320 over the last many years. The Forest (wildlife) Department has also installed four CCTV cameras at Sultanpur Lake to monitor the movement of these migratory birds, he added.

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