A week after the Sultanpur National Park reopened on October 1, over 2,000 birdwatchers visited the park this weekend to witness the arrival of winter migratory birds from Russia, Europe, China, the Gulf and Siberia.
Due to the celebration of Wildlife Week, the entry at the park, which is 15 km away from the city, was free for visitors for the first week.
Currently, the birders can see the black-winged stilt, pond heron, pied kingfisher, purple heron, shoveler, white-breasted waterhen, white-throated kingfisher, munia, rosy starling, drongo, ring-necked dove, blue-capped rock thrush, canary-flycatcher, prinia, among others, at the park.
“We expect bar-headed goose, greylag goose, northern pintail, plovers, isabelline shrike, green-winged teal, gadwall, mallard, ruddy shelduck and common pochard to migrate to the park by the end of this month,” said a wildlife officer.
The wildlife department hopes to receive more birds this year. The number of migratory birds that flocked to the wetland were up by 46% in 2015, as compared to 2014. The migratory birds that frequent the park can be broadly categorised as waders (shallow-water-dependent birds), ducks and warblers.
As the park has an ideal habitat for birds, every year a large number of birds fly million of miles to these wetlands for resting and feeding, explained the staff at the park.
“Last year, the sighting was good in Sultanpur. We had spotted rare birds such as kashmir flycatcher, black stork and rusty-tailed flycatcher,” said Trecy Chen, a birder from Manipur.
There are over 600 species of fauna, including birds, amphibians and butterflies at the Sultanpur National Park, according to the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) book. It states that 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.
“Birds travel around this time of the year and return to the same wetland, if it suits them once. The ‘Duck Point’ is the most attractive spot in the park,” said Shyam Sunder Kaushik, divisional forest officer, wildlife.
Experts say that other wetlands in the region are also developing to attract more birds. These include Okhla bird sanctuary, Yamuna Biodiversity Park and Surajpur and Bhindawas bird sanctuaries.