Winter migratory birds arrive early at Jodhpur Jhal near Agra

Published on Sep 25, 2022 11:48 PM IST

Located about 25 kilometres from Agra city, Jodhpur Jhal is a comparatively new wetland and is not an official bird sanctuary as yet. Spread in 55 hectares of area, largely wetland, Jodhpur Jhal is under UP irrigation department.

A flock of glossy Ibis at Jodhpur Jhal. (HT)
A flock of glossy Ibis at Jodhpur Jhal. (HT)

Agra Driven by climatic change and unexpected rain at the fag end of the monsoon, winter migratory birds have arrived at a natural landscape popularly known as Jhodpur Jhal near Agra somewhat ahead of time. The unexpected rain has turned the area into marshland, an attraction for migrating birds .

Located about 25 kilometres from Agra city, Jodhpur Jhal is a comparatively new wetland and is not an official bird sanctuary as yet. Spread in 55 hectares of area, largely wetland, Jodhpur Jhal is under UP irrigation department.

It is a good habitat for biodiversity, especially birdlife but is mostly neglected, uncontrolled and partly encroached upon by the locals. As a result, the large wetland often remains dry.

“Agra-based NGO, Biodiversity Research and Development Society (BRDS) first noticed this spot in 2018 and recorded its potential as home to large bird species, including Indian scheduled species, migratory species and threatened species. Fortunately, the UP government is now making moves for its protection,” informed T K Roy, a known ecologist, conservationist and AWC Delhi state coordinator for Wetlands International, an organization involved in conservation of wetlands and water birds globally.

“The First Asian Water-bird Census (AWC) was carried out at the declining Jodhpur Jhal in 2021 by Wetlands International South Asia and recorded 1,179 birds of 47 different species, 20 resident species, 27 migratory species and 7 IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) red-listed threatened species” stated Roy.

“The second AWC in January 2022 recorded a partially increased number of water birds (1,347 of 51 species), 22 resident species, 29 migratory species (including largely Indian scheduled species) and 6 IUCN red-listed threatened species but in the latest survey on September 19, the highlight at Jodhpur Jhal is early arrival of long distant winter migratory water birds, ” informed Roy.

“At Jodhpur Jhal, early arrival of seven species of the following long distance winter migratory water birds includes two species of ducks, which swim on water (more than 150 in number) and a few hundred birds of five Wader species (which walk on shallow water) at Jodhpur Jhal while no migratory bird species arrival has been recorded at at the most popular bird sanctuary and new Ramsar Site – Soor Sarovar Bird Sanctuary in Agra,” said Roy.

“Among the ducks found, prominent are Northern Shoveler and Northern Pintail which usually migrate from north Asia while those amongst Waders include Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Ruff which usually migrates form north Asia and Glossy Ibis which usually migrates from southeast or south Asia. More winter migratory water bird species are expected this time at the Jodhpur Jhal before winter,” stated Roy.

Two pairs of Sarus Crane were also spotted at Jodhpur Jhal and one pair was found breeding. Sarus Crane is Uttar Pradesh’s State Bird and IUCN red-listed vulnerable category of the threatened species.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Hemendra Chaturvedi is based in Agra serving as a Principal Correspondent, covering districts of Agra and Aligarh division of western Uttar Pradesh. He has been with HT since 1992 and has completed 25 year of association with HT.

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