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Seen just twice in 3 years in NCR, red­necked phalarope makes appearance in Haryana’s Dighal

During winters, the red-necked phalarope migrates from the arctic stretches of North America and Eurasia towards warmer, coastal climates between South Pakistan and Gujarat, although it has also been spotted on the coasts of Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

gurgaon Updated: Oct 12, 2018 13:41 IST
Prayag Arora-Desai
Prayag Arora-Desai
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
red necked phalarope,migratory bird,dighal
During winters, the red­necked phalarope migrates from the arctic stretches of North America and Eurasia towards warmer region between south Pakistan and Gujarat.(Sourced)

Three years after it was last observed in the National Capital Region(NCR), a red-necked phalarope was sighted at Dighal in Haryana’s Jhajjar district on Thursday. Birders called the sighting “rare and significant”, as the bird has previously been observed in the NCR on just two occasions. One sighting was reported from Najafgarh jheel in February 2015 by birdwatcher Sanjay Sharma, and the other one from Sultanpur in 1981 by Jay MH.

This particular species, which can be identified from its white and grey winter plumage and black face, was discovered by conservationist Rakesh Ahlawat, during a routine birdwatching excursion about 4km from his home in Maina Village near Dighal , at about 11am, on October 11.

“I saw a small, shallow pond with different sorts of waders in it. Among them was a red-necked phalarope,” Ahlawat said. He added that the phalarope, being a wader, is attracted to shallow water bodies, of which there are plenty in Dighal’s marshy wetlands. “It is actually a coastal bird, which is why it is exciting to see one venture so far inland,” he added.

During winters, the red-necked phalarope migrates from the arctic stretches of North America and Eurasia towards warmer, coastal climates between South Pakistan and Gujarat, although it has also been spotted on the coasts of Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Just last month, two specimens were sighted along the Panje coast in Uran in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra.

According to Pankaj Gupta of the Delhi Bird Foundation, the phalarope has also made appearances further inland. “Hyderabad has seen a couple of phalaropes in the last two years,” he said. There are also reports of multiple sightings at suitable spots in Rajasthan, as much as 850 km from the coastline, during the winter season. Inland sightings have also been reported from Agra and Pune.  

Abhishek Gulshan, a birder and nature educator from New Delhi, said, “The bird is almost never seen in the NCR. It rarely comes as far up north as Haryana, so it is definitely an exciting sight for birdwatchers.”

First Published: Oct 12, 2018 13:41 IST