Lockdown, lesser human interference leads to more nestings in Surajpur wetland

According to an ecologist of Wetlands International, a global not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the conservation and restoration of wetlands, more nestings have been spotted this breeding season at Surajpur when compared to last year.
According to the forest department, unlike Okhla Bird Sanctuary —where there is a ticketing system — Surajpur wetland was never officially opened to the public.(Sunil Ghosh/HT file photo)
According to the forest department, unlike Okhla Bird Sanctuary —where there is a ticketing system — Surajpur wetland was never officially opened to the public.(Sunil Ghosh/HT file photo)
Updated on Jul 24, 2020 11:06 AM IST
Copy Link
Hindsutan Times, Noida | ByKushagra Dixit

Negligible human disturbance due to the Covid-19 lockdown and favourable climatic conditions has led to an improvement in habitat at Greater Noida’s Surajpur wetland, where more nestings and birds are being observed.

According to an ecologist of Wetlands International, a global not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the conservation and restoration of wetlands, more nestings have been spotted this breeding season at Surajpur when compared to last year.

“We have observed mixed nesting colonies which were spread out on a larger part of the wetland. Also, there are definitely more nests than last year. We cannot hold a census right now as the breeding season has just started. But we saw more resident water birds like egrets, black-headed ibis, Indian spot-billed ducks, purple herons, purple swamphen, common moorhens and white-breasted waterhen in comparison to previous years. They also occupied larger area for roosting, feeding across the wetland. Earlier, they would be confined to a certain pocket only,” said TK Roy, ecologist and Delhi state coordinator, Wetlands International.

He added that favourable climatic conditions has helped and lack of disturbance is essential for the breeding season of terrestrial and water birds.

“Last year during this same period in summer — from May to June — the ground habitat was quite dry due to lack of rainfall and moisture. Human activities in the wetland made the situation worse,” Roy added.

According to the forest department, unlike Okhla Bird Sanctuary —where there is a ticketing system — Surajpur wetland was never officially opened to the public. A large number of local visitors and birders, however, were daily being allowed inside the wetland prior to the lockdown.

“The climatic conditions were less harsh this year. The number of visitors dwindled after the lockdown. We have observed that the number of nesting colonies have increased and expect better results during the annual census due in winters,” said Pramod Kumar Srivastava, divisional forest officer, Gautam Budh Nagar.

He also pointed out a large number of nests of black-headed Ibis – a near-threatened species– were observed on the palm grooves. The ibis annually nest during summer-monsoon in Surajpur Reserve Forest (Surajpur wetland), Sultanpur National Park (Haryana) and Delhi Zoo in NCR-Delhi

“They usually nest on thorny trees but rarely on the palm groves. Looks like they (the ibis) are adapting to the date palms groves, which are in abundance in Surajpur,” Roy added

Spread over 308 hectares, of which 38 hectares is a lake, the Surajpur forest reserve area is home to a total of 186 species of resident, winter migratory, summer migratory and passage migratory birds. A census held in January 2020 had noted that the bird population in the area had dropped to 2,092 birds from a total 39 species against 3,034 birds from 42 species in January 2019.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, November 27, 2021