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Migratory birds arrive, Vedanthangal opens

By Our Staff Reporter

CHENNAI, NOV. 12. With the arrival of about 10,000 migratory birds of different species, and the tank brimming with water, wildlife officials opened the Vedanthangal bird sanctuary near Chengalpattu to visitors last week.

According to K.S.S.V.P. Reddy, Wildlife Warden, these birds have been flying into the sanctuary from the last week of October. Among them, Grey pelicans are found in large number, he said.

The opening of the sanctuary clears the deck for bird watchers with their hats and binoculars to drop in to see egrets, herons, cormorants and glossy and white ibis.

A smaller sanctuary, Karikili, near Vedanthangal, has also been opened to visitors.

However, ducks, a major attraction at this place, have not come in large numbers, Mr. Reddy said.

Before the rain started, the wildlife authorities took up the work of linking various tanks and cleaning the channels at a cost of Rs. 6 lakhs, Mr. Reddy said. Thanks to this, the Vedanthangal tank is full to the brim.

The tank gets water from four channels in nearby paddy fields and one from Valayapudur tank, one km from Vedanthangal. All these channels have been cleaned.

The authorities have also cleaned the channel connecting Madhagu to Valayapudhur.

Rain fills tank

With incessant rains in the last one week, the Madhagu tank has filled up and the excess water has entered the Valayapudhur tank, which in turn filled up the Vedanthangal tank, Mr. Reddy said.

The marked absentees this year were painted storks and water birds such as pin tailed ducks, garganey teals, shovellers, common and cotton teals, spot-billed ducks.

"During the last season (between October and March), the painted storks extended their stay at the sanctuary. They left Vedanthangal only in June this year. So we expect them to arrive very late," Mr. Reddy said.

Normally the duck species arrive at Karikili only when farming begins in the nearby paddy fields, says V. Santharam, Director, Institute of Bird Studies and Natural History, Rishi Valley, Andhra Pradesh.

During daytime, the ducks roost in tanks and they go foraging after dusk to the farms; they feed on insects and plants. They even destroy some of the crops, he said.

Referring to the water position in the tank, the wildlife authorities said with the recent rains the water level had touched the maximum level and it would last for another six months.

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