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Migratory birds start flying into Pulicat

P. Oppili

About 5,000 visitors sighted in the sanctuary so far



WINGED ATTRACTION: A flock of terns at the Pulicat Lake.

CHENNAI: Pulicat, a less-publicised destination of migratory birds, has started receiving its annual winged visitors this season.

Migrants such as the grey and golden plovers, common and wood sandpipers, black-tailed godwits, spot-billed ducks, coots, whiskered and Caspian terns, brown-headed gulls, osprey, white-bellied sea eagle, kestrel, flamingos besides open billed storks, grey pelicans, white ibis, cormorants and herons have started arriving. At present, about 5,000 birds have been sighted at the Pulicat Birds sanctuary and flamingos constituted the largest number,say naturalists who visited the place last week.

Patrolling

Ashish Srivastava, Wildlife Warden, Chennai, said a couple of anti-poaching watchers would patrol the Pulicat Lake during the season.

The Forest Department has also planned to improve visitor amenities at the place besides conducting awareness programmes in the nearby fishing hamlets, he said.

Two rooms are available at the sanctuary and those who wish to stay can book in advance by calling the Wildlife Warden's office at 24321471, Mr. Srivastava added.

P.J. Sanjeeva Raj, consultant ecologist, who has studied the area, said the Lake, spread over in both Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, attracted nearly 91 species of migratory birds annually for the past three decades. During the peak season (between December and February), more than 75,000 birds could be seen at the Lake, he said.

Visitors normally went to the Pulicat Lake on the Tamil Nadu side, hired a boat and went into the waters to sight the birds.

But, it would be very difficult to see the birds at close range, Dr. Raj said. Instead, going along the Sri Harikotta Road will enable them see the flamingos and other birds on both sides, he said.

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