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Avian additions at Kolleru Lake

G.V. Ramana Rao

Detailed surveys could identify more species in the area

VIJAYAWADA: A team of ornithologists from the Birdwatchers’ Society of Andhra Pradesh (BSAP) has made two additions to the avifauna list of Kolleru Lake after a three-day field trip to the wildlife sanctuary made at the request of the Forest Department.

A four-member BSAP team recorded the presence of the Spoonbilled Sandpiper and the Watercock for the first time in the area. The team sighted 117 species of birds in three days.

A report sent to the Forest Department said the spotting of the Spoonbilled Sandpiper was the first on record in the region. It said the sighting of this “critically endangered and coastal species” in the sanctuary significantly increased the need for further protection of the area.

The team also sighted the Watercock, a shy bird that is difficult to spot, at Atapaka on January 26. It is an addition to the list of Kolleru birds.

Finds and misses

The team-members were unable to sight the Great White Pelican that was reported and even photographed at the lake earlier. They, however, sighted over a dozen Bank Mynahs that were reported to be relatively rare in Andhra Pradesh. They saw a large number of ducks and egrets.

The BSAP report, submitted to the Forest Department, said two or three days were insufficient to cover an area as large as the Kolleru wildlife sanctuary and stressed the need for more studies. If a single three-day visit could produce more than two additions to the list, a thorough study could result in more additions, they said.

Some of the species sighted are classified as ‘Highly Vulnerable and Critically Endangered’ in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red Data Book.

The team-members said that if these species were using Kolleru as a visiting site, it was important to take adequate steps to ensure that the birds continued to come to the sanctuary in great numbers.

The report said it was important not to take any decision about changing the contours of the lake without making a thorough study to ensure that no “irretrievable harm” would be caused to the wildlife population currently visiting and using the lake.

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