Birdwatchers make significant findings


Great knot, Indian skimmer among the species recorded during Asian Waterbird Census

The wetland experts from the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and different parts of Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday recorded the avian diversity of the Godavari estuary, where they sighted three major species in a significant number — endangered great knot (Calidris tenuirostris), endangered Indian skimmer (Rynchops albicollis) and Eurasian oystercatcher.

Great knot and Indian skimmer species have been listed in the India’s national action plan for conservation of migratory birds and their habitats (2018-23) in the Central Asian Flyway.

Nearly twenty birdwatchers, led by BNHS experts and renowned ornithologist and wetland expert K. Mrutyunjaya Rao, enumerated the waterbird species in the 12 sites in the Godavari estuary as part of the Asian Waterbird Census-2020.

Speaking to The Hindu, BNHS Assistant Director and Asian Waterbird Census-2020 India coordinator P. Sathiyaselvam said: “A flock of 175 Indian skimmers was sighted on the Kakinada coast during the census. It is the significant finding as it is endangered as per the latest conservation status. A great number of migratory species of great knot was also sighted at a mudflat at Etimoga on the Kakinada coast.”

Dr. Sathiyaselvam-led team recorded as many as seven Eurasian oystercatchers (haematopus ostralegus) at Hope Island in the Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary where barely two birds were recorded earlier.

“We believe that Eurasian oystercatcher, a local migrant, has shifted its habitat from Sacremento Island to the Hope Island. However, further study is required to be carried out on the species,” said Dr. Sathiyaselvam.

Final report

The birdwatchers, who participated in the census, have been asked to submit their findings and data by the end of January to prepare the final report on the census.

The public could also submit the details of the sighting of the bird species in the Godavari estuary to K. Mrutyunjaya Rao, State co-ordinator, Asian Waterbird Census-2020. In-Charge Forest Range Officer (Wildlife-Kakinada) Sunil Kumar, BNHS wetland expert S. Siva Kumar presented participation certificates of the census to the birdwatchers.

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