Balugaon: World’s second largest lagoon Chilika is a magnificent bird watching spot in the entire country and the largest waterfowl habitat with as many as 167 species of feathered guests flocking the entire lagoon this season, the annual avian head counting report revealed.
The data said the total number of bird species and total head counting this year broke the last seven year record as 9,47,119 birds of 1647 species were spotted on the marine ecosystem this time around while 9, 24,578 birds flanked the migratory bird reserve during the year 2010.
While during 2015-16, the 15.59 sq km Nalabana sanctuary welcomed 3,97,825 birds, this year it accounted for 50,000 odd less birds with the data stating the head counting to be 3,74,757 in current year.
This year a rare migratory bird Common Shelduck was sighted in the Nalabana sanctuary area with the wildlife department saying that they had sighted only one such bird during the counting.
Every year Gadwall birds use to flock the lake in maximum numbers but this time around pintail birds arrived with highest numbers.
As compared to last year 88,264 more birds have visited the lagoon this year. Informing about the new development Chilika Wildlife DFO Bikash Ranjan Das said the better climate and availability of ample food and nesting spots have resulted in the increase in the incoming of more number of birds.
A head counting was enumerated with joint efforts of officials of Balugaon Wildlife Division and Chilika Development Authority in the entire lagoon area. Counting was done across five zones namely Balugaon, Chilika, Tangi, Rambha and Satapada. Around 100 persons including ornithologists, officials of wildlife organizations and activists took part in the head counting.
Winged guests from far northern countries like Russia, Central Asia, Himalayan area arrive to the lagoon during the onset of winter and spend the entire chill only to begin their homeward journey once the summer starts.