A sight to behold
The wetlands at Thoraipakkam and Perumbakkam present a picturesque view, with its regular winged residents and visitors. With the lockdown, people are able to take a moment to appreciate the sight, which, in a normal day, would often go unnoticed amid the blaring sounds of busy vehicles.
In the past weeks, there were many news reports, Facebook posts and Whatsapp forwards claiming that there is an increase in the number of birds visiting the wetlands post lockdown. When Adyar Times spoke to KVRK Thirunaranan from Nature Trust, he dispelled the reports and stated that the birds are the usual visitors at this time of the year. It is just that people have begun to notice the birds at the marsh only during this lockdown.
He added that Pallikaranai Marsh homes more than 10,000 birds every month, throughout the year owing to its perennial nature. Since the Marsh is connected to the Buckingham Canal via a channel called the Okkiyam Madavu, the seawater enriches the ecosystem during the dry season. After the migration season ends, the marsh becomes an abode for a large number of waders that feed on less water.
Some of the resident and migratory birds recorded near Perumbakkam here are Greater Flamingos, Spot-billed Pelican, Spot-billed duck, Black tailed Godwit, Spoonbills, White winged Tern, Egret and the Indian Pond Heron.
Birds spotted near Pallikaranai are Greater Flamingos, Pacific Golden Plover, Painted Storks, Spotted Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper and Marsh Sandpiper.
Though thousands of vehicles pass by the wetlands every day, many are unaware about their avian population and the importance of the wetlands. The lockdown has provided us with a chance to sit back and realise how mankind has exploited the environment, making their future existence uncertain.