Sunday, 3 December 2017

White Breasted Kingfisher in Flight








Saturday, 2 December 2017

The Painted Storks arrive at the Basai Wetland




Finally, today I was able to spot a few Painted Storks at the Basai Wetland in Gurgaon. Strangely enough, the birds had arrived at the nearby  Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary way back in the month of October itself.






The Painted Storks, however, seem to be struggling for space with other species of birds, like the Purple Heron, which is another large bird. On my visit to the Wetland, I was able to spot a Brown Shrike too.


Besides, the resident White-throated Kingfisher entertained me with some of its aerial aerobatic skills, seen only in modern-day fighter jets!







I was mildly surprised to see more airborne Purple Swamphen than ever before. One of them was being chased by others of the same species, for it seemed as if they did not want him in their area. Strangely enough, Purple Swamphen might be territorial in nature, and they just don't allow outsiders into their fold!



Interestingly enough, I spotted a few fist-sized birds skimming the surface of the water, fishing for food, which I guess must be small fry and perhaps fresh-water shrimps.The birds are also known as swallows and they eat insects. Please note that the lower ones are reflections!



The spot-billed ducks stayed at a distance as it seems as if they had been disturbed by the frequent movement of people in the area. I saw a couple of men wading in the shallows with nets in their hands. It looked like they had been looking for small fish and fresh-water shrimps.















Friday, 1 December 2017

Makes Sense why Wetlands are deliberately not notified as Such

While going through the Hindustan Times Newspaper, recently, I was struck by the headline of an article appearing on the 13th page dedicated to the Nation. The headline read, "Land sharks eating into East Kolkata Wetlands".  It described how a real estate promoter purchased a pond spreading over 32 bighas for which he paid an advance payment before getting the water pumped out to create a level plot. What he did not realise was that he had walked into a trap. He had not realised that the land that has been labelled a wetland can't  be converted in character!

No wonder, The Basai Wetland does not seem to merit a wetland status it seems as doing so will forfeit the payments made by real estate promoters who want to acquire land in the area by converting the wetland into a level plot conducive to the building of flats for residential purposes. The Basai Wetland in Gurgaon is yet another victim of Administrative apathy since the administration is dragging its feet in declaring the Basai Wetland a Wetland!

Wikipedia describes the Basai Wetland as under:
Basai wetland (बसई झील), located in Basai village in Gurgaon tehsil in Gurgaon district in HaryanaIndia, is a flora and fauna rich water body. It is recognised as one of India's Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)[1] and is of global conservation significance as it supports populations of several endangered, vulnerable, and threatened bird species.[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basai_Wetland


In spite of a lot of people calling out for the recognition of the Basai Wetland as a protected area, the administration is dragging its feet in doing so citing the fact that the Basai Wetland is close to a railway line and the Dwarka Expressway. One wonders if some planning should not have been done to prevent a rushed up construction of the Dwarka Expressway, that too close to this major wetland.

Wikipedia describes the uniqueness of the Basai Wetland in terms of the fauna it supports in the following words:
The wetland supports a high diversity of birds, with at least 239 species reported since 2001 in the area recognised as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area.[2] The wetland is also recognised as a birding hotspot in eBird with 282 bird species recorded as of May 2017.[5] The bird life of Basai Wetland includes the following species of conservation concern[2][5] as per the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species:[6]
The wetland supports a high diversity of birds, with at least 239 species reported since 2001 in the area recognised as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area.[2] The wetland is also recognised as a birding hotspot in eBird with 282 bird species recorded as of May 2017.[5] The bird life of Basai Wetland includes the following species of conservation concern[2][5] as per the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species:[6]
IUCN Redlist Status
Critically Endangered (CR)Endangered (EN)Vulnerable (VU)Near-Threatened (NT)
White-rumped vultureEgyptian vultureGreater spotted eagleAlexandrine parakeet
Red-headed vultureSteppe eagleEastern imperial eagleAsian dowitcher
Black-bellied ternIndian spotted eagleBlack-headed ibis
Sarus craneBlack-necked stork
Marbled duckBlack-tailed godwit
Common pochardCurlew sandpiper
Woolly-necked storkEurasian curlew
European roller
Ferruginous duck
Lesser flamingo
Northern lapwing
Oriental darter
Painted stork
Pallid harrier
Red-necked falcon
River lapwing
River tern
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basai_Wetland
Looking at the facts enlisted in Wikipedia, it is clear that we should not delay declaring the Basai Wetland a protected area. The upkeep of the wetland should be given to the government so that it develops the area starting with a boundary wall and guards who might prevent encroachment in the area. The fact is that the Basai Wetland in Gurgaon is much more valuable as bird sanctuary than as prime real estate property! What belongs to a larger section of the people of Haryana should not be given away to a privileged few who would like to live in condominiums and penthouses robbing the thousands of species of birds their rightful breeding ground!


Sunday, 26 November 2017

Black Winged Stilts foraging for Food at the Basai Wetland, Gurgaon

Black winged Stilts are a common species of waders seen wherever there are wetlands, ponds, lakes and marshes. They have long red coloured legs and stand tall in the water. I found these stilts particularly interesting because of the reflection that seemed to complement if not add to their beauty!