It’s that time of the year when migratory birds come calling to Ameenpur Lake in Hyderabad. The diverse habitat of the big water body hosts a variety of flora and avifauna throughout the year. The big lake, Pedda Cheruvu, is grouped with three smaller ponds around, and is surrounded by a lush forest on one side, and an expanse of green agricultural fields on the other.
“Hyderabad and its surroundings being in the central peninsular plains of the Deccan plateau, become a winter home for an array of migrating birds from the extreme cold parts of Central and Northern Europe and Central Asia. Birds, especially smaller ducks like Garganey, Gadwall, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Common Pochard etc., have made their way to the lake,” says Mulagala Srinivas, a bird watcher.
The following species have already migrated to the lake: Ruddy Shelduck (Larger Ducks), Garganey, Gadwal and Northern Pintail (Smaller Ducks), Booted Eagle, Common Kestrel (Eurasian) and Short Toed Snake Eagle (Raptors), Black Redstart, Rosy Starling, Oriental Skylark, Yellow Wagtail, Verditer Flycatcher (Forest birds), Eurasian Spoonbill, Greater Flamingo, Spot-Billed Pelican and Painted Stork (Heronry).
He adds that when its peak winter time in January, the migratory birds arrive in larger numbers. “Apart from these winter migrants, Ameenpur lake also hosts a variety of resident birds as well as a range of summer and passage migrants due to its diverse habitat,” adds Srinivas.
Meanwhile, Rajeev Khandelwal, General Secretary of the Hyderabad Birding Pals and Friends of Flora and Fauna Societies, states that more new species of birds have been spotted at the Ameenpur lake since January 2018.
They are the Lesser Black Backed Gull, Oriental Turtle Dove, Jack Snipe, Indian Cuckoo, Slender-Billed Gull, Eurasian Hobby, Sandering, Ruddy Turnstone, Ruster-tailed Flycatcher, Common Cuckoo, Red-necked Phalarope, Hume’s whitethroat, Yellow-legged buttonquail and Eastern Orphean warbler.
Since the lake is surrounded by many colonies and factories, sewage directly goes into the tank. A red flag, if ever there was one about the lake continuing to attract avian denizens. Hence, Rajeev stresses the need to protect the habitat to conserve the incredible bird life that the lake hosts during the entire year.
“These birds came to the lake because it was less polluted; but now the alarm bells are ringing. There’s an urgent need to protect these lakes otherwise, the birds that we see and spot will become history. The efforts of Senior IPS officer Tejdeep Kaur Menon have brought this lake glory to a great extent. But the government needs to make further efforts so that the actual habitat is not disturbed,” Rajeev remarks.