If winter seems to be the season for migratory birds to flock to warmer climes, summer time is ideal for wetland birds. Nearly 50 kilometres from Warangal, Pakhal Lake seems to be playing host to a wide variety of flora and fauna this season.
Wetland birds from North and Central India come towards the South in search of larger water bodies. Since Pakhal is a huge lake spread across 30 kilometres and is surrounded by a wildlife sanctuary, it is a hotspot for wetland birds.
The diverse habitat, unpolluted water, size of the heritage lake and the way the lake is being preserved makes it a natural choice for various kinds of birds — grassland, wetland and forestry — to flock in large numbers.
Water birds like the Red-crested Pochard, Northern Shoveler, Common Pintail, Northern Pintail, Bar Headed Goose, Lapwing, Common Pochards etc. are just some of the species that have been found here so far.
“This pattern of birds flocking to Pakhal has been there for over several years. So far, more than 190 bird species have been identified and Pakhal is one of the best places in the state for birders to visit. In fact, we can spot around 80 species of birds in a single day here,” explains Munna Mandalapu of Hyderabad Birding Pals, who has also worked in the Pakhal bird sanctuary.
He adds, “Pakhal already has a wildlife sanctuary and has great potential to become a bigger bird sanctuary. Apart from birding, the scenic beauty and picturesque landscape makes for great tourism as well. Bird enthusiasts, shutterbugs, backpackers and nature lovers have been having a great time.”
Bird and wildlife photographer and project scientist Hussain Shah states that around this time, Pakhal lake is filled with the cacophony of birds and several species of rare birds have been recorded.
“The Crested Bunting (2018), Thick Billed Green Pigeon and the Dusky Eagle Owl (a forestry bird that is popular in North India) can only be seen at Pakhal lake in the South. These three species have been a great find. Earlier, our state had several lakes but many of them have disappeared. However, since Pakhal is huge, it is the ideal destination for wetland birds,” adds Hussain Shah.
While birds continue to flock to Pakhal during the summer time, the government has also initiated measures to protect them and the water bodies.
Warangal district Forest Officer K. Purushotham states that considering the importance of the lake and sanctuary, they have associated with an NGO named Universal Eco Foundation to create awareness of lake and natural life.
“We have improved the facilities for lake conservation and the bio-diversity park. The use of plastic near the lake vicinity is banned. We also conduct bird festivals where we invite photographers and professionals to discover new species of birds, etc. Animals like the nilgai, chital, leopard, jackal, bonnet macaque etc. have been found. The forest department has also set up 2D and 3D carvings and paintings of animals on the granite pillars in the vicinity of the lake to create awareness about wildlife,” he explains....