Thiruvananthapuram: Annual waterfowl census of Kollam conducted by city-based bird watching forum Warblers and Waders has found that the drying up of Polachira wetlands following pumping of water may have resulted in a slight increase in their presence. C. Sushanth, the founder member of the group that entered the 27th year, and bird expert, K.A. Kishore and Dr Abhiram Chandran led the survey which found the total number of birds almost doubling from 1,069 to 3,117 and their species to 43 from last year's 25.
Two new migratory wild ducks were also recorded from Polachira wetlands. "The highlight was the sighting of Comb Duck, a rare winter visitor. Only a very few sightings this wild duck were recorded earlier from Kole wetlands of Thrissur," Mr Sushant told DC. The Census team also witnessed Booted Eagle, a local migrant bird, hunting a Eurasian Coot and eating its flesh. "It was an amazing and rare sight," he said. "This is the first sighting record of Comb Duck from Kollam district or South Kerala."
Eurasian Wigeon, another migratory wild duck, was also sighted for the first time at Polachira this year. This year 15 Eurasian Spoonbills, also a new winter visitor to Polachira, were sighted. The number of Painted Storks here increased this year as five individual birds were observed. The presence of Spot-billed Duck also increased - from 12 to 43. The survey conducted on Sunday pointed out that the drying up has affected the purple swamphen, cotton teal, Garganey teal, oriental darter and red data bird.
The presence of Lesser Whistling Duck more than tripled - from 420 to 1,358. The presence of wader species Marsh Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Black-winged Stilt, and Little Stint also increased this year. The main absentees of this year were Northern Pintail Duck, Asian Openbill, Redshank, Pacific Golden Plover and Indian Cormorant. Other significant sightings were Black-headed Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Indian Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Grey Heron, Green Shank, Large Cormorant and Large Egret.