Bird lovers were disappointed with the decline in number of water fowl species, including tufted ducks, gadwalls and bar-headed geese, at Sukhna Lake on Sunday. Some of them attributed the decline in number to smog or higher temperatures in the northern latitudes.
A bird census and nature walk programmes were organised to observe the 121th birth anniversary of avid bird watcher, ornithologist and environmentalist Salim Ali. While the census was conducted at Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh, the nature walk was held at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Mohali.
The census of water fowl and count of bird species was conducted by the Chandigarh Bird Club.
Mitinder Sekhon, head, Chandigarh Bird Club, said: “The number of water fowl is comparatively lesser this time than previous years. Only four pairs of tufted ducks were seen, which are found in fair numbers normally. Gadwalls were also few in numbers, as were bar-headed geese. The reason could be higher temperatures in the northern latitudes or smog, but nothing could be said with certainty.”
Sekhon said the total number of bird species was recorded at 91, while the total number of water fowl at 696. Spotting of osprey, peregrine falcon, crested serpent eagle and northern lapwings were the highlights of the census.
The club members maintained that the total number of bird species at 91 is very encouraging, keeping in mind the fact that many altitudinal migrants from Himalayas are yet to come in.
The census was conducted by three teams. The first team comprising Rima Dhillon, Samrath Singh, Siyam Nagar, Jaideep Singh Grewal, Shobhana and Pranav Sharma surveyed the Sukhna nature trail and the back end of the lake.
The second team comprising Sarabjit Kaur, Aparajita Lobana, Bindoo Nangia, Simarjeet Singh, Vikas Sharma and Sukhwinder Singh conducted the survey in the Smriti Van area.
The third team comprising Mahesh Garg, Praveen Malhotra, Amandeep Singh Channa and Mitinder Sekhon accompanied by a team from the Punjab Forest Department headed by Kanwardeep Singh, IFS, counted the water fowls in the main lake.
Meanwhile, two teams of Natural Biodiversity Society and IISER conducted a nature walk in the IISER premises and counted 31 species of birds.
Dr Arun Bansal, administrator of the society, said: “There are more than 95 species of birds at IISER, but these species change their bases time to time. Indeed, smog can be a reason behind the spotting of less bird species in this season. As many as 44 members of the society participated in the walk.”