February 5, 2021 11:18:19 am
After a gap of almost three years, the Greater Bar Headed Goose, a rare migratory waterfowl, was spotted at the Motemajra wetland while leading the flock of a common, Bar Headed Goose, on Thursday. The rare bird’s presence came to the fore after scrutiny of photographs clicked by a team of city-based birders.
The Greater bar headed goose breeds across the tundra from Nunavut to Siberia, across Russia and in Greenland, and was last spotted in Chandigarh in 2018.
A group of birders, including Tilak Raj Sharma, Kulbhushan Kanwar, Renu Garg, was on its routine birding trip when they unknowingly captured this rare bird January 1. Later, the watchful eyes of birder Tilak Raj Sharma identified the waterfowl with its white feathering around its orange color beak. Coincidentally, the same team had spotted the bird in 2018 also.
As per the checklist of birds in Chandigarh, the White fronted goose is categorised as a rare winter visitor in Inter State Chandigarh Region (ISCR), which comprises the area of Kasauli hills, Morni hills, Mohali, and Chandigarh.
“There are rare occasions when this specific species of waterfowl is spotted in our wetlands. India is not its winter destination. But this bird arrives at Indian wetlands after mixing up with Greyleg geese. Lesser White Fronted Goose and Greater white fronted goose arrive together. But till now, there is no recorded sighting of Lesser White Fronted goose in ISCR,” said Mitinder Singh Sekhon, President Chandigarh Bird Club.
“We were on a routine birding trip. When we clicked the pictures, the presence of rare bird was not in our mind. We were not able to identify the leading bird, which was ahead of the flock of Bar Headed Goose which is a very common migratory bird to be found every winter in the local wetlands,” said birder Tilak Raj Sharma.
Migratory birds, especially waterfowl, start arriving in ISCR from the months of August. The birding activities were suspended in the region due to Covid-19 and later following the reports of Avian Influenza, but resumed later.
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