Amidst a long-drawn-out dry spell, this winter sprang a surprise for bird watchers with a rare guest sighting at the wetlands of south Kashmir’s Pampore area after a long time.
The Common shelduck belonging to the Anatidae family was sighted near Chatlam wetland, barely 2 km from Pampore town in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, after many years.
Director Wetland Research Centre, Wildlife Conservation Fund, and Project Associate -I at Wildlife Institute of India, Parvaiz Yousuf said, “It is a rare bird and was spotted at the wetland after many years. A local birder photographed the bird on January 14.”
The bird is usually found in Euro-Siberian regions and is also seen around the coastline of the United Kingdom.
As winter descends, unnumbered migratory birds embark on their journey to Kashmir taking the Central Asian Flyway (CAF), one of the nine globally recognised migration flyways.
The wetlands in Kashmir spring to life with kaleidoscopic colours of countless migratory birds hovering over them.
The saffron town, besides Chatlam, is home to three more satellite wetlands—Fashkoori Wetland Reserve, Manibugh Wetland Reserve, and Krenchoo Wetland Reserve.
Each year, these wetlands witness myriads of migratory birds including Mallards, Northern shovelers, Northern pintails, Eurasian teals, Eurasian wigeon, Tufted duck, Greylag goose, and Gadwalls.
While most of the water bodies and springs are drying up amidst a protected dry spell, all four satellite wetlands in Pampore are not facing any water shortage.
Project Director, Wetland Conservation Project, Nadeem Ahmad Dar said, “All these wetlands are well maintained and full of water. It became possible with the help of community involvement and the efforts of NGOs.”
Dar, who is part of the project run by the Wildlife Conservation Fund, said, that the wetlands in the area were well conserved and preserved over the years and had become a safest abode for the migratory birds.
“These water bodies have all the streaks for the survival of migratory birds including a safe ecosystem, safe habitat, and nesting places,” Dar said.