About 2,50,000 migratory birds, including mallards, common teals, gadwalls, pintails and coots, have already reached the wetland reserves; more avian fauna expected soon
Srinagar: A riot of colour and cackle has returned to the wetland reserves of Jammu and Kashmir with the first arrivals of thousands of migratory birds from far off lands this year. Aves from Siberia, China, Philippines, Eastern Europe and other countries arrive every year to spend winter months in the Kashmir Valley to ward off the extreme cold of their summer homes.
“We start receiving the first flights of the avian visitors in the first week of October. The arrivals continue till February,” said Imtiyaz Lone, Wetland Warden of Kashmir. For hundreds of years, these birds have been keeping their annual tryst with the valley.
Following the season’s change from autumn to early winter, with an almost arithmetical accuracy the migratory birds land in the Hokarsar Wetland reserve on the outskirts of Srinagar and reserves like Shallabugh, Hygam and Mirgund. Already, 2,50,000 migratory birds, including mallards, common teals, gadwalls, pintails and coots, have reached the reserve so far.
Besides the reserves, migratory birds also throng the Dal Lake, the Wullar Lake and other big and small water bodies.
“We will start receiving greylag geese, wigeons, poch-ards, shovelers, cormorants and sheldrake ducks by the middle of next month,” the official said.
Besides migratory birds that come to spend the entire winter in the Valley, there are some birds of passage too.
“A bird of passage is a migratory bird, which arrives in the Valley with the beginning of the winter and spend some time before moving down to the Indian plains. During spring, these birds spend some time in the valley before moving to their summer homes,” Lone said.