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“BIRDS n MUSIC” by a j mithra

Posted by a j mithra on July 26, 2010

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                   Birds are the most beautiful of all creations... Aren’t they? Of course they are.. There's so much we can learn from them, from living an organized lifestyle with what little they have and the way they take themselves and their homes and kids in times of adversities... Above all, we can learn a lot about music and the most important part played by music in its life….

                    Birds have never been to an university. But the fact is that, most of the universities around the world are behind birds, learning new things everyday about them.

                    Out of all that we can learn from birds, the most amazing habit is their singing, what the birders call as bird calls of bird songs.  Singing is their habit and way of living, but for us, singing is a hobby and we try to earn a living out of it…

                   Birds are the only creations which start their day with singing and end their day with singing… Oh! What joy they should have in their life to do so?                     A small Sun bird’s call can be heard as far as 300 to 400 meters. If a bird is as big as a human and if it sings, its singing can be heard as far as 3 to 4 kilometers... Well, that is what Ornithologists say... To sing that powerful, birds need lots of energy.Hence, they need to eat very often, because birds burn lot of calories on singing...

                    Maybe their early morning singing is the reason that they are able to fly hundreds of miles every day in search of food and water and yet returns home with so much of energy to end their day with another open-air concert ... There is a saying which goes like this “Laughter is the best medicine.”Birds can’t laugh... Is that why they sing to show their joy? Where there is joy,there is strength… Is that the reason why the birds are so strong that they can fly and we can’t? Birds never go to a doctor because that their music can heal them…Music has the power to heal you know?

                    Well, how many of us start or dare to start our day with singing? Where there is singing there is joy and where there is joy there is strength... It sounds so simple isn’t it? And it’s not just simple but, it’s powerful too…Birds know this secret and that’s why they bring so much joy through their singing…

                   Birds sing in perfect pitch and perfect rhythm... Musicians use a software called “NEUNDO” for recording and the default set for the Tempo is 120 BPM (beats per minute)… The rhythm of the song of most birds is set to the tempo of 120 BPM... It sounds as if they-had invented NEUNDO…Isn’t it quite astonishing or amazing or whatever you may call it?  The syncopation of bird songs has intricate patterns and most of them are new to men... They sing very short phrases compared to human singing, but, their syncopation has complicated but-complete rhythmic patterns…

                  Once as I was birding, I saw a Chestnut-headed bee-eater perched on a dry tree. Suddenly the bird flew as far as about 50 meters and flew back to the same place where it was perched with a dragon-fly stuffed into its beak.. The dragon-fly was still alive. So,the little bird whacked its beak. Tak, tak, tak, tak, tak, fivetimes on either side on the branch where it was perched to kill the dragon-flyall in one motion… Was just wondering, why it whacked five times… Then I found that, in music a rhythmic phrase always ends on the first beat of the next bar…Don’t we sing in a funeral? That’s what the Bee-eater did?  Hmmmmm… Was that not the poor dragon-fly’s funeral?

                  Birds like   Plain Wren, Atherton Scrub Wren, Carolina Wren and even Babblers; they spontaneously sing complicated rhythmic patterns like a seasoned jazz player... Most composers avoid composing on 5/8 rhythm because of its limitation and the complications involved in the execution of a song in this rhythm...

                   But, I’ve heard a Rustic Bunting’s bird call from the Macaulay’s Library of Cornell’s lab of ornithology, sing in 5/8 rhythmic pattern… I felt so small in front of this small little bird when I heard that song… How it is possible for this little bird to sing in this one of the most complicated rhythmic pattern so spontaneously? 

                   Each individual of Oriental Magpie Robin can sing more than fifteen songs per individual and each one is different... Just imagine how much competition would be there to impress upon the females?

                   There are birds like the Malabar Whistling Thrush, which is considered as one of the best singers of the bird community… Bird call specialists say that you would mistake its singing for a human whistling a song… But, I personally feel that, that statement shows human ego... If I sound arrogant, please forgive me for that, because, I personally feel that the song of the Malabar Whistling Thrush or any other bird on planet earth is ORIGINAL... NO COMPARISONS PLEASE… Each bird’s songs are special and they know that too.. That is why birds never get jealous when others sing... Do they?

                     Researchers say that, if a bird doesn’t learn to sing early, the percentage of survival is minimized...  This means Birds sings for survival… The mother bird feeds the chick which shouts the most first… So, the louder you sing the more you eat… Imagine if the same rule applies for mankind, how many of us would still be alive?

                     Birds sing to attract their mate… A bird which sings the best gets the most attractive mate… If again, the same rule applies to us, scores of us still be bachelors isn’t it?

                      Remember, most of us prefer to sing in the bathroom rather than in the church! We sing for applause,name, fame and money. If we start applauding, each time a bird sings, I wonder if any bird could live near us, for they will fly away and never venture to sing before a man again… But, Birds sing for the sheer joy of singing… When would we learn to live like them?

                    An African bird called the Slate colored  Bou Bou has a sound which resembles the wood block, a percussion instrument, which originated from Africa… May be the Africans were inspired by he bird’s call… There are tales after tales that say how man was inspired by nightingales and sparrows and cuckoos for their inspiring songs…

                    Birds never keep singing the same old songs all through their lives… To impress upon their mates they try to outwit their male subordinates by improvising their songs time and again... After all,female birds feel that, the males which sing the most complicated songs are the ones which are capable of taking care of their families better…  Is that why, great teachers like Socrates and Pythagoras taught music first before they taught mathematics and astronomy?

                   We stop teaching our kids with rhymes than music; and that too only till the kindergarten level… If only we had been singing all through our lives, this world would’ve been rid of jealousy, ego, hatred, terrorism and the list may go on and on… If Osama  Bin Laden had practiced music, he would’ve been a carrying a 4stringed Oudh - an Arabian stringed instrument plucked with the Quill of an Eagle’s feather, instead of an AK47…

                    Birds live in perfect harmony not only among themselves but also with the flow of nature… Once I heard a territorial call of an Indian bird called Common Iora. Each one was answering one an others territorial calls. They both were singing similar phrase. Slowly, the calls turned a bit aggressive I thought; because, one was answering before the other could finish singing its phrase. At one particular point when one over lapped the other’s call, like what we call singing cannon in music, it turned into a harmony. As a musician, I know it was perfect harmony. But, I don’t know if it was intentional or accident. All that I heard was perfect harmony. They are in harmony with time and season. Rain or shine, no matter what happens around them the birds are able to sing.

                    A home or a street or a town or a city or a state or a country which encourages and practices music will live in PERFECT HARMONY...  After all music is all about harmony and perfection of body, mind and soul…

                   It is because of us trying to move against the flow of nature that the world is facing severe biological catastrophe. If only we could learn to live in harmony with nature? This world would be the same as it was in the beginning.               It may be too late and too hard to live in harmony with nature right now. But, we can surely postpone the inevitable to a certain extent. This can happen only when we unite together in harmony and save earth so that they Birds can sing and sing and sing forever and ever… Come on, rain or shine; let us all learn to sing like birds at all times and live in PERFECT HARMONY…

Eco-tour

Rafting in Kali- Dandeli- Anshi Tiger Reserve

Posted by Natasha on July 19, 2010

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On one of my trips to Dandeli, we had a day to spare from work. I had always wanted to go rafting and finally my colleagues agreed for it. :) Rafting in Dandeli is organized by Jungle Lodges. So we headed to Jungle lodges from Kulgi. We met Mr. Shashidhar, who took us to the Supa dam, which is an hour’s drive from the Dandeli city. (Here when the water is let out from the dam during the morning and evening rafting is possible.)

River Kali (Kalinadi) is a daunting River since its black. The river has its origin at Diggi in the Western Ghats and flows westwards to join the Arabian Sea near the town of Karwar. She is the fastest west flowing river and many dams have been constructed to produce electricity.

So as we reach the banks, there’s a briefing on the rules of rafting. We choose our boat a small one since we were 4. (Choose the smaller one as its lighter and you have more fun on the water). We have a guide who goes through the standard procedure of rafting. We have our safety jackets and helmet on. We are excited as ever. Once the rapids start its amazing they v named each rapid point.

This place is excellent for birding and a walk along the banks will help you capture some amazing shots of the bird life. All my birding was from the boat. I noted River terns, Darters, Black-capped Kingfisher, Malabar Pied Hornbills, Grey headed Fishing eagle, Brahminy kite and Honey buzzard to name some.

The rafting is 9 km long and is exciting. You pass islands and the flora is spectacular.
Towards the end they let the rapid water come on you full force:)

The whole time you enjoy the adventure. :)

A photolog of this amazing experience :)





community reserves

Simetaneous treatment of forests and adjoining forestlands for holistic development of rainfed capital of India

Posted by Hilaluddin on July 16, 2010

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Considering overall condition of climate change and absence of planning of sectoral integration and tackling of all type of lands simultaneously, the NRAA has developed an innovative project on “simultaneous treatment of fringe forests and adjoining non-forestlands for conservation of water, biodiversity, sustainability of JFM and poverty alleviation” in consultation with the Ministry of Environment & Forests and the State Forest Departments. The proposed scheme endeavours to enhance synergies of all land type of lands in an integrated and sequential manner. The treatment of forests and non-forestland (Ridge to Valley Approach) on 50:50 ratio with site specific variations based on the availability of both land use and involvement of the communities in the management and development of natural resources is the main plank of the strategy. The scheme endeavours for water harvesting and moisture conservation, biomass production through plantation of indigenous grasses and multipurpose tree species, and augmenting income & providing livelihoods to the villagers through Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Eco-tourism, Fishery, Horticulture, promotion & development of natural resource based micro & medium enterprises (e.g. NTFPs, Seri-culture, etc.). The strengthening of JFM and other alternative institutions is an important corner stone of the programme. Underutilized, unutilized natural resources will be productively and efficiently harnessed for need based production systems to enhance the productivity of bio-productive systems. The successful implementation of scheme will result enhanced land productivity, better livelihood opportunities, improved water availability, equity in resource sharing and enhanced income generation which will ultimately lead to all round prosperity in the rainfed areas with minimized social conflicts.

 

The scheme will cover 132 distress prone districts belonging to 16 states of the country and is expected to treat 1.4 million ha degraded land with a financial input of Rs 2,24,779 crores during 2011 and 2016. The scheme will be implemented by the MoEF through SFDAs/FDAs. The following activities are proposed to be taken up under scheme.

 

1.      Survey of fringe forest areas for planning of activities.

2.      Community mobilization and formation of community groups.

a)     Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMCs)

b)     Self Help Groups (SHGs)

c)      Watershed Committees/User Groups

d)     Others

3.      Entry point activities and micro-planning support.

4.      Work components (civil structures).

A) Soil and moisture conservation work.

a)     Gully plugs

b)     Contour and graded bunds / contour trenches

c)      Bench terracing

d)     Field bunding

e)     Others

B)  Water harvesting structures

a)     Water bodies

b)     Nallah bandh

c)      Check dam/stop dams/dice dams

d)     Percolation tank/ water retention tanks

e)     Weirs

f) Others

5.      Afforestation and pasture development

a)   Vegitative barriers.

b)   Farm-forestry/ agro-forestry.

c)   Community land development.

d)   Plantation of multipurpose fruits, timber, fodder, fiber and fuelwood species.

e)   Plantation of indigenous grasses.

f)     Non timber forest produce / medicinal plants.

g)   After care particularly against fire/ grazing.

h)  Others

6.      Livelihood through animal husbandry activities

a)      Breed improvement/ induction of animals

b)      Artificial insemination coverage

c)       Fodder bank establishment

d)      Dry forage enrichment / enriched feed blocks

e)      Health coverage/ livestock immunization

f)       Establishing producer societies

g)      Value addition/ market linkages

7.      Indigenous fish culture

a)      Fish hatcheries establishment

b)      Promotion of Integrated fish farming systems

c)       Value addition/ market linkages

8.      Promotion of natural resource based micro & medium enterprises/ skill development/ value addition.

9.      Capacity building.

10. Technology transfer/ demonstration, etc.

 

The scheme in nut shell will be an excellent tool to mitigate climate change. The NRAA in collaboration with the six State Forest Departments have already launched Pilot Projects of this scheme. The details of treatment activities to be undertaken during next two financial years under the programme are summarized in the following table.

 

State

Division

Area in hectare

Forests

Non-forest land

Chattisgarh

Raipur East Forest Division

794.7

605.3

Gujarat

Sabarkantha North and South Forest Divisions

3003.99

1946.25

Maharashtra

Aurangabad Forest Division

4586.1

1141.65

Tamil Nadu

Vellore Forest Division

600.0

409.0

Tripura

Kanchanpur and Gumti Forest Divisions and Trishna WLS

2584.0

2778.0

Uttrakhand

Mussorie Forest Division

559.7

672.06

Total

12128.49

7552.20

 

The highlights of the pilot projects programme are as follows; 

1.      Integrated land based activities of Water, Forests, Agriculture, Rural Development, Micro & Medium Enterprises, etc. in the project area.

2.      Area specific Watershed and Watershed Plus based treatment approach.

3.      Regeneration and/ or plantation of indigenous grasses, medicinal herbs/shrubs, fruit and fodder yielding shrubs and multipurpose trees.

4.      In situ moisture conservation through development of water harvesting and water conservation structures.

5.      Livelihood generation through promotion of natural raw material based Micro & Medium Enterprises specifically animal husbandry, fishery, eco-tourism, etc.

6.      Increased employment opportunities through value addition and developing market linkages for natural resource based products specifically NTFPs.

7.      Farmer’s typology centric with emphasis on marginal & small farmers, landless & assetless, and women.

8.      Convergence of resources, activities and programs.

9.      Participatory planning, implementation, monitoring and follow up.

10. Enhancement of overall land productivity, employment potential and livelihoods on sustained basis.

11. Capacity building at project/cluster level.

12. Coverage of different types of rainfed agro-ecology/typology through proper selection of clusters in the domain of interest.

Interlinking of Rivers

Ganga River Action plan

Posted by Dr.Susan Sharma on July 10, 2010

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For the first time, seven Indian Institutes of Technology will prepare a comprehensive river basin management plan for Ganga.

While earlier the Union Ganga River Basin Authority was looking upon international agencies to produce the plan which would include not only a blueprint of the sewage systems along the basin but also the dams that are being planned, the joint bid by IIT swung it in favour of Indian engineers. The river basin plan will aim to have adequate provision for water and energy in the Ganga basin to accommodate the pressures of increased population, urbanization, industrialization and agriculture while ensuring the sanctity of the fundamental aspects of the river system are protected. The twin demands of perennial flow and clean waters would be the two benchmarks to be met.

Read more at
http://iitdalumni.com/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=97

Corporates and Environment

Restoring River systems

Posted by Susan Sharma on July 07, 2010

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The Nature Conservancy(US) and other conservation groups have purchased 3 dams on Maine's Penobscot River.

Their efforts are part of an environmental and cultural restoration along the river, where the Penobscot people have lived for thousands of years. The river was once the tribe’s medicine cabinet, its water supply, highway and supermarket. Despite a century of changes, the tribe hopes to revive the river’s central role in its life again.

Standing in the way of this revival, however, are several large hydroelectric dams.

While the tribe has won a series of court battles to clean up the river from decades of industrial pollution, its legal fight against the dams has made little headway.

But things began to change in August 2008, when the tribe, together with The Nature Conservancy and other partners in the Penobscot River Restoration Trust, exercised the option to purchase the dams outright for $25 million from the power company. The unprecedented deal, which is still awaiting federal approval, is a carefully negotiated win-win for all the parties involved.

Now they plan to tear down the dams to restore Atlantic salmon, shad and other fish.

The deal is a rare pragmatic victory for both conservation and industry, one that required years of painstaking work to negotiate and years more to raise funds to buy the dams. While the challenges are not over — it turns out that tearing down a series of dams is complicated and expensive work — the trust’s successes may help demonstrate the potential for restoring other rivers around the world.

Read full article at
http://www.nature.org/magazine/summer2010/features/art31630.html

Wildlife

Discovering Nauradehi WLS

Posted by Uday on July 04, 2010

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Situated amidst three district of Madhya Pradesh, Nauradehi is a lesser known destination that deserves more attention. Nauradehi lies between Sagar, Damoh, Narsinghpur districts and is easily accessible from Jabalpur.


The wildlife sanctuary is unique in this region the floral elements differ much from Kanha and Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserves. The forests are Southern tropical dry deciduous mix type. The forests are totally mixed and I have not seen any pure belts of teak, saaj or bamboo except those in plantation.  The river systems are Bamner and  Vyarma besides a number of lakes and water bodies exists in the sanctuary.


The species of animals seen here are not easily seen in the tiger reserves. Otter, Indian Wolf, Blue Bull, Chinkara and Marsh crocodiles are seen often some with ease. The deer species are also represented by Sambar, Spotted Deer, Four Horned Deer and Barking Deer.


The tiger once inhabited the forest in abundance but of late there is no evidence of tigers and leopards. Sporadic sighting are reported but no census records are available. The WLS promises to throw new discoveries but extensive survey is required. The tourism zone is at Cheola Lake. This place is excellent for wildlife watching and birding. Birding is exciting at Nauradehi with both wetland birds as well forest birds inhabiting the same ecosystem. See my check list of birds of Noradehi for more information on birding.   


Jabalpur is the best route to Noradehi. It is about 80 km from WLS connected by well maintained road network. Jabalpur is a large town more popular as approach to Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Pench National Park in Madhya Pradesh. In terms of accommodation in Jabalpur city there are many hotels in all price range.  For transportation and wildlife safari a gypsy is ideal vehicle as the jungle tracts in Noradehi are rugged. 


Best time to visit is winters as weather is cool and comfortable. There is no hotel accommodation nearby except rest house at Mohali which has to be booked from Sagar DFO. The rest house at Cheola Lake is more of a day center as accommodation is not provided here for tourists.   


For more details on wildlife of the preserve visits wildlife resort blog on Noradehi WLS.

Urban Wildlife

The Trees Outside My Window...

Posted by Fabiola Jacob on July 01, 2010

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Just outside my apartment window off Santhome High Road in Chennai, are a row of trees reaching up to the 3rd floor. The trees host a variety of birds – many I’m seeing for the first time, and with the Internet, able to identify. 

For as long as I remember, there have been crows and squirrels in plenty, with a fair share of the Common Sparrow thrown in. But in recent times, the common sparrows have dwindled in number, and are rare to find. But many other birds have become frequent visitors – largely due to the upcoming Adyar Eco Park that’s just a stone throw away from here.

A small group of Coppersmith Barbets are one of the most frequent and my favourite visitors. The first time I set my eyes on one of them, I was captivated by their beauty. Only as big as the sparrow, with glossy greenish wings and plumes of red and yellow on the crown and chest – they are truly a piece of art! And their call is so unique a “tuk…tuk…tuk…” that resembles a coppersmith banging on the metal – and hence their name. And once you hear that sound – it’s almost impossible not to recognize where it comes from. Creatures of habit, they seem to be, and make themselves present on the same branches everyday at morning before the sun gets too harsh, and in the evening at dusk. The other day, I spotted a curious little fellow just outside my wind – craning his neck to listen to my daughter practicing on the Piano!

And then there are the Black Drongos, who think they own the air space! The fiercest fighters of the bird world, their aerial sorties while chasing the crows are just as thrilling as the ones we see at air shows. And that brings me to the subject of the crows who seem to be sharing India’s predicament – a population explosion. With a surge in number comes food scarcity, as the crows these days are never content with scavenging – and so they fly in and out of balconies, helping themselves to food straight from the kitchen, rummaging in other nests, eating eggs, feeding on fledglings and generally creating a ruckus.

But the crows are not really as smart as they seem. They are frequently outwitted by the Asian Koel that often usurps its nest and even fools the crow into raising its young. When the crow is away, the Koel pushes out the crow’s eggs from its nest and lays its own. And then the gullible crow sits on the eggs, hatches it and rears the young – though the fledgling looks and sounds so very different from its own young. I guess this is what that Victorian idiom “penny-wise, pound-foolish” actually means!

And just outside my balcony is this industrious little squirrel, busy building her nest – for about a week now. From dawn till dusk, she runs up and down the tree, collecting building material that includes tiny twigs, fiber, coir, cotton, foam and even sheets of plastic! Her nest looks cozy now, and I’m looking forward to seeing her little ones soon.

There are many other birds too – mynahs prowling the ground on their dainty feet and tailor birds looking for leaves to stitch up. And even as I’m blogging, there is this tiny brown fellow with a grayish chest and belly preening on one of the branches. His mate is here too, flitting among the leaves. They are so tiny, smaller than even the tailor bird – I just can't wait to google them out… now!

Wildlife

Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary!

Posted by Natasha on June 29, 2010

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A visit to the Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary.

Trekking in the Western Ghats!

The Mookambika Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Udupi district of Karnataka, Kollur and was established in 1974 covering an area of 247 sq km. The vegetation type is a mix of evergreen, semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forests covering the steep slopes typical of the Western Ghats Mountains. This forest comes under the Medicinal Plants Conservation Areas. (Local communities are actively involved in this conservation effort. MPCAs serve as the study sites for conservation biology related research and also the source of authentic and quality planting material for propagation).

Longitudes : 13o41'25.87"E to 13o58'51.85"E
Latitudes : 74o39'8.68"N to 74o56'8.84"N.
Annual rainfall : 4,593 mm
Elevation ranges : 9-1,315 m above sea level.

The sanctuary receives an annual rainfall of 4,593 mm and the elevation here ranges from 9-1,315 m above sea level. Water sources include the Chakra nadi, Kollur River, 27 perennial streams, 36 large seasonal streams, several smaller streams, two seasonal natural lakes, one spring and 20 artificial water tanks. (Source from Atree’s Website)

I hadn't heard of Mookambika WLS and didnt know what to expect. I had gone on work and was pleasantly surprised when i reached this forest. It reminded me so much of Anshi( Dandeli- Anshi Tiger Reserve). We had planned our day so we could complete 2 treks.One trek was focused on identifying the butterflies. This is being done to Educate tourist's on the different colorful species of the forest. The butterfly life was amazing and the list of butterflies seen was good. These forests can support a myriad of butterflies due to the varied plant composition and diversity. I was amazed at their numbers. This place was teaming with butterflies all hovering about. On the trek i noticed a snake up on a tree. It was a lovely ornate flying snake. We completed this trek and rested before we headed out to complete the birds trail.

A wide variety of butterflies, reptiles and birds are found here. My trek through this beautiful forest opened my eyes further on the beauty and endemism of species of flora and fauna seen in this region. I was completely amazed at the beauty of this forest. I trekked  to Arshinagundi Falls and its a wonderful place for Birding.I spotted the Mountain imperial pigeon, Black headed oriole, Pompadour green pigeon, Malabar Trogon, a lovely pair of painted bush Quail,White bellied treepie and lots more. We also noted medicinally rare trees like

Eco-tour

Birding in Northern India

Posted by Uday on June 26, 2010

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I was bit taken aback by the reach of urbanity as we neared Bharatpur bird sanctuary. The feel was missing but not for long. The wetlands as I discovered are a paradise for bird lovers. I was leading a group of Germans and this was my first trip to Keoladeo Ghana. 


The Sibes have gone but the sanctuary retains much of its glamor. At Bharatpur a two day trip yields a checklist of more than 150 species of wetland birds. Some of the bird we check listed here and at Bund Baretha include:


Little Heron, Black-crowned Night-heron, Glossy Ibis, Siberian ruby throat, Bar Headed Geese, Black-headed Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Asian Open-billed Stork, Red-breasted Flycatcher,  Barn Swallow, Wire-tailed Swallow, House Martin, Hume’s Warbler, Black Bittern, Cotton Teal, Northern Pintail and Eurasian Coot. Grey Francolin, Tickle’s Thrush, Brown Crake, Booted warbler,  Great white pelicans,   Spot-billed duck, Sykes Warbler,  Common Crane, Sarus Crane, Black necked stork, Dusky Fish Owl, Purple Swamphen, Wood sand piper, Spotted redshank, Green Sandpiper,  Bronze-winged Jacana, Greater Spotted Eagle, Eurasian Marsh Harrier, Booted Eagle, Lesser spotted eagle,  Black-shouldered Kite, Black Kite, King Vulture, Temminck’s stint, Oriental Darter, Grey Heron, Indian Cormorant, Great Cormorant, Purple Heron, Painted Stork.


We could sight Indian skimmers at Bund Baretha but could sight whiskered tern, Ferruginous pochard, Spanish sparrow, oriental skylark, Russets sparrow and more....


Our next destination was Chambal River Sanctuary more than an hours drive from Agra. It is a pristine river parts of which are designated as river sanctuary. Chambal is a unique destination as apart from birding this is a good place to see Gangetic dolphin, Marsh crocodile and the endangered Gharial. On a boat trip we could come across Indian skimmers, sand lark, Isabelline Wheatear, Brown Crake,  Long Legged Buzzard, Variable Wheatear, Desert Wheatear, Bonelli's eagle on nest, brown fish eagle, booted hawk eagle and brownhawk owl.


A day is enough at Chambal River Sanctuary for birding trip during winters. Most of the bird watching is done on the boat ride but substantial number of birds can be seen on the banks. The boat ride is about three hours and covers a long distance.              


For avid birders Chambal is a must see destination. Most of the tour operators include this destination in their itineraries for birding in Northern India. 

Wildlife Poaching

Status of Indian Wildlife

Posted by Uday on June 26, 2010

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India had large tract of forests, extensive grasslands, deserts and wetlands all prime ecosystems that supported vast array of wild animals, birds, butterflies and reptiles. The rapid increase in population and subsequent urgency for agricultural land and fuel wood resulted in destruction of our ecosystems.  The demand for commercial wood and trophies all have contributed alongside to destroy nature and wildlife in India


Though much is still left, the wilderness now thrives in small pockets designated as protected areas - National Parks and sanctuaries. The protected areas were created to conserve keystone species like tigers and lion in India. The conservation efforts in the seventies and eighties resulted in comeback of most of the endangered species like the tiger, swamp deer, Indian rhino and Asiatic lion to mention a few.  


Project tiger is one such example which after initial success was unable to control poaching and forest destruction. The creation of tiger reserves was to accord additional protection.  Unfortunately the increase in poaching incidence especially for tiger parts in China, skin in Tibet and elsewhere took its toll and still does. The demand created a nexus of smugglers, middlemen and poachers. The lucrative demand  gave rise to poaching incidence even in the best protected tiger reserves like Sariska and Panna National Parks. In many incidences local communities are involved lured by a paltry sum.


The most threatened species is the Bengal tiger. This charismatic big cat in spite of a major conservation efforts continues to be exterminated by the poachers in India. Taking Sariska and Panna into consideration the administration and the law and order machinery appears to be helpless in nabbing and booking those involved in illegal wildlife trade.          


Tiger apart from being an important part of our environment is a National Heritage. Indian wildlife is diverse and unique. India is home to many endemic species as well. The country benefits from conserving its natural wealth and hence protecting the environment. If keystone species become extinct the damage to our environment will be irrevocable.


The wildlife also attracts tourists from all over the World. The increase in eco-tourism brings in crucial funds.  These funds are employed in conservation, economic upliftment of local communities as well as the tourism industry. The need of the hours is responsible wildlife tourism and tiger safari that promotes conservation. Tourism also brings into focus the understanding of the ecosystem and wildlife there in.  


Stringent laws that prevent poaching and destruction of our ecosystems are required urgently. The protected areas are created with conservation. But tourism should not be discouraged. The activity should be restricted and monitored. Neglected areas are more susceptible to poaching since the public eye is absent. Tourists along with local communities play an important role in conservation of our National Heritage.             




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