Bird Watching

Trenching Grounds- Alternate bird habitats

Trenching Grounds- Alternate bird habitats
-Ajay Gadikar

In today’s scenario, the trenching grounds in cities have become alternate birding habitats. At any point of time you will witness large groups of birds circling above the dumping yards. We generally avoid the areas but if you just observe the kind of avi-fauna present there, it is just phenomenal, birds of various species in large flocks are seen here.


Egrets at the Trenching Ground

While visiting Assam for the first time to see the Rhino and other wildlife at the famous Kaziiranga national park my first stop was at the Guwahati Dumping Ground near the Deep(Beel) or the Deepor Lake and it was to see the critically endangered Greater Adjutant stork whose sightings are confirmed in the area. Although it sounds awkward but these dumping grounds or trenching grounds and many others in the country do attract a lot of birds all along the year.

Trenching grounds are in reality very good birding habitats. Even places where the carcasses of animals are disposed, like Jorbeer in Rajasthan, have become famous and potential sites for watching vultures and other raptors.

In Indore a large dumping yard is situated near the Devguradia hilltop. This trenching ground attract lots of birds, it has became a safe habitat for the Endangered Egyptian vultures found in the nearby area. While roaming in the city you would hardly find a vulture soaring in the air, but once you enter the trenching ground you can find about 40-50 odd vultures, both juveniles and adults flying, feeding or foraging in the area.

Egyptian vultures at the trenching ground water body

Apart from vulture a large number of Black kites, Cattle egrets, Little egrets, Intermediate egrets, House crows and Large billed crows, Black Drongos and Common Myna are seen here.

During winters the local avifauna is added with a good number of winter migrants like grey, yellow and white wagtails. There are two water bodies inside the trenching ground where you can also see Sandpipers and other waders. I found very large numbers of winter visiting Rosy pastors near the dumping ground all feeding on the garbage.
More than 50 species of birds in ample numbers are seen here. 

A nice ecosystem has been formed in the area for the birds of many species, whether they are scavengers or waders. I think largely it is due to the presence of a lot of food for the birds in the area.

Trenching ground of Indore

During the population census of Vultures  done in all the districts of M.P. by the forest department, I visited this dumping ground and could count 50-60 Egyptian Vultures. Most of them were scavenging on the carcass and other waste dumped there. It was a filthy place for bird watching but is truly a great place to watch birds and observe their activities.

Ralamandal wildlife sanctuary situated near the trenching ground is also a good habitat for the birds and many of the times birds find safe haven here after feeding at the dumping ground.

One should take all possible precautions while visiting such places specially covering his mouth and nose so that you should not get infected. 

With the fast reducing habitats of birds, forests, as well as water bodies, the birds are finding their way by adapting to changes. If they find food and shelter at the dumping grounds they will surely visit and live near these areas. The ever increasing population will always bring more and more garbage at the dumping grounds.

(Ajay Gadikar is a naturalist from Indore)

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