There is reason to cheer for birders across NCR this year with the results of the Big Bird Day 2019 revealing a slight increase in the number of bird species as compared to last year. While the total count of species last year was 238, the number has swollen to 247 species this year with Dighal in NCR recording the highest diversity of species in terms of numbers.
Most flourishing areas
“The response has been great this year. Wetlands across NCR saw low numbers initially in November and December, but most locations are flourishing now. Dighal recorded 165 species, the fourth highest in India,” said Nikhil Devasar, organiser of the event.
The team at Dighal was led by Maitreya Sukumar, while Sultanpur in Gurugram was the second highest in terms of species at 162 and led by birder Kavi Nanda. North Delhi’s Sunderpur had the third highest count with 141 species, led by team captain Akash Gulalia.
35 counting teams
Over 35 teams took part in this year’s count, covering popular locations like Sultanpur, Dighal, Dhanauri, Asola Bhatti, Okhla, Yamuna Khadar and biodiversity parks. Devasar said for this first time ever, two teams – Dighal and Sultanpur — were also led by school-children.
The popular ones
The important sightings made this year include Hume’s short-toed lark, Syke’s lark and Greater white-fronted goose at Sultanpur, a Painted sandgrouse at Asola, Black-headed cuckoo shrike at Mangar Bani, a Spotted dove and Orphean warbler at Dighal and a Bengal bushlark at Dhanauri among others.
Kavi Nanda, captain for the team in Sultanpur outskirts says the rarest sighting made in the area is greater white-fronted goose — a bird usually seen once in two years in NCR.
Faiyaz Khudsar, scientist in-charge at the Yamuna Biodiversity Park (YBP) in north Delhi said that while visibility was hampered due to the fog, the increase in overall numbers is a good sign. “A healthy environment brings more birds to the area. We recorded a taiga flycatcher there and at Tilpath valley, which was not seen earlier in the area,” said Khudsar.
(This article was orginally published in The Times of India by Jasjeev Gandhiok.)