Srinagar- In a heartening development for Kashmir’s biodiversity, the avian range of the area has been on a exceptional upswing in recent times. The wetlands of Kashmir grow to be a bustling hub as a whole bunch of hundreds of migratory birds flock to the area yearly. Within the midst of this pure spectacle, a neighborhood of fowl photographers doc not solely the same old feathered visitors but in addition the thrilling new species that make these revitalized wetlands their seasonal abode.
This yr, Reyan Sofi, an avid fowl photographer, noticed a Black-necked Grebe for the primary time among the many migratory flocks at Hokersar wetland. The invention has been efficiently added to eBird – an internet database of fowl observations that gives real-time information about fowl distribution and abundance.
The Black-necked Grebe, a small and sociable species with a broad world distribution, usually winters within the south-western Palearctic, east Asia, and east Africa. Though it typically avoids flight, the black-necked grebe travels so far as 6,000 kilometres throughout migration. As well as, it turns into flightless for 2 months after finishing a migration to succeed in an space the place it could safely moult.Whereas it has been recognized breeding in varied areas worldwide, its current sighting in Jammu and Kashmir marks an enlargement of its recognized vary.
“Our commentary is believed to be the preliminary verified file from Kashmir. The fowl was in fundamental plumage and recognized based mostly on a brilliant crimson iris, black high of the pinnacle and mantle, neck black on the again and gray on the entrance, white breast, rump, and stomach,” Reyan Sofi stated. This discovery provides to Sofi’s monitor file of documenting uncommon avian guests to the area. Within the final winter, he has recorded sightings of the Falcated Duck in Hokersar Wetland and the Black-bellied Plover in Wular Lake. Lengthy-tailed geese had been noticed in Kashmir’s Wular Lake after a niche of 84 years in January 2023.
In 2022, birdwatchers noticed new species, together with waders (also called shorebirds) and White-fronted Geese. Amongst different first sightings which have added to the area’s ornithological attract are pied avocets, Whimbrel, Shiny Ibis, Little Tern, Larger Sand Plover,Pacific Golden Plover, Sharp Tailed Sandpiper and plenty of others.In line with Reyan Sofi, Hokersar Wetland, an important habitat for migratory birds, has welcomed over 200 new fowl species up to now.
As winter units in, hundreds of birds from varied elements of the world migrate to Kashmir, searching for refuge from freezing temperatures of their summer time habitats in Central Asia and Russia, the place meals turns into scarce. These birds may be seenin quite a few wetlands throughout Kashmir, together with Hygam, Pampore, Badi Nambal, Shallabugh, Anchar, Dal Lake, Wular Lake, Chatlum, Kranchoo, Manibugh, Freshkhoori, Hokersar, and Mirgund. These uncommon finds which have thrilled conservationists and fowl watchers alike, come amidst concerted efforts by authorities who pumped males and equipment to revive the pristine glory of the wetlands.Wildlife warden, wetlands, Ifshan Dewan advised Kashmir Observer that over 5-6 lakh migratory birds have visited Hokersar wetland up to now. She stated the situations of the wetlands are in ‘good place’ and the migratory birds are arriving in giant numbers.
“No matter administration interventions we needed to do, we accomplished it. The situation of the wetlands is superb as of now,” she stated. The division, she stated, has plugged breaches and the water grasp is presently working within the wetland to create extra channels.
The wetlands within the valley are beneath super stress because of steady human intervention together with land grabbing, poaching, building and air pollution which have considerably altered the character of those areas. Consequently, migratory birds face appreciable challenges in finding appropriate habitats inside this Himalayan area.
In line with a report from Nationwide Institute of Catastrophe Administration (NIDM), the wetland has receded persistently and undergone super land-use change owing to siltation coupled with floods and human interference.
“The Hokersar wetland has skilled fragmentation and modifications in land use/land cowl because of extreme siltation and biotic interference during the last 4 many years,” the report stated. The examine famous that many of the developmental actions are often undertaken with utter disregard to environmental, geological, geomorphological and ecological situations of the area.
Nonetheless, officers have asserted that they’re actively pursuing a number of initiatives aimed on the restoration of the wetlands, and the work is presently in progress.
Notably, this yr the Union territory administration undertook a mega mission to rejuvenate Hokersar Wetlands, one of many eight Ramsar websites within the valley. With a concentrate on reworking the wetland into an ecotourism vacation spot, authorities intention to leverage its enchantment to draw a large number of migratory birds. The federal government can be engaged on restoration of Wular lake in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district.
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