Chennai: The temperature is rising and migrating birds have started to leave the city.
KVRK Thirunaranan, who monitors Pallikaranai and Perumbakkam swamps, said most of the larger birds have already left, while the smaller waders who prefer to forage in the mudflats are now leaving.
The red shank and the whimbrel, rarely seen waders that roam several thousand kilometers of Siberia and Scandinavia, have been sighted this year. Every year, at least two whims are observed at Kovalam Cove or Perumbakkam Swamp.
Observation of whims in a swamp had declined in recent years when their habitat was destroyed in many areas. Unlike the common red shank, whimbrels are not found in a herd, he said.
Thirunaranan also found that the red shanks were healthy, many sporting breeding plumage – a sign that the birds could get fat during their migration to Kovalam Cove or Perumbakkam Swamp, he said.
A few researchers from the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) who are based at the Point Calimere Bird Sanctuary in Vedaranayam had banded the red shanks seen there. BNHS deputy director (ornithology) S Balachandran said the red shank is found in northern Scandinavia, northern Italy, Tunisia and Turkey in addition to east and west. from Siberia. It winters in areas ranging from the Mediterranean to tropical India, Indonesia and Africa and breeds in S Siberia, Mongolia and far eastern Russia.
In the south, they are found in marshes, lake edges, river banks and estuaries. The breeding population of this bird species is found in the northwestern Himalayas and northern Sikkim, he said.
At least a half-dozen red shanks banded at Point Calimere Sanctuary in TN were sighted in other parts of the world a few years later, he added.