Kota: Migratory birds from neighbouring China as well as Europe have begun flocking to ecologically rich districts in Rajasthan this year, although a little later than usual.
With their wetlands, thick forests and water bodies, the four districts of Hadoti, Kota, Bundi, Baran and Jhalawar have now come to be recognized as a paradise for migratory birds among foreign as well as domestic tourists.
"Hadoti is the second home for the migratory birds from China, Ladakh and other European countries. The arrival of these birds is a bit late this year, but now with the dip in temperatures, the number of arriving birds is increasing," says District Forest Officer, Bundi, Rajendra Singh Nathawat.
Every winter, hundreds of migratory birds from various species throng to the spontaneous water bodies of Hadoti region and stay here from October to late March. It is also the season for tourist industry in the region where thousands of foreign and domestic tourists rush during winter.
According to the bird watching experts there are mainly two seasons for the activities of migratory birds in the region - the monsoon season and the winter season from October to March end when they return to their native destinations.
Prominent wildlife activist and birdwatcher from Kota R S Tomer ponts out that bird spieces like the Bar Headed Goose, and the Ruddy Shelduck Gray Lag Goose have arrived here from Europe and Central Asia.
"I have myself recently seen colonies of these migratory birds at Udaipuriya and Ummedgang water bodies of Kota district," he says. The state government has sanctioned about Rs 7 lakhs for maintenance and safety of these two places, adds Tomer.
The spontaneous agitation of the migratory birds reaches to its climax in December, January and throughout the season, these birds make their presence felt with the melodious singing and chirping over the placid water bodies.
Wildlife lover Prathivi Singh Rajawat says demoille cranes, from China and Mongolia have begun visiting the region in large numbers since the last two years.
"Pelicans, particularly Gray Pelicans that live up to eating fish as heavy as to one and a half kilogram start reaching here in the first week of January," he says.
Dams, reservoirs, tanks and land rivers of Hadoti offer excellent bird watching opportunities. The reservoir of Kota barrage, Rana Pratap sagar dam are huge wetlands and support a healthy population of resident and migratory birds.
Sightings of over 110 species of water birds have been reported from the medium sized dams of Bardha, Alniya, Sawan Bhado and Abheda, Ranpur, Hindoli, Girdharpura, Sorsan and anaksagar tanks.
Also, Darrah, Ramgarh, Vishdhari and Shergarh sanctuaries are known to have rich avian diversity of forest loving birds.
The painted stork breeding colony of Udpuria village is worth a visit during winter months when the whole area is abuzz with the calls of hundreds of young birds competing with each other for food and parental attention.
"The painted stork at Udpuria dam are found engaged in breeding in numbers grater than those of in Bharatpur," says wildlife activist Tomer.
Among the migratory birds that reach Hadoti during winter are geese and ducks with their two species, grey lag – Bar Headed and Ruddy Shelduck- common Shelduck.
Herons - the common grey, purple, night and pond herons and four varieties of Egrets - large, intermediate, little and cattle Egrets are also regular flying visitors to the region during winter, besides, being home to black and glossy Ibis.
Bundi city in Hadoti region becomes heavenly abode for Spoonbills that are found in numbers during the season hunting shoals of fish over the water bodies. Pelicans - large, rosy and dalmatian pelicans about the shallow water bodies and flamingoes can also be seen during the winter though they are visible in large number only on the onset of monsoon.
Five species of storks out of world`s total seventeen can be spotted in Hadoti during winter. Mostly visible is Painted Storks that nest in the higher branches of babool trees.
Another species of stork, generally seen here are open billed storks and necked storks that because of their being shy avoid communities and stay in solitary. Other migratory birds, that offer a fascinating site to the birdwatchers are jacanas, coots, moorhens, water hens, kingfishers, rollers, golden oriole etc.
The National Chambal Ghariyal Sanctuary, Shergarh, Jawarsagar, Ramgarh, Kishoresagar, Alnia Dam, Ummed Ganj in Kota district, dams of Bardha, Guda, Garada and Chakan, Jait Ramgarh Sanctuary, Ratan Sagar at Talwas, Ram Sagar at Hindoli, Paibalapura at Nainwa, Roonija dam and Abhayapura dam in Bundi district and Ramgarh, Narsinghpura, in Baran district are some of the water places in Hadoutti where bird lover can easily enjoy bird watching during winter.
"The eco system and climate of Hadoti region with its scattered water bodies by Chambal tributaries, thick green forest at footing of Aravalli hills well suits the foreign birds and they get in abundance to eat," says another wild life activist and bird watcher Vittal Sanadhaya.