Berhampur (Odisha): A new feathered species was spotted at Chilika Lake in Odisha as 78,500 more winged visitors arrived this year to keep their annual tryst with the country`s largest brackish water lagoon, official sources said.
Wildlife officials spotted a new species, the `Gloshy Ibis`, for the first time in the lake.
The shiny little birds were spotted by enumerators in Mangalajodi area inside the lake during the annual bird census conducted by the wildlife organization of the state`s forest department.
The number of this particular bird was counted at 982, said Divisional Forest Officer, Chilika wildlife division B P Acharya.
‘’We have not recorded the visit of this bird to the lake in the last several years and after verification of the records of the previous years, bird experts opined that this might be the new species to the lake this winter’’, the DFO said.
As many as 8.83 lakh birds of 167 species visited Chilika Lake this winter, according to the annual bird count conducted over 1100 square kilometer water body of the lagoon, sources said.
"About 78,500 more birds visited the biggest waterfowl habitat here this time," an official said.
Around 80 persons, including ornithologists from Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), officials of wildlife organizations, several ornithologists and wildlife activists took part in the two-day bird count in the lake held from January 6.
While there were 8,83,060 birds of 167 different species counted in the entire lake, the highest number, 3.18 lakh, was sighted in 15.59 sq. km Nalabana bird sanctuary area, sources said.
Last winter, there were 8,04,452 birds of 169 different species counted in the lake, sources said.
Improvement of habitat in the lake might be one of the causes for more number of winged guests visiting Chilika this time, a wildlife official said.
The migratory birds from far off places including Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, remote parts of Russia, Central and South East Asia, Ladakh and Himalayas descend on the lake every winter for feeding and roosting. They start their homeward journey with the onset of summer.
Next to Nalabana, Mangalajodi area hosts 1.38 lakh followed by Kalupadaghat with 1.05 lakh birds, sources said.
Gadwalls numbering 1,87,595 accounted for the highest number of visitors to the lake. They were followed by Pintail (1,24,691) and Eurasian Wigeon (1,11,945).
Wildlife officials recorded fewer number of Flamingoes and Shovelor species this winter. The DFO, however, said he could not specify the reasons for the fall in their numbers this time.