137 kinds of birds totalling more than 5.76 lakhs, including 5.70 lakh waterbirds, were counted at last month’s Bird Count Porbandar Wetlands, 2023. The number of waterbirds this year is almost two times higher than it was last year. Birdwatchers attribute this phenomenon to changes in water levels and the timing of population estimation.
In eight significant wetland pockets in Porbandar, it was estimated that 5,76,885 birds representing 220 species were present, according to data provided on Thursday by the Bird Conservation Society of Gujarat (BCSG). 5.70 lakh ducks of 137 species are among them. In the initial bird census by the BCSG last year, more than 3.26 lakh waterbirds of 117 species were counted in wetlands covering around 200 square kilometres (sqkms) in the Porbandar area.
According to data provided by the BCSG, the common or Eurasian coot was the species that was most prevalent during the count, with a survey estimating that there were 1.57 lakh of them. Northern pintail (77,447), greater and lesser flamingos (43,015, 39,152), Eurasian wigeon (31,994), green-winged teal (26,159), demoiselle crane (24,216), northern shoveler (24116), and gadwall were the species that came next (15053). Additionally, around 6000 rose pelicans were seen.
“During this year’s count, the teams of birdwatchers recorded species like bronze-winged jacana, common starlings, chest-tailed starlings etc which were not sighted during the previous year’s count,” Dhaval Vargiya, a consulting faculty with the BCSG said.
Vargiya said that the higher figures might be related to the amount of water in wetlands. He noted that this year’s water levels appeared to be perfect for waterbirds. Mendha Creek had the most birds this year, with around 3.60 lakhs, followed by Kuchhadi, the Mokarsagar wetland complex, and Bardasagar wetland.
The BCSG conducted its first bird count in the Porbandar wetlands in partnership with the Gujarat state forest department last year, and this year was its second iteration.
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