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Habitat Library & Resource Centre

IHC Walk: Oct 14, 2012, 6:30 am

India Habitat Centre

Okhla Bird Sanctuary - the returning water fowls

The Okhla Bird Sanctuary is situated in Gautam Budh Nagar in the middle of the Okhla Vihar and Barrage upon the river Yamuna in New Delhi. In order to conserve the numerous resident and migratory birds we find here and also to develop it keeping in view the tourist inflow in the year 1990, this area was declared as Okhla Bird Sanctuary. Towards the south of this sanctuary we find Kalandi Kunj which is another appealing spot. More about Okhla Bird Sanctuary Among nearly 319 species of birds found here, around more than 50 % are migratory birds coming from Tibet, Europe and Siberia who come here for their winter migration. Soon after the arrival of the winter season in Novemner, the arrival of migratory birds starts and with the onset of the summers around March, those visitors start flying back to their own land. Flora and Fauna Several migratory birds visit the sanctuary in large numbers in winters with the commonest being the Northern Shoveller Anas Clypeata and Gadwall Anas strepera. The Northern Pintail Anas acuta and Ruddy Shelduck Tadors ferruginea, the rare migratory birds like the Garganey Anas querquedula, Common Shelduck Tadora tadorna, Comb Duck Sarkiodiornis melantos are also seen occasionally. Other commonspecies include the Common Teal Anas crecca, Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula, Common Pochard Aythya ferina, Greylag Goose Anser anser and the Barheaded Goose Anser indicus. The resident Spot billed Duck Anas poecilorhyncha is abundant. There are several other bird species like mynas, drongos, babblers, francolins, peafowl, bee eaters etc are also seen commonly along the bund. Other animals The place abunds in fish like katla, rohu, mrigal, channa, singada etc. There are mammals like neelghais, jackals, mongooses, rats & mice along with reptiles like turtles, tortoises, geckos, Habitat Library & Resource Centre Page 1

monitor lizards, garden lizards, rat snakes, vine snakes, water snakes and also amphibians like toads and frogs. Flora The common tree species are Acacia nilotica, Acacia modesta, acasia lebbeck, Dalbergia sissoo, Zixyphus mauritiana, Ficus bengalensis and Ficus glomerata. There are many medicinal herbs and shrubs like aak, punanrnava, bhringanath, arandi etc . The birds of Okhla barrage bird sanctuary, Delhi, India by ABDUL JAMIL URFI Okhla barrage bird sanctuary, on the river Yamuna in south Delhi, is an important site for breeding and wintering waterbirds, with 14,00020,000 waterbirds recorded in winter. The dominant feature of the site is a large lake formed after the creation of a barrage on the river in 1986. Historical records, records resulting from fieldwork since 1989, and other recent records have been combined to produce a list of 302 species for the site and its immediate area. Species recorded since 1992 include three Vulnerable species (Baers Pochard Aythya baeri, Indian Skimmer Rynchops albicollis and Bristled Grassbird Chaetornis striatus) and six Near Threatened species (Ferruginous Pochard Aythya nyroca, Black-bellied Tern Sterna acuticauda, Darter Anhinga melanogaster, Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus, Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala and Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus). The sanctuary is being encroached upon, and isolated by, surrounding development. http://www.orientalbirdclub.org/publications/forktail/19pdfs/Urfi-Okhla.pdf Okhla Bird Park and Wildlife Sanctuary The sanctuary came about into existence with the construction of the Okhla Barrage way back in the late 1950s and 1960s and is right on the Yamuna River between Delhi and Uttar Pradesh at the southeastern end of Delhi on one side and the western boundary of NOIDA. With Yamuna River being on the route of Migratory Birds and providing large space with suitable habitat on its both banks and suitable food in plenty, the birds had been using this area as a staging post for their migration both ways during the winter. It is on the east side of Afzal Ganj and just behind the Kalindi Kunj on Delhi side and just across the main road between NOIDA and Mayur Vihar to the south of The Noida Toll Bridge Toll Plaza. Some Facts: Over Three hundred species of birds (out of about 450 species recorded for Delhi and around Delhi) can be spotted here. The spot is good for birding throughout the year, though best season is during September-March for Winter Migratory Birds. Habitat Library & Resource Centre Page 2

http://www.indianwildlifeclub.com/Destinations/BirdSanctuaries/Okhla.aspx Visit Details: The entry to this place opens at 7 am and one can drive their own car right till the last point on the mud trail near the watch towers. Apart from some morning walkers, only serious birdwatchers frequent this place. Entry & camera charges: For Car/Jeep - Rs.100/For still camera - Rs.30/Although the migratory birds had almost left, the resident birds were in good numbers.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travelogues/116503-visit-okhla-bird-sanctuary-new-delhi.html Winged winter visitors throng Okhla sanctuary Vinod Rajput, Hindustan Times Winter migratory birds - Greater Flamingo, Great White Pelican and Cotton Pygmy Goose have been spotted in the Okhla Bird Sanctuary recently. The visit of these birds, which had given the sanctuary a miss for the past several years, in the monsoon has taken bird watchers and ecologists "This is quite surprising for all of us. It indicates the drastic imbalance in the climate world over," said TK Roy, an ecologist and conservationist. The wildlife officials say that Greater Flamingo and Great White Pelican had stopped visiting the sanctuary two years ago and Cotton Pigmy Goose stopped visiting here many years ago. These birds usually do not visit the sanctuary during summers or rainy season.

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"Birds like Greater Flamingo, Great White Pelican and Cotton Pigmy Goose, which deserted the sanctuary years ago, have been spotted during scorching heat. This is a rare occurrence," said JM Banarjee, range officer, Okhla Bird Sanctuary. The beautiful Greater Flamingo, called Bog Hans in Hindi, is found in the Indian sub-continent. About 500 birds of this species used to visit Okhla sanctuary years back. In 2010, about 20 birds of this species were last reported here. Now, about seven flamingoes are staying over. The Great White Pelican is a large swimming species of Pelican and a resident of south Asia. It is known as 'Hawasil' in Hindi and two such birds have visited the park. The beautiful whitish colour Cotton Pigmy Goose - mainly found in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives is a winter visitor to the Okhla park and it had stopped coming to the park. This month about four gooses have been spotted. http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/UttarPradesh/Winged-winter-visitors-throngOkhla-sanctuary/Article1-893798.aspx Okhla Sanctuary From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia The Okhla barrage bird sanctuary in Okhla, near Delhi is a haven for waterbirds. In 1990, an area of 3.5 square kilometres (1.4 sq mi) on the river Yamuna was notified as a bird sanctuary by the Uttar Pradesh government under the Wildlife Protection Act of India. The site is located at the point where the river leaves of Uttar Pradesh. The most prominent feature of the sanctuary is the large lake created by damming the river, which lies sandwiched between Okhla village towards the west and Gautam Budh Nagar towards the east.

The depleting water levels of the Yamuna, brought about by the twin impact of less water flow into Delhi and a mechanical fault with the Okhla barrage, have had a tragic effect on the fish in the river and on the arrival of migratory birds at the Okhla Bird Sanctuary. According to avid bird-watchers, this year could prove to be particularly bad for the arrival of migratory birds at the sanctuary since the river has almost dried up at the point where it leaves Delhi. Also the fish, which are now confined to the small pools, are quickly dying.

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The water levels at Okhla Bird Sanctuary have never been this low. The reason is that very little water is entering Delhi. Also, due to the repairs being carried out at the barrage the gates remained open and the water which should have been retained in the sanctuary flowed out, says Asian Waterbird Census coordinator Tarun K. Roy who has been following the situation closely. He adds that while some local migratory water-birds like brahminy ducks, northern shovelers, pied avocets, whiskered terns, green sandpipers, wood sandpipers and ruffs had been spotted at the sanctuary in the first week of October, they are quickly vanishing from there due to the sharp fall in availability of water. The sanctuary on the Delhi side of the Yamuna is almost non-existent now due to rampant encroachment by illegal colonies. It is on the other side of the Yamuna that the sanctuary supports some bird life. Incidentally, this area is located barely a couple of kilometres from the Dalit Prerna Sthal, which was inaugurated recently by U. P. Chief Minister Mayawati. On this side too, the small fish are almost dead and only a few large ones remain in the small pools that now exist. The birds are fast exiting the area, says Mr. Roy. Having carried out the bird census on behalf of Wetlands International's South Asia Division for many years, he is concerned that the arrival of the migratory birds from abroad this winter may be affected by the water crisis. Already about a dozen resident water-bird species like the Indian moorhen, purple swamphen, little greeb and march harrier, have given Delhi a go-by. And it now seems that birds like the Eurasian wigeon, tufted pochard, comb duck, bar-headed geese and grey leg geese which come in from abroad may also give the Okhla sanctuary in Delhi a pass on not finding water here, Mr. Roy warns, demanding a minimum water level in the sanctuary that could support fish and bird life. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-newdelhi/article2557354.ece For more information on Delhi, please visit our special Delhi Documenta section in the HLRC:

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