Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Bird watch update - Mother duck, stilts, storks!

This seems to be a good season for birds. Several lake groups have reported sighting flocks of Pelicans and Storks. Our Puttakere is too small for such big species and numbers. Nevertheless, we are delighted to tell you that for the first time a Spot-billed duck laid eggs and hatched them at the lake! And to think we had no clue till last week when our gardeners sent photos and videos of the mother duck tagged by eight little fluffy balls! 

Spot-billed duck with chicks

Spot-billed duck and ducklings 
Pic: Muktha Baliga, 29-Mar-2022

When the lake was closed due to the pandemic last year, the chicks of the White-breasted waterhen used to wander off on their own, much to the obvious panic of the mother.  

White breasted waterhen with chicks

White-breasted waterhen chicks
Pic: Ramu, 22-Oct-2021

These little ducklings are more obedient. They swim behind their mother in a line, looking pretty much like the wavy tail of a kite.  Only when she stops, do they scatter but never too far. In spite of this, two fell prey to a Brahminy kite who herself has a chick to feed. Such is the way of nature. We can only be observers. However, we plan to make the lake safer by planting more reeds where the duck (and other species) can nest, hatch and protect their young ones. As of now, there are six ducklings left. Heartbreaking. 

On a happier note, we have had at least seven Painted storks at one time, four Black-winged stilts, Wood and Green Sandpipers. These migratory birds are still around and blending well with the resident ones. 

Black-winged stilt 
Pic.: Madhurima Das, 27-Mar-2022

Do visit the lake, see the birds and share their photographs. Who knows, you may get to see a visitor that we missed or has just arrived? 

To know more about the birds spotted at the lake, please see the Puttakere hotspot on eBird here.

- Usha Rajagopalan

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