Belagavi birders took a day off to witness the diverse fauna that thrives around the beautiful city on 22nd Feb. The first of its kind where in thirty five participants from different professions and age groups took part and watched birds for a good three hours on Sunday morning. Five different habitats within the city limits were explored by teams of experienced and new bird watchers. Participants from Bangalore, Manipal, Dharwad and other Northern Karnataka towns joined in to observe birds. Many experienced and established birders/photographers like Neeranjan Sant, Ram Mallya, Shridhar Shelke, Jasminder Khurana actively participated and helped new birders learn skills of observing and photographing birds.
Belagavi lies at the foothills of Western Ghats with an average elevation of 751 meters above the sea level. With the Markandeya River flowing nearby along with various other water bodies and the overall green cover, the city is blessed with a range of habitats that attract a variety of birds. Belagavi has reported sightings of vulnerable birds like the Lesser Adjutant Storks and Indian Spotted Eagles from nearby birding locations.
On the bird day a total of hundred and twenty four species were recorded from five locations. These include species endemic to the Western Ghats like the Malabar grey hornbill, among many others like the Eurasian collared doves, Grey fronted green pigeon, paradise flycatchers, woolly necked storks, purple herons, black headed ibis, river terns, white-browed bulbul, brown shrike, tree pipits etc. Twenty five winter visitor species were noted like the olive backed pipit, blue capped rock thrush, black headed bunting, common kestrel, wood sandpiper and a variety of warblers.
The goal of the event was to watch maximum species of birds and to count the approx number of birds seen, although there was no winning team. Vaccine Depot one among the five locations reported maximum number of birds. A total of fifty four bird species were recorded here. Depot is a patch of 152 acres of land covered with bio-diverse forest and is a home for many wild creatures and birds. Yellur road, Dhamane road, VTU road and Sulga/Bauxite road were among the other areas explored during the day.
The event was organised and lead by Ms Madhushri Mudke along with a team of volunteers from the Belagavi Birders’ Network. The network is an informal organization that shares bird sightings and photographs along with organizing bird walks. The network was established by Ms Madhushri, a Bangalore Based Physical Therapist and recreational bird watcher in August 2014 during her stay in the city. Currently there are more than 250 active members and photographers who bird watch and share their sightings on the group.
Events like so provide valuable information on birds and their number in the field of ornithology. These events are usually fun filled group activities that help bring awareness of the surrounding and birds and promote their conservation.