Tuesday, March 17, 2009

KEOLADEO GHANA..... truly an avian paradise!

Offering a break from the hectic city life, the park is a wonderful relaxing place. With its tree lined paths and refreshing lakes which are a cool respite from the arid landscape all around, the park is located in the heart
of the district of Rajasthan, Bharatpur.

The park has a wide diversity of habitats ranging from marshes, woodlands, grasslands to denuded saline patches of land and perhaps this is the reason behind the incredible diversity of avifauna found here.
It is almost unbelievable that more than 400 species of birds are found in this small park of 29 sq. km. of which 11sq. km. are marshes and the rest comprises of scrubland and grassland. It is much more surprising that this unique ecosystem is manmade. The avifauna, includes a large variety of herons, kingfishers, pelicans, storks, birds of prey and ducks. Moreover, it is the only known wintering site of the rare and endangered Siberian crane, which flies around 8,050km (5,000 miles) to get here.

Really! It deserves to be called as the ‘bird’s paradise’.

Each bird species here has fascinatingly distinct characteristics, sure to astound you. The natural mosaic of colorations and unique plumage pattern of each species seems amusing to every bird watcher. What makes them more fascinating is their incredible diversity!
In fact, it is much more interesting to spend some time near the waterfront and explore the largely untold story of the bird life- their activities and interactions; the black-headed ibis necks down into the water to find a good catch with its curved pointed black beak; snakebirds drying their wings in leisure at the treetops; groups of ducks swimming gracefully in the cold murky water and a profusion of colored, white-breasted water hens, grey & purple herons, multi colored kingfishers and painted storks occupied in their own discussions. Their chirping calls and communications actually make the place alive. The morning praises the euphony of these feathered friends, while the evening pulsates with the loud calls of jackals and hyenas.

The Flying Mystery of Siberian Cranes - the VIP's of the migratory list…
Around October, the avian population increases with the arrival of wintering migratory birds which stay in the park until the end of February. Among these birds are the highly endangered Siberian cranes, who commit a week of perilous flight to reach the Keoladeo Park. They truly are magnificent creatures, with bills and faces colored a deep blood red, a plumage of pristine white and black wingtips. This rare and endangered bird flies around 8,050km (5,000 miles) to get here its single known wintering site. The great combination of energy and vigor with which these small creatures cover such long distances, is really admirable and inspirational.

Another major attractants which definitely, would not fail to grab your attention are the iridescent delicate butterflies which hover noiselessly over the colorful pretty flowers; some are shy and some are quite visitor-friendly, get easily captured in the cameras. To the date, around 35-40 species of butterflies have been recorded to visit the park.

Perhaps it is because we belong to the order ourselves that we find mammals to be one of the most charismatic of all fauna. While visiting Keoladeo did not give an opportunity to watch many of the mammal species, but still it offered some unforgettable glimpses of mammals like, spotted deer, sambar deer, nilgai -India’s largest antelope, wild boar and rhesus macaque.

Blue bulls are seen in groups, feeding on the sprouting grasses of the dry land patches. They are not just confined to the upland but they are equally at home in wet land; while the Sambar deer prefers a companionship of dry land and upland, the Axis deer(Chital) does not like water and hence remains confined to the upland areas of the park.

Another part of the park which is largely a boggy woodland, offers ideal habitat for the reptiles like rock python and monitor lizard. One can watch them basking in the sun on high lands. Pythons are very sensual creatures, they can detect the vibrations of any movement from much distance but the Indian monitor lizard prefers to lie down in the same position for hours and responds less to any such stimulus.

One of the most mesmerizing moments of the visit was the early morning exploration of the beautiful wetland- NEEL TAL. The rolling mist over the silent waters of the marsh and the sweet melody of the birds lend some memorable moments; it sways you to some other world where nature is the sole dictator and we humans are just visitors.

Visiting keoladeo is a must for every bird watcher and even if you do not have much interest in bird watching, then for sure, it would awaken the bird watcher in you…..!

1 comment:

  1. awesome yar...i was not knowing that rajasthan is so beautiful....