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Feathered friends find fresh haunt

- Ekamrakanan Lake plays host to thousands of colourful migratory birds

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 16: Birds from foreign shores have found a new address here.

Ekamrakanan Lake inside the Regional Plant Resource Centre (RPRC) is playing host to migratory birds. They can also be seen taking shelter at the nearby Kuasara water-harvesting structure.

Both water bodies are part of the Chandaka-Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary.

The lake has become a centre of attraction for city dwellers.

To begin with, Ekamrakanan lake was a small water body, but with the formation of RPRC, the authorities expanded its area and it has since been attracting birds. Birds such as teals, gadwals, pintails, common pochard, common sandpiper and little stint have been sighted at the lake this winter. Rare birds such as pheasant-tailed jacana and common migratory birds such as river tern have also been seen.

A senior official of the sanctuary said: “Every year, migratory birds come to the lake and we see 30 to 35 species. However, the lesser whistling teal (also known as whistling duck) is the dominant species. In all, there are 5,000 birds at Ekamrakanan lake. We are counting them as part of our annual waterfowl census and the report will be published soon.”

Sources said that in 2010, a record 14,293 migratory birds were sighted at Ekamrakanan. But the entire Chandaka-Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary counts around 35,000 water birds in a year.

Several areas inside the sanctuary, such as Mahanadi, Jaria, Charigharia, Kusapangi, Kujimahal, Kumarkhunti, Jhumka, Deras, Guptapada, Kajalaganda, Langudi and Madua have reported sightings of winter birds.

Divisional forest officer of Chandaka-Dampara Wildlife Sanctuary Sibaram Mohapatra said: “The waterfowl census will be ready shortly. Once that is done we will be sure about the actual number of birds.”

Ornithologist and honorary wildlife warden of Puri district Gauhar Abedin said: “Birds at Ekamrakanan come from the same groups which head towards Chilika during their migration from the northern hemisphere. They start coming around the last week of October and stay till the last week of February at Chilika and the same trend is seen here.”