SHIMLA: Pong Dam wetlands in the picturesque Kangra Valley has witnessed an increase in the arrival of feathered guests with 5000 more migratory birds arriving this winter as compared to last year.
The Annual Waterfowl Estimation exercise was carried out on January 29 for monitoring the numerical size of visitor migratory birds' population during 2013-14 in Pong Dam Lake Wildlife Sanctuary.
After a day-long exercise, it was concluded that 128200 waterfowls of 119 different species have visited Pong Dam Lake this year against 1.23 lakh birds of 113 species last year.
Dominant species noticed this year include Bar Headed Goose (43000), Northern Pintail (21500), Common Teal (13800), Common Pochard (10000),Common Coots (9000) Tufted Pochard (6100), Great Cormorant (5500), Ruddy Shelduck (2100) and Eurasian Wigeon (1730), principal secretary (Environment and Forests), Tarun Sridhar said.
The number of rare and endangered species was quite low and only one Indian Skimmer and one Little Gull were spotted while the other species which are rarely found in other wetlands in India recorded in the lake are Common Shelduck (06), Sarus Cranes (09), Osprey (06), Buff bellied Pipit (04).
While the Eurasian Skylark (340) has probably the highest density in Pong Dam Lake in the entire country, other noticeable species are Great Crested Grebe, Greylag Goose, Red Crested Pochard, Ferruginous Pochard, Common Merganser, Eurasian Spoonbill, Greater White Fronted Goose, Garganey, Water Pipits, Gull billed Pipits.
Most of these birds migrate from their breeding places in trans-Himalaya region in Tibet, Central Asia, Russia and Siberia.
Over the last few years Pong Dam Lake, also a Ramsar site, has become an ideal destination for winter sojourn for many species of migratory birds.
Further, 421 species of birds, 18 species of snakes, 90 species of Butterflies, 24 species of Mammals, 27 species of fishes have been recorded in Pong and that is attributed to the varied habitats, availability of food and extended protection by involving local communities.
About 90 experts from various institutes and organisations including WWF, Delhi Bird Club, Himachal Bird Club, Birds of Himachal and many wildlife enthusiasts, bird watchers, volunteers along with officials and officers from forest department, participated in this mega exercise.
The entire Pong Dam Lake Wildlife Sanctuary was divided in to 22 sections for the exercise.