Greater Noida's Surajpur Wetland sees rise in bird diversity

Uttar Pradesh’s state bird — Sarus Crane — was also sighted after a gap of two years, much to the delight of birders and environment enthusiasts.

Published: 06th January 2019 09:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th January 2019 09:41 AM   |  A+A-

SURAJPUR-Wetland

Volunteers pose for a group photo after the bird survey. (Photo | EPS)

NEW DELHI: Despite all the pollution in the National Capital Region (NCR), Surajpur Wetland in Uttar Pradesh’s Greater Noida now boasts of a greater diversity of water birds and also more numbers as compared to the previous year. Uttar Pradesh’s state bird — Sarus Crane — was also sighted after a gap of two years, much to the delight of birders and environment enthusiasts.

A total of 42 — 21 resident and migratory each — species were recorded against last year’s 35 at Surajpur Wetland, according to the findings of the Asian Waterbird Census (AWC), 2019, which kicked off in Delhi-NCR on Saturday. 

Black-necked Stork looks out
for food at Surajpur wetland.
| Express

The winged population nearly doubled from 1,920 in 2018 to 3,034 this time. The AWC-2019, the largest water bird census in Asia which records the status of important wetland habitats and water bird diversity, was conducted by Wetlands International South Asia in collaboration with Gautam Budha Nagar forest division, Noida. 

Of the winged species sighted, at least eight were of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red listed Threatened birds. Among these, the dominating population was of Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Common Teal, and Black-tailed Godwit, which are long distant winter migratory birds. 
Ecologist T K Roy, who is also the Delhi coordinator of AWC, said the numbers increased from last year as water hyacinth was cleared this time from the wetland.

A part of the global international water bird census, the yearly survey will cover six wetlands in Delhi-NCR. Besides Surajpur, the other wetlands are Okhla Bird Sanctuary, Najafgarh Jheel and drain, River Yamuna, Sanjay Lake, National Zoological Park, and Sultanpur National Park. 

The census is the volunteer-based group’s largest international water bird survey which will be carried out simultaneously in 27 countries, including India, across Asia and Australasia till January 20. The purpose is to record the status of important wetland habitats and water birds diversity with population estimates as per international standard protocol and methodology.  

Dos & Don’ts for Birding

Dos

  • Armed with good binocular, camera and field guide

  • Early mornings are the best times for birding

  • Have some light snacks and keep water bottle

  • Wear camouflaged or dull coloured clothes

  • Keep your eye on bird and listen for calls and song

  • Estimate general size and shape of the bird

  • Make a note of facial markings and bill characteristics

  • Look for wing bars and tail shape

  • Observe leg colour and length

  • Study movement and flight patterns

  • Determine feeding habitats

  • Describe habitat, region and climate

  • Record your observations

DONT'S

  1. Don’t make a noise, keep silence

  2. Don’t listen to song or music

  3. Don’t litter in the area, use dustbins

  4. Don’t carry firearms

  5. Don’t wear bright coloured clothes and soft sole shoes

Wetland: More than water body

Ecological Definition: Ecotones or transitional zones between permanently aquatic and dry terrestrial ecosystems

Ramsar Convention (1971): Areas of marsh, fen, peat land or water whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters

MoEF (2007)
Wetland is a generic term for water bodies of various types, and includes diverse hydrological entities, namely lakes, marshes swamps, estuaries, tidal flats, river flood plains and mangroves. Ramsar convention is the global environment treaty that came in existence in 1971 at Ramsar (Iran) for wise use of wetlands throughout the world. India is signatory to this convention from 1997, today the convention has 135 signatory countries.

Why Conserve Wetlands?

  • Stabilise local climate

  • Controls floods

  • Plays key role in freshwater cycle

  • Helps in water purification

  • Retention of pollutants/nutrients/sediment

  • Ground water recharge or discharge, maintenance of underground water

  • Staging ground for waterfowl, nurseries for fisheries and wildlife

  • Recreation and cultural heritage- developing Sustainable Tourism

  • Providing food, fuel and livelihoods to local people

  • Provides an educational environment for children and students

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