Even as elaborate arrangements are on for the three-day Flamingo Festival at Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary near the Pulicat Lake, beginning from January 8, the district administration is pinning high hopes for the success of the event with early arrival of the migratory birds.
This year, many migratory birds have already arrived from far-off places ahead of the festival to the lake area with the ambience becoming more pleasant for them owing to copious water and abundant prey, thanks to the incessant rain.
A forest official told Express that around 1,200 bills have already been found in the open area surrounding the tank and another 1,000 on the trees and bushes are seen, little ahead of the peak sojourn season.
The Pulicat lake spread on around on 460 sq km area on the backwaters of Bay of Bengal in Sullurpet, Doravarisatram, Vakadu and Kota mandals in Nellore district and another 240 sq km in Arambakam, Yellavuru, Gummidipoondi areas in Tamil Nadu. Birds of 240 varieties begin their sojourn from various continents every winter season. Migratory birds-- pelican, flamingo, painted stork, red-legged crayons, northern pintail , blacked-winged birds, pipers--visit the lake every year between October and March for breeding.
Many ornithologists, environmentalists, bird watchers and tourists throng Pulicat lake to watch the foreign visitors. They also discuss various aspects of bird migration including protection of natural habitats.
The festival was started with the initiation of the then technical education minister Parasa Venkata Ratnaiah in 2001 to attract more tourists to the lake, before it was included in the state’s tourism calender.