KENDRAPARA: The pandemic has played spoilsport to the plans of birders who are unable to watch the birds flocking Bhitarkanika National Park during the monsoon due to Covid restrictions. With the rains, a large number of resident birds have started to flock the mangrove forests within the park.
Usually, visitors throng the heronries to watch the birds during the nesting season which commences from the third week of June. However, the pandemic has dashed the hopes of bird watchers who are not able to watch the nesting birds due to several restrictions and lockdown, said divisional forest officer (DFO) of Bhitarkanika JD Pati.
The main heronry at Mathadia near the park has put on a fascinating look with flocks of birds starting to lay eggs. More than a dozen of bird species are now in Bhitarkanika for nesting and going by past records, the list is likely to increase by next month. But the birders will miss out on the enjoyment of the incredible sights.
Swadhin Tripathy, a bird watcher of Kendrapara, said, “Every year during monsoon, I visit Bhitarkanika to watch the nesting activities of birds. Watching birds descending into the mangrove forests is a rare and amazing experience. Getting to see these birds building nests by collecting branches, laying and hatching eggs, feeding fledglings, guarding them from predators, scorching sun and heavy downpour is a sight to behold. But this year, we have to miss out on this pure enjoyment.”
The DFO informed that Bhitarkanika is known as a bird watcher’s paradise because of its rich assemblage of avifauna. “The most important nesting birds are the open billed stork, little cormorant, median, little and large egret, purple and green heron, darter, white ibis and cattle egret. In the past, a large number of birds used to nest at Bagagahana forest within the park during the monsoon. But in 2019, many birds shifted their nesting area to the nearby Mathadia forest,” he added.