For the last two years, I have dreamt about meeting the foreign delegates. They arrive every year in India during the winter season. Why in winter? Some may ask. Being an Indian, you should know that tropical temperature ranges from 25 degree to 50 degrees in summer and the devastating floods in monsoon delays the arrival of the international guests. They don’t stay in luxurious hotels and resorts. Where they stay is the ultimate holiday destination anyone can ask for, beside the lakes and lagoons, situated in every nook and corner of India. India is like the winter house to them. These guests of ours have exotic names. They have their own grace and own nationality. You must be thinking who are these delegates, who visit India every Year.
They are no one but our very own migratory birds. Some of them come here for a mere holiday and some of them come here to initiate courtship and mate and expand their family. These colorful individuals can mesmerize you anytime anywhere as they fly high against the blue sky, be it dusk or dawn. The vivid colors can hypnotize you nonetheless. Their abundance in some particular regions will just amaze you. You may think why they are critically endangered or nearly threatened, why they are tagged vulnerable. But they are indeed.
As I have said I have been waiting for two years to visit a wetland. Living in Kolkata, one of the busiest metropolitan in India, I am surrounded with some of the most popular wetlands, namely, Purbasthali in Burdwan which is some three hour journey from Kolkata, Met-char which is beside Purbasthali (an ox-bow lake), Gajoldoba in North Bengal, and Mangalajodi in Orissa. These places harbor many waders, storks; some of them are critically endangered (as stated by IUCN). And I chose Managalajodi.
Mangalajodi is the 229th site of Chilika Lake. The place is under Tangi block of Khoordah District, Orissa. Being a marshland, it has been a place to Pintails, Shelducks, and several other waders. But it has been a hunting ground also. Locales used to hunt them for daily meals. Hunting expeditions were arranged if some big shot individual came to the village. The villagers, having no idea about what are they doing, passed on the practice of hunting, generation wise. But in somewhere around 90’s Mr. Nanda Kishore Bhujabal, a wildlife conservationist, gathered round a few literates of the village and started an organization, WILD ORISSA, which targeted the hunters. WILD ORISSA expanded into Sri Mahavir Pakshi Surakshya Samiti. This organization tried to make the villagers understand the importance of the place. The villagers gradually learnt about several species of birds, their names, species, genus, their eggs, their breeding time, and the bird population started flourishing in no time. Thus poachers became protectors and more birds started visiting Mangalajodi, their safe haven. Now it harbors 7-8, 00,000 birds of 121 species. [If you have any idea about Managalajodi bird census, please comment below]. 6-7 members of the Samiti go out for patrolling regularly along with the members of Orissa wildlife department. Kudos to Mr. N.K. Bhujabal for such an initiative and for delivering such a staggering result.
I enjoyed my 2 nights 3 days vacation in Mangalajodi very much. Our team was ecstatic and full of enthusiasm. Such a diverse group but such integrity amazed me. Wild (birds) Click
members amazes me every time. We are not just photographers but Bird lovers. And I thoroughly enjoyed our birding session.
The experience is indescribable. I will definitely fall short of words. But one thing for sure, I will visit again, no matter what. Just to sit in those small, canoe-like boats and to crawl slowly through the silent water, and to witness the birds; playing, flying, pooping, feeding, preening, bathing, calling, and what not. The most beautiful music is created in the marshes, every day morning and evening. Some might call it cacophony but I can listen to the angels speaking. (I have always considered birds as angels).
I will not waste any further time. Here are some treasured pictures from the trip. Feedbacks about Photographs are highly appreciated. Do comment.
More Pictures are coming…
FACTS Mangalajodi, a ramsar site is situated in the Khoordah district of Orissa Nearest Station: Balugaon Nearest Airport: Bhuvaneswar Airport Again, this trip was conducted by Mr. Subhash Saha. If you have any questions regarding this trip do call him up: +919903228000. Subscribe via Email to get updates about my blogposts. Stay tuned. 🙂