People in the south of Bengaluru who go on their regular morning walk around the Doddakallasandra Lake on Kanakapura Road were pleasantly surprised earlier this week to see a flurry of wings in the water body. As Karnataka reels under a drought induced by a failed monsoon, water in the lake has become confined to some patches where the birds had congregated. Among them were painted storks, black-headed ibis, little egrets, sandpipers, black-winged stilts, cormorants, grey-headed swamphens, peacocks and glossy ibises.

Many of these are long-legged and long-billed birds that forage in flocks in wetlands, searching for fish and insects. Painted storks, which have arrived in big numbers, is a large wader belonging to the stork family. It is classified as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List. It has distinctive pink flight feathers, making it a treat to watch.

Purple swamphens can be seen chasing each other in the area. Some residents have expressed concern about the protection of the birds as stray dogs try to catch them in shallow water. Experts underline the importance of small lakes and their ecosystem in preserving biodiversity. Lakes under 10 hectares should be exempted from fishing licences as they support many bird species, urged Raghavendra B. Pachhapur, of the Doddakaallasandra Lake Protection Committee. He urged the government to preserve the natural habitat of the lakes.

Photo:
K. Murali Kumar

Watering hole: Birds congregate in the puddles of Doddakallasandra Lake in Bengaluru.

Photo:
K. Murali Kumar

Not too late: A pair of Painted Storks arrive to fish in the lake.

Photo:
K. Murali Kumar

Rich diversity: There is enough for both egrets and painted storksra Road.

Photo:
K. Murali Kumar

Drop by drop: Yellow billed babblers quenching thirst.

Photo:
K. Murali Kumar

Calm and composed: A Brahminy Kite perched on a dried tree.

Photo:
K. Murali Kumar

Noisy patch: Purple Swamphens make a ruckus.

Photo:
K. Murali Kumar

Hunger pangs: A grey heron has caught his meal for the day.

Photo:
K. Murali Kumar

A satisfied customer: A grey heron about to take off from the lake.

Photo:
K. Murali Kumar

Sneaking through: A cormorant manages to make off with its share, as painted storks forage in the background.



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