Friday, September 4, 2009

Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary

Uppalapadu near Guntur is one of the only three places in India where Spot-Billed Pelicans nest, while they reside at other places too.Karnataka, Kerala-TN Border are the other two places where these large winged creatures nest. Some nesting grounds of Burma, Malaysia and Vietnam got destroyed or were deserted for various reasons leading to increase in numbers at Uppalapadu.
And also this sanctuary is home to 60 species of migratory birds like Painted Stork, White Ibis, Heron and Cormorant. Birds like Rosy Pastor travel hundreds of kilometers to come to this place. The number of birds touches 20,000 during the peak season between September and February. The unique aspect of this place is that the birds can be spotted throughout the year. The number of birds inhabiting this small stretch of land also makes it one of the densest areas occupied by birds at any given time, any where in India.
I revisited this place on February 10, 2009 and found these Pelicans and Painted Storks have found a new tank at Garapadu for nesting. For the past several months this panchayat tank is being inhabited by about 700 pelicans and 50 painted storks due to shortage of space at Uppalapadu. To reach Garapadu, take a left turn at Sibar Dental College, if you are coming from Uppalapadu towards Guntur, and the road straight away takes you to Garapadu Tank.
In Uppalapadu a Zilla Parishad School is housed in a small island inside the tank on a 2.5 acre site and there is sufficient water around the school, but due to regular visit of human beings, these birds have not nested on some of the trees that are most suitable for their purpose. If the Gram Panchayat agrees and gets an alternative land with the help of Zilla Parishad and District Administration for the School Building, this could become country’s largest nesting ground for Pelicans. At Uppalapadu first half of February is the best time for visitors see young chicks making efforts to fly out and by June-July a new species of birds -- Open Bill Storks and White Ibis will take over the space and fly out sometime in October.
Route: From Guntur City this place is 10 km and is nearer to N.T.R Manasa Sarovaram on N.H-5.

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