Pelagic birds that spend most of their life in oceans and transfer in direction of coasts solely to breed have been sighted by the tons of for the primary time within the southern districts of West Bengal after cyclone Amphan battered the area on Could 20, hen watchers stated.
Amphan, which hit the Sunderbans coast at a velocity of 155-165 kmph, carried the birds deep into the mainland with its sheer power, consultants stated.
The sightings have been recorded by some scientists from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) and birders in Kolkata, South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas, Howrah and Hooghly districts.
Among the many pelagic birds sighted are various kinds of frigatebirds such because the higher, lesser and Christmas frigatebird, Wilson’s storm petrel, sooty tern, lesser crested tern, nice crested tern, brown noddy and short-tailed shearwater.
“Whereas terns of some varieties could be noticed in coastal areas the place they even feed on freshwater fish, frigatebirds of so many sorts are by no means seen in mainland Bengal. Some might not survive the exhaustion and starvation. They can not discover meals,” stated G Maheswaran, scientist and ornithologist at ZSI. “A few of my colleagues have photographed these frigatebirds,” he added.
“Frigatebirds can survive solely in oceans the place they dive deep to catch fish. The cyclone absolutely killed and maimed many of those birds. Had the cyclone hit the coast through the motion of migratory birds from central and south Asia, the devastation would have been extreme,” Maheswaran added.
A few the birds sighted final week have been seen prior to now however solely in small numbers. In response to a analysis paper revealed in Indian Birds, the short-tailed shearwater, for instance, was recorded for the primary time in India in 2013 at Namkhana within the South 24 Parganas.
“Whereas the terns and shearwaters have moved in direction of the ocean, the frigatebirds are caught in several districts. There are experiences of some discovered by villagers in crucial situation. We’re making ready experiences by crosschecking data with birders in several districts and consulting consultants,” stated Sujan Chatterjee, secretary of the West Bengal-based Birdwatchers’ Society. “Restriction on motion throughout lockdown and disruption in telecommunication have made the job troublesome,” he added.
A knowledge reviewer for e-Chook in West Bengal, birder Sandip Das stated, “For the primary time, higher frigatebirds have been noticed at New City within the japanese fringes of Kolkata. I photographed a number of close to Bally bridge. Some have been noticed in Hooghly district as properly.” Bally bridge connects Kolkata to Howrah.
Swarup Saha, an ardent birder at Batanagar in South 24 Parganas district, visited the native river jetty along with his digital camera on the morning of Could 21. “There have been a number of hundred terns of various sorts. I couldn’t consider my eyes. The flocks have been transferring in direction of the shoreline. I noticed round 30 roseate terns amongst 300-odd bridled terns,” stated Saha.
“There have been many cyclones however Amphan was a distinct expertise. Pelagic birds discovered at Lakshadweep or across the western coast of India have been seen in Bengal for the primary time. A fellow birder noticed a Wilson’s storm petrel proper right here on the Kolkata riverfront. It was past creativeness,” stated Sandeep Biswas, a birder from Dum Dum within the north-eastern fringes of Kolkata.