I was going through some of my old photos which I was trying to redo with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 for my upcoming workshop. At the same time one of my good friend Prasanna asked details on Malyadi. That made me look at the photos I had taken during my trip earlier in Feb 2010. I had published only one bird Pheasant-tailed Jacana from that trip. As I started developing, I wanted to publish few more birds from that trip which remained in my hard disk unpublished. On that trip I had used Canon EOS 5D mark II and Canon EOS 7D with Canon EF 300mm f/4.0 L IS USM + Canon EF 1.4x II Extender. All the images here are cropped as I was at quite a bit far off from these birds.
All the birds shown here are migratory. Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) breeds in Eurasian region and migrate to South Asia during winter. Garganey (Anas querquedula) breeds in much of Europe and western Asia. Same can be said about Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius) which migrates from Europe and Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola) which breeds in subarctic wetlands from the Scottish Highlands across Europe. Like my other blogs I am not going talk about these birds in today’s blog. I found there is hardly any information available online on Malyadi. The two Youtube videos have used description which is direct copy from my earlier blog on Malyadi. So I thought of giving a small introduction to this magnificent place.
All these bird sightings are from a sleepy little village called Malyadi, around 1.5 kms from Thekkatte, on National Highway 66 (previously NH 17). It houses a nice bird sanctuary which I used to visit every year usually in the month of February or March. Malyadi Bird Sanctuary is an abandoned clay query of an area approximately 1.5 sq kilometer. It is inhabited by water birds on the swampy land created by collected rain water in the left over clay query.
Clay query was created in this area due to excavation of top soil for tile factories since 1968. Fertile paddy fields were converted into wasteland, which holds water almost till next monsoon. The clay removal activity has stopped since 2002, because the soil of the rest of the area is not suitable for tile making. Succession of water body had taken place in the query with advent of water lilies, utricularia, sedges, Lymnea, and others.
Malyadi is one of the few places in Udupi District, where one can see the large congregations of birds, particularly during summer months. The number of migratory birds visiting this spot has increased in the last few years. The whistling teals are found in hundreds and purple moorhens are also quite abundant. The local farmers say that the purple moorhen destroy their crop by eating on the tender roots. No study has been made with respect to ecology of the Malyadi Bird Habitat except that the guano of birds help to regenerate the waste wet land into fertile fields (Madhyastha, 1994). Because of rich excreta of birds, the phytoplankton and zooplanktons have increased in number which turn facilitated the increase in fish population.
With the initiatives of The Flora and Fauna Club of Kundapura and The Indian Naturalist, Udupi who have helped in nurturing this Bird sanctuary. There is a list of migratory birds on a nearby building informing variety of birds visiting this sanctuary in both Kannada & English. As most of the clay fields are private land of the farmers who are raising two crops a year in that field there is a constant interaction with villagers and these birds. They seem to be living harmoniously with the bird population.
In 2011 DNA published an article – Karnataka bird sanctuaries will miss their feathered guests based on the observation of NA Madhyastha who had been constantly monitoring this sanctuary for last 20 odd years. He observed that waders and other migratory birds missed visiting Malyadi and seems to have been abandoned for the last three seasons. My personal observation was that each time I visited I had seen an impressive variety of birds. But since my visit is once or twice a year, I feel my observations does not invalidate the views expressed in that article.
To make sure such a change is not happening I checked my notes and here is a small checklist of species I have seen or photographed at Malyadi since 2008. I would encourage my good birder friends of this area to expand this list so as to incorporate much more birds which were observed at Malyadi. As of now there is only one known checklist of birds of Malyadi published by Madhav Gadgil et al. Status of Karnataka Biodiversity. SAHYADRI E-NEWS: Issue XI. Sahyadri: Western Ghats Biodiversity Information System ENVIS @CES, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. AND, Dr. N A Madhyastha and Dr. K P Achar
- Buttonhead Pipewort (Eriocaulon heterolepis)
- Golden Bladderwort (Utricularia aurea)
- Grass (Eriocaulon setaceum)
- Grass (Hydroryza aristata)
- Grass (Panicum auritum)
- Grass (Paspalidium punctatum)
- Hairy water lily (Nymphaea pubescens)
- Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum)
- Indian Sundew(Drosera indica)
- Net Veined Bladderwort (Utricularia reticulate)
- Stinking passionflower (Passiflora foetida )
- Tropical Sundew (Drosera burmannii)
- Water Snowflake (Nymphoides humboldtiana)
- Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides)
- Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
- Black-headed Ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus)
- Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)
- Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
- Black Drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus)
- Black Kite (Milvus migrans)
- Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus)
- Bronze-winged Jacana (Metopidius indicus)
- Brown-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus)
- Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
- Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
- Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)
- Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)
- Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
- Common Stonechat (Saxicola torquatus)
- Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)
- Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
- Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra)
- Garganey (Anas querquedula)
- Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis)
- Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)
- Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
- Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
- Indian Darter (Anhinga melanogaster)
- Indian Myna (Acridotheres tristis)
- Indian Pond Heron (Ardeola grayii)
- Intermediate Egret (Mesophoyx intermedia)
- Knob-billed Duck (Sarkidiornis melanotos)
- Lesser Sand Plover (Charadrius mongolus)
- Lesser Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna javanica)
- Little Cormorant (Microcarbo niger)
- Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
- Little Tern (Sterna albifrons)
- Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis)
- Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
- Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva)
- Paddyfield Pipit (Anthus rufulus)
- Pheasant-tailed Jacana (Hydrophasianus chirurgus)
- Pied Bush Chat (Saxicola caprata)
- Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis)
- Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio)
- Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)
- Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)
- Small Pratincole (Glareola lactea)
- Western Marsh-harrier (Circus aeruginosus)
- Western Reef Heron (Egretta gularis)
- Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybridus)
- White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)
- White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)
- Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)
- Woolly-necked Stork (Ciconia episcopus)
Here are 7 more birds Spotted by Ramit Singal at Malyadi as posted on Migrant Watch (14 Oct 2012).
- Ashy Drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus)
- Blyth’s Pipit (Anthus godlewskii)
- Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus)
- Greater Crested Tern (Thalasseus bergii)
- Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica)
- Pin-tailed Snipe (Gallinago stenura)
- Stork-billed Kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis)
I thank my good friends Ramit Singhal & Shiva Shankar for helping me in identifying these birds, Rohit Rao and my daughter Neethi for accompanying me on all my trips to Malyadi.
EXIF info – Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Taken : 21 February, 2010 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 420mm | ISO : 200 | Location : 13° 33.1907′ 0″ N 74° 42.8867′ 0″ E | Shutter speed : 1/800s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.