Jagadishpur lake welcomes thousands of migratory birdsBirds from as far as Siberia, China, Mongolia, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan, among other countries, migrate to Jagadishpur lake every year during winter, say ornithologists.
Thousands of migratory birds have arrived at Jagadishpur lake, a Ramsar wetland site in Kapilvastu, with the arrival of the winter season this year.
Various species of birds from as far as Siberia migrate to the lake during winter in search of food. The migratory birds started flocking to the Jagadishpur lake in October second week this year. The lake, which is considered as a haven for birding, is hosting thousands of birds at present.
“Around 6,000 to 8,000 birds have arrived at the Jagadishpur lake so far,” said ornithologist Hem Sagar Baral. “The arrival of migratory birds will continue for the next few weeks.”
According to conservationists, several bird species including, Common coot, Gadwall, Lesser Whistling duck, Tufted duck, Ferruginous duck, Northern pintail, Northern shoveler, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Pochard and Cotton Pygmy-goose, migrate to the Jagadishpur lake every winter.
Shiva Bahadur Wagle, the chief of Kapilvastu Municipality Ward No. 9, said around 300 migratory birds have been making their way to the Jagadishpur lake from the north every day.
“Common coot, locally known as Marul, is the major bird species that have arrived in the lake. Approximately 3,000 Common coots have already reached the lake this year,” said Wagle.
Many tourists have been frequenting the lake area since the first week of November for bird watching, says Rambilas Kewat, an employee at the lake conservation committee.
“The flow of visitors has increased after the Dashain festival. More than 200 people visit the lake on a daily basis now,” he said.
Madhab Belbase of Bhumahi from neighbouring Rupandehi district had visited the lake area with his friends a couple of days ago.
“I came here to watch birds after I heard their arrival to the lake had already begun. This is a sight to behold,” Belbase said.
Shyam KC, a resident of Bhaluwang in Dang district, has also had a similar experience. “It is an immense pleasure to watch thousands of birds at the same time. I walked around three kilometres around the lake watching the birds and listening to their chirpings,” said KC.
Ruddy Shelducks, a bird species known as Chakhewa in Nepal, are the major attraction in the Jagadishpur lake. Hari hans, a rare bird species, are also spotted in the lake in a good number.
“The birds will stay in the lake till February,” said ornithologist Baral.
According to conservationists, of the 886 species of birds officially recorded in Nepal, around 118, including grebes, cormorants, herons, egrets, stork, ducks and geese, terns and gulls, are found in the Jagadishpur area.
According to Som GC, another ornithologist, birds from as far as Siberia, China, Mongolia, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan, among other countries, migrate to the Jagadishpur lake every year to avoid severe cold.
“The birds also face a shortage of food when it starts snowing in the northern areas. So they migrate to warmer places like the Jagadishpur lake area. Some birds travel around 4,000 to 5,000 miles to arrive at the lake,” said BC.
The lake is spread over an area of 157 hectares and is located in Kapilvastu Municipality-9, 11km north of Taulihawa, the district headquarters. As Nepal’s biggest man-made lake, the Jagadishpur lake has been included in the list of Wetlands of International Importance. It was listed as the international wetland area in August 2003.