Annual Waterfowl Count by Himachal Forest Deptt.

Bar headed Geese at PDL, photo by BS Rana

Shimla: This news will surely bring a smile on the faces of Birding aficionados and a chance to participate in the Annual Waterfowl Count at the Pong Dam Lake Bird Sanctuary.

Built in 1960, the Pong Dam reservoir is the only place in the country after the Bharatpur Sanctuary where the red-necked grebe descends every year. The size of the Pong dam lake and its situation in the extreme northwest of the northern plains makes it a suitable habitat for migratory birds entering the plains of India from Central Asia. Over 220 bird species belonging to 54 families have been recorded.

The Himachal Pradesh Forest Department in association with the Bombay Natural History Society and the WWF-India have sent open invitation to all bird watchers to participate in Annual bird count on 15th, 16th, and 17th January, 2010.

Bird Watchers at PDL, photo by Sanjeeva Pandey

Those interested to participate can email Chief Conservator of Forests,  Sanjeeva Pandey, on pandey.sanjeeva@gmail.com

So, what are you all waiting for just pick up your pair of binocular, camera, bird book, note book and other important things which you’ll need on the Annual Bird Count.

Organisers will be providing lodging and boarding facility to all participants.

About the Pong Dam Lake Bird Sanctuary

Pong is recently created WATER Storage reservoir on the Beas river in the low foothills of Himalaya on the northern edge of Indo Gangetic plain.The Dhauldhar mountian range forms a backdrop to the lake.The size of the Pongdam lake and its situation in the extreme northwest of the northern plains makes it a suitable habitat for migratory birds entering the plains of India from Central Asia.Over 220 bird species belonging to 54 families have been recorded.

Cormorants and gulls, photo by Sanjeeva Pandey

Pong Dam reservoir is 115 km from Dharamsala. Nestled in the sylvan surroundings of the Kangra valley, the sprawling Pong Dam wetland has emerged as a major habitat for migratory birds in the country as also an attraction for bird watchers.

Wetland popularly known as Ramsar site has been recognized Internationally as one of the finest and largest manmade wetlands of North India situated in the Dhauladhar mountain ranges of Himachal Pradesh. Known as an outstanding town of paradise for birds watchers, the wetland has rich bio-diversity with meager forests round the Pong Dam Wetland having several tree species which serve as edible fruits for the migratory birds. Keeping in view the natural beauty of the wetland, the area has been developed as national wetland and has been included in the list of internationally known wetlands.

Built in 1960, the Pong Dam reservoir is the only place in the country after the Bharatpur Sanctuary where the red-necked grebe descends every year.

Similarly, though seashore species, the arrival of gulls on this lake also make the Pong Dam an exception.

Bar headed Geese photo by SP Dhiman

It may be recalled that it was in 1920 when a British police officer counted as many as 27 bird species in this region of Kangra district. Subsequently, it was designated as a protected area.

The water body occupies an area of at least 18,000 hectares and extends up to 30,000 hectares at the peak monsoon. An area of about 20,000 hectares within the radius of 5 km has been notified as the buffer zone.

Raised in Shimla and originally from Mandi district, Disha wears many caps which includes being part of a lead team of a fast growing IT company based out of Chandigarh. Earlier Disha was associated with My Himachal and visits Shimla regularly.

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