Ramsar site Pong Dam turns in a healthy summer bird count

Shimla: Ramsar wetland Pong Dam is not only a wintering ground for thousands of migratory birds but also has a substantial summer breeding bird population that a bird count carried out recently showed up.

A 40 member participating team after a daylong exercise on 23 June, 2015 enumerated 12,314 wetland birds of different species, both on land and along the shores.

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Participating ornithologists observed and counted that the summer dominant species were Cattle Egret (3,348), Little Cormorant (2,003), Small Pratincole (1,377), Little Egret (1,305), Red Wattled Lapwing (1,024). Other important species found breeding in the area and recorded in the lake were the Little Tern (194), Purple Heron (173), Yellow Wattled Lapwing (55), Gull billed Tern (46) and the Great Thick knee (43).

“Over the last few years Pong Dam Lake, also a Ramsar site, has become an ideal destination for summer sojourn for many species of birds,” says Tarun Shridhar, additional chief secretary forest and wildlife.

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These species visit Pong Lake regularly from their wintering places in Central Indian. Most of these birds are resident whereas many like Yellow Wattled Lapwing, Small Pratincole, Lesser Whistling Duck, Indian Skimmer, Black crowned Night Heron and Blue tailed Bee eater are summer migrants, said Shridhar.

Pong Dam is a man made wetland but over the years has become a place where many thousands of migratory birds winter each year. Efforts taken in conserving and developing the wetland enabled it to be declared a Ramsar Wetland.

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Named after Ramsar in Iran, the convention signed in 1971 is an international treaty for conserving wetlands, especially waterfowl habitat.

The Convention on Wetlands, called the Ramsar Convention, is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

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Conservationists have recorded and documents 423 species of birds, 18 species of snakes, 90 species of butterflies, 24 species of mammals and 27 species of fishes at Pong Dam Lake and Wildlife Sanctuary.

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As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik has nurtured Hill Post for over a decade. A chequered path had him drift from managing family owned apple orchards, to turning a documentary filmmaker, to a journalist - with India’s leading television networks and newspapers, to boot strapping in founding Start-Ups. He lives in Shimla.

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