With the onset of winter thousands of migratory birds from various European countries have flown to Kashmir wetlands.
The winged visitors start arriving in the valley towards the first week of November to avoid extreme cold conditions in Siberia, China, Japan and other countries in northern hemisphere.
Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Brahminy Duck, Garganey, Greylag Goose, Mallard, Common Merganser, Northern Pintail, Common Pochard, Ferruginous Pochard, and Eurasian Wigeon are some of the most sighted birds in the wetlands of Kashmir these days. The guest birds also include Red-Crested Pochard, Ruddy Shelduck, Northern Shoveler and Common Teal.
As per officials, the migratory birds coming to Kashmir mostly from Russia, Siberia and central Asian republics stay in Hokersar, Wular Lake, Haigam, Shalbugh and some other water bodies.
The visiting bird species stay in the wetlands of snow bound Kashmir for five months during winter from early November to March before leaving for their respective regions.
The threat of poaching is a major concern for the Wildlife Department. However, officials said that this has been curbed to a great extent.
“The migratory birds like every year started arriving in the valley, and thousands have already reached here,” Wildlife Warden Wetlands Ifshan Dewan told Greater Kashmir.
She said that a record breaking count is expected this year. “To provide a feasible ambience to the avian guests, the department has taken several measures to maintain sufficient water level in all the wetlands of valley,” she said.
“Increased vigil by the department has reduced the poaching threat. Our special squads are conducting regular checks around the wetlands to check the illegal hunting,” she said.
Besides Hokersar, the migratory birds flock the Wullar lake and other wetlands like Hygam, Shallabugh and Mirgund.