Odishatv Bureau

Berhampur: A rare bird was sighted in the Chilika lake, the biggest waterfowl habitat in the country, during the headcount of feathered guests conducted by the wildlife organisation in the entire lagoon.

The common shelduck, a rare migratory bird was sighted in Nalabana, the 15.59 sq km bird sanctuary area during the enumerators, said Divisional Forest Officer, Chilika wildlife division, Bikash Ranjan Das.

"This species of bird had not visited the lake for the past few years. But during survey, they spotted only one such bird in the lake," he said.

The census, conducted yesterday, showed that more number of winged gusts visited the lake this winter compared to last.

The annual bird count, conducted in 1100 sq km vast lake has revealed 9.47 lakh birds of 167 species visited the blue lagoon, the DFO said.

Around 8.58 lakh birds of 161 species had visited the lake last winter.

Also Read: 176 species of winged guests throng Chilika Lake this winter

Around 100 persons, including ornithologists from BNHS, Mumbai, officials of wildlife organisations, several ornithologists and wildlife activists took part in the bird count in the lake held from 6 to 11 AM.

While the total number of 9,47,119 birds were counted in the lake, 3,74,757 were counted in the Nalabana. In the previous winter, 3,97,825 birds of various species had taken shelter in the bird sanctuary area, officials said.

"Less number of birds took shelter this winter in Nalabana probably due to less exposure of mudflats due to the high level of water," said the DFO.

Winged guests from far off places including the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, remote parts of Russia, central and South East Asia, Ladakh and the Himalayas descend on the lake in every winter for feeding and roosting. They start their homeward journey with the onset of summer.