Monday, March 23, 2009

Arun spots a Mongolian!

Arun of MNS "saw(and photographed) this female Barheaded Goose ( 2nd March, 2009
5.40 pm), in Koondhakulam (flock of about 120 birds). Contacted the concerned people and found out that -- it had been banded in Darkhad Valley of Northern Mongolia on 17th July 2008 by the Wildlife Conservation Society of Mongolia.... 5000 km journey

Photo by Arun
I saw these birds for the first time in January this year, when I travelled to Bharatpur, the bird sanctuary in north India.  These geese are quite common in other countries I know, but for us they are definitely not-so-common.

I remember being amused at their honking and bossy ways in the marsh, as they quarreled with each other and waddled around in this most busy fashion!  But to find them all the way down south!  That's quite astonishing!

I wonder what these "Mongolians" thought about our country and our water tanks!  But it looks like their visit is not entirely unusual, as I came across this 2005 The Hindu article where it states that "bare-headed geese" expected to arrive from China are being monitored for the Bird Flu virus!

Koodankulam/Koondakulam, by the way is a sanctuary near Tirunelveli in southern-most Tamil Nadu.  Its well known for a nuclear plant located there.

Look out for wild birds marked in Mongolia

The Wildlife Conservation Society exhorts us to look out for marked birds and report to them if you see any such birds banded either as a collar or on the leg.

Photo by Arun

As I saw this picture of them in flight, I wondered, were they looking to return to their summer homes?

Great work Arun!  (Arun's a doc, by the way, no kidding, a medical doc. )

Update - 30th April, 2009

It seems to be the season to visit Koondakulam.  Other MNS members, (maybe inspired by Arun?) also visited and came back with a gallery-ful of excellent shots and poses of water birds.

Skandan witnessed quite a flamingo performance, reminiscent of the Bolshoi ballet performances of old.

Prof Chandrasekaran on the other hand, was at hand to record the Council Meeting of the Painted Storks, as well as the General Assembly, taking detailed visual notes all the while!

Skandan wrote in, "It ws a great birding trip for us as Mr Pal Pandiyan,the birdman of Koondakulam guided us perfectly to the right spots to have a closer look at many a species.... 
All the snaps are taken from very safe distance and the birds were not disturbed from their habitat at any point..."


  1. Wow, lovely photos. Do the males have the bar markings as well? Are they similar?

  2. Yes both sexes have similar markings. arun.

  3. Thanks for the clarification, Arun.