Raichur district of Karnataka state is home to nearly 250 species of birds. It is also the second home for many migratory birds.
Manchlapur Lake in the District is a boon for a large number of migratory and resident birds. Nearly 194 species of birds have been recorded here by local birders, including lesser flamingo, greater flamingo, pied avocet, spot billed pelican, spoonbill, and bar headed goose, to name a few. The arrival of lesser flamingos to Manchlapur lake in February 2019 marked the first record of this species in Karnataka (sighted by Naresh Kondapur).
Threats for these winged visitors
As shown in the attached satellite image, there is another lake about 2 km away called Merchad Lake. Both bar headed geese and flamingos fly between the two lakes around 4 to 5 times a day. The route that these birds take is, however, perilous because of high tension power lines. After sunset, flocks of flamingos and a few bar headed goose move to Merchad Lake and its surrounding agriculture fields. Collision with power lines had been witnessed by local villagers but no one had reported the matter.
On March 10th 2019, while we on a regular birding trip, a group of us standing on the bunds of Manchlapur Lake were watching flamingos flying around, when we noticed one swinging on a wire. Upon closer inspection, we found the charred carcasses of 4 to 5 flamingos lying below the high-tension lines. When we surveyed the nearby fields, we found feathers of dead flamingos scattered around. A local farmer, Venkat Reddy of Manchlapur village, who travels on this route everyday, revealed that he had seen around 15 dead flamingos under the electric lines a few days earlier. He also added that villagers often carry away the carcasses. Those that remain serve as food for feral dogs and other canids that roam the agriculture fields.
Collision of flamingos with electric lines is an identified threat here, and immediate action is needed on this front. An additional cause for concern are the many construction works that are starting nearby. These are likely to result in the loss of habitat. Manchlapur Lake has got all the potential to be a Conservation Reserve. Our North Karnataka birders network (NKBN) is working on ways to conserve Manchlapur Lake, and we hope for positive results in the near future.
Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'
Manchlapur Lake has the potential to be a Conservation Reserve. Collision of flamingos with electric lines is an identified threat here, and immediate action is needed on this front.