This image was made a few months back during the winter in Hesaraghatta, a lake on the outskirts of Bangalore city. The habitat is basically a grassland and semi shrub vegetation. During winter a large variety of birds such as kestrel, harriers (marsh, pied, montagu’s and pallid), common stonechat, steppe eagle, greater spotted eagle, zitting cisticola etc., migrate to this small area. Many months ago, the local development body had proposed to build a theme park this area – a move which would destroy this valuable ecosystem. Thankfully the proposal was given a stay order. However, danger came in other forms. The same local body also planned an afforestation drive in the lake. In this course of action, nearly a thousand pits (each 2 x 2 ft) have been dug up and saplings (not native to the area) have been planted. The digging of pits has resulted in the death of many snakes, rodents and has destroyed the eggs of many a ground laying bird.
Overall, there has been large scale interference and damage to the natural vegetation and habitat of Hesaraghatta. This is going to seriously affect not only the habitat of the resident birds such as the tawny eagle, short toed snake eagle, pipits, larks, lapwings etc., but also disrupt the migration of visiting birds. I hope there is some action taken to save this paradise called Hesaraghatta.
Editor’s note: For more images of the destruction of Hessarghatta, see the photofeature “Killing a Grassland”.