Srinagar, Feb 17: With the increase in day temperatures in Kashmir over the past two weeks, winged visitors are leaving the valley wetlands early this year. While officials claim that around 10 lakh migratory birds visited the region so far this year.
Wildlife warden, wetlands, Ifshan Dewan told Rising Kashmir that following the prevailing warm weather conditions and decrease in seasonal precipitation has compelled migrant birds to leave early this year.
“Although we have completed the annual census, the final report is not compiled yet. As per rough figures approximately 10 lakh migratory birds visited so far Kashmir this year. While over 11 lakh migratory birds were recorded last year," she said.
Dewan said the increase in day temperatures has compelled winged visitors to leave early Valley. From the past one week, most of these birds are migrating from Kashmir and shifting to other places, she said.
“During the census, some species were not recorded as they had left early Kashmir following a surge in day temperatures following less rain and snowfall. This year's winters were warmer and dry as compared to the previous year,” Dewan said.
She said this year, around 4 lakh migratory birds were recorded in Mirgund wetland, followed by 3.5 lakh in Hokersar wetland, over 1 lakh in Dal Lake, 80 lakh in Pampore wetland, and rest in other wetlands.
Dewan further stated that last year they had started the census from February 15th, while this year owing to warmer weather conditions they had started leaving it earlier.
She said that they have sighted some new species this year. Around them 10-20 new species, especially of Whooper Swan and Waders were also sighted. Amongst these water birds, the Demoiselle crane has landed in Kashmir for the first time in recorded history, she said.
In recent decades the numbers of visiting birds have declined, which experts say is due to a combination of climate change and urban development.
Falling in the Central-Asian Flyway zone, Kashmir, for ages has been the home of various migratory birds during the winter.
Every year migratory birds from Siberia, China, central Asia, Eastern Europe, and various other inclement terrains visit Kashmir. For the transitory birds, however, the Kashmir arrival occurs during September and October and then they return around February for the reverse migration.
Range Officer Hokersar Wetland, Qazi Suhail said both Mirgund and Hokesar wetlands witnessed more migratory birds as compared to past years.
“With sudden increase in temperatures, most of the migratory birds are leaving Kashmir,” he said.
There are around nine wetlands in Kashmir including Hokersar, Hygam, Pampore, and Bandipora where these birds rest during the winters.