Kashmir is lucky to have a young birdman who is not only capturing different species of local and migratory birds but also documenting them for past seven years.
Reyan Sofi, a resident of Zainakote Srinagar has so far documented 285 species of different kinds of local and migrant birds in Kashmir due to which he has become a popular name among bird lovers.
When he was young, tourists used to come to Hokersar wetland, which is near to his home. The tourists used to take guides along to assist them in watching birds and it was during this time Sofi also got interested in birds.
Apart from bird watching, he helps his brother at his Shop and is currently pursuing his Bachelor's in Commerce from Amar Singh College Srinagar.
Reyan said he loves to capture the birds and wants to document more and more birds for the information of people and tourists.
"I starred my journey in 2015 and till date I have reported 285 rare bird species in Kashmir" Reyan told Rising Kashmir.
He says whenever he gets time, Sofi follows his hobby of bird watching in the nearby wetland. Sofi has also got good camera through which he captures every moment of the birds.
"After spotting any new bird species, Sofi researches and then documents the entire entire. After that he publishes his work on noted Indian journals including Indian birds" Reyan said.
The young bird watcher says each bird species has special background of migration. From north America, Europe to Australia, Alaska to Newzealand migratory birds visit Kashmir during winters, he said.
Some of birds he had documented including Tufted Duck, Common Pochard (Migratory), Northern Shoveler, Great Cormorant, Tawny Owl (it can found only in Kashmir not in any other part of the country), Rufous Naped Tit, Pine Bunting, Common Teal, Indian White Eye, Ibisbill and sharp tailed Sandpiper (first record from J&K Migratory).
Reyan says everyday is new day and new journey for him. I can recognise most of the birds through their sounds. It keeps me motivating each time. I enjoy nature everyday and keeps me away from depression and anxiety," he said.
The enthusiastic youngman says Kashmir have a rich variety of endemic avian species, but also, every year, during winters, lakhs of migratory birds from Japan, Siberia, and central Asia throng the wetlands of Kashmir valley and colonize the landscape with beautiful cacophony and color.
"Aspiring birdwatchers should come forward and make their dream a reality buy exploring new species. There are still hundreds of birds which are yet to be documented," he said.
About family support, Reyan said so far his family has supported him and helped him to brought new cameras.
This year, Jammu and Kashmir tourism Department organised it's first of its kind Bird Festival in Palhalham.to promote sustainable ecotourism and give impetus to nature based alternative sources of livelihood to the local people.
Each year over 9-10 lakh birds visit Kashmir and enjoy the temperate climate here. According to experts, from the month of October, these birds migrate from Siberia, China, Philippines, Eastern Europe and Japan to the valley and stay here for about five months.
These birds include Tufted Duck, Gudwal, Brahminy Duck, Gargantuan, Greyleg Goose, Mallard, Common Merganser, Northern Pintail, Common Pochard, Ferruginous Pochard, Red Crested Pochard, Ruddy Shelduck, Northern Shoveler, Common Teal and Eurasian Wagtail.