Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Eyes On Ibisbill

Ibisbill (Ibidorhyncha struthersii) has been observed at the bank of the Rapti River in Hetauda during the Ibisbill Tour jointly organized by the Bird Education Society and Nature Guide Association, Sauraha, Chitwan on February 7, 2010.

Some 5 Ibisbills were recorded near the confluence of the Rapti River and Samari River about 200 m. west from the Samari bridge. These birds were feeding along the stony and sandy river beds with a Little Egret.

(Ibisbills near the confluence of the Rapti and Samari River)
Some 3 Ibisbills were also recorded at the upstream of the Rapti River about 300 m. north-west from the Suparitar Barracks. First they were seen in flight and rested on the ground but later they were chased away by a River Lapwing. Including Ibisbill, total 27 species of forest and water birds were sighted during the bird watching trip along the edge of two rivers.

Ibisbill has black face, down-curved dark red bill, and black and white breast-bands. Ibisbills prefer mountain streams and rivers with shingle beds. This bird breeds at the altitude of 3800-4200 m. and winters mainly below 915 m. (Birds of Nepal, Inskipp et al.).

Long stretch of shingle beds of the Rapti River is the suitable habitat for Ibisbill for its winter migration. Other potential sites for this bird include Nawalpur area (some 5 km south-west from the Rapti bridge) and behind the Hetauda Cement Factory (some 1.5 km west from the factory). Ibisbills generally descend during mid-November and live here till end of February.
(Meeting point of two rivers)
Hetauda (alt. 300-390m.) is one of the best sites to observe this wonderful bird in terms of accessibility, and easy and regular sighting. However, this birds can also be seen along the Trishuli River near Belkhu and Kurintar. Occasional sighting has been made along the stony bed of the Narayani River downstream from Bhrikuti Paper Industry.
(Stone crusher at the edge of the Rapti River)
Hetauda, nestled between the Mahabharat range in the north and Churia range in the south, has sub-tropical climate. Its geographical features and climate are probably the reasons for preferable habitat for Ibisbills. Unfortunately, the prime habitat of Ibisbill is heavily disturbed by human activities. There are at least 4 stone crusher industries at the vicinity of two rivers. People and vehicles are gathered at the edge of rivers to collect stones. Army training camps near Samari bridge also disturbs the whole biodiversity of the area.

(Stone collection in the Rapti River)
Immediate focus should be needed to protect the prime habitats of Ibisbill for its continuous migration. Local people are not aware of the visit of this bird and its significance. Bird conservation awareness among local people helps to protect this bird and its habitat. Regular monitoring of the bird is essential to get more information about its migration.

Tourism activities would be improved as many bird enthusiasts visit Hetauda, especially to watch this bird. Hetauda is regarded as one of the cleanest and greenest cities in Nepal. Presence of eye-catching Ibisbill has added one more color to this beautiful landscape on the earth.

(Bird art is depicted by author and original photo of the art is derived from http://ibc.lynxeds.com)

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