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Gull-billed Terns

Posted by Gautam Chakrabarti on September 9, 2013 at 10:53 am
Viewed 205 times

This photo was taken on 16-12-2012
Camera Canon EOS 7D, Lens EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM, Exposure 0.001 sec (1/800), Aperture f/9.0, Focal Length 400 mm, ISO Speed 100

These are Gull-billed Terns. Deadly Fishers – extremely fast, flying in a flock, head always down towards the water to spot a prey, and continuously by rotation one after another, one will suddenly come out of the flock (which was positioning itself in the lowest level) and was suddenly diving into the water and will be completely inside the water for two to three seconds and will come out after catching a fish – deadly accurate. Although I have seen missing one or two times, but very rare. Snapping their photo is a challenge because they move so fast and after a great difficulty, I could snap correctly few photos of them. Mesmerisingly fast moving birds and their size is only slightly lesser than a city Mynah !

@ Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary – Andhra Pradesh, India.

Pulicat lake bird sanctuary is a saline backwater lake lying along the T.N.-A.P coast; part extending to Chengalpattu district of T.N. It has an area of 481 sq.KM and it is the 2nd largest brackish water lagoon in India after Chilka lake in Orissa. The area on the TN side is 153.67
The Pulicat sanctuary is drained by Arni river while the Buckingham canal brings in the city’s drainage water. At the southern end is an opening on to Bay of Bengal through a shallow mouth of 200 m in width. The rest of the lake is closed by a sand bar running parallel to the Bay of Bengal in the form of the Sriharikota island.
The sanctuary has an area of 321 Sq. KM with 108 sq.KM of National Park area.
It lies within 11o 30’ N to 11o 42’ N and 76o 30’ E to 76o 45’ E.
Rainfall ranges from 800 – 2000mm. Temperature varies from 14o C to 33o C.
Altitude ranges from 100’ MSL to 1200’ MSL.
The wetlands eco system are considered as among the richest areas of bio diversity. Pulicat, by virtue of the mixing of fresh water with sea water is found to be an ideal habitat for diverse life-forms. 160 species of fish, 25 species of polychaete worms, 12 species of prawn, 19 species of mollusk and 100 speceis of birds are well documented apart from a number of other aquatic flora and fauna.

Among the most spectacular is the flamingo-a tall gaunt, white-coloured bird with a touch of pink on the wings, pink beak and legs, seen feeding in shallow water. The squat, large-billed grey pelican with gular pouch and a number of ducks are commonly seen. Flocks of sea gulls and terns circling in the sky or bobbing up and down on the water are an added attraction at pulicat. Besides, there are a number of waterside birds and waders such as curlews, stilts, plovers, sand pipers, lapwings, redshank. Egrets, herons, kites etc. are some other birds found here. The lake is also home to crabs, clams, mussels, oysters, snails, fish worms, insects, spiders, sponges, anemone, prawns, plankton and so on including rare endemic species like gilled leech, an unidentified bloodred fish, etc., Rapid siltation has caused loss of bio diversity. It is seen that mangrove opllen is found on Sriharikota Island indicating their existence some years back. Loss of mangroves may be one of the resons hastening siltation, reducing biodiversity and hence depriving fisherfolk of their livelihood.
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