Up in the air covering miles and miles they are tired like anything.
And then they come across the wetlands in the western coast of India which is their favorite stopover. Finally, they have found a safe place where they can take a break and feed on this nutrient-rich estuary.
Now what they do is relax, take their time, feed, preserve energy and continue their mighty migration.
This is Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary, located in the estuary of the Kadalundi River that share its border with Kozhikode and Malapuram districts in Kerala. The Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary provides an ideal ecosystem for migratory birds. 135 different species of migratory birds from across Europe, Siberia, Australia, Switzerland, Mongolia and different parts of the country flock to Kadalundi bird sanctuary.
Before I tell you about the importance of Kadalundi Community reserve, let me tell you why birds migrate.
Now, why do they migrate?
In most of the cases it is the unfavourable climatic conditions that make them migrate. When the temperature dips, the food will be scarce and they fly out in search for food and bringing up their offsprings. In some habitats, predators take over the place and nesting grounds are not safe anymore, making them fly out.
November to January are the peak time these migratory visitors pay a visit to this little known wetlands. There are many small mangrove islands in the estuary that are abode to different varieties of birds. If you are a bird lover or a wildlife photographer and have the patience to get the perfect picture of your favorite bird, Kadalundi will never disappoint you. Here are five reasons that attract a wilderness lover to Kadalundi:
- Avian Galore
As many as 15,000 gull species were seen during a season here once. Gulls, Herons, egrets, sandpipers, Brahminy kites, Malabar hornbills and other migratory bird species find this place a haven. Kadalundi is a birder’s paradise. You will get to learn about different species of birds, habitats and its behaviours.
Local fishermen are not the only ones fishing in the sanctuary. The birds here are really skilled at pulling fish out of the water. There are several points in the sanctuary where you can do bird watching.
Find a good spot, sit back and watch how they do it and if you get lucky I’m sure you can capture a perfect shot of birds fishing that can go into your Instagram profile 🙂
Again, early mornings is when these birds are hungrier and it is the perfect time to visit here. You can also spot other wildlife such as wild otters, turtles, different varieties of fishes and crabs, if you hire a canoe.
- Mangroves Matters
Kadalundi is known for its thick clusters of green mangrove forests. Green mangroves provide the perfect shelter for birds as well as fishes. Apart from the green mangroves, there are nine different varieties of mangroves in the reserve.
There are three major islets in the Kadalundi River. Balathiruthi, C.P Thiruthi and Cheriyathiruthi. Cheriyathiruthi is where you can hire a canoe cruise for three hours and meander through the mangrove ecosystems. Balathiruthi is the largest islet among the three.
One can get as close as they can to the mangrove clusters and observe the wildlife activities closely. Say hi to local fishermen passing by on small canoes.
The life of the villagers in the reserve and their lifestyle depends on these mangrove forests. The people living in the Kadalundi community reserve are doing a great job to protect these mangrove forests.
- Fish on Fish on
Need I say that Mangroves are like the school of fishes?
Kadalundi river estuary is a perfect breeding ground for both freshwater and sea fish.
Even though Kadalundi Wildlife Sanctuary is known for Migratory birds from different parts of the planet, it is also home to a wide variety of fish species that totally rely on the Mangrove forests.
The Cheriyathiruthi islet is the major fishing area in the reserve. You will come across many farms that are known for locally grown fishes.
- The First Community Reserve:
First of all, what is a community reserve?
Community reserves are ecosystem identified by our Government, with its flora and fauna that will be protected with people’s participation.
The crowning of Kadalundi Bird Sanctuary as a community reserve was a well fought war by the nature lovers and birders. The reserve is the first of its kind in the state and is spread across 60 Hectares of marsh land where its flora and fauna conservation are at the people’s hands.
Even though Kadalundi was declared as a community reserve way back in 2007, only a few know about its importance. These wetlands are identified as an ecologically sensitive area which supports fauna, flora and the people living in this community reserve.
The major occupation of people living in this community reserve is fishing. You get to learn different traditional fishing techniques from the locals and they are more than happy to serve you authentic fish delicacies they prepare. Go on a canoe cruise through the Kadalundi River to explore the beauty of the mangroves and get a glimpse of fishermen’s life here. Also check out other traditional industries like coir, coconut and pottery making.
- Eat Local
How about some Kerala style Mussels fry and oyster roasts?
Mussels locally known as kallummekkaya and oysters locally known as muru are largely farmed here in Kadalundi. The locals here harvest Mussels and Oysters when the salinity of water is high. Which means during March and July, just before the monsoon hits Kerala. You can taste the dishes prepared by the locals using Mussels and Oysters if you hit there at the right time.
The water in the Kadalundi River is favourable for growing mussels and oysters and they grow on anything that is submerged in the saline waters.
Even though both mussels and oysters are delicious, a lot of hard work is involved in plucking these from under the water. Never miss this, if you get a chance to go with the fishermen to see how they pluck oysters carefully out without cutting their fingers.
At the mouth of the river where Kadalundi River meets the Arabian Sea there are beautiful hillocks. A couple of years back the view of this estuary, especially at sunset used to be a mind blowing one. Now there is a road bridge connecting the river banks blocking the beautiful view of the estuary. Despite these new developments happening around, migratory birds still visit their favorite feeding ground every year. Thanks to the locals who supports and takes care of their habitat and this wonderful ecosystem.
Littering and dumping waste into the river remains the major threat to the reserve. The sad news is that the environmental status of the reserve is getting worse. The fate of Kadalundi Community Reserve is in the hands of the people living by the river.
As a responsible traveller let us do our part. Let us promise not to litter and share and educate people about the importance of protecting this wilderness. If you have been to Kadalundi community reserve and had interesting experiences there, comment below or share it with us.