GPS-tagged whimbrel captured on camera by birdwatchers in Chhattisgarh

An Eurasian or common whimbrel, a migratory bird, tagged with a GPS transmitter, was captured for the first time on camera in Chhattisgarh, forest officials said on Tuesday.
whimbrel
whimbrel

Raipur | An Eurasian or common whimbrel, a migratory bird, tagged with a GPS transmitter, was captured for the first time on camera in Chhattisgarh, forest officials said on Tuesday.

The bird, locally known as "chhota gongh", was spotted by a team of birdwatchers on May 18 at a dam in the Berla area of Bemetara district, and it was seen there till Monday, Forest Range Officer of Bemetara Madhuri Singh told PTI.

"A whimbrel was captured for the first time on camera in the state. The bird was fitted with a GPS transmitter and yellow tag", she said.

Many organisations and countries use geo-tagging and colour tags to study bird migration patterns and behaviour, the official said.

This lone whimbrel was photographed by bird watchers Dr Himanshu Gupta, Jageshwar Verma and Avinash Bhoi in Berla.

"Probably for the first time, a long-distance migratory bird fitted with a GPS transmitter in the far-flung La Reunion Island was sighted in Chhattisgarh. It's first sighting in India after it was tagged by Professor Mathieu Lecorre of the University de La Reunion," said Bhoi, a government officer.

The bird was named 'Merlene' by Professor Lecorre, he said.

La Reunion, an island of France, is in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar.

Countries use colour tags for bird ringing to track and study bird populations, he said.

As per information accessed by bird watchers, the whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) was captured for the first time on November 16 last year in La Reunion Island, where it spends its wintering or non-breeding time.

The bird was ringed and yellow-tagged on the same day.

It was recaptured on March 7 this year and fitted with a GPS tag, following which the bird remained in La Reunion till March 22, Bhoi said.

Subsequently, it flew to Mauritius, which is only 200 km away. It left Mauritius on April 13, crossed the Indian Ocean northwards and arrived in Pakistan on May 4, and it stayed at the Indus Delta for 10 days and flew again eastward, he said.

The bird reached Balaghat in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh and then moved to Bemetara in Chhattisgarh, where it is taking a stopover, he said.

Bhoi said the bird was returning to its breeding grounds somewhere in northern Siberia or northern Asia.

In Bemetara, areas around Gidhwa, Parsada, Nagdha and Eramshahi villages, located about 70 km from the capital Raipur, are full of aquatic biodiversity and wetlands that provide suitable habitat for seasonal migratory birds and resident birds.

According to officials, a total of 143 species of birds, including 26 local migratory species, 11 exotic migratory species and 106 resident species, have been located there in previous studies.

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