Rameshwaram Water Bird Sanctuary – An Abode of Exotic Birds
Rameshwaram is a pilgrimage town located in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu. Being revered as one of the prime religious spot by Hindus, it is dotted with numerous temples having mythological significance. It is separated from mainland India by the Pamban channel. Walking through the temples of Rameshwaram will take you to the era of Ramayana. But Rameshwaram is not only about temples and sacred ponds. Its clear sand beaches, picture perfect landscape and the bird sanctuaries make it a hotspot for world travellers.
Thinking of Rameshwaram as only a temple town is too clichéd. It is home to around five hundred water tanks. The marvelous water bird sanctuary is located in Rameshwaram. The water bodies provide shelter to a variety of flora and fauna and birds are one of its prime visitors. These natural water bodies reach to its full brim during the monsoon and become a paradise for ornithologists and bird watchers. During the north-east monsoon season from October to January it is filled with migratory birds as well as native birds. The native birds visit here for feeding while the migratory birds come for breeding. The rare and exotic bird species from Australia and Europe are a visual treat to the eyes of the tourists.
Waders And Littoral Birds
Some of the popular waders and littoral birds, which you can find here, are the following:
- Ibis: They are long legged wading birds that inhabit the marshes. Their features include long curved down bills and long legs. They feed in groups and build nests in trees along with the herons. Black ibis and white ibis are common in the water bird sanctuary.
- Storks: They are long-legged, long-necked waders having stout bills. They are mute birds and communicate by bill clattering. These large migratory birds feed on frogs, insects, fish and other small birds. Painted stork and Asian open bill stork are found in abundance in this sanctuary.
- Pelicans: They are large water birds having long bill and large throat pouch which is used for catching preys. They feed principally on fish and hence visit this coastal sanctuary. Spot-billed pelican and grey pelican are found here.
- Herons: They are long legged coastal birds having long necks and exhibit sexual dimorphism in size. Their necks are s-shaped and can be extended as well as retracted. They resemble the storks and cranes but differ in the fact that they fly with their neck retracted and not outstretched. Grey heron, night heron, pond heron and purple heron can be found in this sanctuary.
- Egret: They are like herons and develop fine plumes during the breeding season. Little egret, great egret and cattle egret can be found here.
How To Reach The Bird Sanctuary
Air: The nearest airport is at Madurai, which is well-connected to Rameshwaram. After touching down at the airport, you can get both public and private mode of transport to sanctuary.
Train: Travelling by train is one of the easiest ways to reach Rameshwaram. The island is well connected to various other stations of Tamil Nadu.
Others: Tourist taxis are available at a nominal rate. You can also hire jeeps and rickshaws. There are state government buses, which connect to all major cities of Tamil Nadu.
Things To Do At The Bird Sanctuary
You can visit this sanctuary all round the year but it is best to visit during the monsoon and witness the majestic fights and the vivid colours in all its glory. It is during October to January that these migratory birds pay a visit here. Bird watchers come here to understand the behaviour of these species. Take a tour in the evening when these Aves return to their resting grounds and the whole atmosphere is filled with their chirpings.
Authorities have put up signs where these birds have built their nests. It is open from 7 A.M to 6 P.M . Don’t forget to take your camera to capture these beautiful sights for a lifetime.