White-Fronted Goose to Whooper Swan: 10 new migratory bird species make Kashmir their winter home

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Srinagar:  More than 10 new species of migratory birds have chosen valley wetland as their winter home.

 Nearly 10 lakh migratory birds have visited Kashmir from various countries including China, Russia, Japan, Central Asia, and European countries this winter.

More than 10 new birds species have been spotted for the first time in Kashmir. The wildlife department said more such new species could be currently resting in many wetlands of the valley.

 “We have identified  White-Fronted Goose, Whooper Swan, Tundra Swan, and Waders in Hokersar so far. It is for the first time that these species have been spotted in the wetland,” Wildlife Warden, Wetlands, Ifshan Dewan told The Kashmir Monitor.

 The department is set to conduct a census of migratory birds in February.

 “The census will begin in February and only then we can come to a conclusion about the exact number of birds. It will also help us to know about the new species that visited Kashmir for the first time. Our men are on job,” she said.

She said around 3.5 lakh birds are currently resting in Hokersar.” Nearly3.5 lakh are in Dal Lake, 2.5 lakh in Hygam, 80000 in Mirgund. Pampore and Shalbugh wetlands also have received a good number of migratory birds this season,” she said.

Last year Whooper Swans were spotted in Kashmir after 60 years. Among the four swans who rested in the valley, two were killed by the poachers.

  “We have established control rooms at Hokersar, Wular, Dal, and Shalbough to prevent poaching. Besides, our men are constantly patrolling the wetlands,” officials said.

 Kashmir has around 400 water bodies, of which 25 are the winter destination for migratory birds. 

 The arrival of new species has made bird watchers curious. “Bird watching is my hobby and passion. I travel to various wetlands for bird watching. I am curious to see the first-time visitors,” said Parvez Ahmad, a student, and a birdwatcher.

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