Saturday, 17 February 2018

Exclusive Snaps of Bar-Headed Geese Spotted at Basai Wetland

I was fortunate to catch up with a flock of Bar-Headed Geese that have taken up residence at the Basai Wetland, Gurgaon today. I had to reach their resting site early in the morning today. The sun was slightly better, but then not so good. Still, I did manage a few snaps that I am pasting below:

A solitary Bar-Headed Goose flies in the sky against a backdrop of buildings under construction.

Needless to say, these geese can be noisy at times, and of course, they argue a lot! I saw the same geese confront another goose trying to chase it away a few days back!

Bar-headed Geese congregate in large numbers, often settling down for the night on farmland. They seem to have a rather voracious diet and can often eat seeds and ripened cereals. In this case, the field did not have a crop standing on it, though, yes in the background, you will be able to see ears of wheat. Bar-headed geese take off into the air at the same time, often tossing and tumbling as if in panic. Once they are in the air at some height, their flight becomes rather graceful! Don't be misled by the snap below into thinking that bar-headed geese are poor flyers!

It would be a pity not to see these graceful birds in the years to come when all the water is drained out of the Basai Wetland in buildings and waste-treatment plants come up instead!

Friday, 16 February 2018

Bar Headed Geese spotted at the Basai Wetland

Copyright Rodrick Rajive Lal
Bar-Headed Geese Spotted at Basai Wetland

It was a great and pleasant surprise for me to spot a whole lot of Bar Headed Geese Parked in a field adjacent to the Basai Wetland. It was early morning and there was still some mist, and the sun was in the wrong direction. Nevertheless, I was able to click a few snaps of these birds. The Geese were huddled together even as a few buffalos were grazing.

Bar-headed Geese, incidentally, are the world's highest flying birds! Some of them have been found flying over the Mt. Everest over a height of 8,848 meters (29,029 Feet). The average peak altitude of the Bar-Headed Geese is 6,400 meters.

The Basai Wetland apparently, is a favoured resting place for the world's high-flying geese! I had read about geese being the highest flying birds in the world, but never knew I would come across them face to face! Incidentally, The Bar Headed Geese in India breeds only in Ladakh within Indian limits and is commonly found in Kashmir during winters. It can be found ranging from the south to central India, and in the East across the Gangetic Plains to Assam.

It is surprising that no one has mentioned the presence of these birds in the area. I guess we need to work on creating a census of birds spotted in the month of February.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

This Less Known Wetland in Gurgaon supports aquatic and avian life!

Today when I visited the Basai Wetland in Gurgaon, I was in for a surprising entertainment that proves that the Wetland has been here for years and is not the result of water seepage from a water pipeline. The moment I got off my bike, was riveted by the sight of the carcass of a fish at least one and a half foot long! It must have taken the fish quite a few years to reach that length. This proves that the Basai Wetland in Gurgaon supports aquatic life forms, and has been doing so for many many years! It would be a great tragedy to lose such a valuable treasure, an ecosystem that supports avian and aquatic life! 

I was also surprised to hear a few men shouting their heart out! Puzzled by this performance I decided to investigate. Strangest of all things, I noticed a man in a boat, driving away the birds. 

Next, I saw men on the dykes and banks driving away the birds. When I went ahead, I came across a man who was yelling on top of his voice even as he made a show of flinging stones at the birds in the vicinity. I stopped next to him and asked him if he was in pain. Surprised, he told me that they were driving away the birds so that they could gather the fish that had accumulated in the dwindling water (since the authorities were draining out the wetland to make way for a waste treatment plant). I was dumbfounded by his reply! So now even the fish, frogs and freshwater turtles are under threat! Strangely enough, I could see fish jumping out of the shallow water in a desperate struggle to survive.

I wonder who owns the fish, and what right these men had of driving away the migratory birds that settle on the wetland to nest during the winter season. Anyways, these men were running along like mad people shouting and roaring at the birds, too much effort I believe for a few kilos of fish, or perhaps, was it much more? The presence of fishing nets and makeshift barricading is proof enough that fishing takes place in the Basai Wetland!

The Basai Wetland is an important ecosystem that supports not only aquatic and avian life, but also people who depend on it for an important form of protein in the form of fish that they catch. Besides, the wetland is surrounded by patches of farmland that seem to be fertile enough for wheat to be grown. I was in for a surprise when I found a herd of geese perched on a piece of land on which a crop of wheat was standing.

It is high time we thought about sustainable development and not rampant and unplanned development. In our folly, we have already lost many of our wetlands. Today our groundwater levels are receding at an alarming rate. When we destroy our wetlands, we destroy nature's ability to recharge depleting groundwater levels.

Ibis feed on fish. Mallards, pochards, feed on fish. Human beings feed on fish. A wetland supports a whole ecosystem that is finely balanced. The proof that the Basai Wetland is not an accidental pond created from leaking water-pipelines is there before us! It will be a great tragedy to lose the remaining wetland in Gurgaon!

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Success Criteria Demystified

Inputs and credit :

James Clear, The 3 Stages of Failure in Life and Work (And How to Fix Them)