Bird watching guide training at Point Calimere Ramsar site

26 Dec, 2021

The Point Calimere Ramsar site supports nearly 100 species of waterbirds and its wintering grounds are important stop-over sites along the Central Asian Flyway for several migratory shorebird species. A bird watching guide training was organised at this Ramsar site from 15 – 24 December 2021 for Eco-development Committee members, Wetland Mitras and Tamil Nadu Forest Department staff of Nagapattinam and Thiruvarur Division. The training aimed to promote awareness of the Ramsar site as an important bird habitat and enhance alternative livelihoods as a bird watching and/or ecotourism guide.

Over 25 people participated in this classroom and field-based training conducted by Dr Balachandran, Deputy Director, Bombay Natural History Society, supported by Mr Prasanth Prakhalathan and Dr Avantika Bhaskar from GIZ. The training was inaugurated by Wildlife Warden Nagapattinam, Mr Yogesh Kumar Meena IFS and Dr K. Arivoli, DFO Thiruvarur, who spoke on the significance of the site as an important habitat for migratory birds.

© Prasanth/GIZ

The Point Calimere Ramsar site supports habitats for both terrestrial birds and waterbirds which includes shallow waters, shores, and long sand bars, intertidal flats and intertidal forests, chiefly mangrove, and seasonal, often-saline lagoons, and human-made salt pans. During the training, species like the Painted Stork, Little Ringed Plover, Little Stint, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper Black-Winged Stilt, Common Redshank, Curlew Sandpiper, Eurasian Curlew, Lesser Sand Plover, Kentish Wood Sandpiper, Caspian Tern, Whiskered Tern, Brown-Headed Gull, Northern Pintail and many other waterbirds were recorded.

The nine-day training focused on the identification of waders and land birds, basic bird biometrics, habitat types found in Point Calimere, threats to bird habitats and their management. In addition to classroom sessions, field visits were organised to various bird habitats such as Chemplast reservoir, Muniappan Lake, Seruthalaikadu lagoon, and Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary. The participants also visited Udayamarthandapuram Bird Sanctuary in Thiruvarur district which is an important heronry and roosting site for waterbirds in the area. The support of binoculars and bird identification guidebooks in the vernacular language (Tamil) provided a better understanding of bird identification in the field. The training saw an enthusiastic response from the participants, especially during bird identification sessions. The participants also expressed an active interest in organising a refresher training in the coming year.

© Prasanth/GIZ


About the project

The Wetlands Management for Biodiversity and Climate Protection project aims to strengthen the institutional framework and capacities for an ecosystem-based integrated management of wetlands of international importance (Ramsar sites) in India. Four Ramsar sites have been selected as pilot sites under the project: Pong Dam and Renuka Lake in Himachal Pradesh, Bhitarkanika Mangroves in Odisha, and the Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu. The project is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in close cooperation with the National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems (NPCA). This project is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) supports this initiative on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag. Read More

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