Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary near Chennai.
You can drive down 75 km from Chennai through Chengalpaattu or take a train/bus to Chengalpattu and catch a connecting bus with a 40 minute frequency.
It is practical to engage an auto rickshaw (₹600)or cab (₹1200 upwards) from Chengalpttu.
Maintained very well. A one km pathway without cutting a single tree lining the avenue.
A colony of cormorants, painted storks, ibises, herons and spot billed Pelicans among others.
Surrounded by lush green fields.
You can hire a pair of binoculars for ₹30 and get a fabulous view from a strategically placed watch tower.
Check before you visit because they are closed on national holidays.
Vettangudi Bird Sanctuary, Tamilnadu. An inspiring story of man-bird relationship like Kokrebellur in Karnataka.
“NO CRACKERS ON DEEPAVALI FOR THE PAST 45 YEARS !
AND THEY HAVE A CHARMING REASON !
On the Madurai – Tirupathur highway in Sivanganga district, you come across a board that says ” VETTANGUDI BIRD SANCTUARY”
In 1969, villagers of Vettangudi and neighbouring Krishnapuram and Kollukudipatti decided not to burst crackers on Deepavali, a major light and sound festival in India !
And thereby hangs an interesting and inspiring tale !
Vettangudi has an irrigation canal to facilitate agriculture.
Gradually a concentration of migratory birds from Norway, South Africa, France, Sweden, Myanmar, Malaysia, Japan, China, Phillipines, Pakistan and Sri Lanka started converging during September to March and fly back to their base in summer.
A whole lot of Grey herons, cattle egrets, cormorants, spoon bills, pond herons made up the colourful guest list.
Now, Deepavali, the Festival of Lights and crackers falls during this period and celebrated with much gaiety in Tamilnadu.
The villagers of Vettangudi and neighbouring Kollukudipatti and Krishnapuram took a vow not to burst crackers so their visiting feathered friends will not be disturbed.
Bursting of crackers is accompanied by noise and smoke, both of which could scare away the birds, never to return.
Till today, as a mark of courtesy and respect to their guests the villagers celebrate a muted Deepavali, however accompanied by diyas or lamps.
ATHITHI DEVO BHAVA in its truest sense !
Children grow up with this lesson and celebrate the festival only with sparklers. Till today the regimen is followed not just as obedience but out of love and affection.
I was unaware of this fascinating story when I visited the sanctuary with my dear friend from Madurai, Mariappan Govindan. He’s an accomplished photographer and we drove down to click some pics at the sanctuary.
A small temple fortified by ‘ Ellai Samis’ ( Village Deities) stands at the entrance.
Hornbill Camp, Thattekad,Kerala. I managed to spot many birds except the hornbill but I felt more than compensated at the sight of chestnut-tailed starlings lining up on the branch of a tree just before sunset.
A rare sighting was the Sri Lanka Frogmouth in Thattekad.
The Sri Lanka frogmouth, Sri Lankan frogmouth or Ceylon frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger) is a small frogmouth found in the Western Ghats of south India and Sri Lanka.
Related to the nightjars, it is nocturnal and is found in forest habitats. The plumage coloration resembles that of dried leaves and the bird roosts quietly on branches, making it difficult to see.
Each has a favourite roost that it uses regularly unless disturbed. It has a distinctive call that is usually heard at dawn and dusk.
The sexes differ slightly in plumage
The pandemic has curbed the rotating swamy in me with my camera giving me longing looks for my next dalliance with nature. I feel blessed to have roamed around the rich diversity that our country offers and soak in everlasting memories. I hope you enjoyed the images and narration.