Delhi: With the much-anticipated winter migratory bird season approaching, CitySpidey team visited the Najafgarh lake and it's neighborhood to take stock of the conditions. The lake is known to be one of the biggest draws for winter migratory birds and bird watchers every season. The visit hinted at a promising coming-up migratory bird season, but then we also spotted some worrying red flags.
Pradyut Mitra, a resident of Chhwala is an avid bird watcher and has been keeping a close watch on the going-ons of the Najafgarh lake. Says he, " I have been noticing a huge presence of kites in the Najafgarh lake area. This is a worrying sign as a big kite population interferes with the migratory birds. Earlier the kites used to be drawn to some illegal fish farms which operated here but these were closed down when the birding community complained to the authorities. During my recent visit on close inspection, I saw a large number of dead fish floating about on the water surface, especially in the area around Dhansa barrage. I suspect the water there is being contaminated by some untreated toxic water influx. These dead fish were drawing the kite population. This is a serious matter and authorities must investigate it before the migratory birds come in."
Another problem is the heavy vehicular traffic seen on the bund road that runs along the Najafgarh lake. This is a problem that has been intensifying over the years. This traffic not only disturbs the birds, and adds to the air and noise population but is also a threat to the bird watchers as they tend to use the narrow bund road as a vantage point to watch the birds in the lake. With the non-completion of Dwarka Express road and to avoid the traffic congestion on NH 8, the commuters from Delhi have been using this road to reach Gurgaon and Manesar. This is another issue that needs to be looked into. The water level in the lake is also more than usual.
The Najafgarh Lake sees a rich presence of avian population throughout the year which increases manifold when the migratory birds come here during winters. The area around the lake, among the fields also has some small water bodies which also draw a lot of birds. As of now the lake and the smaller water bodies around it have a strong presence of resident birds. Even now, species such as Painted Stork, Open Billed stork, Black Ibis, Little Cormorants, Purple Moorhen, Spot-billed duck, Pied kingfisher, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, among others can be seen in the fields and water bodies of these villages. Other interesting sightings in the area on the day included Marsh Harrier and Black-necked Stork.