A quick plan along with Santosh, Yoganand , Avinash & me to visit Magadi lake, Lakshmeshwar, Gadag on 1st march 2014 to see Bar-headed goose which has come all the way from Mongolia & Tibet.
Magadi Lake is in a small village Magadi of Shirahatti taluk, Gadag District, Karnataka. It is located 11Kms from Lakshmeshwar & 26Kms from Gadag (on the Gadag-Bangalore Road (SH-6) ) . Its around 350+ kms from Bangalore. Magadi lake/ tank is considered as one of the biodiversity hot spot of Karnataka spread over a 140 acres maintained by Forest department of Karnataka.
Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus) visit every year during November & can be seen till first week of March. This bird has a robust gray body and long neck. The short tapered beak create an elegant S-shaped structure for best flight. Adults weigh about 2.2 Kilos and stand about two feet high. Two horizontal black stripes on the back of the bird’s white head gives the species its name ” Bar-Headed Goose”.
Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus)
Flocks of bar-headed geese,the world’s highest altitude migrants fly from their winter feeding grounds to the lowlands of India through the Himalayan range, sometimes even directly above Mount Everest on their way to nesting grounds in Tibet.
Every year these birds retrace their route to India with a little help from tailwinds. They are capable of covering more than 1,000 miles in a single stretch.
The honking of bar-headed goose during flight may convey messages that help flocks stay together and may also create orienting echoes.
Speculations that the species had originally settled in India before collisions between the tectonic plates under the Himalayas had pushed the range up.Watered by melting ice-age glaciers and without the shadow later cast by the Himalayas, ancient Tibet may have been a land of green valleys and summer lakes and streams, according to Lawrence Swan’s theory. Such a landscape could have drawn bar-headed goose for seasonal visits. The mountains presumably rose slowly enough to accommodate evolution, so these geese could have continued to fly their customary routes while adapting to the altitude. Each new generation probably learned the route by traveling in flocks with their elders during its first year and then taught it to its own offspring in later years.
Bar Headed Goose usually spend night in big groups at the Lake center where water depth is more and inaccessible to stray dogs & other predators. First hit of the sun rays, they all fly to near & even far off places up to 100 Kms to feed on Groundnut, corn , rice in the cultivating fields.
They start coming back to the Lake around 8:30am .They can easily be noticed with their honking noise in air & they spend the entire day in the Lake.
Forest department has done a commendable job in creating awareness to locals about the long distance migrants & in turn receiving support from the locals by letting the birds feed on their crops during the peak seasons.
Ruddy Shelduck also known as Brahminy Duck– Considered as sacred in Mongolia & Tibet
The lake plays host to these long distance migrants & resident birds in large numbers, other birds like Ruddy Shelduck, Comb ducks, Sandpipers, Moorhens, Egrets Ibis, Kingfisher & many more can be seen here.
Northern Shoveler- Female
Magadi Lake has now been legally protected by forest department. Fencing is made on the village side & a 3 storied watchtower with field scope for bird watching , monitoring the collared birds & keeping a vigil at the Lake.
We were lucky to spot a Indian Courser at a near by field.
Somanna the forest guard / Watcher at Magadi Lake maintains data in his field book on collared goose on first arrival dates for the year & Collard goose .
This year a Bar-headed goose with “Green Collared number F17 with microchip” was seen here.
Somanna is doing a great job at Madagi Lake.Recently he rescued & treated an injured goose with the help of local Vet . It has now joined its group which has made him feel very happy & proud. But on the other hand he also feels sad that his work & dedication is not recognized by the Government or Forest department.
We saw some collard Bar-headed goose ( R1, N1, F5, US & A37)
Bar-Headed Goose with Collar N1
Bar-Headed Goose with Collar F5
Bar-Headed Goose with Collar N1, F5 & US Together
Bar-Headed Goose with Collar A37
We stayed for two days & made two visits per day (morning & evening ).
Our Magadi Lake checklist for two days on below links.
PS: Any collared Bar-headed Goose seen & photographed can be intimated to Nyambayar Batbayar on his email id: nyambayar
or Tseveenmyadagon : email@example.com