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Puttenahalli Lake gets winged visitors' thumbs up

13-Aug-2012
DNA, Bangalore



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Rejuvenated wetland in South Bangalore now hosts 55 species of birds, many of them migrants

Merlin Francis l Bangalore

With the restoration of the Puttenahalli Lake at JP Nagar, the city seems to have acquired a new haunt for birds. Ever since the lake was restored and rejuvenated, it is being frequented by a large variety of birds.

Fifty-five species of birds have been spotted at the lake and in the area, according to Usha Rajagopalan of the Puttenahalli Neighbourhood Lake Improvement Trust (PNLIT). These include bronze-winged and pheasant-tailed jacana, number of common coots, purple swamp hen, purple heron, grey heron, various cormorants, kingfishers (white throated, pied), brahminy and black kites, and even some migratory species such as European garganey ducks, grey wagtail and others.

Bird watching, therefore, is the new hobby among JP Nagar residents. "Visit the lake on any given day and one will see residents of the neighbourhood, children, trying to spot birds and fathers teaching their children basics of photography," said Rajagopalan. There is a greater a wareness among the residents about various species of birds, she added. "I could identify only a few species earlier, but now I am getting better," she said.

Not too long ago, the story was quite different. The lake just had few muddy puddles of water. "It was filthy, filled with garbage and definitely not a conducive environment for birds," Usha said.
But when efforts to rejuvenate the lake began, things underwent a sea change. "As soon as the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) started rejuvenating the lake, we started seeing a variety of birds coming here. As the health of the lake improved, we started seeing more of them," Gopalan said.

PNLIT continues to monitor the lake to ensure that there is no sewage flowing into it. Often, this is a daily struggle. "We had to teach the neighbourhood labourers to desist from throwing garbage into the lake. We set up dustbins and told them to put the waste there. Even today we had a family who wanted to put puja flower s into the lake. We persuaded them to put them under a tree for composting and the plastic into the bin," Gopalan said.
PNLIT also hopes that more birds will come in future. "We are planning to put more oxygen into the lake. With more oxygen, there will be more fish and thus more birds," she said.

So is the lake turning into Bangalore's very own bird sanctuary? "It is certainly turning into a bird sanctuary for our neighbourhood. But yes, people from across the city visit the lake to see the birds. To save us them the trouble of identifying birds, we have even put up a board that will help visitors identify the birds of Puttenahalli Lake," she said.
Perhaps, with similar sincere efforts on the remaining lakes in the city, Bangalore may soon be called a city of lakes, or better still, city of birds.
To see more pictures of Puttenahalli Lake visit, www.puttenahallilake.in

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