Saturday, June 15, 2013

Birding at Siruthavur Lake

Whiskered Tern
Siruthavur Lake is a relatively unknown place for people who are new to bird photography and to Chennai, however this place gets its share of visits by regular Bird watchers and photography enthusiasts. For me it’s a place where I can practice my hobby without warranting any attention from the locals or other people.

Landscape near Siruthavur Lake
Siruthavur Lake is a fresh water lake located off the Tiruporur – Thirukazhikundram road which is roughly 50 kms from Chennai. This water body is primarily used for irrigation of the nearby lands and for fishing.  This lake is surrounded by thorny bushes and shrubs. One side of the lake is having an embankment with gates constructed for the purpose of storing the rain water and using it for irrigational purpose. The boundaries of the lake and the embankment have a lot of vegetation and are home to many birds, insects and other creatures. 
Pied Kingfisher
Common Kingfisher
There are many resident birds in the surroundings of the lake like the Common Kingfisher, White Breasted Kingfisher and Pied Kingfisher. The Eurasian Widgeons flock the lake in the winter months. Also during the winter months the lake is full of waders like Painted Stork, Open Bill Stork, Eurasian Spoonbill, Black Headed Ibis and Pelicans etc. 
Hovering Tern
This place also provides lot of opportunity for macro photography as the vegetation supports different types of Butterflies, Dragonflies, Bees, Golden Tortoise Beetle and other small forms of life.  The land on the either side of the Tiruporur – Thirukazhikundram road is also rich in birds and insects and is marked as reserve forest. The vegetation here is mainly thorny bushes, shrubs and small trees. These bushes serve as a nesting place for several land dwelling birds like Pied Bush Chat, Ashy Crowned Sparrow – Lark and Paddy field Pipit. One can even find these birds on the roads when there are no vehicles.
Lime Swallowtail or Small Citrus Swallowtail 
Golden Tortoise Beetle
The place is yet to be affected by urbanisation, but the place is vulnerable for poaching due to its isolated location. A few incidents of poaching were reported in the newspapers and blogs. In one of the incidents, the forest guards were even able to arrest the poachers based on the information provided by an alert bird watcher.

Tiruporur - Thirukazhikundram Road

To reach Siruthavur Lake, one has to take the OMR road to reach Thiruporur, continue on the OMR after passing the Thiruporur bus stand and take a right turn towards Chengalpattu road. When you have driven roughly a kilometre, there will be a left deviation which is the Tiruporur – Thirukazhikundram road. Another one and a half kilometre, the lake will be on the right side. It is not visible from the road, but can ask for directions.

Female - Common Picture Wing Dragonfly 

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