Rare goose near Mysore excites bird lovers

Rare goose near Mysore excites bird lovers

Rare goose near Mysore excites bird lovers

The bird has been sighted along with a few bar headed geese, which were tagged in Mongolia by scientists to study the generally believed theory of spread of avian influenza.

A group of bird watchers on birding trip to Kagglipura lake have stumbled upon Greater White Fronted Goose, which is the first-ever record in entire South India. The solo bird sighted along with over 400 bar headed geese has been drawing bird lovers to the lake from far and nearby places.

“We had the first sighting. We thought it might be Greylag goose which had come along with these geese in 2007, but on closer observation we realised it is White Fronted Goose,” explained M Mohan Kumar, a bird watcher from Mysore.

The Mysore-based birders Thribuvan Ramachandra, Vijay Dutta, Supreeth, Chetan, Kiran and Tilak who have been together conducting water fowl census every year have recorded this sighting on 31 January, 2010 along with 422 bar headed geese.

The bird which breeds on Arctic Coast of Europe and Asia spends its winter in Western Europe, Black Sea, Caspian Sea to China and Iraq. “Though the bird is a regular visitor to some parts of North India, there is no record of it coming to Southern India. The last record was in Chilka Lake a few years ago,” said Mohan.

Bangalore-based Ornithologist M B Krishna, who agrees with him, says that the bird never migrates alone. “It might have mixed up with bar headed geese. It has never come before to this region. This is outside their normal distribution range,” he said.

Measuring about 65-78 cm in length, these birds have a 130-165 cm wingspan. They have bright orange legs and mouse-coloured upper wing-coverts. The Greater White-fronted Goose is divided into five subspecies across the globe in cold places.

Geese with rings

Another sighting which has excited the bird lovers is the sighting of few ringed bar headed geese. As more surprise is in store, two birds ringed by well known wildlife veterinarian Martin Gilbert has been sighted at Kagglipura lake.

The bird watchers have photographed these two birds. One with bearing yellow tag engraved with V-0, which was ringed in 2009 and another green tag bearing H-77, ringed in July 2008 have been photographed in this lake. The birds, along with the over 400 geese, have migrated here. Gilbert an Associate Director WCS, Global Health Programme had tagged these birds in Mongolia.

The New York-based scientist had initiated the study the spread of avian influenza theory, which says it spreads from wild birds to poultry.  The theory has been proved baseless as it is very well known fact that Mongolia does not have poultry farms.

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