(Details shared by Devinder Singh Dadhwal) Annual Waterfowl Estimation exercise was carried out on 29th January 2014 for monitoring the numerical size of visitor migratory birds’ population during the year 2013-14 in Pong Dam Lake Wildlife Sanctuary. Experts from various institutes & organizations viz. WWF, Delhi Bird Club, Himachal Bird Club, Birds Of Himachal and many wildlife enthusiasts, bird watchers, volunteers along with officials & officers from Forest Department, participated in this mega exercise.
Entire Pong Dam Lake Wildlife Sanctuary was divided in to 22 Sections. About 90 persons participated in this exercise. Each section was thoroughly traversed on land and water by a team of 4-6 members headed by an expert. After day long exercise, it has been concluded that 128200 waterfowls of 119 different species have visited Pong Dam Lake this year.
Dominant species are Bar Headed Goose (43000), Northern Pintail (21500), Common Teal (13800), Common Pochard (10000),Common Coots (9000) Tufted Pochard (6100) ,Great Cormorant (5500) and.Ruddy Shelduck (2100) and Eurasian Wigeon (*1730) has been noticed this year. Other Rare Species recorded in the lake are Common Shelduck (06), Sarus Cranes(09), Osprey (06),Buff bellied Pipit (04) Indian Skimmer(01) and Little Gull(01) which are rarely observed in other wetlands rarely seen in Indian wetlands. Eurasian Skylark (340) has probably the highest density in Pong Dam Lake in the entire country . Other noticeable species are Great Crested Grebe, Greylag Goose, Red Crested Pochard, Ferruginous Pochard, Common Merganser, Eurasian Spoonbill, Greater White Fronted Goose, Garganey, Water Pipits, Gull billed Pipits.
The number of birds as well as species have shown an increase from last year (2012-13) when the total count was recorded as 123000 of 113 species.
Most of these birds migrate from their breeding places in trans-Himalaya region in Tibet, Central Asia, Russia and Siberia. Over the last few years Pong Dam Lake, also a Ramsar site, has become an ideal destination for winter sojourn for many species of Migratory birds.