Briding in Chennai - Pallikaranai Wetland Marsh (Chennai - Tamil Nadu)

VISITING ONE OF THE BEST PLACES FOR BIRDING IN CHENNAI

PALLIKARANAI WETLAND MARSH - THE CHENNAI BIRD SANCTUARY
Every time I crossed Pallikaranai Marsh, here in Chennai I had this thought in mind that I wanted to visit here just to see the migratory birds in Chennai that flock here in the winter making Pallikaranai one of the best spots for birding in Chennai. Somehow that never happened. I always crossed these roads in broad daylight or at night. Never at dawn or dusk, when there is much more probability in watching birds. Somehow, I never ventured to Pallikaranai Marsh, just to say hi to birds. Well, if things had to happen, they will. And so it did.

Pallikaranai Wetland Birding Bird watching in Chennai

Pallikaranai Wetland Birding Bird watching in Chennai

Pallikaranai Wetland Birding Bird watching in Chennai

Pallikaranai Wetland Birding Bird watching in Chennai

MADRAS WEEK EVENT BY MADRAS NATURALISTS SOCIETY
During the past few years, Madras Week (Aug 21-28) has been celebrated in a big scale and its becoming bigger and bigger every year. And this year, as a part of the celebrations, Madras Naturalists Society, organized a Nature Walk of Pallikaranai Marsh and I felt, that was exactly why my plan was getting postponed indefinitely. Divine Intervention...???!!!! Lolz... May be... :)

BIRDING IN CHENNAI AT PALLIKARANAI WETLANDS
It was scheduled on a Sunday morning 6AM. I expected there wouldn't be much crowd, thanks to the timing and the day. Unwanted, uninterested people just won't wake up at that time, that too on a Sunday. The people who turn up would be genuinely interested people. Yes, there is a reason behind this reaction of mine - A dear friend of mine, who organized temple tours, got frustrated after seeing some guys dressed up in sick tees and bermudas for temple tours, eating chips all the way and absolutely disinterested and turned up just coz their parents wanted them to!!! And as I expected it was about 15 people who are very serious about the program.
It was headed by Mr.Vijaya Kumar, secretary MNS and he was assisted by Mr.Gnanaskandan and Mr.Praveen. Now let me tell you why getting postponed this long was a blessing. Being assisted by these people was the best way to watch birds, coz I got to identify several birds apart from the common birds in Chennai, whose names I would have not known otherwise. 
And as soon as the walk started I knew, there was no point taking my camera out. The birds were pretty far away and my simple 7MP, 3X cam was not for this shoot. I took a couple of shots of the landscape and kept my cam in, for good.

BEST GUIDE BOOK FOR BIRDING IN INDIA
Gnana and Praveen had brought with them a couple of professional high end binoculars and photoscopes, to make the bird watching experience much better for us. Gnana had the book 'A Pocket Guide to Birds of Indian Subcontinent' by 'Richard Grimmet', and showed us the pics in it, so we knew what to spot, where, when they directed us. 

Pallikaranai Wetland Birding Bird watching in Chennai
Pic Courtesy: By Shanmugam Saravanan - Imported from 500px (archived version) by the Archive Team. (detail page), CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Pallikaranai Wetland Birding Bird watching in Chennai
Pic Courtesy: By Amara Bharathy - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Pallikaranai Wetland Birding Bird watching in Chennai
Pic Courtesy: By Shanmugam Saravanan - Imported from 500px (archived version) by the Archive Team. (detail page), CC0 via Wikimedia Commons

Pallikaranai Wetland Birding Bird watching in Chennai
Pic Courtesy: By Sudharsun Jayaraj - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

MIGRATORY BIRDS IN CHENNAI AT PALLIKARANAI MARSH LANDS
The Dabchiks were everywhere. Infact it looks as though the whole lake was filled with them. The water was shallow and the Black Winged Stilts were so beautifully walking with their long slender legs.
The Pelicans... Oh, my dear Pelicans. Pelicans are as I had already told in my earlier post on Pelicans, are light boned birds, that are very buoyant and light weighted inspite of their relatively big body. It had just rained the prev. night and the wet pelicans were drying themselves in the electric transmission towers and wires. It was an absolutely fabulous sight and I'd never forget the image from my mind...
The whole waterbody looked as if it was sprinkled with black spots which were assorted birds of every type including many of the common birds in Chennai.
So, here comes the list of fabulous birds that I spotted there.
  • Grey Heron
  • Purple Heron
  • Common Moorhen
  • Purple Moorhen
  • Dabchik
  • Peasant Tailed Jacquana
  • Spotted Pelicans
  • White Breasted King Fisher
  • Whistling Duck
  • Egret
  • Black Kite
  • Shikra
  • Blue Tailed Bee Eater
  • Coot
  • Glossy Ibis
  • Grey Ibis
  • Spotted Bill Duck
  • Pied Avocet
  • Black Winged Stilt
No, that's not an exhaustive list. That's all I remember... There were a few more as well... I did take a few shots of the flora there. And caught a couple of butterflies too... So yeah, take an excellent camera with an excellent tele lens when you head to this amazing, one of the unique & unusual places to visit in Chennai. A nature-friendly, birding enthusiast's one day itinerary in Chennai would ideally start with Pallikaranai Wetland. 

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME FOR BIRDING IN CHENNAI
November to February is the migratory season for birds.
The best time during the day would be dawn & dusk when the birds are leaving their nests or returning back giving better chance of spotting many.

HOW TO REACH PALLIKARANAI, CHENNAI
On Google Maps: Pallikaranai Marsh Land
Tambaram to Pallikaranai distance & route: 15km via Camproad, Medavakkam
Velachery to Pallikaranai distance & route:: 5.5km 
Pallavaram (GST Road) to Pallikaranai distance & route:: 9km on Pallavaram-Thoraipakkam Road

Dedicated to Vijay, Gnanaskandan, and Praveen.

Pallikaranai Wetland Marsh Bird Watching Chennai

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 78 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of Sept 2020. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands