Pallikaranai Marsh (Kanchipuram - Tamil Nadu)

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 that flock here in the winter. 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.
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 that was exactly why my plan was getting postponed indefinitely. Divine Intervention...???!!!! Lolz... May be... :)
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 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.
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. 
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 prev. 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.
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...

If at all I had a good cam!!! Ha, forget it. However here I have a couple of shots from the MNS album. Its Avocet and Purple Heron. 
Copyright: Madras Naturalists Society

Copyright: Madras Naturalists Society
This is just the trailer. Check out the MNS Facebook Page for much more pics.

In Chennai - Tamil Nadu

From Tambram: 15km via Camproad, Medavakkam
From Velachery: 5.5km 
From Pallavaram (GST Road): 9km on Pallavaram-Thoraipakkam Road

Dedicated to Vijay, Gnanaskandan, and Praveen.


An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.


  1. Very well written blog and the pics are really very beautiful

  2. hi bhushavali

    nice post with beautiful photos

    nice information of birds also

    thanks for sharing

    my new post on Onam 2011 celebration

  3. can i know what spotting scope it is?

  4. We were on ECR yesterday and there is a small bridge just bfore kovalam(where there is a toll towards OMR)and we saw hundreds of pelicans and painted storks around 4pm(didnt hav my SLR!).But was lucky to see them upclose thru SLR of a bird photographer.Do try that place.

  5. Lovely place, glad to see this beautiful environment..

  6. @Pooja & Team G & Krishna & Capt,
    Thanks a lot dears... :)

    @Indian Rose Grower,
    Its like a telescope but used to see landscapes esp. used for bird watching...

    Yeah true. Thats Kelambakkam.... Its another haven for bird watchers. I've crossed there a couple of times but never actually been there for bird watching...

  7. Beautiful blog. Best of Luck. Do check out my post too and vote if you like it Aye Zindagi!

  8. @Ranting Indian,
    Thanks dear. I'm just coming over to vote for you... :)
    Do drop by often. I'd love your comments & visits...

  9. I have also taken to bird watching in the last few months and can relate to the excitement expressed here :-)

  10. @Seema
    Thanks dear... Welcome to my blog.. :)
    Do drop by often... :)

    So nice to know that.. :)
    And welcome to my blog dear. Do drop by often.. :)

  11. hi this is sriram....... good work really nice. i want a information about this marsh land how can i contact you sir...

  12. hi really nice work.... i want a information about this pallikarani marsh land how can i contact you sir....

  13. Thank you Sriram. You can mail me at


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