28 noviembre 2010

Global Birdwatchers´ Conference 2010 (English)

While Pia was hallucinating in the hit South American Bird Fair, Javier sacrificed for the common good, and went to India to participate in an event that took place in the Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary, near the city of Jamnagar, in the glorious state of Gujarat, INDIA.

The event was focused on the promotion of this sanctuary, a reservoir located in the Gulf of Kutch on the Indian Ocean, as it is a particularly diverse place in the area for being a transit of migratory birds that spend the summer in northern Asia to winter in southern India. On this trip the majority is forced to dodge the high Himalayas (only a few species are encouraged to fly over it), doing the west, flowing along the western coast of India where the bird sanctuary of Khijadiya lies.

This is the reason that at Khijadiya they have recorded a list of 257 species among residents, migratory and vagrant. So the GBWC2010 consisted of three days of activities which were presented at various symposia talks related to bird watching, ecotourism, conservation, and even bird photography, complemented by field trips to the sanctuary to observe the diversity of which was spoken in the conference room.There were three visits to the reserve and a final trip to Narara Marine National Park, a nearby site where, at low tide, visitors have the chance to walk with water to the ankles by ancient coral reefs that are home to numerous species of crabs, fish, snails, octopuses, among others, and the consequent diversity of birds associated with this environment.

The sanctuary is a large natural and man made wetland, and has infrastructure associated with bird watching like observation towers with telescopes, hides, and high access roads on large tracts of land flooded.

Khijadiya is presented as a birding destination for the Indian subcontinent with great potential, for all the infrastructure of hotels and restaurants in the state of Gujarat, that offers a wide variety of activities and sights of interest. It is the state where Krishna and Mahatma Gandhi were born, it has its own language (Gujarati), there lies the last reserve of Asiatic lions, it has a grest variety of ecosystems available thanks to a strong gradient of precipitation, abundant south and north almost nil. With a third of the coastline and wetlands throughout the country also has one of the few reserves of wild ass in the plains of Kuch.

For all this, if you ever go to India, remember this state of Gujarat, the westernmost point of the country that is willing to host you.

To see more photos of the conference and the bird sanctuary click here.

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