The story of how a group took the Pongal Bird Count up a notch

Three birders. Three days. 332 species recorded.

What do birders do during a pit-stop at a highway restaurant when out on a birding trip? They look out for birds, even if it means walking outside holding their plates of food. This is what Arulvelan Thillainayagam, K Selvaganesh and Hareesha A S did during the Pongal Bird Count recently. Held from January 14 to 17, the event was coordinated by Tamil Birders Network and Bird Count India. Arulvelan and team decided to do something different, rather than simply go birdwatching in their neighbourhood. They travelled 2,085 kilometres over three days, covering 32 districts in Tamil Nadu, apart from Puducherry, to count birds.

P Jeganathan, a member of Tamil Birders Network, suggested the idea. “We called ourselves Team Asian Palm Swift,” says Arulvelan, a Coimbatore-based veterinary doctor-turned-banker. For they travelled in a Swift car, and the Asian Palm Swift, a bird synonymous with Tamil Nadu, also flies in threes, according to Arulvelan. “I’d initially planned on getting a driver on board, but he cancelled last-minute, so I ended up driving,” says the 60-year-old.Read more

Source web page :The Hindu

With Arulvelan at the wheel, the team set out at 5.30 am on January 14 from Coimbatore. Hareesha sat in the co-driver’s seat, while Selvaganesh was seated behind, both armed with mobile phones on which they’d downloaded the eBird app to register their observations. It was a cold morning, but the team was headed to a colder region, the Nilgiris. “It was the first district where we started birding,” recalls Arulvelan. “We stopped at a dense forest in Kunjapanai for around 13 minutes.”


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