Sunday, November 1, 2015

Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary, Ariyalur

Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary, Ariyalur
The Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary, is a 4.537 km2 (1.752 sq mi) protected area located at Karaivetti village in Ariyalur District of Tamil Nadu, South India and established on April 5, 1999. It is one of the largest freshwater lakes in southern Tamil Nadu. At least 188 species of birds have been recorded in the sanctuary. International name is Karaivetti Wildlife Sanctuary, Important bird area code no. IN268, criteria: A1, A4i, A4iii.
Karaivetti is a lake fed by the River Kaveri and by rainwater, about 50 km northeast of Tiruchchirappalli town. This freshwater lake is fed by Pullambadi, Kattalal canal. It is the biggest water body in the district and attracts hundreds of thousands of birds every year. Considering its importance as a bird habitat, the Government of Tamil Nadu declared it as a bird sanctuary in 1999. When full, the lake can hold water to an average depth of 3 m.

From April to August, the water level is low. In the northern dry part of the lake, cotton, castor, maize, gram and coriander are cultivated annually, while in the wetter southern part, paddy and sugarcane are cultivated. The natural and planted vegetation consist of Acacia nilotica, Prosopis chilensis, Azadirachta indica & Tamarindus indica. The Acacia nilotica plantation is the major nesting site for birds.
In the wetland, Typha angustata and Fimbristylis sp. are present. Ipomea aquatica grows as a weed in many parts of the reservoir. Floating and partly submerged plants include Elodea, Hydrilla, Salvinia and Spirodella sp.
It is located about 35 kms to the north of Thanjavur in Ariyalur Taluk. The sanctuary is home to a variety of migratory birds that visit the sanctuary during the November. Over 2.5 lakhs birds arrive in this sanctuary.

Of the 188 species of birds recorded in the sanctuary, 82 are water birds. The sanctuary is one of the most important fresh water feeding grounds for migratory water birds. The water birds arrive at the tank from September after water is released from the Mettur dam.
According to Forest Department sources, during the course of the first half of the migratory period, a large number of teals and ducks are drawn to the spot as the water level is deeper. As water starts receding, larger birds such as painted storks and open bills start thronging.
Water in the tank is at the maximum storage in April when the maximum number of birds arrives at the sanctuary.
Being an irrigation tank, there is no natural forest within the sanctuary.
The Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary is located in Ariyalur District of Tamil Nadu.
4.537 km2(1.752 sq mi)
Governing Body
Tamil Nadu Department of Forests
Nearest city
Thanjavur (35 km)
Lowest elevation
30 m (98 ft) AMSL
Highest elevation
370 m (1,210 ft) AMSL
2,000 millimeters (79 in)
Avg. Summer Temp.
33 °C (91 °F)
Avg. Winter Temp.
14 °C (57 °F)
Wildlife Found
Important birds are Rosy pastor, Peregrine falcon, Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Tawny Eagle, Bar-headed Goose, White stork, White necked stork, Grey pelican and Ibis. So far 16 species of Ducks, 23 species of Waders and 100 species of land birds have been recorded.
Nearest airport
Trichy 50 Km
Nearest Railway Station
Thanjavur 35 Km, Trichy 50 Km
Best season
December to January
Entry fees
Entry is free for all visitors
Accommodation is available in private hotels and lodges in Thanjavur (35 km) and Trichy (50 km)
For greater details
Wildlife Warden,
Point Calimere WLS, Collectorate,
Nagapattinam 611 002,
Nagapattinam District,
Phone No : 04365253092
The sanctuary is a large irrigation tank located in the northern alluvial plains of the Kaveri River. It is fed during the northeast monsoons by the Pullambadi canal, an aqueduct from the Kaveri via the Venganur reservoir and dam. It is one of three interconnected reservoirs. It is one of the largest freshwater lakes in southern Tamil Nadu. An important aspect of this sanctuary is the presence of water till the month of May as most nearby water bodies dry up by the month of March. It remains dry from June till August. Rainfall ranges from 800 mm (31 in) -2,000 mm (79 in). It is often referred to together with another nearby tank and called Vettakudi-Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary.
The sanctuary has an area of 321 Sq. Km with 108 Sq. Km of National Park area.
It lies within 11o 30’ N to 11o 42’ N and 76o 30’ E to 76o 45’ E.
Rainfall ranges from 800 - 2000mm. Temperature varies from 14o C to 33o C.
Altitude ranges from 100’ MSL to 1200’ MSL.
Aquatic vegetation includes: ganthian sp., sedge sp., bullrush & Hydrilla. Shoreline trees include wattleneemIndian beech sp., and casuarina sp. These trees provide habitats necessary for breeding waterbirds. The Social Forestry Department has planted Cassia trees along the northern and western shores of the reservoir. 
Important birds here are long migrants including the high flying bar-headed goosewhite storkwoolly-necked storkrosy pelicanspoonbillopen bill stork, and grey heronnight heronPond heron, purple heronegrets and glossy ibis.
The diving birds little cormorantkingfisher, Indian cormorant and sixteen species of ducks, including spot-billed duck, common pochardtufted pochard and northern shoveler, plus Coots and Twenty three species of waders, including whiskered tern, gull-  Billed tern, and little tern, sandpiperslittle ringed plover and Kentish plover, have been recorded in the sanctuary.

In addition, there are several Near threatened species found here including: oriental darterblack-bellied ternblack-headed Ibis, painted stork and spot-billed pelican.  In January, 2003, 375 Spot-billed Pelican were sighted by the Asian Waterfowl Census. 
Sixteen species of Ducks and twenty three Species of Waders have been recorded in the sanctuary. Birds start arriving in November and stay on till May. Population of migratory birds is maximum in the month of January. Up to 50000 birds have been recorded visiting the sanctuary during peak season. Important land birds visiting sanctuary include the Rosy Pastor, Peregrine Falcon, Osprey, Marsh Harrier, Tawny Eagle, etc., Nearly 100 species of land birds have been recorded in the sanctuary. However, the ideal time to visit the sanctuary is during the months of November and February. There were 59 species listed in the 1999-2000 BNHS/Asian waterfowl count, Tamil Nadu statewide count.

The sanctuary is notable as a breeding area of waterbirds. During the March 2002 water bird census, 250 nests were counted with the grey pelican, spoonbill pelican, ibis, open bill stork and little cormorant found to be breeding. In addition, darter, little egret, grey heron, night heron, painted stork, oriental black-headed ibis and Eurasian spoonbill breed here.  Karaivetti is one of at least 58 active heronries in Tamil Nadu.
A total of 188 species of birds, including 101 migrants, has been identified from Karaivetti Lake. Thirteen species of ducks have been identified from this IBA site, the majority consisting of Garganey Anasquerquedula, Northern Pintail Anas acuta, Northern Shoveller Anas clypeata and Spot billed Duck Anas platyrhynchos.
Up to 1,000 Bar-headed Geese Anser indicus are found in some years; the 1% population threshold for this species is 560 (Wetlands International 2002). The Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis, a globally threatened species congregates in Karaivetti Lake in large numbers a flock of 475 was seen in June 2002. The 1% threshold is only 40. A small number of White Stork Ciconia Ciconia (7 recorded in October 2000) is also found, but the number is much less than its 1% threshold of 45.

Ten species of waterbirds breed here. Among them are the globally threatened Spot-billed Pelican and Near Threatened Oriental White Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus, Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala and Darter Anhinga melanogaster. Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia also breeds in this site. During winter, the total numbers of birds recorded here are between 20,000 to 60,000, mostly Anatidae. Therefore, this site qualifies A4iii criteria also, besides qualifying A1 (Threatened Species) and A4i (=1% biogeography population).
As this is a lake system, not much terrestrial fauna is present, except for some Golden Jackal Canis aureus and Black-naped Hare Lepus nigricollis in the scrub patch and plantation. However, the lake supports 15 species of fish.
Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary is administered by The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests through the Tamil Nadu Forest DepartmentWildlife Warden, 110 Public Office Road, Nagapattinam - 611 001. It is state-owned and under the control of the Public Works Department, Agriculture Department, and Fisheries Department. The lake supplies water for irrigation and domestic use. Fishing is carried out on lease basis. There is grazing by domestic livestock. There are privately owned paddy fields surrounding the reservoir.
In 2007-2008, a scheme for the development of Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary was sanctioned by the Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests and implementation begun. This project includes: conducting water bird census, micro planning and formation of Eco-Development committees in 2 Villages, alternate income generation activities through micro credit in 1 Village, promotion of eco-tourism through publicity and awareness, arranging 4 eco-camps, documentation of sanctuary wildlife, engaging anti-poaching watchers, awareness creation in 2 Villages and maintenance of visitor’s facilities. Dalmia Cement Co. has constructed an observation tower at Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary.
Bird Identification and surveys are done regularly by the Karaivetti Bird Monitoring Project of the Bishop Heber College, Au Sable Institute of Environment Studies. Their updated list of birds at Karaivetti has 188 species including a few threatened birds. Bird banding is also organized there with the help of the Bombay Natural History Society.
The sanctuary is located 50 km from Trichy and 35 km from Thanjavur. The nearest township Ariyalur is situated 12 km from the sanctuary.
Tourist information
A notable aspect of the sanctuary is regular nesting of waterbirds. During March 2002 water bird census, 250 nests were counted and species like the Grey Pelican, Spoonbill, Ibis, Open bill stork, Cormorant etc., were found to breeding.
The sanctuary is basically an irrigation tank that received water from Mettur dam and north east monsoons. It remains dry from June till August. 
Entry fee: Entry is free for visitors
Ideal time to visit: Sanctuary is during December to January.
The sanctuary is
 open to visitors throughout the year.
Accommodation is available in private hotels and lodges in Thanjavur (35 km) and Trichy (50 km)
Wildlife Warden, 
Point Calimere WLS, Collectorate, 
Nagapattinam 611 002, 
District Nagapattinam, 
Tel: (04365) 253092
Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary is well connected with all modes of transport. Tiruchirapalli airport is about 65 kms from Thanjavur. Thanjavur also has a railway junction of its own, which helps the tourists to communicate between Thanjavur and many other prominent regions of Tamil Nadu. The nearest airport is located at Trichy that is located at 95 kms. 

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