Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary
Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary is a natural habitat for a number of bird species. A large number of migratory birds flock to this freshwater lake during the winter months. I live just an hour’s drive away and never knew the Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary sanctuary existed until a few years ago. At that time it was in a neglected state. But when I went recently it was heartening to see it all spruced up with a major facelift. I have been there many times and every time I am awestruck by the magnificent birds that fly halfway across the globe to come and roost here. I keep clicking pictures every time and stop only when the memory is full.
What is a bird sanctuary?
A bird sanctuary is a place that birds are attracted to. More rightly, it is a sanctuary for the birds! Actually, Bird sanctuaries are natural preserves that support the conservation of numerous species of birds and their natural habitats while encouraging the rehabilitation and survival. A bird reserve is also called an Ornithological reserve. (Quite a mouthful that is).The main aim of a sanctuary is to prevent species from becoming endangered or extinct. Typically, birds here are sheltered from hunting and their habitat saved from destruction.
Location of the Sanctuary
Uppalapadu is a small hamlet in Guntur District. The sanctuary is in a very narrow in-descript lane. But once you walk into the portals, your jaw drops in amazement. There are thousands of birds perched on the trees in the middle of the lake.
Bird species nesting in the Sanctuary
Birds come all the way from Siberia to roost here. The sheer number of birds is overwhelming and it is always a pleasure to watch them soar into the sky and then come back at dusk to rest here.
Painted Storks, Spot-billed Pelicans and other birds migrate from various countries such as Siberia, Australia and use the sanctuary. The water tanks in the village are unique as they provide refuge to many species birds including endangered Spot-Billed Pelicans and Painted Storks. There are spotted bill grey pelicans and a slightly less number of Painted stork, pintail ducks a few cormorants, and red-crested pochard, common coot, common teal, black-headed ibises. The main diet being fed to the chicks in Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary is both fresh and seawater fish.
Renovation & Restoration
Sadly sanctuaries are disappearing because of global climate change and rapid urbanisation. This has, in turn, affected the migration trends of long distant migratory birds. The bird population in Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary has dwindled. But some initiatives have taken place such as adding artificial trees, local awareness, proper water supply to the ponds etc. Artificial skeletal trees have been added in the pond on which the birds can perch in addition to the natural trees.
Entry Fee is Nominal
The entry fee is INR 10 for Indians and INR 25 per person if carrying a camera. There’s a high watchtower from where one can have a bird’s eye view of the lake and birds. If you are a bird lover you can sit here for hours watching these avian creatures. A camera, binocular lots of time and a tea flask are all you need. There are a few benches where you can sit quietly and feast your eyes on these heavenly creatures fluttering about
Things to do in Uppalapadu Sanctuary
First of all, take a stroll from the entrance to the end at the far right.F ill your eyes with the sheer beauty of the sanctuary. If you a birdwatcher or bird photographer then come alone. Or else pack a picnic basket and spend some time in the lap of nature on a weekend. But please do not litter.
Best Time to Visit Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary
Uppalapadu in Guntur District falls into tropical climate and the summers are always scorching. The bird population decreases during the summer months. The best time to visit the sanctuary would be between October to the end of March. During this time you can see the sanctuary packed to capacity with birds.
Let me share a secret here. In the rainy season, wander about in the vicinity. You may get lucky and find other birds in the smaller ponds close by.
How to Reach Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary
Gannavaram is the nearest airport in Vijayawada at a distance of around 50 km from Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary. Take a flight to Vijayawada Airport and then hire an Ola or cab to the sanctuary.
There are many trains from major stations to Guntur. You can easily get trains from other major cities and towns to Guntur. Take a cab to Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary from the Railway Station.
Uppalapadu Bird Sanctuary is easily accessible by road via Guntur, Vijayawada or the Chennai Highway.
Not many people know about this sanctuary, thus it is still a virgin area bereft of littering, swarming noisy tourists who would only drive them away. Apart from a few lovelorn couples who could not have found a quieter place than this!
There is a lot of difference between then and now. You can check out my previous post here.
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