Visakhapatnam is a charming coastal city in Andhra Pradesh. Flanked on one side by the coast, by the Eastern Ghats on the other and with large green spaces inside town (such as the Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary); it also has lot to offer to birders.
On 21 October 2017, a Bird Count India workshop on bird monitoring and documentation was held in the city with the help of Vizag Birdwatchers’ Society at the Visakha Public Library. The workshop was attended by 21 birders of varying age and experience from across the city, and it began with everyone introducing themselves. A short address by Vikram Penmetsa, an active birder from the region, flagged off the workshop.
Ramit Singal, from Bird Count India, explained the need for documentation and the benefits of uploading records to a common platform, such as eBird. The workshop was interactive and a number of participants spoke about the state of birding/documentation in their area, and asked questions about how to use eBird data for a variety of reasons – from making the birding experience richer to conservation of areas and patches dear to these birders. This was followed by a walkthrough on how to use eBird and its various web-based features. The walkthrough included a tutorial on how to submit lists, what birding protocols on eBird may mean, using the “Explore Data” tab, etc.
Dr. Bharat Lakshmi, who has been documenting birds in Visakhapatnam for a long time, spoke to the participants about her experience with birds over the years in the city and surrounds. Mr Vijay Kumar, curator of the Vizag Zoo, spoke about the importance of regular monitoring and how documentation will help build a baseline for areas like Visakhapatnam, where the birdlife is not comprehensively known and the city is slowly expanding into birding habitats.
Vizag has a group of young, enthusiastic birders with a mix of experience thrown in. This workshop was just a beginning and one way to get like-minded people together for a common cause. We are thankful to the Vizag Birdwatchers’ Society and wish to see it grow over the coming years.