Claimed to be one among the nine big lakes in the city of Coimbatore, this lake has an area of nearly 1.15 sq. km. It is fed by the Noyyal river and provides an asylum for various species of migratory birds, reptiles, and fish. Once heavily polluted with plastic and sewage, the condition of this lake has significantly improved after increased public awareness, especially with the involvement of the youth.
A Home for the Birds and Beasts alike
A lake is valuable because it recharges the groundwater table in the surrounding area, regulates the temperature and provides aesthetic beauty. Whilst all this is true, the most important reason for such importance being placed on a lake is because a lake is a home. It is a home for birds that come from places as far as Serbia and Russia to visit us. It is a home for the insects that meet in the areas around the lake amidst the flowering plants and bushes without whose dedication (and pollination) life would be unimaginable. It is also the abode of the reptiles and the fish that help maintain the ecological balance.
An account of the Wildlife at Singanallur Lake
In an ambitious attempt to interest the youth in the conservation efforts of the lake, numerous bird watching groups have come up around the lake. They aim to educate the local population on the life around the lake so they would feel a sort of ownership towards it and aid in the preservation of the lake. So if you admire wildlife, here is an account of what to look forward to at Singanallur Lake…
The area around Singanallur Lake is teeming with butterflies; make sure you pay attention to these varieties! ( In order-Common Mormon, Joker Butterfly, Glassy Tiger and Plain Tiger). These butterflies are very fond of flowering plants and frequently visit the gardens around the Lake.
Dragonflies, crickets, locusts, beetles, and bugs are also a common sight there (In order- Cricket, dragonfly, beetle and a rolly-polly bug).
More than 125 varieties of birds are found near this lake. The best time to spot these birds would be at the crack of dawn preferably between the months of July and March. It would indeed be very difficult and also redundant to provide a detailed account of each bird you would spot at the lake, thus a short bulletin on a few bird families is provided below.
These birds are fish eaters and have a long hooked beak and webbed feet. Though there are many different species (nearly 45), the little cormorant is the most spotted bird on Indian lakes.
They have long necks and long legs. They feed on small insects, amphibians, and fish.
They too have long legs and wade through the water. They are predominantly carnivorous. The black-headed ibis is a near threatened species that is commonly spotted here.
They are named spoonbills because of the distinctive shape of their beaks. They commonly nest near the ibises and the egrets. They normally feed on insect, crustaceans and tiny fish.
These aquatic birds need no introduction. They are found in freshwater as well as saline waters. They feed on both plants and small fish while migrating great distances.
These birds vary in size from small to medium and have bright feathers. They swoop down to grab fish from their branches. The species of kingfishers that do not live near waters consume a wide variety of small prey.
The rose-ringed parakeet is a common sight in the southern part of India. Parakeets feed on a wide range of vegetables and fruits.
They are beautifully coloured small birds and are so-named because they feed on bees, wasps and other small insects (In order– Green Bee-eater, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater)
There are various other species of birds such as Woodpeckers, Bulbuls, Larks, etc.
It would be helpful to know the birds you might expect on your expedition before you actually go there. Numerous sites are available on the internet. One such site with a list of birds and common names are given here.
Fishing is a common occurrence in Singanallur Lake with the participation of fishing enthusiasts as well as local fisherman. However, due to the dumping of sewage, the consumption of these fish is not usually recommended. There have also been reports of fisherman containing the natural flow of the river into other channels to keep the fish within the lake, which has caused further contamination. Because of this concentrated defilement, the fish were believed to have been affected by pathogens and pollution from sewage. The common fish species included Major Carp, Rohu, Bata, Common Carp etc.
Amphibians and Reptiles
This lake is also home to a wide variety of frogs, turtles, and snakes. The Indian toad and the Flapshell turtle are residents of this tank.
This lake, brimming with life and energy, is home to more than 600 species of life-forms all of whom have managed to keep the river clean, except one- Humans. We as individuals fail to realize that the Earth and everything in it does not only belong to us. We must share… as destroying a lake kills thousands of lives. We cannot be so oblivious to that fact any longer and must love, nurture as well as protect our lakes.
By Snehaa S.