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Velrampet Lake - My stint with ducks and chicks

It was a pleasant summer morning. Adjusting the focus of my binoculars, I was trying to get a better view of lesser whistling ducks, standing along the banks of Velrampet lake, Puducherry. I could see a horde of ducks from distance; all lesser whistling ducks. They seem to have a perfect outing, twirling and hurdling on the shallow water surface.

Velrampet Lake - Puducherry

As the summer peaks up, the water level in the lake goes down, inviting water birds for an extravaganza. These adorable creatures visit the lake during late summer and enjoys the feast. Some are resident to the lake and can be spotted throughout the year.

I took a stroll around the lake with my active companion – binoculars – for observing these fellas. Morning breeze cheered me up swaying refreshingly, thanks to the tall trees (palm, pongamia, raintree, etc) erected along the banks of the lake. You will never feel the heat walking along this natural shades.

North side of the lake - canopy covers

Coming back to my stint for ducks; I was totally into it, watching them playing on the surface. Water hyacinths were there on the water, so I couldn’t get full view of the ducks at times. I panned around the lake to count the species and then I found a pair of ducks taking their strides towards this horde.

It got exciting when I found four little chicks walking along their parents. Those chicks were patterned in black and white. It was like the group of small sized pied-kingfishers walking with two adult ducks. The adult duck (lesser whistling duck) has elongated neck with chestnut rump and dark grey shades on the head. They are predominantly nocturnal feeders, who generally takes rest during day time.

I panned my binocular with them, slowly. It was not a long journey for them but they looked determined. On their way, they met a few members of their family. Purple Moorhens, White-breasted water hens, common coots and little grebes.

Purple moorhens were in two batches. One was busy feeding their young ones and another group were doing something that scared the shit off chicks. Water hens and coots were foraging on the water plants. Grebes were consistently taking a dip inside the water and feasting themselves.

A group of cormorants were flashing themselves on the sun, drying their wet feather. A red-wattled lapwing was constantly raising its alarm call – did-did - did-u-do-it - did-u-do-it – and was chasing two crows off the lake. This is the first time I have seen lapwing chasing away crows because it was always the other way around. Couldn’t imagine the intensity of its frustration and what these poor guys are going through!

The chicks also encountered a big water snake, but was taken care by their parents.

Alas! My pan came to the halt, when these adorable fellas reached their horde in one corner of the lake, where their mates were taking sun bath, standing on the ridges.

Moreover, their path by itself was rough with some propping sticks, plastic waste and other man-made challenges.

One such is the recently implemented and so-called pet project of our beloved and most honourable Lt. Governor - Boating. It is executed as part of eco-tourism projects in most of the lively lakes around the city (Puducherry). 

Boating at Velrampet Lake

Boating is known to have a noticeable impact on waterbody. It induces algal growth (eutrophication) thereby blocking the incoming sunlight and reducing the dissolved oxygen level. It also alters the water quality of the water body, which in turn affects the one who depend on them like birds, animals, plants and even humans. Besides, boats generate waves on the waterfront that disturbs or sometimes even destroys certain species. Purple moorhens, white-breasted waterhens, pheasant-tailed jacanas brood on these fresh water lakes. It can be witnessed that Velrampet lake, by itself, harbours purple moorhens, white breasted water hens and whistling ducks for nesting. These fellas are intelligent; they may change their place if they sense any kind of external man-made disturbances. And if they do, there comes the problem. Bird dropping enhances the potassium and nitrogen of the water assisting water plants to grow, which in turn serves as a potential nesting place for fishes and reptiles. The entire lake gets its rigour and stays alive with the harmonious existence of all these creatures.

But will this state stay forever? - the question to be pondered over!


  1. Wonderful description.. u bought the scene live in front of the eyes.. have always enjoyed boating unaware that it was causing such a menace to the birdies..feeling guilty..

    1. Glad you like it. Yes, boating has always been a menace to our environment, especially water bodies. Little bit of thought always helps.

  2. Deeply observed, well researched article Gowthama👍

    1. Appreciate your time. Do spend time in such places with your kids, you will love it.

  3. Very nice information about the lake. The natural lighting of the lake adds more beauty to the lake. Information regarding the birds very nice. In total a very nice article. BEST WISHES GOWTHAM.

    1. Natural lighting, especially early morning sunlight, makes the frame serene. Thanks for the compliments. After all, this blog breathes in your comments and feedback.


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