When I read that a large population of waterfowls migrates to Magadi Lake in Magadi Bird Sanctuary near Kurtakoti, Gadag district, I yearned to visit this place during the migration season. I got the opportunity in February 2011 and what I saw was a grand spectacle of thousands of Bar-headed Geese (Anser indicus) quacking, swimming, flying, and nesting on the lake.
Magadi Lake, scientifically known as Magadi wetlands is situated in Shirhatti Taluk, Gadag district. It is 26 Km from Gadag. The Magadi tank is a manmade lake to harness rainwater and is one of the biodiversity hotspots of Karnataka. The wetlands is spread over 140 acres and is maintained by Karnataka state forest department.
During winter (Nov – Feb), thousands of bar headed geese migrate from Mangolia to Magadi wetlands. Imagine the birds flying over the Himalayas to reach this place!
The migratory birds have adapted to this environment very well, and they have even changed their diet from fish, mollusks, and snakes to barley, rice, and wheat.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India has recognized Magadi wetlands and is on high priority to conserve and protect the site for the birds to continue to migrate and breed.
There is also a 3-storied watch tower built for bird watching with a forest official manning a field scope (like a binocular).
The other types of avifauna spotted here are, bar-headed goose, Eurasian spoonbill, ruddy shed duck or brahmini duck, comb duck, grey heron, purple heron, painted stork, oriental ibis, black ibis, white breasted water hen, purple swamp hen, greater flamingo, black winged stilt, cattle egret and Asian open bill stork.
Land birds spotted here are Bee eaters, wire-tailed swallows, drongo, jungle warblers, and so on.
Type of place: Lake / Bird Sanctuary
Situated: Gadag District, Karnataka
Distance: 20 Km from Gadag, Gadag it is 26 km, it is located on Gadag-Bangalore Road, from Shirhatti it is 8 km, and from Lakshmeshwar 11 km
Transport: Well connected by road, nearest railhead is Gadag