Haleji Lake, Sindh, Pakistan – March 2008, originally uploaded by SaffyH – Minsmere, Lakenheath, Thetford Forest.
Haleji Lake, Sindh, Pakistan – March 2008
Lake Haleji is an ideal refuge for wintering and home of thousands of birds and regarded as one of the most important wintering areas of migratory waterfowl in Eurasia. It is located at 240 48 N and 600 47’E, and is within easy motoring distance, 88 Km, of Karachi. A sanctuary for birds and an outdoor attraction for humans. Haleji, a salt-water lake was formed by seasonal water, collecting in a depression. For additional water needed for troops stationed at Karachi, during world war II, salt water was drained out and an embankment was constructed around the lake which was fed by fresh water through a canal. Resultantly, Haleji became one of the major sources of water supply to the increasing population of Karachi as well as an exquisite refuge for waterfowl.
Haleji lake and its lagoons together with Hudero lake at a hopping distance, which in turn whispers to the keenjhar lake, forms a very large complex of waterfowl habitat. This complex is now home to divers, dabblers, surface and deep-water feeders and fresh and brackish water lovers. All these find this strange salt and fresh water mix a fascinating place to suit their moods and requirements. It is also ideal for guest birds that come here from colder regions.
Complete circuit of Haleji is about 12 miles. The main water reservoir covers an area of 6.58 Sq. miles and the maximum depth being 17 feet. Shady trees surround it. Phragmites, Typha, Hydrilla and Lotus cover parts of the lake in swaying patches of colours.
The rocky out crops which jut out of the lake at various points are home of a number of migratory and resident waterfowl. One of them is known as Pelican Island and the other as Cormorant Island. On both these islands, hundreds of these birds can be seen resting and enjoying the sun. Evening is the best time for them, for then they all come home. There are marsh crocodiles too.
Haleji is a bird watcher’s paradise. As many as 223 bird species have been recorded in the environs of Haleji lake. For instance, osprey, Pallas’s fish eagle, Buzzards, Harriers, falcons, Wigeon, coot, shoveller, pintail, Teals, Mallard, heron, Jacana, flamingos and some times Bewick’s swan, all form a marvellous sight for a bird watcher.
The Government of Sindh have provided legal cover to preserve ecology of the region and Haleji has been declared a Wildlife Sanctuary and later on as a Ramsar wetland site .