Participant Profile: Dr Jayant Wadatkar
Where do you live?
I live in Amravati in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. Melghat Tiger Reserve, a well-known protected area is in Amravati district.
When did you start watching birds?
I started my birdwatching systematically in 1997. Before that I was largely a trekker who used to visit forests to see wildlife for adventure.
Who would you consider your birding mentor?
While there was no person in particular who mentored me, but after getting in touch with my birder friend Dr. Raju Kasambe, my birding became more serious and systematic. Since then I have spend lots of time birding with Raju.
Please describe a memorable birding experience.
It is difficult to isolate a single event, but I particularly cherish one incident when I visited Malkhed Reservoir for a weekend trip with my family. There wasn’t any plan for birding but my binoculars, field guide and camera are always in my sack. I was wandering around the lake with my 8-year-old daughter Rajeshwari. All of a sudden my attention was attracted by a white-coloured bird among a flock of Ruddy Shelduck. Upon observing it more carefully I discovered that the white-coloured bird was a Common Shelduck! I was thrilled because that was the first sighting of this species for Maharashtra.
What are your favourite migrants?
I have a lot of favourites among migratory birds but perhaps Black Stork and cranes are on top of the list.
What is your favourite place to watch migrants?
My favourite birding spots to watch migratory birds are Malkhed Reservoir and Chhatri Lake near Amravati, although I like birding in Melghat and anywhere in the Satpuda Range.
Do you have any advice for beginning birdwatchers and naturalists?
Today in India the environment is at loggerheads with developmental activities. We want progress; however, it is coming at the cost of destroying natural habitat and resources. My suggestion to birdwatchers is: Don’t limit yourself to only birdwatching and bird photography; do make an effort to also study the habitat and threats to birds, and come forward to speak out for the protection of bird habitat.
Why do you think people should care about birds and nature?
Nowadays there is a need for lakhs of hands for conserving nature and wildlife, to create intimacy for nature in every person of this country and the first step towards this is to become a birdwatcher. If birds are safe, then forests are safe, and when forests are safe then we can survive.
Any other information that you’d like to share with MigrantWatchers?
By profession I am a laboratory technician at Amravati University but I have been interested in nature and birding for the past 18 years. I have been nominated as Secretary for Wildlife and Environment Conservation Society (WECS), Amravati, which is a society of of concerned individuals working for environmental awareness and research. I have done my Ph.D. on “Butterflies of Satpuda”. Presently I am working on the Forest Owlet and other owl species in Satpuda Range. I am also working as a State Coordinator of IBCN as well as Honorary Wildlife Warden of Amravati district. I am also actively working for Maharashtra Pakshimitra and we have recently hosted the 26th Maharashtra Pakshimitra Sammelan (Birdwatchers meet). I also encourage fellow birdwatchers to share their sightings on MigrantWatch.
You can see Jayant Wadatkar’s MigrantWatch contributions here.