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    Its a swallow; but a rare one

    THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It looked like any other swallow, until bird-watchers C Sushanth and Abhiram Sankar got closer to it. Smaller than other swallows seen in Kerala, it had a very slightly forked, short, square-cut tail. It was a rare migratory bird, the streak-throated swallow, Hirundo tahitica, and it is said to be the first sighting in Thiruvananthapuram city.
     A single bird was noticed at Punchakkari-Vellayani wetlands along with a flock of fifty or more barn swallows. All birds were seen perching on small poles near the vegetable field.
     The first sighting of this bird from Kerala  was recorded  by eminent birders Ranjith Daniels and C Sushanth from Silent Valley National Park during the year 1990. Other sightings were observed from Kattampally Wetlands (Kannur), Chavakkad beach (Thrissur), Eravikulam National Park, Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary and Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary.
     Sushanth and Abhiram Sankar, who spotted the bird recently at Punchakkari, were engaged in  their monthly bird monitoring programme. Both of them are members of the city-based nature-lovers group, Warblers and Waders.