M3 Features

Bengal – Migratory Birds’ Paradise

November 13, 2013

Following their biological clocks to the T, several birds have started migrating from the far shores of Siberia and have already set up their base across several places in Bengal. From the Teesta banks in the North to Rabindra Sarovar or Santragachhi jheel in the South, the state has always extended a warm reception to these winged guests. Thanks to them, tourism in the region is expected to grow too.

Several migratory birds have already been sighted on the banks of Teesta at Domhani, near Maynaguri. Tourists have already started thronging places like Gazoldoba, Joredighi or Toralpara for one glance of these rare Siberian guests.

Back to old times at Santragachhi

The past two days have been exciting for the residents near Howrah's Santragachhi Jheel, the winter destination of migratory birds.

The water body has already started witnessing the arrival of birds like the Lesser Whistling Ducks for this season. Environmentalists said despite cyclones and inclement weather conditions, the birds have arrived in time. The flock of birds that visited the lake on Sunday, locals said, was even bigger than that on Friday and Saturday.

Stubtail spotted at Sarovar

A tiny woodland bird never before recorded in India was spotted and photographed by an amateur birder at Rabindra Sarobar on Diwali afternoon, delighting conservationists and opening a new window for research on bird range and behaviour.

Sandip Das’s serendipitous tryst with the Asian Stubtail in one of the few oases left in Calcutta’s concrete jungle has been variously described as groundbreaking and a triumph for Bengal’s birding community.

The Asian Stubtail, which breeds and spends summer in northwest China, Korea and Japan, is a winter visitor to Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. Nepal and Bangladesh are the places closest to India where the bird has been recorded before, though there is apparently not much corroborative evidence.

Sandip, a 29-year-old medical representative from Dankuni, wouldn’t have expected to change that when he and two friends reached Rabindra Sarobar on that eventful morning. After matching the pictures he took with those of the Asian Stubtail in Grimmett & Inskipp’s Birds of the Indian Subcontinent, Sandip mailed them to birding veteran Sumit K. Sen for confirmation.

Sen, who founded the popular birding website www.kolkatabirds.com, couldn’t believe his eyes. “It isn’t uncommon for small birds shorn of their tails to be mistaken for the Asian Stubtail. I thought this could be another case of misplaced enthusiasm,” he told an English daily.

The location is as significant as the sighting. Parts of Rabindra Sarobar have large trees that create a forest-like canopy similar to the Stubtail’s natural habitat. A host of initiatives over the past couple of years to protect the Sarobar area have also made it a quieter place, though that isn’t reason enough for a never-before visitor to land up one fine day.

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Comments (3)
Saikat Reply
November 14, 2013
It is a great time for bird lovers and photographers. Many birds come to Bengal as winter guests. But the numbers have reduced in recent years. The matter should be dealt with seriously
Bikramjit Reply
November 13, 2013
Good news that a new migratory bird has been spotted in Santragachi. With the amount of environmental degradation going on around the world, many migratory birds have stopped flying to their old haunts.
Chiki Reply
November 13, 2013
This story on migratory birds brings back memories of Rasikbil in north Bengal, which I visited last year.
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