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Bakkhali Aug 2020

Trip Report

Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
Bird thou never wert,
That from Heaven, or near it,
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.
– Percy B Shelley (June 1820) in his poem ‘To a Skylark’
Shelley begins by addressing the skylark directly, calling it a ‘blithe’ or carefree ‘Spirit’ rather than a bird, because the bird seems to have come ‘from Heaven’.
Done with containments & lockdowns, the carefree spirit of the members of Birdwatcher’s Society (BWS) took to Bakkhali / Frasergunj on this Sunday, 30th August 2020. While Shelley was inspired by the carolling of a skylark on a beautiful English summer evening, which gave rise to the poem ‘To a Skylark’ in which he calls it a carefree spirit from the heaven; tracing the same invigorating spirit, members of BWS have watched with excitement and joy the breeding & nesting spectacle put up by some of the resident birds this season. The birding spirit at BWS has remained high as ever, in spite of the COVID-19 restrictions. Catching up with the avian beauties in and around Kolkata, has kept the BWS flock upbeat and positive. This was perhaps one of the silver lining in an otherwise appalling COVID summer. Thus based on a recce done by BWS Secretary, Sujan, during mid-August, it was felt that the timing was just right to visit the beach head, and relish the waders.
Located 120Kms from Kolkata, Bakkhali and its twin locality Frasergunj is just a stone’s throw from the metropolis. With its vast stretches of sandy beach and meadows, it forms part of the Ganges Delta and the Sundarbans settlements. Sir Andrew Fraser, Lieutenant Governor of Bengal (1903–1908) in the early twentieth century, is credited with “discovery” of the settlement.
A call to action, returned significant initial response from the members. Some drop outs, some last minute entries … after all these were not normal times, for some members their approving authorities outrightly rejected such an outlandish request, while others managed with creative improvisation necessitating the visit. All said and done, 21 members and 1 guest finally mustered, who were drafted 3 – 4 to a vehicle and one commando biked his hero!
The assembly point at Zero hour – 0530 was ‘Rabindra Sarovar Metro Station’. Final sorting of places and baggage was done, and off went the teams headed for the destination. There remained some confusion as to whether to break for tea or a relished breakfast on the way, which remained fuzzy. Those desperate made a stop, while others continued to the destination.
It was a humid monsoon morning, the sky was mostly clear, but the heat and humidity was significant. We finally arrived at the destination at 0930 hrs, and birded until 1230 hrs. In all 39 species were sighted. This was followed by a sumptuous lunch at ‘Banasri’, the local eatery, which has over years graduated to become BWS’s gastronomic delight!
Inspiring birding, followed by delicious lunch and thereafter with dreamy eyes we drove back to base.

List of Species - Kargil Beach - 30th Aug 2020 Sunday

Common NameScientific NameS73017339S73125202S73125196
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)Columba livia (Feral Pigeon)8
Spotted DoveStreptopelia chinensis111
Greater CoucalCentropus sinensis1
Asian KoelEudynamys scolopaceus1
Asian Palm-SwiftCypsiurus balasiensis26
Black-bellied PloverPluvialis squatarola21
Pacific Golden-PloverPluvialis fulva18645
Red-wattled LapwingVanellus indicus151
Lesser Sand-PloverCharadrius mongolus82135
Greater Sand-PloverCharadrius leschenaultii220
Lesser/Greater Sand-PloverCharadrius mongolus/leschenaultii12
Kentish PloverCharadrius alexandrinus45
Kentish Plover (Indian)Charadrius alexandrinus seebohmi5
Eurasian CurlewNumenius arquata19
Ruddy TurnstoneArenaria interpres45
Great KnotCalidris tenuirostris21
Red KnotCalidris canutus2
Curlew SandpiperCalidris ferruginea55
Temminck's StintCalidris temminckii7
SanderlingCalidris alba4
DunlinCalidris alpina2
Little StintCalidris minuta2
snipe sp.Gallinago sp.2
Terek SandpiperXenus cinereus27
Common RedshankTringa totanus14
Pallas's GullIchthyaetus ichthyaetus1371
Lesser Black-backed GullLarus fuscus2
Little TernSternula albifrons4835
Whiskered TernChlidonias hybrida6
Common TernSterna hirundo42
Common Tern (hirundo/tibetana)Sterna hirundo hirundo/tibetana52155
Little CormorantMicrocarbo niger3
Intermediate EgretArdea intermedia1
Little EgretEgretta garzetta51
Cattle EgretBubulcus ibis30
Indian Pond-HeronArdeola grayii3
Stork-billed KingfisherPelargopsis capensis1
White-throated KingfisherHalcyon smyrnensis1
Green Bee-eaterMerops orientalis5
Indian RollerCoracias benghalensis1
Black DrongoDicrurus macrocercus5
House CrowCorvus splendens124
Large-billed CrowCorvus macrorhynchos2
Large-billed Crow (Indian Jungle)Corvus macrorhynchos culminatus23
Oriental SkylarkAlauda gulgula11
Common TailorbirdOrthotomus sutorius11
Gray-throated MartinRiparia chinensis7
Barn SwallowHirundo rustica87
Red-vented BulbulPycnonotus cafer2
Asian Pied StarlingGracupica contra16
Common MynaAcridotheres tristis30
Jungle MynaAcridotheres fuscus13
House SparrowPasser domesticus6
Gray WagtailMotacilla cinerea2
Eastern Yellow Wagtail (Eastern)Motacilla tschutschensis tschutschensis/plexa14
White WagtailMotacilla alba3
Paddyfield PipitAnthus rufulus42


  1. Arka Sarkar
  2. Somdeep Gangopadhyay
  3. Anirban Bhaduri
  4. Sandip Das
  5. Tapasi Mukherjee
  6. Sujan Chatterjee
  7. Malyasri Bhattacharya
  8. Dibyendu Ash
  9. Suman Das
  10. Rishin Basu Roy
  11. Subham Sengupta
  12. Soumya Aon
  13. Arnab Chattopadhyay
  14. Amitava AD Dutta
  15. Pampa Mistri
  16. Priyam Chattopadhyay
  17. Shuvendu Das
  18. Bhaskarjyoti Banerjee TinTin
  19. Meghna Banerjee
  20. Suvrajyoti Chatterjee
  21. Sumanta Pramanick

Photo Courtesy

  • Priyam Chattopadhyay