Bakkhali Aug 2020

The society organised a trip to Bakkhali on 30th August 2020. The trip was primarily for surveying waders. A total of 21 members participated in the survey.

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.

Ebird Checklists:

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

Common Name Scientific Name S73017339 S73125202 S73125196
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) Columba livia (Feral Pigeon) 8
Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis 1 1 1
Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis 1
Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopaceus 1
Asian Palm-Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis 26
Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola 2 1
Pacific Golden-Plover Pluvialis fulva 18 6 45
Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus 15 1
Lesser Sand-Plover Charadrius mongolus 8 21 35
Greater Sand-Plover Charadrius leschenaultii 2 20
Lesser/Greater Sand-Plover Charadrius mongolus/leschenaultii 12
Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus 4 5
Kentish Plover (Indian) Charadrius alexandrinus seebohmi 5
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata 1 9
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres 4 5
Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris 2 1
Red Knot Calidris canutus 2
Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea 5 5
Temminck’s Stint Calidris temminckii 7
Sanderling Calidris alba 4
Dunlin Calidris alpina 2
Little Stint Calidris minuta 2
snipe sp. Gallinago sp. 2
Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus 2 7
Common Redshank Tringa totanus 1 4
Pallas’s Gull Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus 1 37 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 2
Little Tern Sternula albifrons 48 35
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida 6
Common Tern Sterna hirundo 42
Common Tern (hirundo/tibetana) Sterna hirundo hirundo/tibetana 52 155
Little Cormorant Microcarbo niger 3
Intermediate Egret Ardea intermedia 1
Little Egret Egretta garzetta 5 1
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis 30
Indian Pond-Heron Ardeola grayii 3
Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis 1
White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis 1
Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis 5
Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis 1
Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus 5
House Crow Corvus splendens 12 4
Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos 2
Large-billed Crow (Indian Jungle) Corvus macrorhynchos culminatus 2 3
Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula 1 1
Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius 1 1
Gray-throated Martin Riparia chinensis 7
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica 8 7
Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer 2
Asian Pied Starling Gracupica contra 16
Common Myna Acridotheres tristis 30
Jungle Myna Acridotheres fuscus 13
House Sparrow Passer domesticus 6
Gray Wagtail Motacilla cinerea 2
Eastern Yellow Wagtail (Eastern) Motacilla tschutschensis tschutschensis/plexa 14
White Wagtail Motacilla alba 3
Paddyfield Pipit Anthus rufulus 4 2


Arka Sarkar Sujan Chatterjee Subham Sengupta Priyam Chattopadhyay
Somdeep Gangopadhyay Malyasri Bhattacharya Soumya Aon Shuvendu Das
Anirban Bhaduri Dibyendu Ash Arnab Chattopadhyay Bhaskarjyoti Banerjee TinTin
Sandip Das Suman Das Amitava AD Dutta Meghna Banerjee
Tapasi Mukherjee Rishin Basu Roy Pampa Mistri Suvrajyoti Chatterjee
Sumanta Pramanick


Photo Courtesy

Priyam Chattopadhyay