Winter is coming, and it’s time for the migratory birds to come to Kolkata from the Himalayan foothills, China and Siberia to restock on their food supply. Here’s a detailed guide on bird watching in Kolkata this winter.
The Birdwatcher's Guide To Kolkata: Where To Go, What To Look Out For And What Groups To Join
Located about 10 km away from the city, just beside the Santragachi railway station is the city’s hotspot for migratory birds in winter. The sanctuary sees a lot of birds during November to February, such as, the Fulvous whistling duck, Swinhoe’s Snipe, Northern Pintail, Gadwall, Lesser whistling teal, Comb duck, Baikal teal, etc. The pristine waters and cool atmosphere make it an ideal habitat for migratory birds.
Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanical Garden
Also known as the Shibpur Botanical Garden, this 228-year-old garden is located 4 km away from Howrah station. It is an ideal location to go birding and you may end up spotting the Black naped oriole, Booted eagle, Yellow Browned Warbler, Brown Hawk Owl, Rufous Woodpecker, Stork billed Kingfishers and many more.
Chintamani Kar Bird Sanctuary
Located 10 km from Ruby, this sanctuary is reputed for hosting a wide variety of birds, butterflies, ferns and orchids. October to February is the best time to spot species like the Tickell’s Thrush, Eurasian Woodcock, Blue-throated Flycatcher, Black-hooded Oriole and Chestnut Trained Sterling. The visiting hours are from 7am to 5pm throughout the year.
Nalban Fishery Complex
The largest wetland it the north-eastern part of the city, it’s under the Fisheries Department of West Bengal. It’s located at the border of Salt Lake Technological Park. You can expect to spot beauties like the black-headed gulls, Clamourous Reed Warblers, Watercock, Purple and Grey Heron, Pond Heron, and the Rusty Rumped Warbler.
You don’t even need to travel to a far-off spot for some birdies in the morning. The Rabindra Sarovar lakes in the thick of the city sees an abundance of birds — kingfishers, drongos, waterhens, woodpeckers, barbets, painted storks — you can spot them all here in the winter mornings.
Also called Banabitan, it is the second largest open space in Kolkata after Maidan. The park is built around an extensive water body which serves as a haven for birds such as lesser whistling duck, egrets, scaly thrush, black breasted thrush and many more.
Bheris Behind Sector V
The peaceful wetland-like surfaces behind Sector V in Salt Lake attract birds like kingfishers, pond herons and barn swallows due to abundance of fishes.
Eco Urban Village
Set up in New Town, this place sees around 35 species of rare migratory birds in the winter such as Amur falcons, Bluethroats, Strawberry Finch, Wrynecks, Egrets, Open billed storks and many more. You can rent binoculars there for INR 10 per hour.
A Virtual Birding Guide
You can also join these city-based birding communities on the web and find out about events, exploration trails, birdwatching tours etc. Birds of Rabindra Sarovar And Around, Chintamoni Kar Bird Sanctuary, Birds of Bengal and Kolkata Birds are some groups that you can join if birdwatching is your thing.