A day out for birding at Purbasthali Oxbow Lake

#1 Jan 21st, 2013, 13:18
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  • Paglaghora is offline
#1
It was Jan 2011 , when a morning phone call woke me up. The call was from my father. He rang me before starting for the birding trip. I was then at my Delhi residence. That was the first time I heard the name “Purbasthali”. Locals call “chupir Char” (i.e Delta or sandy island of Chupi ). I read a thread on IM by “calcuttan “ on this spot afterwards. Also refer to the Wiki page.

This year, i.e at the fag end of 2012 Uttam ( “umahatha” here ) proposed a trip there. I could not join him due to time mismatch. But I decided to pay a visit there. Another member ( soumiksett) was also interested to join and was asking for a joint trip. Finally he could not join as I informed him about the date a bit late .
Uttam told me about the cleaning the hyacinth from the lake and it was being done by a Kolkata based NGO ( named Nature Mates ) with help from local NGO & villagers. A TOI report was also published on Dec 26,2012.

With all these I was desperate to go there and I was accompanied by my father & my younger brother. Both are very enthusiastic in bird watching. I asked Uttam about the route and he came up with his recent journey plan. I checked erail and found that two trains are available both from Howrah & Sealdah almost at same time in the morning. I was a bit unsure about the DEMU but the while returning I enquired about it in Purbasthali itself and now certain about it. So there was two options as under (73151 & 37911 ) besides other Howrah – Katwa local/passengers.

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I chose the HWH-KWAE local (37911) option as Uttam did. So, we had to get up at 03.30 AM and get ready. There is a wonderful privately run bus L238 ( from Barasat ) which you can rely upon for catching any morning train from Howrah. We took the third bus at 4.25 sharp ( had to leave 4.10 AM second bus , as my father forgot to take his mobile and realized that after reaching bus stop ). Without any worry it dropped us at Howrah station at 05.15 and we boarded the train from platform no 3 after buying the tickets with considerable ease. The seats were almost full and looked would continue till Katwa. Till Bandel & then Jirat it was smooth journey and on time. From Jirat the train stopped on many stations for crossing ( due to traffic block by Railways for some construction).

We reached Purbasthali at 08.50 after a 40 mins delay. We then had a heavy breakfast with Roti-Sabji just outside the station and took a van-rickshaw for Lake. The rickshaw puller asked for 20 Rs each to reach the Kasthashali Ghat. There is a picnic spot near the bank . By then common Bengal birds like – Bee Eater, Sunibirds,Munia, drongo, Parakeets etc were spotted.

We had a small bargaining session before we took a boat for 6 hrs for Rs 600. I enquired the local boatmen about the cleaning work of hyacinth and to my surprise , they told the work is stopped from last few days. The main reason may be hyacinths are spread in deeper portions and also it may disturb the already arrived birds.

It was treat to eyes and mind to watch these wonderful species. The list of sighting by us is as under on 05th Jan 2013:
1 Green bee eater
2 Scaly breasted Munia
3 Purple Swamphen
4 Bronze-winged Jacana
5 Pheasant-tailed Jacana -juvenile
6 Juvenile of Bronze winged Jacana
7 Little grebe
8 White throated kingfisher
9 Common Kingfisher
10 Lesser cormorant
11 Indian Pond Heron
12 Asian Openbill
13 Lesser Whistling-Duck
14 Cotton Pygmy-goose
15 palm swift
16 barn swallow
17 Common Coot
18 Common Moorhen
19 Purple Heron
20 Great Egret
21 Intermediate Egret
22 Gadwall
23 Red-crested Pochard
24 Eastern Spot billed duck
25 Grey-headed lapwing
26 Spotted Redshank
27 Ashy Woodswallow
28 white breasted waterhen

Uttam later informed me that this list could be enhanced more as he could spot below species also ( which I expected but missed ):
29. Ferruginous Pochard
30. Northern Shoveller
31. Pied Lingfisher
32. Plain Prinia

While returning our boatman dropped us near at a ghat near to the Purbasthali Rail station. That road also links to Kolkata. Last time my father came by road and he recognised the route. There are plenty of nurseries beside this road. We took the Katwa – Howrah local which was already late by 35 mins , but while reaching howrah it did make up that delay to 10 mins only. All’s well that ends well.

I shall share some bird shots in following posts.
-Paglaghora
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#2 Jan 21st, 2013, 13:28
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#2
Nice trip report. Waiting for the bird shots.

Ronak.
#3 Jan 21st, 2013, 13:30
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#3

Now Photos

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A green beauty - Green bee eater

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A flock of Lesser whistling duck

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Purple Heron
#4 Jan 21st, 2013, 13:44
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#4
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Ashy Wood swallow

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Barn Swallow

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Juveniles of Pheasant tailed & Bronze winged Jacana
#5 Jan 21st, 2013, 13:46
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#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by shahronakm View Post Nice trip report. Waiting for the bird shots.

Ronak.
Thank you Ronak. In fact , you deserve more as you guided me to buy the binocular last year .Photos added.
Cheers!
#6 Jan 21st, 2013, 13:59
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  • shahronakm is offline
#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paglaghora View Post Thank you Ronak. In fact , you deserve more as you guided me to buy the binocular last year .Photos added.
Cheers!
Lovely pictures. Thanks for sharing.

Ronak.
#7 Jan 21st, 2013, 15:54
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#7
Lovely photos and very useful and interesting report Paglaghora . It's great that it's so easy (apart from the very early start ) to get there from Kolkata. Do you have any more general photos of the lake and the boats etc?
#8 Jan 21st, 2013, 16:12
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#8
JuliaF , I shall post more photos which will help to get the idea of the place in general. Photos are in different memory card and not with me now.Will post soon.
Till then , you can enjoy this youtube video of red crested pochard uploaded in my channel.
#9 Jan 22nd, 2013, 12:53
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#9
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The gate of Picnic Spot -"Chupi Kasthashali picnic spot"

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The island of chupi

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Boat ride

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Long grown algae beneath water level

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A closer look

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Men cleaning the weeds & hyacinths

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Another side of island

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Two brothers

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Family of Jacanas

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Common Kingfisher
#10 Jan 22nd, 2013, 12:56
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#10
Great PG.

aamar payer tolai sorshe...(I have wheels under my feet)
#11 Apr 4th, 2013, 16:25
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  • Legless soul is offline
#11
Winter of 2013 will be my Big Year.

Any one wanna join the competition?
If a problem can be solved there is no use worrying about it. If it cant be solved, worrying will do no good ~ H.H
#12 Apr 5th, 2013, 12:35
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#12
I am on LS! Uttam ( umahatha ) may also join
#13 Oct 19th, 2015, 14:54
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#13
The only place to stay at Purbasthali-
Kasthasali Parijayee Abas,
Contact Person: Shri Pulak Sinha
Phone:80015-54531
Two Rooms; Tariff-Rs.350/-day;
Breakfast,lunch and dinner available on prior intimation.
(20-25 mins. from Purbasthali Rly. Station to reach Chupi/Kasthasali Parijayee Abas by van-rickshaw-the only available mode of transport)
Boat ride at Chupi-Rs.100/-/hr. Guide-Rs.100/-/hr.
Time taken to cover the entire lake by boat-5 hrs.-
Courtsey-"Chupite Chupichupi"-Suparna Ghosh/Aajkal Safar-Feb.'13.
#14 Dec 31st, 2015, 12:39
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#14
I visited Chupi Chor in Dec 2015. Everything is same as I read in IM. Thanks friends.
Traveling leaves u speechless, turns u into a storyteller.With best wishes for your travel.
Subhajit

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