Karnail Singh Park
Chittaranjan

 
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Wetland area symbol © Sumit Sen
Chittaranjan, West Bengal
 


© Sumit Sen

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Introduction
Karnail Singh Park, Chittaranjan is located about 280 kms from Kolkata city and contains a waterbody which attracts migratory waterfowl in winter. Chittaranjan is an industrial town and centers around the Chittaranjan Locomotive Works. It is accessible from NH 2.

Sujan Chatterjee and I paid a visit to the water body on 26th December 2006

© Sumit Sen

At the heart of the town lies a 0.6 sq. km. reservoir created by blocking the flow of the Ajoy river. Waterfowl winter here in good numbers and receive protection from the township.

Earlier counts at the site in the late 90's had arrived at counts aggregating 6,000 birds in late January. On the day of our visit, we estimated that about a 1,000 birds were certainly present and the number could go up substantially if the abundant Water hyacinth beds at the edges held many more Whistling-ducks than what we factored in, based on our experience.

Chittaranjan is a well-known wintering ground for Great Crested Grebes, and we counted 5 at the lake on the day of our visit. What strikes one about the place though is the diversity of species present, albeit in small numbers. A total of 11 duck species were represented and included Common Pochards and Common Teals, species which are now hard to find in the lowlands of West Bengal.

The bulk of the wintering birds were the Lesser Whistling-ducks, and about 200 Gadwalls spread over the area were the second most numerous species.

As far as passerines went, of particular interest was a female White-rumped Shama which was seen in the scrub near the Locomotive Works. We were also happy to dry area birds like the Brahminy Starling, Bank Myna and White-browed Wagtails - species that are rare or absent from the Gangetic lowlands.

© Sumit Sen
Purple Swamphen

How to reach: Chittaranjan is easily accessed by rail and is to the north of National Highway 2. The site is located about 280 kms from Kolkata city. Entry to the township is restricted and permission to visit the lake has to be taken at the security gate.

Best time: November to February.

References: Wikipedia

© Sumit Sen
Lesser Whistling-duck


List of birds seen on 26/12/06:

Lesser Whistling-duck Dendrocygna javanica
Cotton Pygmy-goose Nettapus coromandelianus
Gadwall Anas strepera
Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
Northern Pintail Anas acuta
Garganey Anas querquedula
Common Teal Anas crecca
Red-crested Pochard Rhodonessa rufina
Common Pochard Aythya ferina
Ferruginous Pochard Aythya nyroca
Black-rumped Flameback Dinopium benghalense
Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima haemacephala
Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis
Stork-billed Kingfisher Halcyon capensis
White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis
Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis
Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri
Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis
Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus
Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Common Coot Fulicata atra
Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago
Bronze-winged Jacana Metopidius indicus
Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus
Black Kite Milvus migrans
Eurasian Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus
Shikra Accipiter badius
Little Grebe Podiceps ruficollis
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
Little Cormorant Phalacrocorax niger
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
Great Egret Casmerodius albus
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii
Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans
Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus
Rufous Treepie Dendrocitta vagabunda
House Crow Corvus splendens
Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos
Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus
Taiga Flycatcher Ficedula parva
Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis
White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus
Chestnut-tailed Starling Sturnus malabaricus
Brahminy Starling Sturnus pagodarum
Asian Pied Starling Sturnus contra
Common Myna Acridotheres tristis
Bank Myna Acridotheres ginginianus
Jungle Myna Acridotheres fuscus
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer
Ashy Prinia Prinia socialis
Plain Prinia Prinia inornata
Blyth's Reed Warbler Acrocephalus dumetorum
Clamorous Reed Warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus
Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius
Jungle Babbler Turdoides striatus
Purple Sunbird Nectarinia asiatica
Grey Wagtail
White Wagtail Motacilla alba
White-browed Wagtail Motacilla maderaspatensis

Sumit K Sen
Kolkata, India

   
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