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
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.
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.
List of birds seen on 26/12/06:
Eurasian Collared Dove
Eurasian Marsh Harrier
Great Crested Grebe
Indian Pond Heron
Oriental Magpie Robin
Asian Pied Starling
Blyth's Reed Warbler
Clamorous Reed Warbler