Henrys Island

 
home  I  galleries  I  trip reports  I  checklists  I  beginners  I  sites  I  articles  I  guestbook  I   misc

.....................................................................................................................................................

Wetland area symbol © Sumit Sen                                 East coast of India
        Henrys Island / Bakkhali / Frazerganj / Jambu Dwip
 

 


Home   Images  Bird List

© Sumit Sen
Henrys Island beach


© Sumit SenHenrys Island:  This small area, separated from the rest of Bakkhali island by a deep creek has one of the most pristine beaches left in West Bengal for bird-watching. The sometimes rocky, sometimes sandy, sometimes muddy, but most times deserted beach stretches out to the open expanse of the Bay of Bengal and faces densely forested Lothian Island in the distance. A thick cluster of trees, including some mangroves, delineates the tidal area from inland marshy pockets converted for intensive fishery use. Both the long coast and the inland parts support diverse bird life within a fairly small area. And there are no tigers around to curtail your movements! All this makes Henrys Island a true birdwatching hotspot and the best place to visit on the West Bengal coast.

© KS Ray
Dunlin


Birds: Henrys is a fairly new site for birdwatchers and very little is known about the diversity through the year. There are many rarely observed species which occur regularly at Henrys. These include Greater Thick-knee, Ruddy Turnstones, Great Knots, Sanderling, Caspian, Gull-billed and Common Terns, vagrant Heuglin's Gull, Mangrove Whistler, Back-capped and Collared Kingfishers, Eurasian Hobby, a good selection of plovers and other shorebirds. But the promise of Henrys is much more than what has been listed - it is the sort of place where a Spoon-billed Sandpiper or a Nordmann's Greenshank is not impossible!
How to reach: Henrys Island is the way to Bakkhali. It is about 5kms from the Bakkhali beach (3kms using a cycle-cart track). There is a 3km long approach road which turns left from the main Namkhana - Bakkhali road and one can almost drive straight up to the beach on it. The available accommodation is located on this road. For directions to reach Bakkhali see the following section. Driving distance from Kolkata is less than 135kms and it takes about 4 hours to reach including the ferry crossing at Namkhana.
Where to stay: West Bengal Fisheries Development Corporation's 'Sundari' or 'Mangrove' complex. Bookings from Bikash Bhavan, Salt Lake.
Best season: September to April
Latitude / Longitude: 21° 34.344'N / 88° 17.904'E
Also read:
Migration story of the Great Knot


© Sumit Sen
Bakkhali beach

Bakkhali and Frazerganj:  Bakkhali and Frazerganj are part of the same 7 km long beach and are located on one of the many deltaic islands spread across southern Bengal. Bakkhali's soft sands lie towards the east and is a tourist destination. Frazerganj is a busy fishing village and port lying to the west. The beach here is hard, muddy and uneven. Both have significant dunes covered with tall casuarina trees.
Birds: Gulls and terns and the occasional waders are found on this coast. Frazerganj is better for gulls and terns because of the presence of the fishing village. Bakkhali's tree lined dunes attract some good birds including Dollarbird, Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Black-capped and Collared Kingfishers, Hobby and White-bellied Sea Eagles.
How to reach: Bakkhali is about 135kms from Kolkata and is reached in 4 hours. It lies due south of the city and is accessed via Diamond Harbour and Kakdwip to Namkhana. At Namkhana there is a barge crossing over the Hatani-Duani creek which takes you across to Bakkhali island. Thereafter, it is a 15km drive to the southern end of the island and the sea face.
Where to stay: Bakkhali Tourist Lodge (run by WBTDC),
Sagarkanya run by Benfish at Frazerganj.
Best season: September to April
Latitude / Longitude:
Bakkhali: 21° 33.604'N / 88° 15.706'E
Frazerganj: 21° 34.528'N 88° / 14.368'E


© Sumit Sen
Jambu Dwip

Jambu Dwip or Jambudwip Island:  Jambudwip is a notified 'Reserve Forest' comprising 1950 hectares.  It is located in the estuary of Hugli river lying eight km south west of Fraserganj and is one of the southern-most islands on this coast. The island has mixed forests as a result of human occupation for many years. The encroachers were eventually evicted a few years ago and the island now has only a small security presence. The long coastline provides refuge to a variety of waterbirds and may serve as a breeding area for some tern species.
Birds: Pallas's and Brown-headed Gulls, Great-crested, Common, White-winged and Little Terns, Greater and Lesser Sand and Kentish Plovers, Curlews, Whimbrels and a mix of other waders. Coastal forest birds are found in the island itself and include Orange-headed and Tickell's Thrush.
How to reach: Motorised country boat from Frazerganj Fishing Harbour. Takes about 40 minutes to reach from the harbour and round trips are available from Frazerganj.
Where to stay: At Bakkhali or Frazerganj. See above.
Best season: October to March
Latitude / Longitude: 21° 34.384'N / 88° 10.932'E


Bakkhali road route:
Kolkata
- Diamond Harbour - Kulpi - Kakdwip - Namkhana - Bakkhali: 135km

References:
1. http://www.rangan-datta.info/Frazerganj.htm
2.
Wikitravel - Bakkhali

END

Sumit K Sen
Kolkata, India

   
.......................................................................................................................
     
©
Sumit K Sen 2001 - 2009    I   
All rights reserved    I    Last updated 11 May 2011    I    Contact Us