Joka Wetlands
Kolkata

 
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Joka ~ a little oasis of green

 


© K S Ray
Joka wetlands
(Pic by K S Ray)


Images   Checklist    Kolkata


© Sumit Sen
Joka grasslands

Joka is a semi-urban area at the edges of South West Kolkata. It's place in the global map is a result of the presence here of The Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta (IIMC) - a world renowned business school.

But just behind IIMC, and to the the east of the arterial Diamond Harbour Road on NH117, lies a small tract of fallow mixed grassland and wetland which harbours an unbelievable array of flora and fauna making it a bio-diversity hot spot. For birders and nature lovers - this is Joka!

Joka falls in the 'Lower Gangetic Plains' bio-geographic area and is part of the alluvial plains of West Bengal. It must have been entirely a marshy wetland in times past. Later much of the wetland was reclaimed for agriculture and urbanization. Today it is a mixed wetland-grassland ecosystem with patches of both types of habitats in co-existence leading to the availability of numerous life forms. The "Tropical grassland" consists of Phragmites-Saccharum-Imperata cover and is dominated mainly by Phragmites, Saccharum, Erianthus, Imperata, Desmostachya and Achyranthes species. The freshwater wetland part is seasonally covered by various types of Typha, Sagittaria, Cryptocoryne, Cyperus, Acrostichum, Ipomoea, Eleocharis and other species.

Joka is justly famous for marsh and grassland birds, some of which are great rarities. However, it is also a place to find elusive and little known reptiles, amphibians, butterflies, insects and even some rare mammals like Fishing Cats and Large Indian Civets.

© K S Ray
Taipei Grass Frog ~ a Joka resident

Non-bird Images  Non-bird List

Joka's list of birds is around 130 and this is the result of work done over 3-4 years. In this list are four threatened species White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis (CR), Finn's Weaver Ploceus megarhynchus (V) Darter Anhinga melanogaster (NT) and Bristled Grassbird Chaetornis striatus (V). And Joka is the only known site for the grassbird and weaver in lower Bengal. Additionally, Joka plays host to some very rare migrants like the Black-browed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps and Lanceolated Warbler Locustella lanceolata. Again, in both cases, Joka is the only know regular site for these birds in West Bengal and mainland India. In summer Joka is a breeding area for many species which include Finn's Weaver, Watercock, pipits, prinias, cisticolas, weavers and other species.
[CR- Critical; V - Vulnerable; NT - Near Threatened]

© Sumit Sen
Finn's Weaver ~ an enigmatic resident of Joka

How to reach
Joka is on the south-west of Kolkata and off the arterial Diamond Harbour Road connecting Behala to Pailan and beyond. It is well connected by the public transport system and most taxi drivers know IIMC. Entry to the wetland is by taking the dirt road (Yani Sarani) just after the bridge over Charial Khal. The grasslands start a short way down the road and the wetlands occur behind IIMC campus.

© Kolkatabirds.com
                           Joka Map

Latitude: 22°26'45"N; Longitude: 88°18'32"E

Climate
Sunny and humid. High rainfall in the monsoons.
Summer (April - Sept) temperatures: Hi: 37 C / Lo: 28 C
Winter (Nov - Feb) temperatures: Hi: 30 C / Lo: 13 C

© Sajal Bar
Black-browed Reed Warbler

Birding Season
Year round

Links
IIM Calcutta


All Images in this section are from Joka
Copyright 2002 - 2010 Sumit K Sen
March 2010, Kolkata

 

   
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