Sunderbans Trip Report
by Sumit Sen
January 2006

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Page 5


Day 3

The last day of the trip was devoted to bird watching.
The morning hours were spent on Bali and the posing Common Kingfisher provided a nice start to the day.
Other birds around the village included a Verditer Flycatcher at the extreme south of range, the rather common Greenish Warbler and the smart Green Bee-eater

© Sumit K Sen 2006

© Sumit K Sen 2006

Common Kingfisher

Greenish Warbler

© Sumit K Sen 2006

© Sumit K Sen 2006

Green Bee-eater 

Verditer Flycatcher

As we left Bali island in search of waterfowl on the River Bidya, the last kingfisher species seen on the trip made an appearance and a pair of delicate Little Terns bade us goodbye.


© Sumit K Sen 2006

© Sumit K Sen 2006

Little Tern

White-throated Kingfisher

The endless stretches of water in the Sunderbans should be the ideal place for wintering waterfowl. But repeated searches in the past had not successfully located significant concentrations in the area. Small flocks, like the Eurasian Wigeons seen flying over Khanakhali, had been noted in the past, but sizeable flocks had eluded observers. We had been tipped-off by locals and a group of birdwatchers who visited the area recently that the River Bidya held ducks in some numbers. Our target was to locate these flocks.

The area we were visiting was to the north of Bali island. The Bidya passes past uninhabited islands which are completely inundated at high tide. The mudflats on these islands held a significant number of waders including the rare and threatened Grey-headed Lapwing and numerous Pacific Golden Plovers. We counted over 30 lapwings and many more plovers.


© Sumit K Sen 2006

© Sumit K Sen 2006

Grey-headed Lapwing

Pacific Golden Plover

First set of waterfowl sighted on the Bidya was a medium size flock of Lesser Whistling-ducks seen with a pair of Common Shelducks. We were despairing of seeing any more ducks as the river looked empty for miles. Our able guide, however, persisted and we continued further down the river.


© Sumit K Sen 2006

Greater Sand Plover

Lesser Whistling-duck

As we turned the corner at the confluence, we suddenly came across one of the most significant concentrations of Gadwalls and Wigeons Bikram or I have ever seen. There were literally thousands of birds and the flotillas stretched endlessly. Perhaps the biggest flock recorded in this area in recent times.

© Sumit K Sen 2006
Waterfowl, Sunderbans

This trip was organized by Mr. Bikram Grewal in association with Help Tourism. Participants included Ms. Alpana Khare, Ms. Sudeshna Sen, Mr. Kevin Fitzgerald, Dr. Sekhar Raha, Sumit Sen and Mr. Asit Biwas (on behalf of Help Tourism). For Alpana and Kevin this was a first visit to the area. 

Dates: 21/1/06 - 23/1/06

Trip List of Birds

Acknowledgements: Ms. Sudeshna Sen for editorial inputs and Mr. Asit Biswas for location inputs.
© Sumit K Sen
Kolkata, India
February 3, 2006


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