Sunday, January 26, 2014

Unusual winter visitors in Kolkata

Desert Wheatear
Two very unusual winter visitors were sighted in Kolkata's Rajarhat area. It is a well known-fact that birds migrate to warmer climate during winter, and some of the migratory birds that are usually sighted during winter in Kolkata and nearby areas are ducks and waders of different kinds, shrikes, wagtails, flycatchers, and a few others. 

But these two visitors have taken the birdwatchers in Kolkata by surprise. The Desert Wheatear which, by its very name, suggests that they are found mainly in 
Rajasthan, Gujarat and Ladakh. It is quite surprising how such a bird could land up here right in the heart of the city! You can spot this bird in the midst of all the construction work that is happening in Rajarhat. I guess that is because there is still some greenery left there. I wonder what will happen to these birds once all the greenery disappears...

The Dark-throated Thrush, usually seen in the Himalayas, and so far could be seen as far south as Siliguri region in winter. This year, a pair of them decided to fly all the way, at least 600 kms further to Kolkata! 

These bird pictures have been taken by Soma Jha, who is an avid birder.

Desert Wheatear
Thrush, Rajarhat

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Baul Mela, Jadavpur, 2014

Baul Mela Jadavpur 2014 
Baul mela is quite a popular gathering of bauls from various parts of India and Bangladesh. I love baul songs. This gathering happens every year in Shaktigarh math in Jadavpur, Kolkata. It usually happens during the first weekend of January. You don’t need to buy tickets; the entrance is free for all. But it gets so crowded that it is difficult to find a place. Since the Baul performance goes on till 2 am in the morning, it is a good idea to go there around 12 am, you will definitely find a suitable place then!

I could not watch the entire series of performances but managed to watch a few. There is something so beautiful and spiritual about baul songs. Here is a video of one of the baul performances.