Meeting the International Guests

For the last two years, I have dreamt about meeting the foreign delegates. They arrive every year in India during the winter season. Why in winter? Some may ask. Being an Indian, you should know that tropical temperature ranges from 25 degree to 50 degrees in summer and the devastating floods in monsoon delays the arrival of the international guests. They don’t stay in luxurious hotels and resorts. Where they stay is the ultimate holiday destination anyone can ask for, beside the lakes and lagoons, situated in every nook and corner of India. India is like the winter house to them. These guests of ours have exotic names. They have their own grace and own nationality. You must be thinking who are these delegates, who visit India every Year.

Ruddy Shelduck Pair Tadora ferruginea these birds live in pair, they mate for life, and it is heard that if one dies, the other one dies within a few days.
Ruddy Shelduck Pair
Tadora ferruginea
these birds live in pair, they mate for life, and it is heard that if one dies, the other one dies within a few days.

They are no one but our very own migratory birds. Some of them come here for a mere holiday and some of them come here to initiate courtship and mate and expand their family. These colorful individuals can mesmerize you anytime anywhere as they fly high against the blue sky, be it dusk or dawn. The vivid colors can hypnotize you nonetheless. Their abundance in some particular regions will just amaze you. You may think why they are critically endangered or nearly threatened, why they are tagged vulnerable. But they are indeed.

Purple Swamphen or Purple Moorhen
Purple Swamphen or Purple Moorhen

As I have said I have been waiting for two years to visit a wetland. Living in Kolkata, one of the busiest metropolitan in India, I am surrounded with some of the most popular wetlands, namely, Purbasthali in Burdwan which is some three hour journey from Kolkata, Met-char which is beside Purbasthali (an ox-bow lake), Gajoldoba in North Bengal, and Mangalajodi in Orissa. These places harbor many waders, storks; some of them are critically endangered (as stated by IUCN). And I chose Managalajodi.

IMG_6156
This is a typical Mangalajodi environment. The area is a swampland, and you have to take small boats to roam around.

Mangalajodi is the 229th site of Chilika Lake. The place is under Tangi block of Khoordah District, Orissa. Being a marshland, it has been a place to Pintails, Shelducks, and several other waders. But it has been a hunting ground also. Locales used to hunt them for daily meals. Hunting expeditions were arranged if some big shot individual came to the village. The villagers, having no idea about what are they doing, passed on the practice of hunting, generation wise. But in somewhere around 90’s Mr. Nanda Kishore Bhujabal, a wildlife conservationist, gathered round a few literates of the village and started an organization, WILD ORISSA, which targeted the hunters. WILD ORISSA expanded into Sri Mahavir Pakshi Surakshya Samiti. This organization tried to make the villagers understand the importance of the place. The villagers gradually learnt about several species of birds, their names, species, genus, their eggs, their breeding time, and the bird population started flourishing in no time. Thus poachers became protectors and more birds started visiting Mangalajodi, their safe haven. Now it harbors 7-8, 00,000 birds of 121 species. [If you have any idea about Managalajodi bird census, please comment below]. 6-7 members of the Samiti go out for patrolling regularly along with the members of Orissa wildlife department. Kudos to Mr. N.K. Bhujabal for such an initiative and for delivering such a staggering result.

Open Billed stork In bengali, it is called SHAMOOK-KHOL SHAMOOK means Snail and KHOL=Open
Open Billed stork
In bengali, it is called SHAMOOK-KHOL
SHAMOOK means Snail
and KHOL=Open

I enjoyed my 2 nights 3 days vacation in Mangalajodi very much. Our team was ecstatic and full of enthusiasm. Such a diverse group but such integrity amazed me. Wild (birds) Click

Grey Heron in a foogy morning B/w perspective
Grey Heron in a foogy morning
B/w perspective

members amazes me every time. We are not just photographers but Bird lovers. And I thoroughly enjoyed our birding session.

Our team Wild birds Click From the left Me, Sumit Chakravarty, Samir Saha, Subhash Saha, Riksundar Banerjee, Rana Das, Jagadish Chowdhury, Poulami Mukherjee, Rinku di, Sipra Sur (mother), Kishore Debnath, Anupam Guha In front N.K. Bhujabal ji (for whom Mangalajodi is MANGALAJODI now), Aakash (the youngest member of the team, a very serious Widlife enthusiast), And our most respected team member : Mr. A.K. Lahiri. He can be 81, but he is not any more than 18.
Our team
Wild birds Click
From the left
Me, Sumit Chakravarty, Samir Saha, Subhash Saha, Riksundar Banerjee, Rana Das, Jagadish Chowdhury, Poulami Mukherjee, Rinku di, Sipra Sur (mother), Kishore Debnath, Anupam Guha
In front
N.K. Bhujabal ji (for whom Mangalajodi is MANGALAJODI now), Aakash (the youngest member of the team, a very serious Widlife enthusiast), And our most respected team member : Mr. A.K. Lahiri. He can be 81, but he is not any more than 18.

The experience is indescribable. I will definitely fall short of words. But one thing for sure, I will visit again, no matter what. Just to sit in those small, canoe-like boats and to crawl slowly through the silent water, and to witness the birds; playing, flying, pooping, feeding, preening, bathing, calling, and what not. The most beautiful music is created in the marshes, every day morning and evening. Some might call it cacophony but I can listen to the angels speaking. (I have always considered birds as angels).

Black tailed Godwit
Black tailed Godwit

I will not waste any further time. Here are some treasured pictures from the trip. Feedbacks about Photographs are highly appreciated. Do comment.

Spotted Redshank a lifer for me.
Spotted Redshank
a lifer for me.
IMG_6625
Ruff Philomachus pugnax They are Winter migrants. And one of my favourite Migrants.
Whiskered Tern
Whiskered Tern
The Glorious Mangalajodi
The Glorious Mangalajodi
Great Egret A different Perspective
Great Egret
A different Perspective
Common Hoopoe One of my favourite birds. This is the national bird of Israel, and the cyclone HUDHUD was named after it.
Common Hoopoe
One of my favourite birds.
This is the national bird of Israel, and the cyclone HUDHUD was named after it.
Northern Pintail Male
Northern Pintail
Male
Black WInged Stilt
Black Winged Stilt
Greater Painted Snipe Female
Greater Painted Snipe
Female
Northern Pintail In Flight
Northern Pintail In Flight
Northern Shoveler
Northern Shoveler
The mode of transport...
The mode of transport…
Grey Headed Lapwing
Grey Headed Lapwing
the warm winter
the warm winter
Bailon's Crake
Bailon’s Crake
Our Home for those 2 days... Godwit Eco Lodge
Our Home for those 2 days…
Godwit Eco Lodge

More Pictures are coming…


FACTS Mangalajodi, a ramsar site is situated in the Khoordah district of Orissa Nearest Station: Balugaon Nearest Airport: Bhuvaneswar Airport Again, this trip was conducted by Mr. Subhash Saha. If you have any questions regarding this trip do call him up: +919903228000. Subscribe via Email to get updates about my blogposts. Stay tuned. 🙂

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