Situated on the banks of River Bhagirathi-Hooghly in South Bengal, the oxbow lake is a wintering site for a vast array of migratory avifauna
A riverine oxbow lake known as 'Chupi Char' and a cluster of islands comprise the Purbasthali Gangetic isle complex located on the meandering course of River Bhagirathi-Hooghly (a distributary of the River Ganges), in the East Bardhaman district of West Bengal.
Popularly known as the Purbasthali Bird Sanctuary, this natural lake spreads over almost 3.5sq.km. and the channel of water extends in a closed loop for almost 10km. The lake is fed fresh river water through a narrow opening. Two progressive villages – Kasthashali and Chupi are situated beside the lake.
Every year, with the onset of winter, the wetlands of Purbasthali are aflutter with the calls of migratory birds. Visitors can take a boat ride on the crystal clear water of the lake and enjoy a magical mosaic of more than 100 species of resident and migratory birds.
Apart from being a haven for migratory birds, Purbasthali is also steeped in history and religion. Temples and ruins are scattered all across the region.
The best way to enjoy avian company is to take a boat ride on the lake. Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis).
Migratory birds like the Eurasian Marsh-Harrier (Circus aeruginosus) fly thousands of kilometres to arrive at Purbasthali in time for winter.
A Grey-headed Swamphen (Porphyrio poliocephalus) peeks out from within a dense growth of water hyacinth.
Other species of migratory birds commonly seen here are the Lesser Whistling-Duck, Ruddy Shelduck, Tufted Duck, Common Teal, Eurasian Wigeon, Mallard to name a few. Lesser Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna javanica).
The thriving lake ecosystem is also home to reptiles such as the Checkered Keelback (Fowlea piscator).
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