Bosipota, tucked away near Uttarpara, West Bengal is a flat wet land with acres of undulating cultivated land where a multitude of migratory birds can be seen during the chill of the winter. The place is climbing the charts when it comes to the selection of places one can think of as far as bird watching is concerned in and around Calcutta. Love for nature has been wrapping itself around me off late and bird watching is one of them that provided an exposure to nature in its absolute raw form.
With this, pretty much in my thoughts, I headed out with a close friend of mine to catch glimpses of these tiny creatures that pay their annual visit. Bosipota is located about sixteen kilometres from Howrah.
After about a ten minutes bone-chilling travel braving the cold wind coming through the slits of the vehicle, we got down at Raghunathpur market and walked about a mile and a half. This year the cold has been gripping. The intense crispness that hugged amidst the mist was evident when we were greeted with a dense fog preventing us to see anything beyond six feet.
Armed with a camera, and zoom lens, we spread out and waited for the fog to clear and sun to help us catch what we have come to see. There was silence all over broken by sharp cries of few birds whom we could not see but were somewhere around us.
As we waited in the numbing cold, we heard an approaching car. It slithered to a stop in front and parked on the narrow road which went through the cultivation. More bird watchers arrived with the same objective.
Their faces had the frown of despair which we could identify miles away.
Wherever we ran our eyes, the cloudy silhouette of trees and humans were visible but the birds continued to elude our scanner. Perhaps, I had murmured, “Vulture is a patient bird“ to keep my spirits up and running and waited on.
Our relentless pursuit to catch the birds pushed us to trudge through the mist.
After about ten minutes of scouring the bushes, trees, mother nature was kind enough to present us with a cow who was also looking around, albeit with a different purpose. We were in search of birds, and the bovine, looking for a suitable foraging ground.
It was quite surprised to see us and looked on with wonder.
After about thirty minutes, we saw a winged visitor through the mist and our hearts soared with joy. The cameras zoomed in and series of clicks sounded in unison.
When you are on the move to explore an area, even the most mundane and commonplace object seems new and so important. Something black came into my view and I merrily took a snap.
Unabated, we thought of getting to see more and the hunt continued. Very soon, a dark bird presented itself and a black drongo was grooming itself perched on a plant branch, oblivious to the visitors who clicked on.
He must have posed for shots so many times before.
Stealthily, walking on the paddy fields, we neared a tree as we sighted movement. We were in luck. A Eurasian Collared-dove, a pair sat with squinted eyes looking at us. Before it flew away, we captured their image.
Now we had moved on to the open field. Harvested paddy field sprawled widely in front of us. Miles on either side, cut at a distance by the diminishing fog as the sun god perhaps started to show itself out.
We walked on from one field to another and came across a section where few contract labourers were scooping the earth out and dumping it into a distant pit. The attire they wore were of a summer.
Draped in a checked lungi, and cotton shirts, these men worked on and I reckoned myself to be overdressed. Either my cold withstanding power had gone down or these men hardly felt the cold around.
A pair of oxen were cutting across the field with their owner hurridly taking them away after a round of ploughing as it seemed.
We also saw a large part of the field with burnt out paddy stacked up. They may have burned it down after the husk was let loose. A common practice in the world of cultivation to use the same land for multi-crop harvests across the year to take advantage of the seasons.
We may not have seen many birds, but nature had kept in store few interesting spectacles for us. We saw the morning dew clinging to the paddy that stood tall against the morning sky.
The water drops were big and shone like diamonds as streaks of light refracted through them.
A scan across the horizon made us aware that we were not alone. Many photographers had reached in search of birds and other creatures.
The sun was out and the yellow light had become white. A substantial part of the land was lit up with the increasing brightness of the day. We thought the birds will surely present themselves and we can capture the memories.
Finally, the wait paid off. A humble Zitting Cisticola jumped from underneath a tree and was walking right in front of us. Clicks raged in as cameras zoomed in. The bird was hardly bothered.
Our exploration was broken by a sharp pang of hunger. We had started early in the day and moved through the fields, catching the morning freshness made our metabolism quite active and now wanted to head back.
Not much of a chance was there that day as the persistent mist refused to budge and made all the photographers cry a bit.
We started our retreat and as we walked back, my friend asked me to stop as he had spotted a bird. Yes, another bird was sitting on the branch.
A yellow Oriole, nibbled the dry fruits that hung from a tree branch and it hopped around so much that getting a shot was next to impossible, however, we were able to catch a snap.
All around us were date trees and a tumbler was attached to the trunk. The local villagers were busy collecting the juice of the tree which they would turn into molasses and sale it in the local market.
This is a usual scene one can see in the winter months if a trip is made into the countryside.
After spending about four hours, we decided to come back and on our way out to the railway station, we saw the early morning market at Bosipota. Fresh vegetables were a pure delight.
I felt like buying as much as possible but my friend’s advice won over me as it would have been difficult to carry the load on the crowded trains.
Natural colours were everywhere. I loved these fresh crops and the winter laced the environment with pure goodness.
Well, a passing autorickshaw stopped and we jumped in and went for the return train. Our Bosipota journey may not have added too many birds; however, the natural goodness, the fresh air and sprints that we had gone through made us supremely delighted.
Hope you enjoyed the early morning expedition that we undertook. Did you hear the birds chirp, breathed in the wet smell of the earth, and the freshness of the air as we did?
I am sure you did.