Go back to
Home » My Kolkata » News » Bird of prey from Britain sighted in Hooghly


Bird of prey from Britain sighted in Hooghly

Kolkata lensman clicks hen harrier

Debraj Mitra | Published 06.02.23, 06:48 AM
The hen harrier clicked in Hooghly on February 1

The hen harrier clicked in Hooghly on February 1

Picture courtesy Bodhisatwa Bose

A migratory bird of prey native to Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England was clicked in Hooghly district on February 1.

Veteran birdwatchers said spotting a hen harrier in south Bengal was rare.


Behind the lens was a 30-year-old amateur wildlife photographer from northeast Kolkata’s Dum Dum, Bodhisatwa Bose.

Bose and a friend rode to Nasibpur, a pocket of Hooghly around 4km from Singur and 45km from the heart of Kolkata, early on February 1.

“We had information that a pied harrier (another migratory bird but not as rare as hen harrier) has been sighted around that region. We had gone to click that bird,” said Bose.

He was waiting on a field near a wetland in an area known as Bhandardaha when a bird appeared around 8.30am.

“It was a great time for photography. As the bird appeared in the sky, emerging from a nearby thicket, it was glowing under the golden rays of the sun,” said Bose, who initially thought it was what he had come for, the pied harrier.

“But while scanning the pictures closely, I realised it was a hen harrier. I was thrilled,” said Bose.

Within five minutes, the bird came back for another round, this time flying very low. “It could not have been more than 3ft above the ground. I think it was looking for prey. But it found none and flew away in the northern direction,” said Bose.

Subhankar Patra, veteran birdwatcher who has posted about Bose’s click on social media, told The Telegraph: “The migratory bird is native to the UK. It is rarely seen in north Bengal and extremely rarely in south Bengal. On February 1, there were two different sightings in Hooghly, one in Nasibpur and the other in Haripal. They were, in all likelihood, the same bird, an adult male.”

Cornell University’s e-Bird platform describes hen harrier as a “medium-sized harrier, flies with wings held in a V-shape, low over open fields and marshes, listening for rodents lurking below”. “Distinctive foraging behavior and conspicuous white patch on rump in all plumages. Five long primary ‘finger tips’ prominent in flight. Females and immatures are warm brown with streaky breasts. Adult male has plain midgray wings with black wingtips and paler belly,” says the website.

Last updated on 08.02.23, 11:20 AM

More from My Kolkata