Learn about the exotic birds that visit in winter

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Hridita Anisha gives an account of migratory birds that visit Bangladesh during winter

Photographs by Firoz Al Sabah

Birds visit from as far as the Siberian regions in search for food and habitation sources. As food and nesting opportunities become scarce in their region, places like the Pablakhali Wildlife Sanctuary in Rangamati, Tanguar Haor in Sunamganj and the Durga Sagar of Barisal provide warm hospitability to these birds in need.
The Pablakhali Wildlife Sanctuary nests a wide range of visiting birds such as egrets, herons, little grebe, common coot, common moorhen, waterfowl, white-winged wood duck, Asian openbill stork, pelicans and many more. The habitation is a well developed sanctuary, ideal for the conservation of extinct species of wild animals and birds. Apart from these seasonal visitors, the sanctuary is home to local birds such as kingfishers, bitterns, storks among other birds. The kingfisher alone is found in 11 different species in Bangladesh. In winter, the additional residents add up to more than a thousand different types of birds.
The bus journey from Dhaka to Rangamati ends directly at the point of the Rangamati Launch Ghat. Another 5 hours on the launch shall take you to Pablakhali. Travellers can also hire engine boats.
The Tanguar Haor flows along the Dharmapasha and Tahirpur upazilas of Sunamganj district. The unique wetland ecosystem of this area sustains foreign birds with its diverse palette of fishes. There are more than 140 species of freshwater fishes in the haor(a special wetland ecosystem in the north eastern region of Bangladesh). Chief examples are ayir, gang magur, baim, gulsha, tengra, titna and others that can be found in abundance serve the various waterfowls, storks, pelicans and other visiting and local birds.
A bus ride takes you to Sunamganj town, where you can find legunas and auto rickshaws for a ride to Tahirpur. An alternative option is to hire motorcycles – it is faster and more exciting, although a bit more expensive. It takes around 40 minutes to reach Tahirpur bazar. The journey was pretty hectic even last year, but the roads have been fixed now and thus you will find the the journey comfortable. Once the enormous statue of a hand comes to view, you will know you are in Tahirpur.
Durga Sagar is a huge pond that flows by a natural park at Babuganj in Barisal. It is locally known as the Madhabpasha Dighi and is the biggest pond in Southern Bangladesh. The water body is home to thousands of different local and foreign birds. In 1780 the King Shiva Narayana of Chandradwip Pargana dug the pond to reduce water scarcity and named it after the deity Durga. There is an island-like area in the centre of the Dighi which is the main attraction for the tourists. The various trees that line the dighi nestles thousands of different birds.
Babuganj is situated beside the Barisal-Banaripara-Nesarabad road. There are buses that travel to Barisal, but the most comfortable journey is still via launch. An overnight launch journey takes one to the city of Barisal from where a leguna or a local bus crosses over the 12 kilometres that separate Babuganj from the city.
These three are the principal sites for bird watching, located in different districts of Bangladesh. All of the sites provide hotel and boarding facilities for the tourists. Winter being the peak season for such tours, it is essential that travellers book their respective hotels in advance. Jovago comes handy during these situations. Only a click on jovago.net can solve all the pre-booking hassles and ensure a definite booking in advance.