First Glimpse of Red Munia…


It was a magnificent event of my early birding days. In those days I just started to know about birds.It was very exciting and cheering to me. During those days I saw Blue-throated Barbet, RufousTreepie, Coppersmith Barbet, Greater Coucal, Chestnut-tailed Starling etc. Though they are very common birds in our area but for the first time in my life I watched them very attentively. They were making me happy and providing me energy to see, to know more about nature.
I was doing field many a time in a week and for this I was getting scolding from my parents though it never stopped me. Nature always increases my curiosity and out of this I ran to the forest, river, and grassland to see the wild beauty.

On one of that day I went to Boshipota, Hooghly with my “Guru” Mr. Subhankar Patra, a veteran naturalist, for a field study. It was my first visit to Boshipota which is a vast open grassland and very famous for its Munias. There are several types of Munia birds found in this place like Red Munia,
White-rumped Munia, Chestnut Munia, Tri-coloured Munia and Scaly-breasted Munia. Till that time I never got to see any Munia before and was excited to see one. We got down at Uttarpara Railway station in the early morning and took auto-rickshaw to go to “Raghunathpur Bazar”. From the “Bazar” area we walked a narrow village road to reach “kanaipurer math”. It was a vast open land, but I was not able to see because of dense fog.
We settled down at “Manasha Than” and waited for the sunlight. I was bit unhappy but not for too long. Sunlight covered the whole area and I could see vast grassland that was glittered with golden light. My heart was fulfilled with holy happiness. If I would not go there for watching birds I never been able to cherish the beauty of that place. It was not a view of a general human being. It was a view of a birder. Me and my fellow birder Subhadeep Das took a narrow road and started to explore the place. Both side of the road was covered by long grasses. It is generally wet grassland. So it attracts many water birds as well as grassland birds. We found two common Moorhen on our right side in a small water
body, surrounded by long grasses. There were also two Pond Heron and one Intermediate Egret standing at the shallow water. We moved a little step further and saw two ‘Bengal Bushlark’ were standing on the road watching here and there. Subhadeep tried to take a photo but couldn’t do well. The birds flew away to our left. Then again we started walking towards the core area. We were consulting about the previous records of Bosipota. He told me, ‘two days before Red Munia was photographed from this place’. We were very happy and excited to see the birds. During our conversation he pointed to an area and asked me to have a look.
It was a small bird sitting on a grass tip, a Tri-coloured Munia. It was first ever Munia I was watching. He was not able to photograph the bird because of the anti-light position of ours. We moved ahead and took a turning and got stark with the electrifying beauty of my dream bird, Red Munia. It was flying over the grasses. We were stunned. We were overwhelmed with beauty and had no words to express our feelings that time. We observed that the bird was flying and diving into the grasses at the same place again and again. We approached a bit to have a close look. But we couldn’t find anything. The bird was frequently flying away and coming back taking green grasses in its bill. May be it was nesting, we were not sure. We observed the bird for half an hour and then again continued to explore the magical beauty of Bosipota. We found many birds on that day but the first glimpse of Red Munia will remain in my heart till my last breath.Red Munia will remain in my heart till my last breath.


by  Biswanath Mondal

published Chaitak…feb Issue

Picture :Subrata Sanki

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