While most birders find warblers as difficult subjects, Santanu Manna finds them fascinating and is always up for the challenge to identify them. A school teacher based in Kolkata, he never loses any opportunity to go birding during the holidays. Here is more about him…
Please tell us a bit about yourself. What do you do and where do you live?
I was born and raised in Deulia Village of Kolaghat which lies in the district of East Medinipur, West Bengal. I am currently working in Kolkata teaching chemistry to high school students in Shyambazar A.V School.
2. When and how did you get interested in birding?
In 2011, I came across Mr. Shubankar Patra, a veteran birder through his facebook page- SundayWatch. And it was him who got me hooked to birding.
3. Where do you enjoy birding the most?
I enjoy birding in the Himalayas, especially in Laddakh and NE India.
4. Do you have a favorite bird or birds? Why is it/are they your favorite?
Warblers are my favorite because they are so challenging to identify.
5. Do you have a birding partner or a group you enjoy birding with? How is birding alone different from birding with others?
My birding partners are Dr.Arup Kumar Banerjee, Sommouli Sarkar, Suman Paul, and Sujan Chatterjee. Although birding alone is quite different as you can hear calls very clearly, which I like. When I am birding I feel like I am a guest in their habitat and get really excited when they accept me gladly.
6. Anything on the birding bucket List? (Doesn`t have to be a bird, could be a place, witnessing a phenomena, etc)
My bucket list consists of more birding in Ladakh. This place is very special to me.
7. Has eBird changed how you bird? How?
My birding ability has been changed and improved due to eBird, no doubt about this. I always refer to eBird and plan my birding trips anywhere I go.
8. Have you set any birding goals for the coming months?
I have just started a new project called ‘Kolkata Bird Study’. This two- year survey aims to look at bird diversity in parks, wetlands in Kolkata and outskirts with a special focus on Eurasian Collared-Dove Streptopelia decaocto which is rare to this area.
9. What is your message for fellow birders?
My message to fellow birds is to not use plastic especially during their birding excursions and be a responsible citizen.
Header image: Whistler’s Warbler Phylloscopus whistleri by Sangeeta Das (see checklist)