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The phrase, home is where the heart is, resonates for me, as I travel to a lot of places in Nepal, and Nepal is beautiful. Having said that there is a side in my heart for Kathmandu as it’s been my family’s home for generations.
After a couple of months in Kathmandu with no travel insight, the nature around the valley has been my solace. Every journey in the quest to document the natural beauty around the valley brings surprises. So much to learn and so much to see.
I went to Ichangu a couple of times in April. This place has become my first destination for a hike and birding. Calls from the Great Barbet and the Blue-throated Barbet were mixed with the construction works that were going on below in the Ichangu Valley. The trail outside the national park boundary provides a lot of opportunities to see the birds and animals as the valley below expands into an urban sprawl.
As I walk the trail I got to see the Black Drongo chasing away bigger birds from what seemed to be its nesting area. Drongo is very aggressive when it comes to protecting its nest and can even chase away eagles if they get within its territory. Further below warblers and shrikes could be seen perching on an Utis tree. Scarlet Minivets both male and female could be seen flying above. Inside the bushes of the Lantana, I could spot White-rumped Munia busy cleaning themselves.
My second visit to Ichangu was even more interesting as I spotted a juvenile snake on the side of the trail. For me, this was a rare sighting so I started documenting the species. Heading further up on the trail I could see a Barking deer grazing below the walls of the national park. As I start documenting the moment I spotted two females near the male Barking deer. After a while of foraging around the area, they slowly headed towards the national park boundaries.
As usual, the morning was welcoming with the songs of the birds enhancing the atmosphere. Amongst the songs of the Great Barbet and the Blue-throated Barbet the occasional Cuc…kooo Cuc…kooo calls from the Eurasian Cuckoo could be heard. A lot of trees were covered with new foliage including the Simal tree. This provided undercover for a lot of birds and was hard to spot.
White-throated Laughingthrush was silently moving up the terrain from one tree to the other and alongside a flock of Black-throated Tit were also on the move. Walking down the trail I could finally spot the Eurasian Cuckoo as it flew and perched on top of a tree nearby. As the morning progressed the call of the Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler became more prominent.
I was also able to witness a couple of Drongo searching for nesting materials. One of them was attracted to the prayer flags installed around the area and was pulling on the strings that were loose on some of the flags. Hovering and pulling on the strings was a new behavior that I was able to witness on this trip.
Butterflies were also abundant and I got to see Indian Tortoiseshell, Yellow Coster, a couple of species of Blues, Common Jezebel, a species of Mime, Common Bluebottle, Popinjay, etc during my walks.
Bungamati was another area that I went mountain biking to and was able to document a couple of species of flora and fauna. The big expanse of farmlands on the banks of the Bagmati River below the ancient town is a good spot to do birding. As I sit and look down at the patches of the community forest and farmland below I hear Parakeets nearby. Asian Koel also makes its presence known by singing its usual song Kuoo…Kuoo but gets chased by the Crows until it finds refuge under a dense tree. On a tree nearby I spot a Grey-headed Woodpecker perching.
Down below in the farmlands, a flock of pigeons was foraging on fields that were just harvested. I could also spot a couple of Doves as well but couldn’t verify if it was the Eurasian Collared-Dove. The sights and the sound of this place always attracts me so I stopped on the single-track and took a moment to breathe and reflect on how beautiful this place was. The sound from the stream flowing behind me, the birds singing, and the light breeze.
Back in my house I finally spared a couple of hours in the early mornings to see birds that were around. Common Tailorbirds are pretty common and so is the Red-vented Bulbul. Oriental Magpie Robin seems to be a resident around the vicinity. Two new sightings for me were Common Rosefinch and another variety of Finch that I need to identify. I could also spot a Mongoose peeping out of a water outlet as it went around searching for food.
April was insightful even though I have a busy schedule. Below are some of the flora and fauna that I was able to document or, see during April.
Grey-headed Woodpecker, Scarlet Minivet, Long-tailed Shrike, Black Drongo, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Black-lored Tit, Black-throated Tit, Black Bulbul, Red-vented Bulbul, Himalayan Bulbul, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, White-throated Laughingthrush, White-crested Laughingthrush, Orange-bellied Leafbird, White-rumped Munia, Common Rosefinch, Verditer Flycatcher, Common Tailorbird, Blue-throated Barbet, White-throated Kingfisher, Asian Koel, Oriental Turtle Dove, Spotted Dove,
Indian Tortoiseshell Butterfly, Yellow Coster Butterfly, Common Jezebel Butterfly, Common Bluebottle Butterfly, Popinjay Butterfly, Mantis,
Silk oak (Grevillea robusta), Blue Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia), Bayberry (Kaphal), Bauhinias (Koiralo tree), etc.
Barking Deer, Small Indian Mongoose.
Hoping to share the moments from nature I can document during May. Thank you for visiting the blog and for your support.
Ajay Narsingh Rana