April was all about exploring the central hilly regions of Nepal, especially around the Annapurna region, where I had the chance to experience diverse flora and fauna across various altitudes.

The month kicked off with an overnight trip to Australian Camp, leading a group up from Kande. Along the way, we were treated to the sight of Rhododendrons in full bloom on the southern side, and the distant calls of the Great Barbet, and Blue-throated Barbet. With the arrival of spring, wildflowers were also beginning to bloom. Upon reaching our hotel, we noticed the mountains to the north were shrouded in clouds, hoping for clearer skies by morning.


The next morning greeted us with a bit of haze and cloud cover. Though we missed the magical golden sunrise over the snow-capped peaks, we still managed to catch a faint view of a couple of mountains. Machapuchare and Annapurna remained magnificent despite the conditions.

As the sun began to peek through the clouds, the calls of birds grew louder. The morning cacophony signaled the birds starting their day, venturing out for food. Watching the birds in their morning activities was delightful. I spotted a Grey Bushchat perched atop a tree, singing. Other species soon joined, making the tree branches their favorite perches.

I also saw Mountain Bulbuls and Russet Sparrows. One of the morning’s highlights was a Verditer Flycatcher that frequented the kitchen garden near our lodging, foraging for food. As it grew more confident, it ventured closer, much to everyone’s delight. Its distinct copper-sulfate blue plumage was mesmerizing and captivated the onlookers.

Heading down to Pokhara from the Dhamus side was a delight as well as we watched vultures catching thermals and Black Kites soaring in the valley. Taking a breather beneath the Banyan (Ficus benghalensis) and Peepal Tree (Ficus religiosa) while walking down the stairs was a welcome break on a hot day, accompanied by the calls of Warblers and Black-lored Tits in the Oak forest below.

After finishing the trip to Pokhara, my next stop was Riverside Springs Resort in Kurintar. One of my favorite spots for birding and macro photography, this place is a treasure located on the banks of the Trishuli River. The resort features a separate area dedicated to farming and nature. At an elevation of 280 meters, this place attracts many species of birds and insects. Winter should also be interesting as many species migrate down to the Terai, and this place, being close to Chitwan National Park (63 km via road), should attract a variety of birds. I will update you on this front once I visit during the start of winter this year.

Once at the resort, I got straight to birding, sitting on the machan and trying to spot Orioles that were singing. Sitting on the high platform was very useful as I started spotting different birds in the branches of Sisau trees. Multiple Indian Golden Orioles could be seen chasing each other and perching on branches. Red Collared Doves flew from one tree to another, and Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters displayed their acrobatic flight as they caught prey mid-air. The place was full of activity.

In the distance, I observed a Chestnut-headed Bee-eater catching bees and feeding them to another Chestnut-headed Bee-eater perched on a branch. I also spotted some Chestnut-tailed Starling, warblers, and Black-lored Tits searching for food among the tree branches. Exploring the ground and walking around the area helped me discover a couple of new species I hadn’t noticed before.

This year, I was able to notice two new birds: the Grey-breasted Prinia and the Purple Sunbird. The Purple Sunbird seemed to have a nest near a perimeter fence, as both the male and female were very active in that area. As I walked around, I also spotted a flock of female Baya Weaver birds atop young Sisau trees, searching for insects. Although I didn’t see any weaver nests, it was exciting to watch them forage around.

This place holds special memories for me as it was where I first saw a Black Francolin and, an Indian Hare near the grassland, and a Civet Cat on the Banyan tree near the swimming pool. Each visit raises my expectations of seeing something new. This time, the sightings of the Grey-breasted Prinia and Purple Sunbird met my expectations.

During my stay, I spent a couple of days scouring the property for more sightings. I saw Spotted Doves, a flock of Rose-ringed Parakeets, Asian Koels, Pied Bushchats, Jungle Owlets, Long-tailed Shrikes , a nesting area of Plain Martins, Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker, Greater Coucal, Black Drongos, and a Large Cuckooshrike.

One evening, as daylight faded, I noticed a bird foraging around the ground near a decaying tree stump. I slowly approached and settled on the ground some 10m away. The bird, a Black Redstart, confidently explored the tree stump. This was my first time documenting this bird up close, and it was quite a sighting.

As I focused on the bird, I had a feeling to look behind me. When I did, I saw a Small Indian Mongoose standing upright in the distance looking at me, scanning for threats.

I had an amazing time exploring the property, so one morning I decided to see what lay outside its boundaries. At the end of the road meeting the highway, there is a large Banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis). The ripe Banyan figs were attracting many birds. The tree’s coverage was so extensive that I focused on just one section. In about 10 minutes of observation, I saw at least five bird species coming in for the fruit or to perch.

This was the second time I observed a Yellow-footed Green Pigeon up close, the first being in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve. Other birds I noticed included the Asian Koel, Rufous Treepie, Red-breasted Parakeet, and Black-lored Tit. Afterward, I headed down to the Trishuli River bank. Although it was late morning and getting hot, I still managed to spot a couple of River Lapwings, a White-browed Wagtail, a Carpenter Bee, and a Cotton Bug.

Exploring Riverside Springs Resort after a long time gave me a deeper appreciation for how diverse a space can be when properly planned and left for nature to take its course. The variety of flora plays a significant role in attracting diverse fauna and vice versa. From Simal and Elephant Ear Fig trees to orchids and small patches of grassland, this place caters to a wide range of species. With the monsoon season approaching, it’s a paradise for macro photography, and I can’t wait to document some of the critters.          

Back in Kathmandu, after a small hike to Shivapuri, I set off to the Annapurna Circuit, leading a group of mountain bikers. It had been a while since I was in the mountains during spring. Kathmandu and the hilly regions of Nepal were suffering from forest fires and becoming hazy, so this was a good change of environment for me.

I visit this region at least once yearly, so the vegetation remains familiar. We encountered unexpected rain while heading to Tal, which signaled a change in weather that we needed to look out for during our travel.

While on the trip and in the hotel, I saw many Silver-striped Hawk-moths (Hippotion celerio) both in Tal and up in Chame. Climbing up the hill to Timang through the lovely old pine forest I wasn’t able to spot any Langurs but the sight of the tall trees was as mesmerizing as ever.

In Manang, hiking up to the Chongkor View Point, I noticed that Gangapurna Lake was back in shape after a weir was built. I saw a couple of Ruddy Shelducks flying towards this area when I was passing through Braga, so while hiking up, I tried to spot them in the lake below. I also noticed a falcon flying overhead repeatedly until it landed further down the hill when we were hiking up.


I started regretting not bringing a bigger lens on this trip, as I was only carrying a 50mm, but for the sake of documentation, I took pictures of the wildlife. On the way up, I documented some Rock Buntings in a pine tree and a variety of wildflowers.

In Yak Kharka, I spotted a couple of Pikas, most likely Large-eared Pikas. These animals move around juniper and other shrubs and feed around the grassland.


One issue I have been noticing over the years has been the garbage disposal around the valley. Large open pits are dug to dispose of garbage, but one thing that has never been considered, not just in Manang but also in the Everest region, is the wind factor that disperses the garbage into the surrounding areas. This same pattern was evident here. The Pika habitat and the grassland were littered with garbage.

While heading up last autumn, I wasn’t able to spot any Blue Sheep, but this time on the way to Thorang Phedi and in Thorang Phedi, I saw a couple of herds of Blue Sheep. I also saw some Tibetan Snowcocks and documented some Brandt’s Mountain Finches while crossing the pass.


Traveling around Mustang Valley is always exciting as the desert terrain with an oasis in between attracts different species of flora and fauna. Riding down the valley and in Kagbeni, I saw some Alpine Choughs, vultures, Long-tailed Shrikes, crows, and warblers.

Kalopani is another habitat I love to explore. Listening to the bird calls from the pine forest that runs parallel to the highway, wandering through fern and wild strawberry flower gardens, seeing horses grazing peacefully in the meadow, and following streams flowing down to the Kali Gandaki, is a delightful experience.

The forest edge reveals the river below and pristine pine forests on the other side, touched by the morning sun—a truly picturesque sight. Early morning strolls along the trail rewarded me with the calls of Spotted Nutcrackers and sightings of warblers and Blue Whistling Thrushes.

The final destination after the bike trip was, Pokhara. This city was shrouded in haze, largely due to forest fires. During a hike to the Peace Stupa, visibility over the lake was limited to about 400-500 meters, making it impossible to catch even a small glimpse of the mountains. Each year, the forest fires worsen. During the hike, I took a few pictures of the vegetation and then left. I also noticed a Sawfly larve climbing up its silk line in what looked like the top of a tree. Quite a feat for that small creature.

The haze was so severe that Pokhara airport had to shut down operations, forcing us the next day to take a van back to Kathmandu.

Despite a busy month filled with work, I was able to observe and document some of the flora and fauna. Below is a summary of the wildlife I was able to document or see.

Oriental Magpie Robin, Himalayan Bulbul, Scarlet Minivet ♂ ♀, Grey Bushchat ♂, Mountain Bulbul, Russet Sparrow ♂, Verditer Flycatcher, Indian Golden Oriole ♂, Red Collared Dove ♂, Chestnut-headed bee-eater, Black Drongo, Purple Sunbird, Chestnut-tailed Starling ♂ ♀, Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker, Pied Bushchat ♂, Greater Coucal, Baya Waver ♀, Black-lored Tit, Rose-ringed Parakeet ♂, Grey-breasted Prinia, Spotted Dove, Asian Koel ♂, Jungle Owlet, Plain Martin, Black Redstart ♂, White-throated Kingfisher, Large Cuckooshrike ♀, Rufous Treepie, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Red-breasted Parakeet, River Lapwing, Long-tailed Shrike, White-browed Wagtail ♀, Green-backed Tit, Blue-winged Minla, White-tailed Nuthatch, Rock Bunting ♂,  Alpine Chough, Oriental Turtle Dove, Blue Whistling Thrush, Brandt’s Mountain Finch ♂, Cattle Egret, etc.

Small Indian Mongoose, Blue Sheep, Pika.

Carpenter Bee, Silver-striped Hawk-moth (hippotion celerio), Inchworm (Moth Larve), Lemon Pansy Butterfly, Sawfly larvae, etc.

Rhododendrons, Banyan (Ficus benghalensis), Peepal Tree (Ficus religiosa), Indian rosewood (Dalbergia sissoo), Simal (Bombax ceiba), Ferns, Utis (Alnus nepalensis), Custard Apple, Black Juniper (Juniperus indica), Himalayan birch , Himalayan Blue Pine (Pinus wallichiana), etc.

Thank you so much for following and supporting the blog. My next assignment destination for May is the Everest region, so be sure to check back to find out what I saw. Wishing you all a wonderful month ahead.

Ajay Narsingh Rana