Reminiscing the month in “What I saw – August”, as September starts. Time just flies and we are left with four more months until 2021. What a year it has been.

The lockdown routine once again starts in Nepal. I find myself at home again sitting on the chair staring outside towards the hills visualizing myself being in the mountains. The tradition for the last 10 years of going to the highlands and breathing the thin air, finding inspiration for projects and blogs seems to have broken. Patience is the key as one day this will all be over and exploration starts.

With no alternative, I am compelled to find inspiration in this concrete jungle. To break the monotony I once again dive into the world of small creatures. Observing the changes happening in the small world in a small patch of bush behind the house becomes a routine. I have been visiting this place since the lockdown back in March but with every visit, I still get to see new creatures. The diversity amazes me and also brings out the thought of why we need to think about conservation.  

Numerous mosquito bites later I return to my room excited in reviewing the photos and videos of the small world. As I scratch the resulting itchy bumps from the bite the excitement increases when zooming into the photos start revealing the magnificent details of the subject. The excitement doubles when I get a chance to spot and document a new subject.

With monsoon still happening, the different types of green hue nature show, sparkle after it is washed clean by the rain as the sun shines. The usual routine in the small world continues as always. Ants being opportunistic feeders march in formation bringing in the food of various sorts from insects to bread crumbs. Orb weaving spiders lay in wait for a prey to be trapped in their freshly spun web. Different bees visiting every flower around, and many more observations were to be had.

A female wolf spider carrying spiderlings on its back

While looking out for new insects, I was able to spot a new Jumping Spider. Not being able to document it is another story. August was also a month of baby boom as I could see spiderlings in a lot of places. I could spot a female Wolf Spider carrying the spiderlings on her back. Young jumping spiders waiting for prey and a nest of spiderlings on a leaf were also quite a find.

A spider nest of spider lings between two leaves.

Another observation this month was of a Spider hunting Wasp taking spiders to its hide. One particular wasp was doing multiple rounds of the hunt.

A wasp hunting spiders is busy collecting spiders to lay eggs on

For years I would hear that there were snakes around the place I live in but wasn’t lucky enough to document one until I found a Common Rat Snake (Non-venomous). Snakes play an important role in balancing the food chain as they hunt for rats and other rodents that destroy crops. But they also become prey for Serpent Eagles, and various other birds, mongoose, King cobra, etc. Nepal has 83 species of snakes in which only 21 species are venomous (6 are known to cause fatality). The misconception that every snake is venomous is wrong as I’ve seen this notion being a catalyst in getting a lot of snakes killed. Venomous or non-venomous, snakes are good for the environment and the only factor that needs to be controlled is us, humans, controlling our urge to kill it. The best solution is to leave it alone, and as they say “don’t be a man” as you will end up getting hurt. Calling a certified or approved snake rescuer in your town who specializes in ethical removal and relocation is the best thing to do.

I finally spot a common rat snake near where I live

It was a busy month therefore only a few flora and fauna could be spotted.

Common tailorbird, White-eye, Rufous Treepie, Red-vented Bulbul, Common Myna, Spotted Dove, House sparrow.

Barn spider, Pantropical Jumper, Bumblebee, Ant-mimic Spider, Jumping spiders, Carpenter ant, Orb weaving spider, various caterpillars, snails, slugs, Sweat bees, Bumblebee, Honey bees, Leafhoppers, Hoverflies.  

August also became the month when I could finally pitch a story about the small world and publish it. Nepali Times published the story with the title “It’s a small world”. Do give it a read and let me know how it was. Would love to hear from you.

The COVID19 pandemic is going strong in Nepal and the infection rates are increasing. I hope we continue our safety guidelines and follow the WHO and government’s directives. For our Nepali friends, I have been following Covid Sanchar Samuha as their illustrations are well thought out and informative.  

I can’t stress enough on this but as we head towards a new month we should make a point of still following the safety measures. Even if the lockdown is opens the discipline should be maintained. Please do follow your government’s stated rules and stay safe.

Wishing you a very good, productive, and safe month ahead.

Ajay Narsingh Rana