After the conclusion of the Himalayan Enigma race, I extended my stay for a few more days to wrap up some meetings. Due to unfavorable weather conditions in early December, I abandoned the plan to stay in Nagdaha and capture photographs of Cormorants. Instead, I remained at Rato Ghar, where each morning, I observed Orange-billed Blue Magpies gracefully descending from the forests above to the Nagdaha area. Warblers, Black-throated Tits, and Red-vented Bulbuls fluttered around the garden, bathed in the sunlight filtering through the clouds and touching the foliage.

The distant melody of the Great Barbet’s song reached my ears daily, prompting me to wonder if they would perch on the trees around the property. One morning, my curiosity was satisfied as a couple of Great Barbets landed on the Persimmon tree, indulging in the fruits. Silently, they hopped from one branch to another, carefully selecting the ripest ones to consume.

On our way back to Kathmandu, we made a stop at a local eatery for some Dal Bhat. The eatery, situated near hillside fields, prompted me to explore the surroundings. The summer crops were already harvested and the fields were ready for another planting season. While scanning the area, I caught sight of a small mammal swiftly crossing the trail into the bushes on the other side. Although the rapid movement made it challenging to identify, its size and motion suggested it might have been a small weasel. I patiently waited, hoping it would pause or look back so that I would be able to identify it, but wasn’t lucky that day.

Upon returning to Kathmandu, a new bird song caught my attention behind my house. Every morning, the distant call of a Greater Coucal resonated. Eager to document this bird in the upcoming days, I also noticed the presence of a small brown bird, resembling a female Robin species, that seemed to have nested nearby. Capturing its images proved challenging due to its unpredictable movements, and I aim to document it before the season changes and it goes away.

The month progressed with having a class to teach wilderness first aid and then later in the month a five-day course of training a batch of new trainers on the basics of mountain biking. Shikali was the primary area where we would go for the ride and I would observe Rose-ringed Parakeets, Black Kites, and Red-vented Bulbul, flying around the area. Further in the distance soaring above the Bagmati River, I also noticed some Steppe Eagles.


The highlight of the month was the journey to Koshi Farm House. This was a new region to experience for me, considering that my usual assignments and travels are concentrated in the central and western regions of Nepal. The 320-kilometer road trip provided valuable insights into the country’s diverse landscapes. Departing from Dhulikhel, we traversed through Pine forests, ascended the BP Highway alongside the Sunkoshi River, and descended from Sindhuligadi, revealing a picturesque valley below.

The road to Udaypur led us through Sal forests, riverbanks, and expansive fields adorned with vibrant Mustard flowers in full bloom. Notably, the village architecture is transforming, with traditional houses gradually being replaced by concrete structures. After an almost 8-hour drive, we arrived at Koshi Farm House, a captivating space with panoramic views of the Koshi River to the east and a community forest to the south, adorned with Sal, Simal, Bamboo, Stemless Date Palm, and various other trees and shrubs.

The following morning, having enjoyed a proper sleep in a safari tent, I awoke to a foggy morning. The air was filled with the lively activities of birds engaged in their morning foraging rituals. A Simal tree near the farmhouse had already blossomed, providing a delightful sight of Spangled Drongos singing and flitting from one branch to another. The Red-vented Bulbuls were also caught up in a feeding frenzy, adding to the enchanting ambiance of the surroundings.

Throughout the day, I had the opportunity to thoroughly explore the farmhouse and observe the behaviors of the birds in the area. A White-throated Kingfisher had chosen a tree branch as its perch, spending most of the day vigilantly watching for insects in the garden below. Similarly, an Indian Roller frequently visited a tree outside the premises, and a Common Stonechat had made the thatched roof of the sitting area its home, often perching in the vicinity.

The farmhouse also proved to be an excellent location for spotting raptors, with more than three species soaring above or flying past the area. Osprey and Steppe Eagle were regular visitors, and the Black Kite occasionally perched on a tree near the perimeter. One of the highlights of the day was witnessing the Black Stork and a Steppe Eagle catching thermals and gracefully circling the area.

The end of the year in the Koshi area turned out to be a delightful start to the new year exploring the region even more. Reflecting on the year gone by, 2023 was truly remarkable. It commenced in January with my selection for the PhotoKTM5 Residency Program at Jatayu Vulture Restaurant in Kawasoti. The month-long stay was an unparalleled learning experience. February and March were dedicated to observing vultures and wildlife in Kawasoti, including the release of the last captive-bred vultures.

April and May revolved around preparations and work for two mountain bike races. Returning to Dolakha after a prolonged period and doing the preliminary work for The Freedom Project happening in May allowed me to immerse myself in nature. Serving as a First Aid Responder for Rantnange Enduro in Phaplu and hiking the trails amid mossy pine forests were captivating experiences. The month of May took me to Dhangadi for an assignment and then to Dolakha for the Freedom Project race.

June kept me in the Kathmandu Valley, exploring the trails, while July offered the opportunity to delve into Meghauli’s wildlife. August saw me stay in Kathmandu, and September was a bustling month with event organization and a wildlife documentation assignment in the western part of Nepal.

October and November were centered around leading groups in the mountains and serving as a technical director for the Himalayan Enigma, an epic mountain bike race. Finally, in 2023, it felt like a return to my pre-2020 COVID schedule of outdoor assignments, and I hope this momentum continues to build in the coming years.

Here’s to wishing everyone an incredible year ahead, filled with stories to share, and hoping that 2024 also becomes the year where the emphasis on conversations about conservation continues and stays at the forefront.

The following are some of the flora and fauna I had the privilege to witness and document during December.

White-throated Kingfisher, Indian Roller, Spangled Drongo, Black Kite, Red-vented Bulbul, Common Myna, Osprey, Red-whiskered Bulbul, Red-rumped Swallow, Steppe Eagle, Spotted Dove, Oriental Magpie Robin, Black Stork, Pipits, House Crow, Rufous Treepie, White-wagtail, Black Drongo, Common Stonechat, Black-hooded Oriole.

Golden Jackel, Rhesus Macaques. Flora:
Sal (Shorea robusta), Sallo (Pinus roxburghii), Simal Tree (Bombax ceiba), Aiselu (Rubus ellipticus), Persian Lilac tree, Sal (Shorea Robusta),  Chir Pine (Pinus roxburghii), Chilaune (Schima wallichii), Angeri (Lyonia ovalifolia), Oak (Quercus semecarpifolia), Stemless Date Palm थाकल (Phoenix acaulis), Nepal Alder (Alnus nepalensis), Wild Himalayan Cherry पैयु (Prunus cerasoides), Pipal (Ficus religiosa), Oak trees, etc.