Nothing beats kicking off the New Year with a stunning sunrise by the Koshi River in Udayapur, surrounded by the songs of different birds. The sunrise, diffused by the fog near the river and the adjacent community forest, painted a serene scene. Gathering my camera gear, I made my way to an open cabin with a view of the forest inside the Koshi Farmhouse property.

Sitting quietly on the cabin’s edge, I observed a group of Prinia birds bustling about the shrubbery below. Among them, I spotted a solitary Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher atop a twig, and further down the bamboo thicket a Pale-chinned Flycatcher. The Simal tree by the house was alive with the activity of Spangled Drongos and Red-vented Bulbuls.

Suddenly, I heard the sound of the dry leaves on the forest floor rustling, signaling the arrival of a couple of Rhesus Macaque families. These monkeys are a common sight in Nepal but can be a headache for farmers due to their crop-raiding antics.

The day ended with a stroll through the community forest and along the banks of the Koshi River. During the walk, I spotted a Pied Kingfisher skillfully hovering above the water, a pair of Ruddy Shelducks, and a Yellow-wattled Lapwing.


The following day, January 2nd, we ventured to Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve for a quick visit and to meet with a nature guide. Despite the short trip, we were fortunate to catch glimpses of some of the reserve’s renowned species. Along the way, we encountered numerous Yellow-footed Green Pigeons. Our guide led us to a spot where we could observe Wild Water Buffaloes grazing on the plains, with the added delight of spotting a pair of Great Mynas perched atop the buffalo, a first-time sighting for me.

While Koshi Tappu is famed for its Wild Water Buffaloes, this sighting shed light on the challenges they face, including habitat overlap, hybridization, and the risk of disease transmission from domesticated buffalo and other cattle. As I documented the Wild Water Buffaloes, I couldn’t help but notice domestic cows and bulls grazing nearby, underscoring the complex interplay between wildlife and human activity in the region.


Finishing off on the short journey through the forest, we were treated to sightings of various bird species, including the Black-hooded Oriole, the vibrant Verditer Flycatcher, and the majestic Greater Racket-tailed Drongo. We also had the pleasure of observing an Oriental Honey-buzzard, an Osprey soaring above, and several Lesser Goldenback Woodpeckers on the branches of the trees. On the way back to the farm I also got to see a Black-winged Kite up-close as it was hovering above a farm. The evening was peacefully spent in the cabin, observing the Spangled Drongo perching on bamboo stalks.


One memorable evening, while relaxing in the dining hut, I observed a Shrike clutching a frog in its beak, seemingly calling out to its mate or offspring. After several minutes of vocalization, the Shrike skillfully impaled the frog on a thorn of the Bougainvillea plant before departing. Curious, I revisited the spot before retiring to my tent for the night and found the frog still there. However, by morning, it had disappeared, likely consumed by the returning Shrike.

The remainder of our time at Koshi Farm House was filled with delightful moments, from witnessing breathtaking sunrises and sunsets to exploring the diverse flora and fauna of the surrounding areas and forests. We encountered fascinating species such as the Indian Pond Heron, Steppe Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, and Black Drongo during our walks. However, amidst the beautiful surroundings, I couldn’t help but notice the prevalence of the invasive Lantana camara shrub, which dominated the landscape hindering the growth of native flora. Additionally, I noticed the gradual transformation of grasslands into forests as new trees began to take over.


Being close to the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, just 27km away from Koshi Farm House, I couldn’t resist making one last visit. Once I arrived near the reserve, my guide took me to a place where an Indian Scops Owl stayed. After documenting the bird we slowly headed towards the reserve. Visiting the reserve proved to be a wise choice as the sightings were remarkable once again. Among the species I encountered were a Rufous Treepie, an Oriental Magpie Robin, a pair of Spotted Owlets perched on a tree branch, a Lesser Adjutant, and a couple of Oriental Turtle Dove.

Venturing deeper into the reserve, my guide pointed out a hidden gem: a Swamp Francolin. Camouflaged within its surroundings, this sighting was particularly special as Swamp Francolins are globally threatened and classified as vulnerable species by the IUCN. They are found in and around reserves like Koshi Tappu and Shuklaphanta. Other species of birds spotted during our walk included an Asian Koel, Rose Finches, Green Bee-eater, Eurasian Collared Doves, Black-hooded Orioles, and Lesser Goldenback Woodpeckers.

Approaching the marshes nearby, this was the first time I was able to see a large flock of Lesser Whistling Ducks and on the edge of the marshes a pair of Purple Swamphens. I took the opportunity to document the ducks in flight.


The reserve office also had a museum that showcased fascinating displays of various species, including snakes, baby elephants, deer, and Ganges river dolphins. It was an insightful and enjoyable trip around the Koshi region, and while it was my first visit, it certainly won’t be my last, given the number of species to be documented for the blog.

After an amazing journey to the eastern Terai region of Nepal and a few days in Kathmandu, it was time to explore the central Terai region. It was good to be back in Megauli, and after a long road trip to the hotel, we headed straight to Golaghat for the evening. Sitting on the banks of the East-Rapti River, I noticed low bird activity with sightings limited to a couple of Common Merganser in the distance and a pair of Ruddy Shelducks feeding on the opposite bank. A Little Egret was also fishing in the river, while further upstream, locals carrying wood for their homes emerged from the forest. As the sun set, Cormorants and Ruddy Shelducks flew back to their habitats, marking the end of another memorable day in nature.

The days in Meghauli were filled with work, scattered with morning strolls near the hotel, which occasionally yielded sightings of wildlife. Indian Peafowls would descend from the trees within the community forest to forage in the mustard fields. Additionally, we were also fortunate to observe a Brown Robin and a pair of Lineated Barbets near the hotel premises.

The beginning of the year brought with it exciting trips and stories to share, and I am hopeful that the remainder of 2024 will be as thrilling as January. Below are some of the species of flora and fauna that I had the opportunity to spot or document.

Grey-cheeked Warbler, Prinia, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, Pale-chinned Flycatcher, Eurasian Griffon, Spotted Dove, Pied Kingfisher, Ruddy Shelduck, Yellow-wattled Lapwing, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Great Myna, Black-hooded Oriole, Verditer Flycatcher, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Oriental Honey-buzzard, Osprey, Lesser Goldenback Woodpecker, Black-winged Kite, Spangled Drongo, Indian Pond Heron, Steppe Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Black Drongo, Indian Scops Owl, Rufous Treepie, Oriental Magpie Robin, Spotted Owlet, Lesser Adjutant, Oriental Turtle Dove, Swamp Francolin, Asian Koel, Rose Finch, Green Bee-eater, Eurasian Collared Dove, Purple Swamphen, Lesser-whistling Duck, Little Egret, Common Merganser, Brown Robin, Indian Peafowl, Lineated Barbet. Hen harrier

Rhesus Macaque, Wild Water Buffalo, Golden Jackel.

Lantana Camara, Bael (Aegle marmelos),  Simal (Bombax ceiba), Sal (Shorea robusta), Water hyacinth, Reed, Khayar, Sisau, etc.

Ajay Narsingh Rana

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