When looking back at the thought process and the patience needed to notice the surroundings, with time and age, the level of awareness has increased. It is always humbling to see new species of flora and fauna, knowing that the ecosystem is much larger than I had limited myself to understanding. The affinity for nature continues.
We have had an early monsoon and my excitement about getting to rediscover the small world has started again. A mellow month in regards to being outdoors, but June had its surprises. Starting with my home, it was a month of getting to notice birds and their juveniles finally out of the nests and exploring the region.
A juvenile Pied Bushchat would be singing to its parents for food. Hopping from one tree to the fence post and down to a tree branch, it would change its location and would be signaling its parents about its current location. The parents would forage, and bring various food, that also included berries from the Lantana shrub. It seems like the invasive species of Lantana has become the go-to source of food for a lot of birds.
When an invasive species like Lantana dominates the landscape, native food source becomes scarce and the birds have to adapt to the new diet. The seeds are dispersed after consuming the fruits which help in spreading the Lantana to other locations. This is how an invasive species spread, dominates, and destroys the landscape.
Apart from the Pied Bushchat, I could also see juvenile Common Tailorbirds singing and moving around the bushes nearby. Hearing new songs from birds was also common in June and I would normally be on the edge of my seat waiting for it to happen. Heading out to the window, or roof terrace I would see Golden Oriole, and a Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, which now frequents the place. I was also able to see an Asian Paradise flycatcher on an Utis tree one morning but wasn’t able to document the bird. It seemed to be looking for nesting materials and flew away.
Another backyard discovery was of a Scaly-breasted Munia breaking a grass on its peduncle (a stalk bearing a flower) and flying away. The bird might have chosen a nesting location nearby. At this point, I think I should allocate more time looking out of the window and documenting the birds, but work dictates otherwise.
Backyard wildlife spotting for the month ended with some macro photography. I was able to document some Lynx spiders, an unidentified insect that was trying to get into the bark of a tree, and many other species of insects.
Another place I was able to be among, nature was on a mountain bike ride to Ichangu. For me, the rest points during mountain bike rides are allocated for macro photography. While taking pictures of a Mosquito, I noticed a solitary Bee slowly coming out of its dried-up leaf home and looking at what the commotion was about.
Work also took me to a location near Godavari. Lunch breaks provided opportunities to explore the property. Even though I had already visited this place before, I was able to spot a lot more insects and birds. I guess the thought process and patience in me have evolved into noticing more of my surroundings.
Damselflies were plenty and were flying around the Knotweed plants and so was the Chocolate Pansy Butterfly which was exploring the region. A Common Birdwing Butterfly flew towards my location from behind a tree. With a wingspan of around 14cm, it looked like a small bird was flying but a lot slower. The beautiful Silky Yellow color on the hindwing could be seen as it flew past me. Hopefully, I can document this beautiful species in the future which is probably the largest butterfly in Nepal.
Another sighting for me and finally the chance to document was the Treehopper Bug. This treehopper had what appeared to be a crown or moreover, an elongated thorax with a wishbone-shaped ending. Quite an unusual finding it was. Along with this finding, I was also able to document many other insects including the Grass Crab Spider, and also spotted a lot of empty Cicada shells.
A small crab was also spotted as it was walking sideways and hiding between leaves that were growing low on the ground. The shy crustacean slowly made its way to the undergrowth below a tree and disappeared. I could also spot a couple of woodpeckers slowly making their way to the top of a tree while far in the distance a blue speck could be seen flying towards another tree. Judging by the color it must have been a Verditer Flycatcher.
The world is super diverse and Nepal is no exception. The more I explore the more I get to learn about new species and their interactions. Below are some of the species I was able to see, and document during June.
Pied Bushchat, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, White Wagtail, Common Tailorbird, Golden Oriole, Oriental Magpie Robin, Blue-throated Barbet, Scaly-breasted Munia, Asian Paradise flycatcher, etc.
Treehopper Bug (Membracidae sp.), Damselfly, Grass Crab spider (Oxytate sp.), Lynx Spider (Oxyopidae sp.), Earwig, Cicada, Millipede, Daddy long-legs spider (Pholcidae sp.), Chocolate Pansy Butterfly, Dark Judy Butterfly, Common Birdwing Butterfly,
Astragalus sp. flowers, Silky Rose, Utis, Jackfruit tree, Knotweeds, Pani Amala (Nephrolepsis cordifolia), Polka dot plant (Hypoestes sp.), etc.
Ajay Narsingh Rana