An end to a decade and five of those years were completed in 2019 blogging about the flora and fauna of Nepal. Looking back it’s also been more than 10 years chasing insects and taking macro photos of it. The passion that grew into storytelling has been a blessing. I am overwhelmed to see the number of people that have been following the blog and the numbers keep increasing every year.
As the new decade starts, storytelling and sharing the flora and fauna of Nepal has been ever so important as the world we live in has been impacted by climate change, deforestation, pollution, fire, etc. Catastrophic disasters have been increasing and the consensus on change for the better is growing slowly. As the protected areas, forests, grasslands are cleared for farming, cattle, airports, and other infrastructures which are making the news, seldom change comes as money and greed supersede the long term damage the environment has to take. The aim of this blog has been to show how diverse Nepal is in terms of flora and fauna, and why it’s important to talk about conservation. A new decade but a decade that will need more voices in conservation and hopefully this blog becomes a medium, a spark, an inspiration to have you all with the same goals in the conservation of the flora and fauna in Nepal and the rest of the world.
The year started with a trip to Chitwan National Park with fellow wildlife photographer Umang Jung Thapa with whom I explored some new areas. As far as I can remember this is my 6th time in the National Park and the thing that keeps me coming back is the range of flora and fauna the National Park has to showcase. As it was mid-winter it was an exciting period to watch the migratory shorebirds and even though the weather wasn’t pleasant with chances of rain the excitement to watch the wildlife didn’t change. With three full days and various mediums of exploring this place, I was very excited to start the trip.
Walking has always been an activity that makes you experience the jungle in a more intimate way and it gets more exciting when encountering animal tracks. From pug marks of a tiger, rhino, deers to shorebirds the range was pretty big. On the walks, the jungle reveled birds like Spotted Owlet, Jungle Owlet, Serpent Eagle roosting while nearby Streaked throated woodpeckers, White-eye, Nuthatch were busy feeding on insects from the big trees.
Boating got us near the waterbirds and shorebirds which helped us witness the Cormorants fishing, Ruddy Shelduck and Common Merganser busy feeding, a flock of Black Stork, a couple of Great Egret, a Grey Heron and a Lesser Adjutant resting in the riverbanks. Along with this I was also pretty lucky to be able to witness mass fishing by a flock of more than 300 Cormorants in the East Rapti River. This event was a sight to be seen as the massive flock flew upstream and the ones swimming in the river started diving to catch the fish. It was a huge commotion in the river to witness and with all these happening birds like Gulls also started taking advantage of the free kills. It was also interesting to see Gulls trying to pick up fish beyond their capability and failing at it. I was also able to witness an Osprey dive in the water to catch a fish. The speed carried to the water and the impact to catch the fish was just crazy.
The jungle drive took us deep into the Chitwan National Park where Samber Deer and Spotted Deer would peer through the dense thicket, a Changeable Hawk Eagle would silently overlook towards a swamp on a foggy morning for some meal, Jungle Babbler would break the silence of the jungle with their continual chattering, woodpeckers busy pecking into the trunk of a tree for insects and while this was happening a Greater Racket-tailed Drongo would fly from tree to tree looking for insects as well until it disappeared deep into the forest blanketed by fog. Barking Deer would call in the distance as we moved along and a couple of wild boars would be busy eating nearby with no care. As we moved around the Sal forests and grasslands various claw markings in the tree trunks signified the immense height and prowess of the tigers and the bears in the national park. On the various lakes in the national park, Great Cormorants, Darters, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Common Kingfishers, Pied Kingfishers were busy basking in the sun and as we moved forward we got to see a One-horned Rhino busy eating near the shore of one of those lakes.
Apart from constantly moving around in the park, we made a point of sitting in the deck of Jagatpur Lodge and do some birding. This turned out to be a good idea as we could witness and also take pictures of Pied Kingfisher, Jungle Babbler, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Asian Openbill, Black-hooded Oriole, Common Kingfisher, etc.
Back in Kathmandu and I was geared for another trip. This time to Nuwakot for some trail recce. I had packed light which meant photography was not on the agenda but while being on the trail I couldn’t help myself but look at the beautiful nature Nuwakot had to offer. Birds like Black Kite, Minivets, Crimson Sunbirds, Purple Sunbirds, White Eyes, Tits, Egrets were spotted. The stories of Leopard sightings in the area by our guide made me excited and was secretly hoping that one would appear in the trail. With a couple of days in this place, I made up my mind to be back soon with proper photography gear and take pictures of the Crimson Sunbird and the Purple Sunbirds which were constantly flying nearby.
Coming back to Kathmandu again made me miss the wilderness so had to make a point of going out on a morning walk for birding around Ichangu. The weather wasn’t good that day but with the amount of light that came, I was able to take some pictures of Long-tailed Minivet, White-rumped Munia, Grey Treepie, Pipit, Blue-fronted Redstart, and Warblers.
January has been a month of exploring and adventure and I was able to see a lot of flora and fauna which I have briefly summed up below.
Steppe gull, Pallas's gull, Streaked-throated Woodpecker, Ruddy Shelduck, Common Kingfisher, Little Cormorant, Great Cormorant, Darter, Shikra, Osprey, Red-wattled Lapwing, Common Merganser, Pied Kingfisher, Jungle Babbler, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Asian Openbill, Chestnut-tailed Starling, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Jungle Owlet, Black Drongo, White Eye, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Crimson Sunbird, Purple Sunbird, White-rumped Munia, Long-tailed Minivet, Pipit, Black Stork, Lesser Adjutant, Great Egret, Grey Heron, Spotted Owlet, Himalayan Flameback, Indian Peafowl, Red Junglefowl.
Five years of blogging in prakritinepal.com was an adventure with a lot of ups and downs. As we head into a new decade I would like to thank you all for the support and hoping to share with you the beautiful flora and fauna of Nepal in the days to come. I need your valuable suggestions and opinions in the future as this is what helps me make the blog even better.
Thank you and wishing you all a very Happy New Year and a year filled with adventure and a renewed passion for conservation.
Ajay Narsingh Rana