The second half of the year started with a bang and this time it was work-related travel to the east side of Nepal for five days. Being a freelancer I have various types of assignments and this time it was with Himalayan Medics to go and teach wilderness first aid to the team in Bungy Nepal at The Last Resort. Being around this place always excites me as it is surrounded by a lot of flora and fauna, along with being an adventure playground.
As the days passed by I got to experience the beauty both inside the perimeter and outside of the resort. The air would lighten up with the sounds like piou-piou-piou-piou of the Great Barbet, the high pitched whistle of the Red-billed Blue Magpie, the occasional chee-cheewee by the Crimson Sunbird, the usual tone of the cricket and cicada, and the sound of the river down below. Exploring the area in the early mornings and on day breaks made the stay even more interesting as I was able to see a lot of new things. The off-day hike became the highlight as I hiked up to 2300m above sea level to a place called Listikot where I could see vegetation change as the elevation gained. The landscape and the abundance of flora and fauna have made me plan a trip to this place and beyond soon and document the sightings.
This month I was able to see and photograph a lot of new species. I had wished for a while of seeing an Indian Luna Moth which was fulfilled when I was able to spot one amongst the bamboo leaves. The place was a treasure trove in terms of insect sightings and I was a happy man taking macro photos of the ones I could spot. There were Mormon Butterfly, Popinjay Butterfly, Large Hedge-Blue Butterfly, Earwig, Damselfly, Grasshoppers, various types of Ants, Dragonflies, Moths, Large yellow-banded Blister Beetles along with other various types of beetles, Orb-weaving spiders, Long-spinnered bark spiders, etc. In terms of Mollusca, I was able to take pictures of a couple of snails and slugs. For me spotting a snake is very hard and in all these years just have had a handful of sighting so when I saw a couple of snakes I was a happy person. Along with this, another reptile I saw was a juvenile Himalayan Skink but as these reptiles are skittish I wasn’t able to take any good pictures.
When it came to spotting and taking photographs of birds, I was able to see the usual suspects like the Blue whistling thrush, Common crow, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Blue-throated Barbet, Crimson Sunbird, Great Barbet, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Oriental Turtle Dove. Along with these, I was able to see Black-backed Forktail, Common Kestral, Black Kite, Common Stonechat, Long-tailed Minivet, a Babbler, and an Owl that needs to be identified.
Sitting on the edge of a forest during dusk helped me get the picture of an Owl but it also helped me observe a Yellow-breasted Martin on a feeding frenzy going from tree to tree and eating fruits. Another mammal I was able to see was the Rhesus macaques and especially the infant jumping from tree to tree and playing around. I got the joy of seeing them in their natural habitat instead of them in the city and temples where they seem to be frail and carrying some kind of disease.
As the monsoon has started everything is green and in full bloom. Wildflowers were in abundance to see along with Orchids like Aerides multiflora, Alder trees, Roscoea capitata, and many other plants which I haven’t been able to identify.
August seems to be a month of another round of adventure to the far west of Nepal so hoping to share with you guys my experience along with the flora and fauna I saw. Thank you all for visiting this site and supporting it. Wishing you all an awesome and adventurous month ahead.
Ajay Narsingh Rana