Although I had stopped more than a couple of times for tea or, food near the highway on the way to Phaplu, this was the first time I was able to explore Okhaldhunga. Growing up listening to the song “Mero pyaro Okhaldhunga” penned by Siddhicharan Shrestha and sung by Narayan Gopal it was good to resonate with what the song was saying. Apart from the new houses around the main highway, the old town was beautiful to walk through.

Working for the mountain bike race there were some moments where I got to be in nature and witness the flora and fauna. From seeing a Dark-breasted Rosefinch singing on top of a tree while walking the trail to having Pipits forage around the road clearing near a small forest. The common Black Kites would also soar above occasionally.

The road trip back to Kathmandu also was a delight as I was able to spot Lapwings, Ruddy Shelduck, and a flock of Himalayan Vultures on the banks of the Sunkoshi River. The flowers on the Simal trees were in full bloom as well and Blue-throated Barbets, Spangled Drongo, and Black Drongo could be seen on the branches. I was also able to spot a flock of Vultures on the banks of the Sunkoshi River.

Vultures in Sunkoshi bank

After getting back home when I was editing the photo of the Simal tree, I also noticed that an Irrawaddy Squril was also among the visitors to the tree. One Simal tree is in its full bloom and it sustains a lot of animals.


The drawback of embarking on road trips is witnessing the deterioration of natural surroundings during the implementation of major projects. While journeying through Nepal, particularly in its hilly and mountainous areas, I frequently encounter the construction of new roads.

It has become common practice to dispose of excavated soil on the slopes where the road is being carved out. This results in the destruction of vegetation, with regrowth often requiring an extensive amount of time. Along with this, the problems of soil erosion, habitat destruction, loss of biodiversity, landslides, long-term ecological impact, water contamination, etc are also some of the issues that happen when proper procedure is not followed.   


Another trip in February was down to Charaudi, where the NOLS Wilderness First Responder recertification was happening. As mine expired at the start of February this was a good time to get recertified and learn about the new changes in the world of wilderness first aid. The camp was on the banks of the Trishuli River. The place was filled with calls from different birds and yes the truck horns as the place is alongside the Prithivi Highway.

From early morning to night, the place was filled with calls from Great Barbet, Red Junglefowl, Red-wattled Lapwing, Warblers, Crimson Sunbirds, Red-vented Bulbul, and Spangled Drongo. After the class finished I would head to the sandy and rocky banks of the Trishuli River where in the evening Sand Martins would fly in flocks catching insects mid-flight. White-capped Redstart and Hodgson’s Redstart were seen on the edge of the river perched on top of the rock flying down and searching for insects.


Far in the distance as the darkness started to fall a flock of Egrets could be seen flying upstream to their nesting area. High up a couple of raptor species were seen circling the area. I had a chance to see a couple of Lapwings flying downstream but not nearby on the beach but I guess they would be staying around the area during the night as the calls would be coming from the side where I observed the Redstarts.

The Simal tree near the camp also attracted a lot of birds and I was able to observe Red-vented Bulbul, Spangled Drongo, and Rufous Treepie in it. Around the lawn area of the camp, I could spot Hodgson’s Redstart, Crimson Sunbird, Oriental White-eye, Pipit, and various Warblers flying from one tree to the other. This was my first overnight stay in the camp as previously for the last six or so years it would just be a day trip for a race event. I think it is time to explore the space even more and see what the river system has around it.

Bungamati was the next place to explore and this time it was for a photo walk & workshop organized by Sattya Media Collective co-led by Suraj Ratna Shakya and me. Bungamati has always been my favorite place to be and it was a pleasure showing the area to the participants. We visited the heritage sites and headed down to the fields to see the flora and fauna.

Steppe Eagles soaring above, Black Kites gathering nesting materials, and aerial pursuits between House Crows, along with a Common Stonechat perched on Mustard stalks, and a Zitting Cisticola atop a plant stem, were among the captivating moments we experienced. I realize I had overlooked the presence of the Black-winged Kite during my previous visits, but this time we had the opportunity to observe its flight and hovering abilities as it searched for prey just fifty to sixty meters above the fields.

The month remained captivating as I embarked on an assignment with Himalayan Medics to train Bungy Nepal’s crew in Wilderness First Aid at The Last Resort. This location always holds a special allure for me, as it offers a blend of nature and adventure, allowing me to encounter numerous new bird species with each visit. Early mornings and late evenings provided me with precious moments to explore the property and its surroundings.

The enchanting sunrise over the deep valley, accompanied by the melodious songs of birds, added to the charm of the place. I noticed an increased presence of Blue Whistling Thrushes compared to a few years ago. The Yellow-bellied Fantail, a regular inhabitant of the area, could be seen flitting among the foliage within the resort premises. The blooming Simal trees, typical of Nepal, attracted a diverse array of bird species and mammals. The calls of Woodpeckers and Drongos echoed throughout the day.

Exploring beyond the resort property during hikes was another highlight for me, as it provided ample opportunities to spot a variety of bird species. I observed Mountain Bulbuls perched on tree branches as the sun gradually illuminated the hills, casting dappled light through the foliage. Walking up the trail the cultivation of Wheat in the steep terrain attracted Pipits and Buntings foraging on the ground.

Venturing to one of my favorite spots to observe Fire-breasted Flowerpeckers yielded sightings of numerous other bird species, including Great Barbets, Blue Whistling Thrushes, Black Bulbuls, Black-lored Tit, and Great Tits drawn to the Simal tree. Although I managed to spot some Fire-breasted Flowerpeckers farther down the hill, I also had the opportunity to document a Grey-headed Woodpecker. Additionally, I caught sight of Velvet-fronted Nuthatches and Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babblers, although capturing clear photographs was challenging.

While we were sitting on the trail watching birds, my colleague Niren drew my attention to a creature scaling a tree. To my delight, it turned out to be two Yellow-throated Martens navigating the branches of a Simal tree on the opposite side of the hill. Witnessing their graceful movements amidst the flowering branches was truly a spectacle.

Throughout the hike, I also had the pleasure of observing Grey Treepies and Black-lored Tits among other bird species. As the month drew to a close, I eagerly anticipated the remaining early morning and late evening hikes as I started the month of March in and around the resort.

As the month concluded, the diversity of flora and fauna continued to impress. Below is a compilation of some of the species I had the privilege of encountering and documenting.

Dark-breasted Rosefinch, Spangled Drongo, Black Drongo, Oriental Magpie Robin, Ruddy Shelduck, Hodgson’s Redstart ♂, White-capped Redstart ♂, Sand Martin, Red-vented Bulbul, Rufous Treepie, Oriental White-eye, Crimson Sunbird ♂, Egrets, Oriental Turtle Dove, Eurasian Griffon Vulture, Spotted Dove, Ruddy Shelduck ♂ ♀, Yellow-wattled Lapwing, Steppe Eagle, Black Kite, Common Stonechat ♂ ♀, Zitting Cisticola, Black-winged Kite, White-throated Kingfisher, Great Barbet, Crested Bunting ♀, Blue Whistling Thrush, Mountain Bulbul, Yellow-bellied Fantail, Black-lored Tit, Great Tit, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, Black Bulbul, Grey Treepie, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker ♂, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Grey-headed Woodpecker ♂, etc.

Yellow-throated Marten.

Utis (Alnus nepalensis), Simal (Bombax ceiba), Sal (Shorea robusta), Lantana Camara, Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus), Bamboo, Sugarcane (Saccharum  officinarum), Ferns, etc.

Ajay Narsingh Rana