Reminiscencing and writing about the moments from previous months are nostalgic and What I saw – June 2020 is not different.
The dance of the monsoon clouds, the continuous downpour in the first half of the month, and the beautiful green hues resonating throughout the landscape washed clean by the monsoon rain.
Nature looked pristine as the monsoon brought in the much-needed relief to the summer heat. Monsoon does bring out the joy and celebrations but also has created a trend. A trend over the years of disasters both man-made and natural that have affected living beings in every way.
Although the lockdown was opened with rules and regulations and people were seen going back to their normal life. I wasn’t keen on traveling as the infection rate was climbing and the government didn’t seem proactive. The lackluster state of controlling the pandemic had me stay at home most of the time. This meant I was back in the garden looking at the small world. The rain had made it hard to document the species but it was good to explore and sometimes be able to document them.
This month I also experimented with taking black and white images to see how nature up close would look like. I have always been intrigued by the patterns in nature but the photos I take have been in color. I found that this black and white photo experiment should be done more often as a challenge for myself.
I went for a ride on the southern side of Kathmandu. I couldn’t help but notice birds singing around while I ride up the hill breathing heavily because of the limited riding I had been doing since the lockdown. White-throated Kingfisher staring at the stream below, Black-lored Tits doing their whistling calls as they fly from a treetop to the other, Cicadas singing, the call of a Blue-throated Barbet far in the distance, and the patches of soil being dug up by wild boars, the jungle was lively.
As the single track pointed downwards following the ridgeline towards the forest, the overgrown shrubs obscured the view of the trail. Carefully judging the overgrown trail and riding down the green vista I couldn’t help but notice the massive amount of leeches of various sizes ready to climb on the bike and the legs.
Focusing on macro subjects have made me notice these small critters more clearly, even when I’m riding. It has gone to the point where sometimes I have to force myself to focus on the trail and not the critters. Leaving the leech-infested trails was a relief but not until clearing out a couple of them stuck on the leg. The wound slowly clots but the itch stays.
As the month passed the only birding I went was to Shivapuri but as the monsoon clouds were looming up in the sky the limited light wasn’t much of a help. Even though the conditions were not favorable the sightings were okay. The silence in the forest was broken with a loud chatter by a group of White-crested Laughingthrush as they navigate through the canopy.
While I watch them in silence and review the documented shots my ear picks up the scratching on the ground behind me. As I slowly turn, I could see three female and one male Kalij Pheasant foraging four meters from where I was standing. The sudden movement would make them run away so I remained quiet while I hold my camera tight and watch them slowly move towards a thicket. On the way back a couple of Great Barbet is seen perching on the pine tree.
Although it was a month of limited movement the species diversity I was able to observe is encouraging. Below are species that I was able to see or be able to document.
Birds: White-crested Laughingthrush, Great Barbet, White-throated Kingfisher, Spotted Dove, Black kite, Blue whistling thrush, Black Drongo, Cattle Egret, Kalij Pheasant, Blue-throated Barbet, Long-tailed Shrike, Black-lored Tit.
Insects: Black soldier fly, Ant-mimic Spider, Sweat bees, Jumping spiders, Robber Flies, Blue-banded Bee, Honey Bee, Bumble Bee, various species of Moths, Orb-weaving Spiders, various species of Caterpillars, Leaf weevils.
Fungai: Bird’s nest fungi (Nidulariaceae)
I would love to hear from you and also see what you were able to observe or document. If you like to share your sightings, please do send it via Facebook, Instagram, or email and I will compile it into the segment “What you saw”.
As we head towards a new month we should make a point of still following the safety measures in regards to the virus. Please do follow your government’s stated rules to stay safe.
Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or clean them with alcohol-based hand rub. Maintain at least one-meter distance between you and other people. Avoid touching your face. Practice physical distancing by avoiding unnecessary travel, and staying away from large groups of people.
Wishing you all a very productive month ahead.
Ajay Narsingh Rana