With a forecast saying no rain in the morning we planned a trip to Nagdaha. Waking up the sky seemed cloudy but I thought it would pass like the days before. From drizzle around central Kathmandu to the heavens opening up when reaching Nagdaha, the plan of exploring the shores of the lake seemed to wash away. Despite the setback, Prakash dai spotted the Pheasant-tailed Jacana foraging on the leaves of the Lily floating on the lake.
Nagdaha Lake has changed. My first trip to this place was back around 2002-2003 when there wasn’t any construction around the boundary of the lake. The grassy surface sloped into the lake and the habitat disturbance was minimal. Fast forward to 2022 I got to see how development has impacted the habitat. The Nepali norm now of having to build an embankment around the perimeter of any lake and making a walking path is a sad sight to see.
The water-related habitat would be better off if we just put the walkway if need be on just a small section of the lake. Human movement and other disturbance in and around the lake has now been one of the problems that have also led to the decline of the water birds.
A local on his morning visit to the temple stopped by at our location curious about what Umang dai, Prakash dai, and I were photographing. After explaining to him about the bird, he told us how the water birds were in decline over the years in Nagdaha. This isn’t new as the remaining natural water bodies in and around Kathmandu have similar stories about the fluctuation.
The rain didn’t seem to stop and impacted the visibility as I tried to document the Pheasant-tailed Jacana. Nevertheless, I got some documentation shots of the bird from the distance. As we watched the bird it flew away north to most probably another smaller water body 500m from Nagdaha.
Barn Swallows were flying around trying to catch as many insects that were flying over the lake. The quick erratic flight with tight turns and dives was quite interesting to see. While the birds were busy swooping and skimming around the lake two White-throated kingfishers perched up in the lamp post nearby. A Common Kingfisher later sat on the railing constructed on the perimeter of the lake and flew away as people were commuting for work.
The rain continued for a couple of hours so with a plan to come back in the future we headed back home.
Backyard nature spotting was what July mostly consisted of. The diversity in insects still amazes me after all these years as I see new ones frequently. I spotted an Ensign Wasps a couple of times in and around the house. These are one of the parasitoid wasps that I have spotted in the backyard that lay eggs on or in other insects. Ensign Wasps are generally known to prefer cockroaches to lay their eggs.
Parasitoid wasps along with ladybird beetles, spiders, and many other insects are beneficial in agriculture as they are natural pest controllers. The use of pesticides eradicates these species along with the species of insects that are predating on the agricultural produces. The loss of habitat can be seen in areas where there is heavy use of pesticides.
It was the season of caterpillars as well and I could see a lot of different verities of which some might turn into butterflies and most of them into moths. While busy photographing a caterpillar a Grass Demon Butterfly landed just a leaf away. The dilemma. I finally managed to take some documentation shots of the butterfly before it flew away.
Some Oriental Magpie Robins were busy finding food for their chicks. Caterpillars were one of the primary diets as I could spot them carrying their prey and flying towards the nest.
Spotting a Spiny orb-weaver Spider was exciting as well as this one was just 4-5mm in size and a new discovery for me in the backyard. Seeing the diversity of spiders in an urban area is interesting. I could spot the prey caught in its web as well. Another pest controller in action.
The harmony that nature creates between the predator and prey is fascinating to observe. More than a decade of documenting wildlife through macro photography and yet there is so much to understand. Learning never stops.
Below are some of the species of flora and fauna that I was able to spot in July.
Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Common Myna, Oriental-Magpie Robin, Spotted Dove, Red-vented Bulbul, Common Tailorbird, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Black Drongo, Barn Swallow, Common Kingfisher, Long-tailed Shirke, White-throated Kingfisher, Cattle Egret, etc.
Ensign Wasps (Evaniidae sp.), Caterpillars, Grass Demon Butterfly, Spiny orb-weaver Spider, Weevil Beetle, Jumping Spiders, Scarab beetles (most probably Popillia japonica), Hoverflies, etc.
Mile-A-Minute Weed, Lantana Camara, Bamboo, etc.