It appears that the monsoon season has commenced, and venturing beyond the valley requires awareness of the road conditions. This month’s focus was on discovering a previously unexplored area of Chitwan. I hadn’t ventured beyond Meghauli’s Radha Krishna Community forest before.

The landslide obstructing the Naraynghat-Mugling road had been resolved, allowing us to reach our destination earlier than anticipated. Before arriving at the hotel, Prakash Dai and I decided to observe the bird activity around the farmlands near Meghauli. Since there were only a few bird sightings at that particular time of day, we made plans to return early the next morning.

The anticipated heat and humidity during this season led us to rest at the hotel until late afternoon. We spent our time watching weavers collect grass blades to repair their nests. With the temperature dropping slightly around late afternoon, we ventured into the community forest bordering the hotel. After a 300-meter walk through a mixed forest of Sal, Teak, and other trees, followed by another 200 meters through a grassland, we reached the East Rapti River’s banks.


On the opposite side of the river lay Chitwan National Park. As we strolled along the riverbanks, we noticed a couple of One-horned Rhinoceros far apart, resting in the shallow waters, their heads protruding above the surface. While walking along the sandbank formed by the river, a local accompanying us pointed out a crocodile’s nest. Though the eggs had already hatched, we could see the eggshells and the nest they were in. On our way back, we encountered another Rhino and a herd of Spotted Deer. Surprisingly, this community forest exhibited more activity than I initially anticipated, as we even came across significant tiger footprints while following the trail.    

On the following morning, with clear skies and no rain, we set off for the farmlands near Meghauli. Vast stretches of farmland extended towards the Narayani River, interspersed with large man-made ponds for fish farming. While the landscape was gradually being turned into other use like space for crushers and other industries, there remained a positive aspect: the area still served as a prime habitat for various bird and insect species. While Rhinos were not a common sight, occasional sightings of them grazing did occur.

Given that it was the middle of the year, there were no winter migratory birds present. Nevertheless, during our three-hour stay, we encountered a diverse array of species. From a female Indian Koel to spotting a Cinnamon Bittern soaring in the distance, the place was magical. Taking refuge under an improvised shelter beside a fish pond, I observed three Golden Jackals as they moved around the farmland.

These curious and hungry creatures ventured down to the water’s edge of the ponds, likely in search of birds. It seemed like a family of jackals, with two of them appearing less mature. A flock of Black-headed Munia birds began to assemble around the pond, foraging, capturing our attention for documentation. The sightings continued to unfold. An Oriental Darter glided and landed in a pond nearby. With its slender neck visible above the water, it engaged in a diving routine, skillfully catching fish from the pond. Another noteworthy encounter was with the Jacobin Cuckoo, busy in catching insects at the pond’s periphery.


I also started focusing my attention on the insects present in the vicinity and began capturing their images. Initially, I started with photographing the Tawny Coster Butterfly, a challenging subject to take a picture of due to the time of the day and its restless nature. Spotting one settled on a leaf proved to be a difficult task. Moving on, I came across the Common Picture-wing Dragonfly, a new sighting for me. Unlike the Tawny Coster Butterfly, this dragonfly remained perched on a leaf, although it required some stretching to capture the shot. As I moved away from the shrub, my attention was drawn to a Jumping Spider preying on its catch.

Upon returning to the hotel, our scheduled tasks were postponed, allowing me to sit on the porch and document the various bird species that frequented the area. Notable sightings included the Indian Golden Oriole, Scaly-breasted Munia, and Baya Weaver, all flying in and out of the property. While observing these birds, I spotted what appeared to be a Green Cuckoo Wasp—another new sighting for me. I quickly documented it before it could fly away, fortunately landing on a window pane, granting me sufficient time. Once I had captured satisfactory pictures, I released the wasp outside. Additionally, I noticed a Sweat Bee trapped on the window, so I freed it as well.

Continuing with the macro mode, I ventured outside and began photographing other insects, including Camponotus sp. Ants, a Common Pierrot Butterfly, Assasin bugs, and Imaon Handmaiden Moth.


The subsequent morning brought forth the raucous calls of a flock of Jungle Babblers, as well as the sight of a Greater Coucal grooming itself near the barbwire fence. The day unfolded with work obligations in town, and the evening was spent in Golaghat, where the merging of the Narayani River and the Rapti River could be witnessed. Fishermen cast their nets in the Narayani, while a Mugger crocodile floated downstream in the Rapti.


On the fourth day of my Chitwan journey, I returned to the farmlands near Meghauli. The sky was overcast, and rain began after an hour. With limited opportunities for documenting animals, I turned my attention to practicing capturing images of birds in flight. For the next couple of hours, I managed to spot and photograph various birds mid-flight, including the Little Cormorant, Yellow Bittern, Indian Pond Heron, Pied Kingfisher, and Purple Heron. It proved to be a satisfying day of observing birds in their airborne moments.

The Golden Jackals were on their usual rounds around the farmland. As the rain subsided, Plain Martins reappeared, engrossed in capturing insects mid-flight. It was an unusual occurrence that the leeches remained concealed, a fact I welcomed. As we were on our way back to the hotel, the recent rainfall had drawn people to engage in rice plantation activities. In the distance, we could spot a couple of Red-naped Ibis diligently foraging around a farm, while Red-wattled Lapwings were resting.

This journey to Chitwan provided me with a multitude of unique experiences, each offering a different perspective. I look forward to returning to this place during the autumn and winter seasons, eagerly anticipating the sighting of migratory birds.

 Below are some of the species of flora and fauna that I was able to spot in July.

Plain Martin, Indian Pond Heron, Pied Kingfisher, Asian Openbill, Spotted Dove, White-breasted Waterhen, Yellow Bittern, Asian Koel (♀ ), Common Kingfisher, Purple Heron, Brown Crake, Little Cormorant, Cinnamon Bittern, Black-breasted Weaver (), Black-headed Munia (), Darter, Pied Bushchat (), Jacobin Cuckoo (ad), Long-tailed Shrike (ad), Greater Coucal (ad), Scaly-breasted Munia (ad), Baya Weaver (♂,♀, juv), Black Drongo, Indian Golden Oriole (), Jungle Babbler, Cattle Egret, Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker (♀ ), Red-wattled Lapwing, Red-naped Ibis, Asian-pied Starling, Indian Peafowl (♂,♀), etc.   

Tawny Coster Butterfly, Common Picture-wing Dragonfly (♀ ), Imaon Handmaiden Moth, Ants (Camponotus sp.), Common Pierrot Butterfly, etc.

One-horned Rhinoceros, Golden Jackel, Spotted Deer.

Mugger Crocodile.

Giant African Land Snail {Lissachatina fulica (Bowdich)}.

Trewia nudiflora, Sal tree, etc.

Thank you for following the blog.
Ajay Narsingh Rana

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