With little travel within the Kathmandu Valley and no visits beyond, it was a month spent listening to and watching birds and insects around my house. If you look hard enough, the urban landscape can give some interesting sightings.

Waking up to the sounds of the Oriental Magpie Robin has become the usual. The various songs it sings bring in the melody that makes it easier to start the day. The Blue-throated Barbet is also a regular outside the house. It can sing for a while while perched high above in the tree or the bamboo.

Blue-throated Barbet on a pear tree

Evenings were not much different from the morning euphony of birds singing. It was also enjoyable to sit on the balcony and watch birds return to their nest. Rose-ringed Parakeets, Common Maynas, and House Crows were frequently seen flying by the house on their way to their nests.

The Chestnut-tailed Starlings would flock to the pear tree and relish the fruit together. Previously, the Rose-ringed Parakeets would also frequent the area, but this year, their visits were reduced due to a pair of house crows building a nest nearby and becoming quite territorial, possibly scaring off other birds.

From time to time, I catch glimpses and hear the Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler as it sings and hops between trees. One evening, I attempted to capture its photo, but it mischievously hid in the bushes, proving to be quite elusive. The Common Tailorbirds are also very common here. I see and hear them almost every day.

One of the unusual interactions this time was with a Brahminy blind snake when my mother called me down to show me a fascinating worm that was crawling in the corner of a perimeter wall. I wasn’t able to capture a proper shot because it was trying to get away from the blazing sun, but I did get some documentation shots. From above, it resembled an earthworm, and up close, I could see its mouth open and its small tongue flicking out.

Brahminy blind snake

Observing the small world was also part of the activity I was interested in. The monsoon season brings a flurry of activity in the insect world, and viewing them up close is just as fascinating as watching birds and mammals. The only catch is that the mosquitos will be a nuisance. I was able to spot some Calomela genus Beetles, and one beetle with an interesting antenna, Bumble bees, Aphids, Lynx spiders, and Snails.

Snail and a leaf hopper

Another area I was able to explore was a location near Godavari where every year as an instructor for Himalayan Medics we teach basic first aid and team-building sessions for college students from Little Angles. I enjoy touring the grounds during my lunch break.

This year I saw two Red-billed blue magpies exceptionally busy and making rounds around the area. I noticed that they were flying to one specific tree. At the top branch of the pine tree were two juvenile Red-billed blue magpies who in my opinion were finally out of the nest and learning to fly. 

During this year’s observations, I had the pleasure of witnessing two adult Red-billed blue magpies continuously flying in and out of a particular tree. Upon closer examination, I spotted two juvenile Red-billed blue magpies perched on the top branch of the pine tree. To me, it seemed evident that they had ventured out of the nest and were in the process of learning to fly.

As I walked around the yard, I noticed various Damselflies flying among the greenery. Some Jesabel butterflies were flying in the distance, and mosquitos were prevalent, as they are everywhere during the rainy season. I also managed to capture some Wild turmeric in full bloom. The pink flowers did draw attention to the garden. I also noticed some yellow orchids and a Polka dot plant growing in the vicinity.

Yellow orchid in Godavari

Even with only a few travels in June, I was able to witness various plant and fauna species. Nature is all around us; all we have to do is pay attention.

Some of the species I was able to photograph are listed below.

Red-billed Blue Magpie (♂ ♀), Chestnut-tailed Starling (♂ ♀), Blue-throated Barbet, Red-billed blue magpie (♂ ♀), Common Tailorbird, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, Oriental Magpie Robin,  etc.

Black-tailed Marsh Dart (Ceriagrion fallax cerinomelas), White-legged Damselfly (Calicnemia pulverans), Calomela genus Beetles, Bumble bees, Aphids, Lynx spiders, Snails.

Brahminy blind snake, Garden Lizard.

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Ajay Narsingh Rana