Spring had arrived and the songs of the birds were getting diverse. The Asian Koel is back singing its Kuooo…Kuooo at the top of its voice. March was a mixed bag with work dominating the calendar. I finally finished organizing the second edition of the Nepal Bicycle Expo for the year 2022 and could manage to pull out a couple of outdoor trips. 

One of those trips was to Hattiban, Pharping for a video shoot. While walking down the trail I managed to spot a Hare crossing the trial. The monoculture forest also showcased Warblers and Black Kites. I did miss out on seeing the Steppe Eagles that would be flying around Bungamati and Hattiban.  

A group hike was organized by Duluwa Outdoors where I was able to share information about the the flora and fauna of the National Park. Shivapuri peak was the destination and the complete hike took us a total of 5 hours 20 minutes. At an elevation of 2732m, this is the second-highest hill in Kathmandu Valley. The walk started with seeing the Blue-whistling Thrush, Oriental White-eye on the trailside. Blue-throated Barbets and the Great Barbet could be heard throughout the lower part of the trail.       

In all honesty, I have to say I hate stairs. I love natural trails both uphill and downhill. Almost 60% of the trail to Shivapuri peak are stairs and the repetitive movement on the concrete surface isn’t forgiving for the ankles and joints.

On the way up I could hear the Warblers sing while the Cicadas were buzzing loudly. The trail was scattered with small wildflowers some of which were less than .5cm wide. Various Hoverflies along with Bees could be seen flying around them.

It was the season when the Rhododendron would be blooming and Shivapuri also showcased its collection. I did manage to document some of the flora including the Rhododendron. Spotting birds was a bit hard while walking on the trail but I did manage to spot a Sunbird and a Babbler for a brief moment before they flew away.

Shivapuri Peak is one of those idle places for an endurance hike. It is always good to see people out on the trail enjoying nature. This hike also highlighted the minimal understanding of trail etiquette by a lot of people we met on the trail. This is not just an isolated problem to Shivapuri but a general one that I have seen wherever I go. Behaviors like plucking wildflowers esp. Rhododendrons in this instance, walking in the jungle with music being played loudly, talking and shouting, littering the trail, etc.

While venturing out in nature one should understand that it’s home to a lot of species of plants, insects, birds, mammals, and various other organisms. Any kind of behavior that was mentioned above will be affecting the species living in that area. Normally for a person, the understanding is that he/she is visiting the place just once or, maybe a few times in his/her life so there should be some liberty while enjoying nature and the behavior should be justified. On the contrary, the understanding should be that it might be your brief moment in nature in that area but it is a constant repetition of similar behavior by other people on daily basis on their hikes. This pattern is a big contributor to altering the behavior of the species of flora and fauna that might lead to affecting the food chain. Learn more about the seven principles of Leave no Trace that will help you minimize the impact while venturing outdoors.  

Finally, I got my mountain bike serviced and was able to go on a ride to Ichangu. One of those places nearby that I love to go birding. Lately, this place has changed a lot. For me going around the buffer zone of the Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park seems to be the only solution now as the rapid housing developments have affected the lower areas. As I sit on a secluded spot overlooking the valley below I get to spot various birds that were flying around and also perching on the nearby trees.

Verditer Flycatcher, Spotted Dove, Long-tailed Shrike, Scarlet Minivet, Black Drongo could be seen on the trees nearby. On the ground, I could hear dried leaves moving around as the Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler slowly moved around searching for food.

The busy couple of months and I have already missed documenting a lot of flora and fauna. Hoping April showcases some good moments in nature. Below are some of the flora and fauna I was able to spot or document in March.

Virdeter Flycatcher, Spotted Dove, Long-tailed Shrike, Scarlet Minivet, Great Barbet, Blue-throated Barbet, Black Drongo, Warblers, Black Kites, Blue-whistling Thrush, Tailorbird, Oriental White-eye, Kalij Pheasant, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, Red-vented Bulbul, Himalayan Bulbul, Oriental Magpie Robbin, etc.

Rhododendron arboretum, Chir pine (Pinus roxburghii), Simal trees (Bombax ceiba), Utis tree (Nepalese alder), etc.