The Wilderness First Aid training for the Bungy Nepal crew at the Last Resort continued for the first couple of days of March. The early morning and evening walks, similar to those at the end of February, also continued.

As the golden sun rays hit the trail during the walks around the village behind the resort, the songs of the birds grew louder. Red-billed Blue Magpie, Crimson Sunbird, Great Tit, Black-lored Tit, and Himalayan Bulbul, were all out and about, some perched on bamboo posts or on the trees nearby. Blue-throated Barbets could be heard in the distance as well. Before heading to the resort for breakfast, I noticed a couple of woodpeckers on a Simal tree.

The Greater Yellownape Woodpeckers were flying from one branch to another in search of insects. While that was happening, I also noticed a Grey-headed Woodpecker further up. I am amazed at the diversity of birds I have been able to spot in this region, although I have been coming to the Last Resort many times before.

The wilderness first aid course was over by midday, so a couple of the staff and I planned an evening hike up the trail behind the resort. Walking slowly up the stairs, I tried to spot some birds and their calls amidst the music playing at a wedding further down near the highway. As the evening sun produced a golden hue, I could spot some Great Barbets on a Simal tree along the trail. Apart from this, there weren’t any noticeable encounters until we started heading down. I noticed a pheasant-sized bird slowly heading towards the thicket. Reviewing the fuzzy photo I was able to take in a low-light situation, I found out that it was a female Black Francolin.

The next morning, near my tent, I heard sounds of trees rustling and things landing on the corrugated sheet roof that covered the safari tent. I thought they were troops of Rhesus macaques that hang around the area most of the time but later saw that they were Terai Grey Langurs passing by. Not having a camera around was painful at the moment, but observing their behavior was interesting.

After some early morning encounters, I decided to head towards the trail that leads to the river one last time before my vehicle was ready to take me back to Kathmandu in a couple of hours. This decision paid off as I was able to document another couple of species of birds both near the Bhote Koshi river bank and also up on the trail. I was able to document Little Forktail, Plumbeous Water Redstart, and White-capped Redstart but missed the shots of a Brown Dipper as it flew past me towards its nest near a cliff at the edge of the river further down.

On the way back, things also got interesting as I was able to spot and document birds like Jungle Owlet, Black Bulbul, Scarlet Minivet, and Nepal House Martin. As I waited for my vehicle to be ready, I started wondering about the range of birds I was able to spot and began planning my next trip back. This time, it will solely be for birds and documenting nature.

Phulchowki was the next destination with Prakash dai for birding and, as always, the range of birds I was able to spot was good, even though it was lower than expected. We stayed near a small pond as it would be a good place for birds to hang around. The turnout was low, but we did manage to spot Rufous-Gorgeted Flycatcher, Rufous Sibia, White-browed Fulvetta, White-throated Fantail, Green-tailed Sunbird, and Warblers.

Heading down to Godawari, we were able to spot and document the Eurasian Jay, Common Hawk Cuckoo, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, Little Pied Flycatcher, and Spotted Forktail. The flora and fauna diversity in Phulchowki and Godawari is abundant, and the need to designate it as a conservation area is paramount.


March also provided an opportunity to lead a team of first responders to Phaplu for the annual mountain bike race called Enduro Ratnanage. The previous edition (2023) was held in May, and this time I was interested in observing the transition from spring to summer and the flora and fauna it would bring.

Having traveled the same highway to Okhaldhunga, I was looking forward to spotting birds along the Sunkoshi River. As expected, I could observe at least 12 pairs of Ruddy Shelduck, a couple of cormorants, and one duck near a pair of Ruddy Shelduck that I couldn’t identify. It was a transition between spring and summer; rhododendrons and other flowers were blooming, but most of the terrain had dry grasses.

Staying in Garikhasa and moving around Ratnange Hill, working as a responder also allowed me to observe the surrounding flora and fauna. I have always been in love with the forest on Ratnange Hills. The forest feels like an old-growth forest with large tall coniferous species of trees such as pines and firs, seemingly touching the sky, and fallen dead wood covered in moss. Rhododendrons could also be seen blooming in the lower regions of Phaplu, while those in the forests of Ratnange were yet to bloom. The songs of warblers, fulvettas, Rufous Sibia, and other birds also filled the area.

Early in the mornings, I could see a pair of Kalij searching for food near farmland. The calls from pied bushchats, pipits, and crows while perched on top of a pine tree also resonated in the atmosphere. One of my friends showed me a photo of what seemed like a Leopard Cat, raising my hopes of encountering one while walking the trail, but I wasn’t lucky this time around.

The vegetation in the meadows, though dry, was slowly being dotted with primula flowers and inside the forest, the flowers from Himalayan Daphne were in full bloom. There was a stark difference between how it was back in May 2023, when the forest and meadows were alive with vegetation due to the rain, and now in March, when it will be receiving rain.      

There is so much to learn and see when exploring a region in different seasons. For me, Phaplu is a place I would like to visit in all seasons, as words are not enough to describe the beauty and biodiversity it holds throughout the year. My next goal is to travel to this place during the monsoon.

It has been quite an interesting month. There were many sightings and extensive documentation of the flora and fauna. Below is a summary of what I was able to see in March.

Pipit, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Crimson Sunbird ♂, Great Tit, Black-lored Tit, Himalayan Bulbul, Blue-throated Barbet, Grey-headed Woodpecker ♀, Greater Yellownape Woodpecker ♂, Ashy-throated Warbler, Common Stonechat ♀, Great Barbet, Black Francolin ♀, Grey Treepie, Little Forktail, Plumbeous Water Redstart ♂ ♀, White-capped Redstart, Brown Dipper, Jungle Owlet, Black Bulbul, Scarlet Minivet ♂ ♀, Nepal House Martin, Rufous Sibia, White-browed Fulvetta, White-throated Fantail, Green-tailed Sunbird ♂, Slaty-backed Flycatcher, Rufous-Gorgeted Flycatcher, Eurasian Jay, Common Hawk Cuckoo, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, Little Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Forktail, Ruddy Shelduck, Kalij ♂ ♀,  etc.  

Rhesus macaque and Terai Grey Langur.

Rhododendrons, Primula, Utis (Alnus nepalensis), Simal (Bombax ceiba), Pine, Fir,Sal (Shorea robusta), Lantana Camara, Ferns, Icy Himalayan Daphne (Daphne bholua),etc.

Ajay Narsingh Rana