Bird Watching in Nepal
For a country that boasts of 847-recorded species of birds, precious little has been done in the way of promoting Bird watching. Most government officials probably have not even heard of this past time. With the exception of agencies that actually conduct bird-watching tours, tours they organize.An agency does not necessarily handle all the different tours it advertises. Those are passed on the specialized agencies. So why not bird watching. Ardent bird watchers travel the length and breathe of Nepal doing nothing but bird watching. From down to dusk, these fanatical tourists do nothing but peer through binoculars and telescopes. Even meals and interrupted if a special bird makes a sudden appearance outside. Half-eaten dishes have to wait as they excitedly rush out to gaze at the intruder. These tourists will go anywhere; do anything to catch a glimpse of rare species of birds.
Bird Watching Tour in Koshi Tappu National Park
Koshi Tappu wild life reserve 400 species of birds which includes two species ofbird never before seem in Nepal- the spotted wren babbler and the olive ground warbler. Royal Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve offers over 200 species of birds. Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve offers 280 species of birds which include 20 species of ducks, 2 species of ibises, many storks, egrets, herons and the endangered swamp patriadge and Bengal florican. Shivapuri situated at an altitude of 2563m north of Kathmandu is second highest hill around Kathmandu valley. Baghdwar, Shivapuri locates near source of holy river Bagmati. After breakfast at the hotel, we drive for about 20 minutes to Budhanikantha Temple, 8 kms north of Kathmandu. From Budhanilkantha we walk through Shivapuri conservation area. This is the Government protected forest where over 500 species are found. We start our hike from the southern boundary of the area where the army check post is located. Nagi Gumpa situated at an altitude of 2330 m north of Kathmandu and above Budhanilkantha Temple is only Monastery for the Nuns practice Buddhism and foreigners often come there for meditation. It is a steep uphill hike through narrow and dusty trail for about half an hour and two hours gradual uphill trial to Shivapuri. After lunch and strolling around from sometime , we take a short cut down hill trail to Kopan for about two hours and drive back to Kathmandu.
Bird Watching in Phulchowki
After a very early breakfast we depart for Phulchowki 18km Southeast of Kathmandu. Phulchowki at 2760m is the highest of the mountains encircling the Kathmandu valley and provides an ideal introduction to the birds of Nepal. Regularly recorded resident species include Besra, Black Eagle, Mountain Hawk-Eagle, Kalij Pheasant, Common Hill Partridge, Ashy Woodpigeon, Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, Mountain Scops Owl, Collared Owlet, Golden-throated Barbet, Speckled Piculet, Crimson-breasted Pied and Rufous-bellied Pied Woodpeckers, Grey-chinned Minivet, Striated Bulbul, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Spotted Forktail, Chestnut-headed and grey-bellied Tesias, Chestnut-crowned and black faced Warblers, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Lesser Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler, Streak-breasted Scimitar-Babbler, Grey-throated and Spiny Babblers, White-crested, striated, Rufous-chinned and grey-sided Laughing thrushes, Red-billed Leiothrix, Cuttia, White-browed Green and Black-eared Shrike-Babblers, Hoary Barwing, Blue-winged Minla, Nepal Fulvetta, Yellow-browed Tit, Brown-throated Treecreeper, Black-throated Sunbird, Maroon Oriole, Eurasian and Lancelated Jays, Red-billed Blue Magpie and Brown Bullfinch. A further 55 species have been known to visit the area as migratory or occasional visitors. Phulchowki’s forests are also very rich in flora and butterflies. Mammals include Leopard, Yellow-throated Marten and Orange-bellied Squirrel. After this fine introduction to Nepali Birds, we will return to our hotel in Kathmand
Bird Watching in Annapurna Conservation Area
To set the scene a little, the Annapurna region is a Conservation Area is the largest and most protected region in the World (ACA), covering around 2600sq km towards the North-central region of Nepal. The Kali Gandaki river runs North to South through this region, through the world's deepest gorge, some 6000m below the high Annapurna and Dhaulagiri massifs, seven of these peaks are over 7000m, the highest (Annapurna I) at 8091m.
A few facts and figures above, but as you can imagine, the ACA supports a remarkable but delicate biodiversity, with 441 recorded species of birds (so far), including the only endemic species of Nepal, the spiny babbler (Turdoides Nepalensis). The bird habitat ranges from the sub-tropical lowlands towards Pokhara in the south of ACA to dry sub-alpine conditions above the tree-line towards the North.
The Kali Gandaki valley is also a major migration pathway in the autumn, when 40 species, including demoiselle cranes (Anthropoides Virgo), can be seen around Jomsom and Tukche. Happily this coincides with one of the two trekking seasons (Spring and Autumn).
Migrating West about this time further South around Kaare and Dhampus are about 20 identified species of eagle and other birds of prey. The most commonly observed are:lammergeier gypaetus barbatus (Bearded Vulture), known as the giddha in Nepal, it frequently occurs at 4100m.and the golden eagle Aquila Cryaetos, known as baaj in Nepal.
There are six Himalayan pheasants to be found in ACA: Himalayan The Monal Lophophorus impejanus satyra Tragopan Tragopan satyra (Crimson Horned Pheasant) Blood Pheasant Ithaginis cruentus Koklass Pheasant Pucrasia macrolopha Cheer Pheasant Catreus wallichiiKalij Pheasant Lophura leucomelana, are the most commonly occurring of Nepali pheasants.
Kathmandu has four major bird watching areas, and one can start on the banks of the Bagmati and Manohara rivers. Birds sighted along there rivers are the Egrets, herons, Kingfishers, Ibis bill, Wood Sandpipers and Plovers. The Chovar Gorge is particularly recommended as an area for birds as its isolation from human habitation has encouraged their presence.
In Pokhara, the two well known lakes Phewa Tal and Begnas Tal and the surrounding areas are highly recommended. Of particular interest are the areas with minimum disturbances, away from human inhabitation the forests around the south shore of Phewa lake. Look out in the fields and pools especially in the winter for Egrets, Herons, Pipits, and Buntings etc. other birds are occurring are Gulls, Terns, Ducks, and Falcons etc.
Begnas Tal is 15Km away from Pokhara and it easily reached by taxi or bicycle. Accommodations are available here too. Terraced hills and light forests surround the lake. One should spend time on the slopes and wet fields. Birds sighted here are Ducks, pheasant-tailed jacana; Hoppie Grey bellied Tesias, common pintail snipe, bulbuls etc. Pokhara lakeside is basically a tourist town, which caters to all the needs f visitors. From cheap lodges to very expensive star hotels are available in and around Pokhara. Lakeside is full of restaurants of all kinds. Pokhara can be reached by air or by road. Bird watching is best in October and April.