10 days in Nepal: (4) The Rapti River & my hunt for the Ibisbill

 

 

When:  December 2014                     Temp 10-20C

Leica M240 35mmSummilux.  Sony A55.  70-400mm

 

Arriving in Hetauda after our loooong journey over the mountains, we checked into the Avocado/Orchid Resort just a 10 minute walk outside Hetauda town centre.  The wifi even worked here!  Always researching the places I go to, I discovered that Hetauda has a river called the Rapti river running through it and extending all the way to Chitwan National Park.  More interesting was the fact that the shingle beds of the Rapti river at this location is where one of the most unique birds in bird watching migrates to in the winter, the Ibisbill…what serendipity that we were staying in a hotel just a 10-15 minute walk away from birding nirvana!

The first evening we arrived, we set off for the river about 330pm to catch the light before the sun set at 530pm or so.  The path leading to the river is almost directly opposite the road leading to the resort.  Walking through the paddy fields, we soon came to the scenic river….

stream leading to the river Rapti

stream leading to the river Rapti

 

The Rapti River..the shingle beds are the favourite feeding ground for the Ibisbill

The Rapti River..the shingle beds are the favourite feeding ground for the Ibisbill

 

looking towards hetauda

looking towards hetauda

 

So I started my earnest search for the Ibisbill, scanning the calmer patches of water…..but I only saw…

White wagtails wre everywhere

White wagtails were everywhere

 

White wagtail

White wagtail

 

female yellow wagtail

female yellow wagtail

 

pond heron in the paddy field

pond heron in the paddy field

 

white throated kingfisher

white throated kingfisher

 

sunset over the Rapti River

sunset over the Rapti River with a watchful drongo

 

suspension bridge over the Rapti, about 1 km up river

suspension bridge over the Rapti, about 1 km up river

 

So my first outing had drawn a blank…..well, I still had 3 more days to go.  The next morning, I got up at daybreak and headed out in the cold and walked all the way to the suspension bridge on the right of the river as there had been reports the ibisbills were in that area….

 

An eastern stonechat popped up to say good morning

An eastern stonechat popped up to say good morning

 

as did a pied bushchat

as did a pied bushchat

 

a man breaking stones which were then tractored away for construction

a man breaking stones which were then tractored away for construction…the tractors made a terrible noise and undoubtedly disturbed the peace of the area…

 

disused cable car containers previously used to transport the stones

disused cable car containers previously used to transport the stones

 

local girl crossing the suspension bridge

local girl crossing the suspension bridge

 

But again, no luck with the ibisbills..back to the Avocado for breakfast and birding in the garden…

 

Asian Koel with red eye

Asian Koel with red eye

 

female Asian Koel with red eye

female Asian Koel with red eye

 

 

the common red vented bulbul

the common red vented bulbul

 

So on to the next morning when at daybreak we all went for a walk up to and beyond the suspension bridge to climb the hill…another chance to check out the upper reaches of the river…

the suspension bridge as the sun rose

the suspension bridge as the sun rose

 

the shingle beds..

the shingle beds..

 

Local house..

Local house..

 

Scenic walk above the suspension bridge

Scenic walk above the suspension bridge

 

Alas, my third and final walk still did not yield any Ibisbills…nevertheless, the hunt for the bird had been fun and I enjoyed the scenic walks very much.  So I headed off from Hetauda the next morning to Chitwan National Park leaving a few friends behind who were to pick me up the next day.

The story doesn’t end here though…when my friends came to pick me up from Chitwan the next day, they could barely contain their glee….they had seen the elusive Ibisbill on their final morning….such injustice and typical birder’s bad luck….my friends couldn’t even remotely be described as being birders and they had seen the Ibisbill, whilst I, I who had tried so hard had failed miserably..  😦   But such is life and whilst I was jealous, I was happy for my friends that they had seen something so unique!  At least a partially happy ending…

 

 

2 thoughts on “10 days in Nepal: (4) The Rapti River & my hunt for the Ibisbill

  1. How very disappointing😯 Bhutan may well produce an Ibisbill for you or the shingley river close to Almaty in Kazakhstan, if you can finance a further trip! Logging on to Greentours.com could be worth a try &/or Naturetourismbhutan.com

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