Birding in Lumbini, Nepal (I) The Sacred Garden

When:  November 2017        Weather: Cool 17-25C

Nikon P900  Leica M240  35 summilux

Lumbini, a half hour flight away from Kathmandu is where Buddha was born about 600 years BC and pilgrims from the world over visit it.  The actual place of his birth is in the Maya Sari Temple, situated in the Lumbini Temple Complex, a large walled off area in which different monasteries have been built by devotees from the world over; eg the Thai monastery, China monastery, Korean monastery etc etc.

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We stayed at the Buddha Maya Gardens Hotel on the south side of the complex and usually accessed the complex through gate5, a 15 min walk away.  The gardens are beautiful and flowers abound. Setting off each day at dawn, the air was cool and the soft sunrise light warm.

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Monks at the Asoka Pillar with the Maya Devi temple behind

 

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Little Buddha

 

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A flock of ducks was an indicator of the good birding to come…

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The Maya Devi temple houses a stone which marks the actual spot where Buddha was born about 623BC! You have to take your shoes off and walk through the grounds so bring an extra pair of socks!

 

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this is the pond next to the MayaDevi temple where Maya Devi, Buddha’s mum washed herself before giving birth to him.

 

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We were in Lumbini to do a cataract surgery eye camp with doctors from Thailand, Nepal and Singapore….over 600 eyes were operated on over 4 days….

 

Every morning before we started surgery, we’d take a walk to the Sacred Garden which surrounds the Maya Devi temple , distance of about 5-6km roundtrip from our hotel.  The sun rose at 630am bathing everything in its earm early morning glow…..the first couple of mornings we spend doing the touristy things like visiting the temple and recceing the place but the third morning we concentrated on birding for an hour….

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Jungle babblers are common, this seen at the hotel grounds

 

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poor picture of a bronze winged jacana

 

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pied bushchat

 

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moorhen

 

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the avenues in the sacred garden are lined with flowers…which attract birds….

 

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Purple sunbird feeding off the powder puff flowers

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Purple sunbird ‘Eclipse’ morph

 

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female purple sunbird

 

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monkeys kept us company

 

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Purple sunbird

 

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grey wagtail

 

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Rufous Treepie

 

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sunrise over the lake of the Sacred Garden.

 

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Black hooded oriole

 

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female Koel

 

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coucal

 

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Pair of red whiskered bulbuls

 

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and then this guy appeared… the grey hornbill

 

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One of the three species of hornbills found in Nepal, this is the grey hornbill

 

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rose ringed parakeet and drongo

 

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drongo above and brahminy starling below

 

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and the star bird of the sacred garden was this brown headed barbet…just gorgeous

 

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the more commonly seen coppersmith barbet

 

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Pied bushchat female; thanks to Nishant for ID

 

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Siberian stone chat (ID: NIshant)

 

The Lumbini Sacred Garden which surrounds the Maya Devi Temple is a wonderful resource for birding….many of the above birds were seen in just one hour between 7-8am.  If you arrive there early, you could visit the temple first to see the birthplace of Buddha inside the temple and then spend the rest of the visit birding in the area around….highly recommended.

 

 

 

 

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