Birding in Nepal (II): Lumbini Crane Sanctuary

Birding in Nepal (II): Lumbini Crane Sanctuary

When:  November 2017                     Weather: Cool 18-25C

Nikon P900   Leica M240/35mm summilux

I had read about the Lumbini International Crane Sanctuary before arriving in Lumbini and managed to spend a morning there.  It’s not very well signposted but we found it eventually; it’s in the northern end of the Lumbini Temple Complex right outside the World Peace Pagoda, not far from the Kasai Hotel.   The sanctuary isn’t a fenced off area, it’s just the open land surrounding the World Peace Pagoda.  The sanctuary is reputed to be the place where the Sarus Crane breeds in significant numbers but I wasn’t sure if there would be any there….


The world peace pagoda



The path leading into the sanctuary just outside the gate to the World Peace Pagoda



Walking into the sanctuary, it was quiet to start with…then a pied bushchat appeared on the surrounding wall of the pagdoa.



There is an observation tower just inside the sanctuary which proved quite useful…I climbed up the tower and cast my eyes around… sign of any Sarus cranes at all….



A little cormorant with its breakfast



view from the tower of the wetlands



white wagtail


red vented bulbul




Even the house crow looks quite nice with fruit in beak and bright sunshine!



A pair of rufous treepies flitted about the trees


After an hour and no sign of the Sarus Cranes, I took a walk around the perimeter of the wall of the Peace Pagoda to see if I could find the nesting Cranes but no joy….so I headed back to the watchtower to try my luck again….


Some red wattled lapwings brightened up the morning



white throated kingfisher



and in the distance a magnificent and endangered Woolly necked stork perched



interestingly a crow took exception to the stork and buzzed him….



a big bird flew overhead….



and perched in the distance…a Crested serpent eagle


An open bill stork made an appearance, but still no cranes…



plain prinia



scaly breasted munia


And just as I was about to give up and go back…I saw something in the distance..


at first glance, just a rock like object…



which then stretched out to reveal a miagnificent Sarus Crane, what I had come to seek!



Casting my binoculars around, I saw that there were actually two of them….a couple in all likelihood



striking a characteristic pose



posturing at each other



The magnificent Sarus Cranes of Lumbini


Bird watchers who visit Lumbini to see the birthplace of Buddha will find that Lumbini is a small treasure trove of many Asian birds. This place, the Lumbini Crane Sanctuary  and the Sacred Garden of the Lumbini Temple Complex offered excellent birding in a small location and over a brief period.  Highly recommended!









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