Birding in Nepal (III) : Chitwan National Park

Birding in Nepal (III) : Chitwan National Park

When:  November 2017                       Weather:  Cool  18-30C

Nikon P900 and LEica M240/35mm Summilux

 

After 4 days in Lumbini at the eye camp, we took a couple of days off and travelled by road from Lumbini to Tiger Tops Tharu (TTT) Resort in the buffer zone of the Chitwan National Park(CNP).  Now I’ve been on many road trips before but few were as unpleasant as this particular one…a distance of only 100km or so took 4 hours mainly due to the narrow mountain road at which any minor accident or breakdown meant a long wait to clear it…add to that dusty roads in a non-airconditioned vehicle and an inexperienced driver…..it was such a relief to finally get to the comfort of the TTT resort…

Having only a day and a half, we planned our visit carefully….early the next morning, we joined a jeep safari in the national park itself in the morning.  To get to CNP itself from the buffer zone, we had to drive to the river, then take a slow paddle across before boarding another jeep for the safari where we were to hunt rhino, tiger and leopard….but knowing our luck on animal safaris, I would have been satisfied with just one of these three….and of course a bird or three…

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this was the canoe in which eight of us made the crossing to CNP….on a misty cold morning

 

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Once on the other side, our journey started in an open topped jeep

 

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Not long after, our guide quietened us down and pointed to this huge rhino hiding behind the trees….

 

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there were quite a lot of crocodiles as welll..

 

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and here a distant glimpse of a rhino in water with its typical mickey mouse ears prominent…

 

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red whiskered bulbuls were everywhere

 

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and the first interesting bird of the morning was a distant view of the yellow naped woodpecker

 

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and in a flurry of activity, this large wood shrike picked up a pretty moth for breakfast

 

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scarlet minivet

 

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long tailed shrike

 

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black faced langurs were common

 

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and across the river a pair of spotted deer observed us suspiciously

 

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but in the middle of the river were a few black birds…

 

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They were endangered black storks

 

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and then like a missile this ruddy sheldrake homed in on us…

 

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ruudy sheldrakes

 

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a magnificent grey headed fish eagle

 

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lineated barbet

 

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and then through the foliage, we glimpsed this huge Greater Hornbill which flew away briskly before I coudl shoot him properly…

 

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and just before we headed back for lunch, the star bird of the morning appeared…..

 

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turning its back on us, we can see the red coloured thighs which give the red thighed falconet its name…also called the collared falconet

 

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contrast the red thighed falconet with this, the black thighed falconet we see more commonly in Borneo and Malaysia

 

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It too swooped down and picked a bug off the ground…

 

So a morning’s safari yielded a couple of rhinos, deer, crocodiles and a few interesting birds…not a bad morning but it’s hard birding when you’re in a noisy smelly jeep …

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