Sunday, October 23, 2011

First Saturday Bird Walk

The first 2011Saturday walk with the Kailash Hostel Bird-Watching Club was a great success! We have been looking forward to being out walking with these students for such a long time that it seemed like a dream when we were standing together.

We were 23 people greeting the day with binoculars around our necks and bird books in our hands. Besides Paul and Karen and 16 students, Menuka from Bird Conservation Nepal joined us with her friend Tuija from Finland and our friend Dr. Marcella Kelly from Virginia Tech, who is here working on the Nepal Tiger Genome Project! The students were excited about the birds and the interesting guests.

We hadn’t even walked for 5 minutes from the hostel when we had already seen 11 species of birds, including almost everyone’s favorite, the White-throated Kingfisher! We had to force ourselves to walk so that we could make it to the forest through the fields of rice being harvested.

As we walked, the students had so many questions for all of their guests. They got to ask Marcella about her own education and her job doing research in field biology, and Tuija about her forestry work here in Nepal. Walking with Karen and Paul was like connecting with old friends as memories were shared from past bird trips. The students loved asking questions about every subject from birds and our lives this past year, our daughters’ lives, world politics and environmental issues. It was very exciting for them to connect with our new friend Menuka. She is the education director from Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN). We too are excited for the students to have met her and to see that they really bonded with her on this outing. The best gift that Menuka brought was her promise to help them in the future with their birding pursuits. She also brought posters, brochures and the Nepali edition of the Birds of Nepal book as gifts for the students! They feel so honored by all this attention!

We were very impressed with the number of birds that the students could identify and of course with their passion for the study of birds. Pens were busy recording every species we saw as a group and there was much discussion about the birds that were difficult to identify. There were flowers, butterflies, berries and even frogs and tiny fish to enjoy.

One of the highlights for all on this warm day was kicking off our shoes and crossing the chilly Baghmati river! There might have been some rock skipping and throwing too! Lots of laughs and some hearty riparian birds such as wagtails too! We ended with a circle and shared our day’s highlights (what else would we do?), and melted at the sweetness of this experience. We are feeling so privileged and grateful to be part of this group. Looking forward to next Saturday!

Today's Group List:

House Sparrow 23
Rock Pigeon 11
House Crow 4
Barn Swallow 19
White-throated Kingfisher 1
Oriental Turtle Dove 1
Pied Bushchat 4
Common Stonechat 7
Oriental Magpie Robin 2
Intermediate Egret 22
Long-tailed Shrike 3
Indian Pond Heron 2
Yellow Wagtail 1
White Wagtail 4
Black Kite 9
Wooly-necked Stork 1
Common Myna 8
Red-whiskered Bulbul 3
Black Drongo 2
Ashy Drongo 1

It was impressive how the students had passion and energy through this whole long morning of bird watching in the hot sun! We can hardly believe how much they have remembered since last year and have learned since then!

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