Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Bush Birdwatching!

Today is Tuesday and because the government of Nepal just declared 1 November Chhath Parva festival, a non-working holiday, we got to go birding with the Kailash students. Always a pleasant surprise to have a holiday spring up at the last minute! Today also saw some Tibetan protesting and police action here in Kathmandu. Check out the VOA or Washington Post articles for Nov. 1, 2011 for more information. It is peaceful here in our Tibetan neighborhood; at least for now.

Our leader today was Dolker who was reluctant at first, but took
charge and led us up the big hill into the brushy Shivapuri National Park edge. The national park is just a 1-2 km. walk from the hostel, so it made sense to check it out. We found our way through the village where the students talked their friendly way into a hat full of guavas from one of the neighbors' trees! Yum! There were lots of tiny goats and chicks and spiders to entertain and hold our
interest and even some cool birds!

The brushy hill was challenging for bird watching as we couldn't see very far beyond our line of bodies on the trail. Also, it was a really warm and hazy day. We did get to a clearing where we sat and watched and listened while eating delicious packs of Nepali cookies and snacks.

While we perched there high above the drying rice grass and potato planting in
the fields below, we finally saw some birds. Sarah guided the students through what to look for when
identifying birds of prey and together with the kids, identified three new raptors for the group! We got to watch a Common Kestrel and the Common Buzzard (neither of which is very common) kiting - hovering in place while hunting! It was really exciting for the group to see.

On the way down, our leader had to do some serious route-finding
and really took command while listening to everyone's ideas. Not an easy task down through the leafy cover and then into a steep ravine. She did a great job.

This was another fabulous day together for the Kailash Hostel Bird Watching Club and friends. There were lots of lessons learned about birds, about each other and about life. We all agreed that this walk would probably not be appropriate for someone in high heels! Most of the kids were wearing flip-flops however!

We finished at the hostel where a delicious dal baht lunch was waiting for us! Yum!

Today's Group List:

Oriental Magpie Robin
Pied Bushchat
White-Breasted Kingfisher
Oriental Turtle Dove
Red-vented Bulbul
Red-rumped Swallow
Intermediate Egret
Rock Pigeon
European Tree Sparrow
Barn Swallow
Black Kite
White Wagtail
House Sparrow
Common Myna
House Crow
Large-billed Crow
Nutmeg Mannikin
Long-tailed Shrike
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Steppe Eagle
Common Buzzard
Common Kestrel

These are birds that were seen on our walk today!

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