Friday, 20 January 2012

A Good Result

Thursday, 19th January, 2012

So, I finally managed to get out Thursday morning for a bit of birding - and it was certainly very rewarding, with not just birds but a good mammal sighting too. The following photos were taken at Bardia NP last October, not here in Dhangadhi.

Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Bardia NP

I headed out to the usual spot within my local Sal Forest but on the way I came across a fruiting fig and although I didn't stay for long (it's on the main track and quite busy), half a dozen Yellow-footed Green Pigeon were putting away the just-ripe fruit, with White-bellied and Greater Racket-tailed Drongos providing a supporting cast. A couple of minutes later, a couple of Black-naped Oriole flew in giving themselves away with their fluting calls, together with a noisy flock of Jungle Babblers and a number of Rufous Treepies. Deeper within the forest, I decided to follow the edge of 'my' clearing and work my way slowly around, rather than stick at the stream like usual. Covering an area of approximately 300m x 100m, this clearing provides a mixed habitat from grassland, through secondary regeneration, back to mature forest. Immediately, I was onto both Hume's and Greenish Warbler, as well as a calling Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker that was desperately trying to attract my attention. Nearby, a small group of confiding Grey-breasted Prinia revealed a couple of individuals coming into breeding plumage - another indication of the changing season.

A quieter spell followed, with highlights being 3-4 very inquisitive Grey-sided Bush Warblers, a pair of Large Cuckooshrike, 20+ Oriental White-eye and a few Olive-backed Pipits. It was shortly after this that I had a really unexpected Yellow-rumped Honeyguide. Flushed from the ground (or low bush), it flew directly into low undergrowth within the forest, but failed to provide good views before being lost. I tried hard to persuade myself I was wrong (400m lower than ever recorded and in completely the wrong habitat) but try as I might I kept coming up with the same conclusion - a displaced bird, caused perhaps by the recent bad weather up in the hills. This was followed by a woodpecker frenzy with superb comparative views of Himalayan and Lesser Goldenbacks (males and females) all in the the same tree, followed shortly after by a female Streak-throated Woodpecker to round off the woodpecker fest. The Lesser Goldenback is regular in these woods but the Himalayan is less frequent, so greatly enjoyed.

Things were quietening down by now but as I strolled back towards my bike, Taiga (Red-throated) Flycatcher, Scarlet Minivet, Hair-crested Drongo, and Alexandrine Parakeet were all ticked off. A pair of Common Woodshrike also gave themselves up, tagging slowly along behind the minivets. This was my first sighting of this species in these woods.

White-browed Wagtail, Bardia NP

I then popped down to the river, but it was a hive of human activity with a couple of tractors extracting sand and blaring out Nepali music to all those in the vicinity. Hoping for River Lapwing, all I managed here today was a single Common Sandpiper and 2 White-browed Wagtails. Disappointing and unfortunately something that appears to have become regular.

So the show was over and I set off back home, pleased with the break from work and conference. To round off a satisfactory day, a pair of Asian (Golden) Jackals leisurely crossed the track right in front of me, providing one of the best views of this species I've ever had - cracking animals!


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