Monday, 11 June 2012

Nagarjun NP, Kathmandu (Part 2)

Thursday 7th June 2012

Trail to Jamacho Gumba, Nagarjun NP
After a very pleasant Saturday morning spent at Nagarjun with BCN last weekend, I felt inspired to visit the park once again and waking early on Thursday morning, I just went for it. The entrance to the park is only 40 minutes walk from where I am currently staying in Kathmandu so I was at the gate for a little after 6am. However, it took 15 minutes or so for the soldiers stationed at the gate to find a park official who could sell me a ticket and let me in. At 250 Rupees (about £2), it's not too pricey in the grand scheme of things but it is 25 times the price a local pays! As a volunteer on a local salary this does seem a little unfair at times.

Scorpion - Nagarjun NP
Just inside the gate, on the right, is a trail that heads steeply upwards for a few hundred metres before reaching a military post where it joins a more gradual trail that winds its way to the peak. From the park gate to Jamacho Gumba summit is approximately 5 kilometres - it took me less than two and a half hours at a very comfortable pace. The birding was actually a bit slow on the way up though I did see both male and female Kalij Pheasant on numerous occasions, though it was this freshly dead scorpion that was the first sighting of the day.

Blue-capped Rock Thrush - male
Red-billed Blue Magpie, White-crested Laughingthrush and Grey Treepie were all seen well but the highlight on this section of the trail was a pair of mating Blue-throated Flycatchers. I arrived at the summit just after 9am and spent half an hour or so birding the shrubby slopes. First up were two birds I never mannaged to identify; obviously freshly fledged, I would guess at some type of flycatcher/niltava but unfortunately they didn't stay around for long. Next up was this cracking male Blue-capped Rock Thrush. I must say I was unaware that these birds have such a yellow gape.

However, the highlight for me was the first of 2 Nepali ticks for the day - Bonelli's Eagle. Even better, there were at least 3 birds, with a possible 4th. Two of the birds were an adult pair in full (but silent) display. The third bird was an clearly an immature and I'm pretty certain the fourth bird was an immature Bonelli's too, though I didn't get very good views of this latter bird. I did manage to get a couple of interesting record shots though, one of them highlighted against a smoggy Kathmandu.

Bonelli's Eagle - adult
Jamacho Gumba

Bonelli's Eagle - immature

Bonelli's Eagle - adult
One of my side-hobbies is to track all the trails I follow using GPS and then compile them into maps for later use. Since there was an access road to the Gumba, I decided to follow this back down to the gate - I'd already been along some of it the previous week with BCN but I had no idea how long it would be. In total, I walked more than 30 kilomteres over the day but I must say the road down provided good birding and I'd do it again - though with an extra bottle of water next time. Still fairly near the top, I had some goodies with White-tailed Nuthatch perhaps unexpected. This was followed by a pair of Orange-bellied Leafbirds, Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker, several Verditer Flycatchers, House Swift, Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush and a very close pair of Velvet-fronted Nuthatches working the lichen covered trees. A Great Barbet allowed me to take its picture - and for once the shot wasn't too bad.

Great Barbet
As I continued down the trail, other goodies were encountered. In particular, I had more raptors - quite unexpected really for the time of year. Of course Black Kite were everywhere but I also disturbed a perched Crested Serpent Eagle, again an adult with a massively impressive immature Crested Goshawk a little later. The goshawk came in very low around a corner of the trail and landed less than 10 metres from me. I would guess it was a female due to its size. Unfortunately, the process of aiming the camera at the bird scared it off but the memory will certainly remain. Much later on, a male shikra did almost the same though it flew directly towards me instead, getting larger and larger through the bins - just like a BBC wildlife documentary!

Other birds picked up along the trail were Large Cuckoo-shrike, Eurasian Cuckoo, Black-throated Tit (a personal favourite), Speckled Piculet, Maroon Oriole and to round off the day, Lesser Yellownape.

Other wildlife sightings of the day included fresh Leopard faeces packed full of fur, Barking Deer and numerous butterflies. Unfortunately, I don't have my butterfly book with me but one of them I've since discovered is a Grand Duchess. I think the yellow-striped one is a lascar of some sort but that's as good as gets.

Grand Duchess

Till next time - Mark.

No comments:

Post a Comment