Trip Report: Nepal, March 6-22, 1999

Allen & Nancy Chartier, 1442 W. River Park Dr., Inkster, Michigan 48141, USA;


We had investigated a number of tours to Nepal offered by various birding tour companies, but found them lacking in a couple of ways. None of them provided any real chance of viewing Mt. Everest and didn't really do any trekking as a result. Most of the other reasonably-priced tours also made no effort to find the Spiny Babbler, one of only two species endemic to Nepal, and findable within an hour's drive of Kathmandu. So, we contacted a friend, Will Weber, who happens to run a tour company (Journeys International in Ann Arbor, MI) that does cultural and adventure tours, including Nepal. They arranged a two-week itinerary which included a 7-day trek from Lukla to Thangboche Monastery for montane birds and for views of Mt. Everest, and a couple of days at Royal Chitwan National Park, in addition to birding in transit and around Kathmandu while waiting for our trekking permits.

Will and his very capable staff (Pat and Donna) arranged guides that were aware of our interest in birds, and in a couple of cases arranged guides with some birding experience to accompany us. For the most part, however, we were on our own for the birding aspects of our trip.

Prior to the trip, we purchased some books that would prove valuable in helping us to find and identify the birds of Nepal. For birdfinding, we purchased a copy of A Birdwatchers' Guide to Nepal by Carol Inskipp, published in 1988 and out of print. We got our copy from Buteo Books. This book was generally still useful, although in a couple of cases the habitat was no longer present. These cases are mentioned in the account that follows. We also obtained some useful information from Where to Watch Birds in Asia by Nigel Wheatley, published in 1996.

As luck would have it, a new field guide, Birds of the Indian Subcontinent by Richard Grimmett, Carol Inskipp and Tim Inskipp, was published in December 1998. We obtained an early copy for 50 pounds (it is now 55 pounds) from Natural History Book Service in England. The book is not your typical field guide, as it weighs about 8 pounds, and is more than two inches thick, and hard-cover, with 888 pages and 153 color plates. It is, however, an excellent new field guide, and our identifications of flycatchers and, in particular the Phylloscopus warblers, would have been impossible without it. Prior to this new guide, the only other field guide to Nepal was Birds of Nepal by Robert L. Fleming, Sr., Robert L. Fleming, Jr., and Lain Singh Bangdel published in 1976. This much more compact field guide has 150 color plates, most of which provide reasonable renditions of most species, but they aren't detailed or sophisticated enough to be useful for groups such as flycatchers (females), warblers, and many babblers. We had also recently purchased Warblers of Europe, North Africa, and Asia by Kevin Baker, published in 1997, and had an opportunity to study it before we left for Nepal, but it wasn't practical to bring it along, especially given the bulk of the new field guide.

Weather conditions in Nepal seemed to be affected somewhat by La Niña, as is likely for anywhere on the planet! Apparently, there were almost no winter rains, so the Kathmandu Valley was extremely dry and dusty (combined with the world-class pollution, it was pretty bad). It had been unusually warm where we were to be trekking, so warm clothes weren't particularly a problem, and the trails were also quite dusty. They were apparently having an early spring in Nepal, as many of the lowland wintering birds were not found there (some weren't found anywhere), and a few species were found apparently in-transit to higher elevations, or on their way to breed in Siberia.

Daily Log

Day 1, Saturday, March 6, 1999

It seems unfair that, in many parts of the world, March is an excellent time of year. Many parts of the tropics are experiencing the dry season, with resident birds beginning to nest and migrants molting into their breeding plumages, preparing to migrate north. Some subtropical areas (including parts of our destination) are awash already with migrants. March in Michigan, and Detroit, however, can be very unpredictable. Possibly the only thing more unpleasant than enduring this month is trying to leave the state in order to avoid it.

And so it was, this morning as we awoke to the winter's second major snowstorm and 8 inches of snow that had fallen overnight. We had been targeted again, much like our 12-hour ordeal in Chicago in March 1992, although they closed O'Hare airport that time with only 2 inches of snow on the ground. We were concerned that we might be snowbound, but we made it to the airport in plenty of time. It appeared that all was well. March prevailed, however, and instead of leaving at 12:35 p.m., we left at 2:30 p.m. We'll now have about 20 minutes to make our connection on arrival in Tokyo. Once airborne, March looks different, not nearly so ugly. So we're glad we're on our way at last. We had a good view of Mt. McKinley as we flew over Alaska.

Day 2, Sunday, March 7, 1999

We arrived in Tokyo at 5:15 p.m. local time (3:15 a.m. at home) after a 12 1/2 hour flight. They were able to make up a little time in the air, but we still had no time to spare for our connection as we had to go out, then come back through security, including x-ray, with a couple hundred other people, consuming any precious time we had gained. In addition, they had moved our departure time up five minutes, to 6:15 p.m. It was raining, and the only birds we saw were White-cheeked Starlings from the plane. We didn't take off until 6:45 p.m. After another long flight (6 1/2 hours) we arrived in Bangkok, Thailand. Local time there was 11:20 p.m., exactly 12 hours different from home. We were half way around the world, and we sure felt like we'd travelled 12,500 miles. We spent until midnight in the immigration and passport control line.

Day 3, Monday, March 8, 1999

Baggage claim and customs went faster, and we exchanged a few U.S. dollars into Bhat (36 to the dollar at the airport) so we would have enough for the departure tax tomorrow (500 Bhat). A woman at baggage claim turned and sneezed on Allen, without covering her mouth, and without saying anything or apologizing. We wandered around the airport a bit until we found the right place to book our taxi to the Rama Gardens Hotel (recommended to us by someone on the Birdchat internet chat group). We paid for the taxi at a counter, so there wouldn't be any surprises about the fare when we got to the hotel 10 minutes later. The taxi cost us 250 Bhat, about $6. We got checked in and settled. We were pleased to learn that a breakfast buffet was included for the room rate of $30 per person per night. The room was extremely nice, with a king-size bed in the room (two twin beds are apparently the norm in Asia). The hotel was palatial and had grounds that we were planning to bird in the morning. We arranged for our taxi through the front desk, with a pick-up scheduled for 7:30 a.m. We turned in for the night at around 1:15 a.m.

We were up at 5:00 a.m. for the breakfast buffet, then we tried to find "the gardens." It was great, and unusual, that they were open for breakfast at 5:30 a.m. We asked a couple of people at the desk, and working in the lobby, where the gardens were (hence the name?), but they just gave us blank looks. It was still pretty dark at 6:00 a.m. when we headed out the front door of the hotel, but it lightened up pretty quickly. It turned out that there were plantings along the long drive to the entrance to the hotel, and there was an adjacent area marked as a "green area." It was a nice arrangement.

The first birds singing were the Oriental Magpie-Robins, which we eventually saw quite well. We also saw a male Asian Koel as it sang in a bare tree, but it was still too dim to see his green bill. Eventually, we found a total of 27 species in about an hour and 15 minutes. Not bad for a big city. We found 10 life birds, with two of them awaiting confirmation after we return home to consult other southeast Asian references, which we didn't bring along. One was a Phylloscopus warbler and the other was a female Muscicapa/Ficedula type flycatcher.

We checked out and got our taxi to the airport at 7:30 a.m. We paid in advance at the Concierge desk for the taxi, which was 350 Bhat (about $9.50) for this direction to the airport. The reason for the higher rate became apparent right away, as we had to go a couple of miles south along the main highway before there was an opportunity to make a U-turn back north to the airport.

We had a cheeseburger and a Diet Coke at the Burger King at the airport while waiting for our flight to depart. Our Thai Airlines flight departed at 10:45 a.m., only 15 minutes late. We flew northwest over the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Bangladesh, and Calcutta, India, into Nepal. We had good views of the Himalayas on the right side of the plane, including Mt. Everest, as we came in to land in Kathmandu. We landed around 12:40 p.m. local time (a strange 1 hour and 15 minute time difference from Bangkok). We had to put our carry-on bags through the x-ray on arrival, which was very strange.

We were met by one of the Journeys International staff, Baburam, who seemed to have a serious cold, and were driven from the airport on the east side of Kathmandu to the Hotel Marshyangdi in Thamel on the northwest side of Kathmandu, near the tourist center (very narrow crowded streets).

Shortly, in the hotel lobby, we were met by Ngawang who reviewed our itinerary with us. We gave him our passports and two extra photos so they could get our trekking permits and gave him our airline tickets so they could reconfirm our flights home when the time came. This also kept our tickets and passports safe in the Journeys office while we were out. There was one minor mix-up with the itinerary where they thought we were to have this afternoon free when in fact we were scheduled to go with one of their bird-knowledgeable guides to the Shivapuri (sometimes spelled Sheopuri) Reserve. Shortly, Kumar met us at the hotel, still in street shoes, along with a driver and car. It was great that Journeys was able to get them on short notice for us. Kumar is a cultural guide who has an interest in birds, but isn't really an experienced birder. We knew this going in.

We went to the Shivapuri Reserve northeast of Kathmandu for the afternoon, with our primary objective to find the endemic Spiny Babbler. It was a really hot and sunny afternoon (temperature was probably in the mid-70s, which is hot after you've left Michigan with a temperature of about 25°F). As a result, there was almost no bird activity, and very few birds were singing. Most of the birds that were calling were hugging the bushes far downslope of where we were. Almost the only birds we did see were lots of those pesky Phylloscopus warblers and a Steppe Eagle overhead, along with the abundant Black-eared Kites. There wasn't anything that we'd call forest here, but rather just dry shrubby hillsides. But, apparently the Spiny Babbler inhabits these brushy areas, they just weren't giving their Sage Thrasher-like song. This was too bad, since this was the only place on our itinerary where this species could be found. We ended up leaving the area through the guard gate at around 7:00 p.m. Apparently, we were supposed to be out much earlier, and it seemed that the driver and Kumar were getting a gentle scolding for this from one of the guards.

We returned to the hotel and had dinner around 8:00 p.m. We tried to turn in early, with a rock concert going on somewhere down the street. It seemed to end around 10:00 and we got a good night's sleep after that.

Day 4, Tuesday, March 9, 1999

Kumar and the driver picked us up in the hotel lobby at 6:00 a.m. for our full-day birding trip to Pulchowki Mountain about an hour's drive southeast of Kathmandu. The day started out poorly, with Allen inhaling a lifetime's worth of air pollution and oil-laden exhaust in one breath as we made our way through busy, and heavily-polluted, Kathmandu. The valley is in a similar situation as Los Angeles and Mexico City, where there is no escape route for the smog produced by badly-tuned cars, trucks, and buses (not to mention dust from the lack of rain).

Our plan was to drive straight to the top of Pulchowki and walk down various portions. It didn't end up that way, as we began stopping where there were birds on the way up, and so we walked mostly uphill most of the morning.

At the top, at about 8500 feet elevation, we had a good view of the Himalayas across the valley, including a distant view of Mt. Everest. By the time we started walking back down it was pretty hot (probably at least 80 degrees) in the intense sun, and the birds were quieter. There was some activity all day, however, unlike yesterday afternoon. We took a shortcut across a couple of the road's switchbacks, but we didn't find much there, and Allen strained his left knee coming down the extremely steep slope.

Most of the way down, we stopped at the Godaveri Botanical Gardens, but things were pretty quiet there, except for way too many Phylloscopus warblers. There were lots of them on Pulchowki too, and they seemed to be at the peak of their migration through the area.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped at the Royal Palace in Kathmandu to see the Indian Fruit Bats (Flying Foxes) that roost there. Back at the hotel we met Pemba Sherpa, Will's Nepali business partner, and reviewed the schedule for our trek over the next 7 days. Hopefully, the raging sore throat and cough that Allen had developed today would disappear once we left Kathmandu.

Day 5, Wednesday, March 10, 1999

Ngawang met us in the hotel lobby at 5:45 a.m. to take us to the airport to catch our 7:00 a.m. flight on Royal Nepal Airlines to Lukla. By 9:00 a.m. we were still in the airport, breathing in lots of cigarette smoke despite being in a well-posted no-smoking area. They soon announced the cancellation of all fights to Lukla due to high winds up there. Apparently the runway is quite short, runs uphill, and has the face of a mountain at the end of it. We were glad they wouldn't risk a landing here in high winds.

We went back to the Hotel Marshyangdi, where they gave us the same room (they were still making it up when we returned). We tried to rearrange our itinerary to go to Royal Chitwan NP today or tomorrow instead, so that our trek wouldn't be affected by this delay, but the Temple Tiger, where we were booked, was completely full with no openings.

So, when the going gets tough, the tough go birding! Ngawang was able to arrange a driver and guide (though Kumar wasn't available) to take us out for the afternoon. We had asked to be taken to the Gokarna Forest east of Kathmandu. According to A Birdwatcher's Guide to Nepal, this was a forest with no understory where some deer species had been introduced for the king to hunt. It was also a good place to see a couple of interesting species of roosting owls. Our guide (we don't remember his name) said that this forest was no longer open (he didn't explain), so he suggested another one to the northwest of Kathmandu, the Nagarjung Royal Forest. This was a nicely forested hillside with an interesting assortment of birds, especially considering it was a hot afternoon again. It was also the dustiest place we had birded yet. We found a few birds we had missed on Pulchowki Mountain yesterday, and it seemed particularly good for thrushes.

We returned to the hotel, and Allen was feeling sicker than he had so far. He had a pretty decent fever and chills, and a really hard cough. We went out to a local pharmacy to get some cough syrup, and when we returned there was a message from Ngawang that he would be at the hotel tomorrow morning at 5:45 a.m. again to pick us up for our rescheduled flight to Lukla. We tried to call the Journeys office, but it was closed (they work from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., six days a week, in Nepal). Allen was feeling terrible, and with the hard cough and fever it was clear we had to cancel our trek. We called Will Weber in the U.S. and explained everything. He said he would e-mail and try to call Pemba at home (though the phone service was often unreliable) to let him know the situation. Will also had some interesting alternative suggestions for birding and recovering from what was now undoubtedly a full-blown, pollution-aggravated case of the flu.

Day 6, Thursday, March 11, 1999

Ngawang met us in the hotel lobby at 5:45 a.m. He had received our messages via e-mail, and said that he would be able to work on some alternative plans for us, all in the Pokhara area as Will had suggested. Our preference for accommodations in this area was Fishtail Lodge, which was fairly expensive. It was also booked for this evening, so Ngawang was only able to come up with a trekking lodge about 30 minutes north of Pokhara. We didn't think that the rustic conditions would be conducive to Allen's recovery, so we insisted that we try to get something that at least had a bathroom in the room. Ngawang then called back with the good news that we had four nights at the Fishtail Lodge booked. We would fly out tomorrow instead of today, so there was nothing to do except relax and for Allen to try and break his fever.

We went up on the roof of the hotel for a little while near sunset to see if we could see the flying foxes leave their roost at the Royal Palace, but they were quite far away in the binoculars, and difficult to distinguish from the numerous House Crows that were coming in to roost in the same trees. They probably left the roost after dark anyway.

Day 7, Friday, March 12, 1999

We went up on the roof in the morning to watch the sunrise and see some of the Himalayas north of Kathmandu. Allen's fever seemed to be much better, but not completely gone. His cough was still vigorous, and he rested more while Nancy went out to the local shops for a while.

Ngawang met us up at the hotel at 11:30 a.m. and told us our guide would pick us up shortly to take us to the airport. When our guide showed up around 11:45, it was Baburam who had picked us up the first day. He was still quite sick. Our 1:10 p.m. flight took off around 1:40 p.m., not too bad. On arrival in Pokhara (about 2000 feet elevation) we were met by the nice air-conditioned bus of Fishtail Lodge. We were driven a short distance to the dock, where we were pulled across by rope on a barge by a hotel "boatman." We had arrived at Fishtail Lodge.

Baburam said he would meet us at the dock for dinner, and he went to his hotel somewhere in town. He had been given money for meals, but the lodge was so expensive that we couldn't eat our meals there if we were to stay within the budget that our trek provided. It was the heat of the day when we arrived, and there weren't many birds around the lodge, but there were lots of butterflies.

We met the manager of the lodge restaurant, Hari K.C., who also happened to be a "free lance bird watching guide around Pokhara Valley" according to his card. He told us so many wonderful things that he could show us that we wished we could stay a week or more. We could tell that he was an exerienced birder, as all the birds he mentioned were birds that were known from the area. The most enticing trip that Hari offered was a 38 km drive west of Pokhara and about a 2 km walk to the top of a hill (about 6500 feet elevation) where he often sees Lammergeiers. He also mentioned a number of other higher elevation species we could see there. We tentatively set up Sunday morning (7 a.m. - 2 p.m.), his day off, to do the trip, for which he charged $42 total for two people (lunch not included).

Baburam met us for dinner, which we had in a part of town adjacent to Phewa Tal (lake) across from the lodge. There were lots of restaurants to choose from, and all offered reasonable food at extremely reasonable prices (it was hard to spend more than about $2 per person). We talked with Baburam about Sunday's trip and he sounded interested, and was happy to accompany us. We told Baburam we were going to take it easy tomorrow, and that he should meet us at noon for lunch.

Day 8, Saturday, March 13, 1999

We were up at 6:00 a.m. to watch the sun rise on the mountains, Annapurna and Machapuchare (Fishtail), across the lake from the lodge. The mountains were so gorgeous, and close, that we could almost ignore all the birds in the gardens on the hotel grounds, except for the beautiful White-throated Kingfisher that perched right in front of us. Green Magpie was a highlight. We had breakfast at the lodge at 7:00 a.m., which had the advantage of being payable on our Visa card.

According to A Birdwatchers' Guide to Nepal, there was a good forest behind the lodge. We had discovered yesterday that there was a stone wall entirely around the lodge, so we would have to cross the river, walk into town, walk down a sidestreet, walk a ways along a channel, and cross over a swinging bridge near a dam in order to pick up the trail into the forest. This was quite a circuitous route of more than 1 km to reach a forest that is just over the wall of the lodge! The guide book had a trail map that turned out to be generally OK, but it didn't have enough detail, and the scale seemed to be off somewhat. We managed OK with the first part of the trail, but since it had taken us a while to get there it was pretty quiet in the forest (it was 9:30 before we got into forest). The trail we were on eventually deteriorated, or we made a wrong choice (probably the latter). We ended up on a very steep, rocky, winding, slippery (due to dry leaves), and indistinct trail (we lost it twice). We finally ended up on the beach where we flagged down a boat to take us across the lake (100 rupees each) where we walked east to the boat dock, and back to the lodge.

We met Baburam as he was preparing to take the barge across the river to the lodge. We went into town for lunch and worked out plans for the afternoon. We abandoned our original plans to rent a boat and row to the far western end of the lake, as it seemed like it would take too long, and there was now a road along the north side of the lake there now. The road was not shown in A Birdwatchers' Guide to Nepal as going this far. We thought we could take a taxi there, to a small town called Khapanti, and scope the lake, while also searching the scrubby hillsides for Spiny Babbler (according to the guide book, that is).

Apparently, a lot has changed since Inskipp's book, as there seemed to be little but cultivation and barren ground over the entire northwestern end of Phewa Tal. The taxi driver couldn't go as far as we wanted, so we ended up walking about 1 km farther west, then backtracking through some rice paddies. There was no nearby habitat for Spiny Babblers it seems, and there was little on the lake except Little Grebes and Eurasian Coots. Apparently all the waterfowl had left for their migration north. We walked all the way back to town and had dinner, then walked back to the lodge for the night.

Day 9, Sunday, March 14, 1999

We were all up early to meet Hari at 6:30 a.m. He was a little late, and we got underway around 7:30. He got a taxi for us to go west about 38 km to the town of Khare at 1695 m elevation. Then we took a trail to a ridgetop to the north that was at about 2000 m. The birding was pretty good, and the scenery was great, especially after we got to the top and went around the back side of the hill to get great views of Annapurna South and Machapuchare. Hari was a decent birder and a very nice man, though he walked up the hills ahead of us quite fast! We would recommend him to other birders visiting Pokhara. The few birds he misidentified were not very easy to identify with the older Nepal field guide. We got to see our Lammergeier, as well as Himalayan Griffon, Cinereous Vulture, and Black Eagle. There were several interesting smaller birds too, including Rufous-breasted Accentor, the accentor occurring at the lowest elevation. On the way back to the hotel we checked a couple of spots along a river where Wallcreeper winters, but with no luck.

We rested during the afternoon, then went out with Hari to bird the lodge grounds for a while before it got dark. We met Baburam again for dinner in town.

Day 10, Monday, March 15, 1999

Our plan to go to the top of Sangarkot with Baburam this morning for early views of the Himalayas was thwarted by the weather. It was so hazy (misty?) that the mountains weren't visible from the lodge at all.

We asked Baburam where else he thought we could go that might have some forest to walk through. He suggested Begnas Tal (lake) to the east of Pokhara. There was some scrubby forest on the southeast side of the lake, and a steep trail into it, but it was very quiet. We did better with the open country birds and water birds. A big surprise was the group of eleven Greater Painted-Snipe. One or two at a time would wade out into a small pond near the dam, then wander back into the vegetation. One small (4 square yards) area had 8 birds. There was a flock of Yellow-breasted Buntings in the rice paddies here, with many near-breeding plumaged males. The cement fish ponds here had the most bird activity, with lots of wagtails, including Citrine, and a Wryneck sitting in a small bare tree.

We returned to the lodge and had lunch in town with Baburam. We arranged to meet him again for dinner, this time at the lodge, and this time our treat. We hadn't seen him eat anything since he started being our guide, and we felt bad that he might be having to eat very cheaply to keep within the budget, so we hoped he would join us at the lodge even though he said he had to meet our driver for tomorrow and might not make it. We did a little shopping in town, mostly for books and t-shirts, then rested in our room for a while.

At 3:00 p.m. we met Hari again for more birding southwest of Pokhara. For this short trip he charged a total of $20. He got a taxi for us and we went to a dry gorge where he has frequently seen various raptors. There wasn't much there, but luckily along the road we saw the rare (in Nepal) Red-headed Vulture high overhead. We left the taxi behind and walked across an area of rice paddies, then up into the forest behind the lodge. There were good numbers of Scaly Thrushes in the forest this time. We took another steep trail down to the lodge, but this time it wasn't as bad as before. We walked a short distance along the lakeshore back to the lodge. We had dinner without Baburam as he didn't show up, and had asked that we not wait for him if he didn't show.

Day 11, Tuesday, March 16, 1999

We were up early to catch our car to Chitwan NP, scheduled to leave at 6:30 a.m. We left on time, and Baburam came with us about half way (apparently to keep within the budget by saving on bus fare). We stopped to bird a few times along the road, but there wasn't really anything spectacular.

We arrived at Chitwan just before noon, and we were dropped off right at the river by our driver, Sanu. We made sure that he would meet us at this same spot on Friday at 6:30 a.m. and he agreed (or we thought he did, as his English wasn't very good). We had to be paddled across the Narayani River, then taken on a bumpy truck ride to Temple Tiger Lodge. We relaxed a bit, had lunch, and birded a bit. Our first "nature walk" was at 4:00 p.m. with a group of tourists. Our guide, Jitu, knew his birds, but didn't have any binoculars with him. In any case, it was just an introductory walk for the five of us. We did see about 9 Indian Rhinoceros, including the ones we saw from the overlook at the lodge.

Dinner was at 8:00 p.m., about an hour after dark. Jitu gave us our schedule for tomorrow prepared by the lodge management. We were scheduled for a standard tourist itinerary all day, beginning with an 8:15 a.m. elephant ride after breakfast, with a large group of tourists, and a jeep and boat ride in the afternoon. Apparently, no arrangements for our interest in birds was on hand. We complained to Jitu about this standard tourist itinerary, and being stuck with a potentially noisy group, and he got the lodge manager to talk to us. The manager did allow us to have our own elephant, to go out with Jitu, and to go a different direction from the tourist group. Our start was still to be 8:15 a.m. though. A frustrating beginning to our stay here.

Day 12, Wednesday, March 17, 1999

Birds were singing by 5:30 a.m. and we were up a little after 6:00 a.m. We didn't know where we could walk, so we just killed time at the overlook on the grounds of the lodge until breakfast at 7:15 a.m. We met Jitu, who was the best birder at the lodge, and our elephant, Shampathkali, and got aboard. With such a late start (bird-wise) at 8:00 a.m. our expectations were low. There were a few birds, but it was already slowing down a bit by the time we got out into the grassland. There were tons and tons of Spotted Doves and Red-vented Bulbuls, but not as much diversity as we expected. Oh well, at least it was neat riding an elephant for the first time. We had one semi-distant encounter with a rhino.

From 11:00 - 12:00 we got stuck with the tourists again for an Elephant Talk, which was stuff we mostly knew already. But we did get to pet Shampathkali. This place is pretty superficial and touristy as far as the eco-tourism aspect goes.

After lunch we walked the roads around the lodge a bit before joining up with the tourists for a "jeep and boat safari" to see Gharials along the river. Luckily, with the help of Jitu, we got our own jeep, and we went last with Jitu on board, leaving space for the dust and wildlife to settle down for us. Jitu spotted three Gharials from the jeep, but we didn't see any from the boats. The only birds of note along the river were wintering Ruddy Shelducks and resident Small Pratincoles. Dinner was very late again at 8:00 p.m.

Day 13, Thursday, March 18, 1999

Although we had seen a couple of good birds from the pond near the lodge, the diversity there was generally low, with lots of Common Moorhens and Indian Pond-Herons. So, we asked Jitu to arrange a jeep for us to visit a nearby lake. We met the jeep at 6:00 a.m. (that's more like proper birding time) and headed out to the lake about 45 minutes away.

The morning was quite chilly and there was a lot of mist over the lake. It slowly cleared, and we saw a few birds. A highlight was when Jitu noticed Tiger tracks in the road. According to him, the Tiger had been through only a couple of hours prior. When at the lake, we heard a loud grunt that may have been a Tiger. There were a few birds at the lake, including one Asian Openbill and a good number of Lesser Whistling-Ducks.

We returned to the lodge for breakfast, then Jitu took us around some of the trails nearby. Highlights of this walk were the woodpeckers and the Leopard tracks. After lunch we birded the grounds a bit more, then met Jitu and a jeep. We originally wanted to go out on an elephant again, but two of them were sick. We were going to have to go with the group again, and we couldn't get our own. So we took the jeep to another pond that Jitu knew about, but it only had a single Oriental Darter. So, we returned to the same pond that we went to this morning, but there weren't any new birds there. On the way back to the lodge we encountered a rhino very close to the road, which was pretty neat even if the driver was quite nervous. We had our middle-of-the-night dinner again, and talked with the lodge manager about tomorrow's departure. We told him we planned to leave at 6:30 a.m. as we had told our driver to meet us on the other side of the river at that time. He said they don't do departures that early and we were scheduled to have a 7:15 a.m. breakfast and 8:00 a.m. departure. They don't seem to understand early starts for any reason at this lodge. He assured us that our driver would know about this change as he was staying in the lodge's garage with other drivers.

Day 14, Friday, March 19, 1999

Since we had extra time, we got up and out at 6:00 a.m. and birded some of the trails around the lodge on our own. Highlights of the morning were the Rufous Woodpecker and four Great Slaty Woodpeckers.

At 8:00 a.m. we crossed the river only to find that our driver wasn't there among the ten or so cars, jeeps, and buses. We ended up being stranded here for two hours before one of the luggage truck drivers offered to drive us the 10 km into town, hoping we might cross paths with our driver. We finally got to the town at the main road, and he was there waiting for us. He asked us if it was OK if his sister rode with us to Kathmandu, and since her bags were already in the car we didn't think we had a choice to say no. As she hopped in, it turned out she had her son with her, whom Sanu hadn't mentioned previously. He was coughing and obviously sick. Sanu got upset with us when we asked him why he didn't meet us at the boat as he had promised before. He said he told us he would meet us in town (he didn't), and that he always meets people in town. He didn't offer any suggestions on how we'd make the 10 km with our luggage, or explain why there were so many other drivers at the boat. Ngawang explained to us later that the Temple Tiger was supposed to provide a vehicle for us from the boat dock to the town, but it wasn't there!

It sure was crowded in that small car. Sanu asked two or three times if we wanted to go through Hetauda (our intent was to look for Ibisbill there, but it was a long drive), and we finally got the hint that he didn't want to go that way, but directly to Kathmandu. His English was not good, and he couldn't communicate very well. Apparently, the child needed a hospital, and that is why he was taking them to Kathmandu. Since it was now 10:30 a.m. there was no point in going through Hetauda as it would be extremely late when we got to Kathmandu, and would be extremely tedious with the extra passengers (both for us and for them). We were angry and upset, mostly because we still didn't know what was going on due to Sanu's poor English, and by the fact that we were going to miss out on yet another birding opportunity that we had arranged and looked forward to.

We managed to get to Kathmandu in about 4 1/2 hours, with the little boy getting carsick once on the way. An extremely disappointing day.

Day 15, Saturday, March 20, 1999

Ngawang picked us up at the hotel at 7:00 a.m. for our 8:15 mountain sightseeing flight that we had him arrange a few days ago. It was a one-hour flight to view Mt. Everest, departing from the Kathmandu airport, and costing $100 per person (plus $5 pp for transfer). It was a hazy (polluted) day in Kathmandu, and on arrival we were told our flight was delayed. Then they told us the airport was closed. At 8:40 a.m. they loaded us onto a bus to be driven out to the plane. The airport was open, they said. On arrival at the plane (2 minutes later), we had to wait to board because the airport was closed again! We stood on the hot tarmac until 10:00 a.m., when they cancelled our flight. Ngawang negotiated the refund at the counter (to be paid to us in U.S. dollars through Journeys in the U.S.), then drove us back to our hotel to pick up our bags and check out.

When we got to the hotel, the road construction that had been down the street a few days ago now stretched completely across the front of the hotel in a deep, wide trench. It's amazing how much digging can be done in a couple hours without any machinery. We had to walk about a block to the hotel, and the poor baggage porter had to carry our heavy bags down the street to our waiting vehicle. Nancy finally remembered what Kathmandu reminded her of - that town in the movie "Star Wars" where the cantina was located. It only lacked a Yeti.

At the international terminal, we did the chaotic departure tax, immigration, and check-in process, said goodbye to Ngawang (who draped us with ceremonial good-luck cloth), and arrived at the gate at about 12:30 p.m. We had a cheese sandwich and a Sprite for lunch, which used up all our remaining Rupees. We sat in the no-smoking zone, and breathed cigarette smoke for the next five hours as flight after flight was delayed, then cancelled. There were no announcements, so we had to find somebody official who was willing to tell us what was going on in order to learn anything. We found out that the radar in the control tower was down and the airport was closed. Our flight was coming from Bangkok and was forced to land in Calcutta, India. At 5:30 p.m. we were told that our flight was cancelled. By the time we got more information, it was 5:45 p.m., and an attempt to call Ngawang at Journeys found that all the phones in this part of the airport weren't working. By the time we dealt with the chaos of claiming our luggage and getting vouchers for a night in a hotel, it was nearly 6:30 p.m., so their office was closed. In any case, Thai Airlines was promising to take care of everything. We had to wait another half hour for the van to the Blue Star Hotel, where we were also treated to a free dinner. The hotel was adequate, and so was the dinner.

Day 16, Sunday, March 21, 1999

Even though the Thai Airlines representative said they would contact us at or through the hotel about our flight schedule, they did not. Luckily, we called the reception desk last night and were told that breakfast (free) was at 7:00 a.m. and pick-up for the airport was at 8:15 a.m. Several of us were ready early, so one bus took us to the airport at 8:00 a.m., but nobody was at the Thai Airlines counter until 9:00 a.m. We got checked in and were told that a TA representative would meet us in Bangkok to reschedule our Northwest Airlines flights (our connection left Bangkok at 6:00 a.m. this morning). The flight was scheduled to depart Kathmandu at 11:15 a.m., and finally did at 12:00 after a spell of sitting at the start of the runway where we thought sure we would turn back for the terminal. But at 12:00 it was goodbye Kathmandu!

We arrived in Bangkok at about 4:15 p.m. local time and a bunch of us with various connection problems swarmed the single TA rep at the gate. After only (!) two hours, we had a standby seat on tomorrow's Northwest flight to Tokyo, which was fully booked, and had confirmed seats on the Tokyo-Detroit flight. They also gave us a voucher for the Amari Hotel at the airport, dinner, and the airport departure tax.

We found a bookstore in the adjacent shopping arcade and found a few books on Thailand natural history that we had to have (orchids, national parks, etc.). Allen went to the business center to send an e-mail to the people at work telling them he wouldn't be able to make it in to work on Monday as we would (if lucky) arrive in Detroit around noon on Monday. It was a nice room, as it was an expensive hotel, but the bed was actually two single beds pushed together, difficult to sleep in.

Day 17, Monday, March 22, 1999

We were up at 3:00 a.m. so we could be at the Northwest counter at 4:00 a.m. We had to wait until 5:30 a.m. before we finally got seats on the flight (whew!). Miraculously, they were even together, though in an exit row which had the advantage of more leg room and the disadvantage of no storage nearby for all our stuff. The flight pushed back on time. We arrived in Tokyo at 1:45 p.m. local time after having good views of Mt. Fuji (our first views, as it wasn't visible on our Japan trip last November). By the time we parked on the tarmac (all the gates were full) and got bused to the terminal it was nearly 2:00 p.m. One of the engines was spewing out fire after we parked, but the flight attendant said that wasn't anything to worry about!

We went through a security check on arrival in the terminal (what for?) and immediately heard last call for our flight to Detroit! We had a long way to go, and when we got near the gate, had to pass through another security check, complete with x-ray (ridiculous)! Luckily, it wasn't as crowded as on our outbound flight, and we raced to the gate to get our boarding passes (they couldn't issue them in Bangkok). We handed the ticket-taker our boarding passes and he asked for a flight coupon. We gave him our original tickets (and everything else we had accumulated), but what he was looking for wasn't there! Another agent came up just then and said everything was OK and we were allowed to board. Whew! We pushed back and it appeared we would have an on-time departure, but it was so windy, with 60 mph winds, that we had to let four planes land first. The wind was rocking the plane whie we were still on the ground! We took off at around 2:45 p.m. and they were expecting a flying time of 10 hours and 25 minutes, no doubt due to the ferocious tailwinds.

We arrived in Detroit around 11:30 a.m., an hour early and with 35 mph crosswinds! We got home around 1:00 p.m. and called our jobs to let them know we were home, and what happened to us.


A total of 286 species was recorded, with 189 life birds for Allen and 180 life birds for Nancy. We both got our 3000th life bird: Allen's was Blue-throated Barbet at Fishtail Lodge on March 12, and Nancy's was the Spotted Owlet in Pokhara on March 14.

Names and sequence follow Clements (Birds of the World: A Check List, 1991 and supplements). Many names are different in Clements from the older Birds of Nepal by Fleming, Fleming ∓ Bangdel, so these names are given in parentheses below when different. The new Birds of the Indian Subcontinent uses the new Sibley-Monroe sequence, but doesn't seem to follow the taxonomy completely. So, there are differences between Clements and this field guide also!

Life birds are in all caps.

  1. Little Grebe - Tachybaptus ruficollis - 100
    All were at the west end of Phewa Tal near Pokhara.

  2. Great Cormorant (Large Cormorant) - Phalacrocorax carbo - 58
    One was at the Bangkok airport, while most were seen as flyovers at Fishtail Lodge. Several were at Chitwan NP and two were on the drive back to Kathmandu.

  3. ORIENTAL DARTER (Darter) - Anhinga melanogaster - 2
    One at each of the two lakes we took a jeep to at Chitwan NP.

  4. LESSER WHISTLING-DUCK (Lesser Whistling Teal) - Dendrocygna javanica - 25
    All were at the first lake we jeeped to at Chitwan NP.

  5. RUDDY SHELDUCK - Tadorna ferruginea - 109
    All were in the Narayani River at Chitwan NP, mostly as scattered pairs, but with one flock of 40-50 birds.

  6. Northern Pintail - Anas acuta - 1
    Seen with the Lesser Whistling-Ducks at the lake at Chitwan NP.

  7. Common Merganser - Mergus merganser - 1
    On the Narayani River with Ruddy Shelducks.

  8. Little Egret - Egretta garzetta - 441
    Common throughout, from the elevation of Kathmandu and lower.

  9. Intermediate Egret - Mesophoyx intermedia - 229
    Common around Pokhara, both at Fishtail Lodge and nearby rice fields, and at Chitwan NP.

  10. Purple Heron - Ardea purpurea - 4
    First seen at the overlook at Temple Tiger Lodge, all were at Chitwan NP.

  11. Great Egret (Large Egret) - Ardea alba - 17
    Four flew over the hotel in Bangkok. Most others were in the Pokhara area, with a few at Chitwan NP.

  12. Cattle Egret - Bubulcus ibis - 14
    Two were near Phewa Tal and 12 were near Begnas Tal, near Pokhara.

  13. INDIAN POND-HERON (Pond Heron) - Ardeola grayii - 181
    Very common around Pokhara, including Fishtail Lodge, and at Chitwan NP.

  14. CHINESE POND-HERON - Ardeola bacchus - 1
    An immature seen at the Rama Gardens Hotel in Bangkok. Does not occur in Nepal.

  15. Striated Heron (Little Green Heron) - Butorides striatus - 2
    Both were at the pond at the overlook at Temple Tiger Lodge.

  16. Black-crowned Night-Heron - Nycticorax nycticorax - 5
    One was over Kathmandu and the others were at the pond behind Temple Tiger Lodge.

  17. Cinnamon Bittern (Chestnut Bittern) - Ixobrychus cinnamomeus - 1
    Seen a couple of times at the pond behind Temple Tiger Lodge.

  18. BLACK BITTERN - Ixobrychus flavicollis - 1
    Seen our first afternoon, and briefly the following morning, at the pond behind Temple Tiger Lodge.

  19. RED-NAPED IBIS (Black Ibis) - Pseudibis papillosa - 4
    All were seen from elephant-back at Chitwan NP.

  20. ASIAN OPENBILL (Open-billed Stork) - Anastomus oscitans - 6
    Up to four behind the Temple Tiger Lodge, but at a great distance. One seen fairly close at the pond we jeeped to at Chitwan NP.

  21. BLACK STORK - Ciconia nigra - 1
    Seen at a great distance along the Narayani River at Chitwan NP.

  22. Woolly-necked Stork (White-necked Stork) - Ciconia episcopus - 2
    Both were circling overhead near Mugling.

  23. Osprey - Pandion haliaetus - 3
    Two were at Begnas Tal near Pokhara and one was along the Narayani River at Chitwan NP.

  24. Black-eared Kite (Dark Kite) - Milvus lineatus - 440
    Very numerous over Kathmandu, over the Pokhara area, and along all the roads. This is a split from Black Kite.

  25. GRAY-HEADED FISH-EAGLE - Ichtyophaga icthyaetus - 3
    All were at Chitwan NP, including an unoccupied nest.

  26. LAMMERGEIER (Bearded Vulture) - Gypaetus barbatus - 1
    What appeared to be an adult or sub-adult was seen well at the hilltop near Khare.

  27. EGYPTIAN VULTURE - Neophron percnopterus - 8
    Five were in the Pokhara area and three were along the road from Pokhara to Chitwan NP.

  28. WHITE-RUMPED VULTURE (White-backed Vulture) - Gyps bengalensis - 18
    Most were in the Pokhara area, with a few along the highway to Chitwan NP and to Kathmandu from there.

  29. HIMALAYAN GRIFFON - Gyps himalayensis - 8
    All were seen at the hilltop near Khare, which included a couple of adults.

  30. CINEREOUS VULTURE - Aegypius monachus - 1
    Seen well at the hilltop near Khare.

  31. RED-HEADED VULTURE (Black Vulture) - Sarcogyps calvus - 1
    An immature seen high overhead southwest of Pokhara.

  32. Crested Serpent-Eagle - Spilornis cheela - 5
    One was heard on Pulchowki Mtn., and the others were all at Chitwan NP.

  33. Western Marsh-Harrier - Circus aeruginosus - 1
    A female flying overhead at Pulchowki Mtn.

  34. Shikra - Accipiter badius - 4
    One was at Shivapuri Reserve, one at Khare, one at Chitwan NP, and one along the road to Kathmandu.

  35. BESRA (Besra Sparrow Hawk) - Accipiter virgatus - 1
    Seen high overhead behind Fishtail Lodge.

  36. Eurasian Sparrowhawk - Accipiter nisus - 1
    Near Kasunda, just before we headed into Chitwan NP.

  37. WHITE-EYED BUZZARD (White-eyed Hawk) - Butastur teesa - 1
    Seen flying along the shore of the Narayani River from elephant-back at Chitwan NP.

  38. Common Buzzard (Eurasian Buteo) - Buteo buteo - 2
    One was at Begnas Tal and the other was south of Pokhara.

  39. LONG-LEGGED BUZZARD (Long-legged Buteo) - Buteo rufinus - 1
    Circling over the hilltop near Khare.

  40. BLACK EAGLE - Ictinaetus malayensis - 1
    Circling low over the hilltop near Khare.

  41. STEPPE EAGLE - Aquila nipalensis - 12
    Two immatures were at Shivapuri Reserve. Most of the remainder were in the Pokhara area, and most were immatures.

  42. Changeable Hawk-Eagle - Spizaetus cirrhatus - 2
    Both were circling together behind the Temple Tiger Lodge the first afternoon.

  43. MOUNTAIN HAWK-EAGLE - Spizaetus nipalensis - 1
    Seen briefly as it took off from the ground ahead of us at Pulchowki Mtn.

  44. Eurasian Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus - 4
    Seen along roadsides near Pokhara, Khare, and on the drive to Chitwan NP.

  45. Peregrine Falcon - Falco peregrinus - 3
    One flew over Fishtail Lodge, one was along the road from Pokhara to Chitwan NP, and one was at Chitwan.

  46. Black Francolin (Black Partridge) - Francolinus francolinus - 1
    Heard only, from the overlook at Temple Tiger Lodge. This is the first time we have encountered wild individuals of this species. We saw them in Hawaii previously.

  47. HILL PARTRIDGE - Arborophila torqueola - 3
    Heard on Pulchowki Mtn. and glimpsed at Nagarjung. Seen briefly at Khare.

  48. Red Junglefowl - Gallus gallus - 12
    Seen only at Chitwan NP, where we had good views. Much easier to see here than in Indonesia.

  49. Kalij Pheasant - Lophura leucomelanos - 4
    Two seen on Pulchowki Mtn. and two seen in the forest behind Fishtail Lodge. This is the first time we have seen wild individuals of this species. We had seen them in Hawaii previously.

  50. INDIAN PEAFOWL (Common Peafowl) - Pavo cristatus - 16
    Seen and heard fairly frequently at Chitwan NP. Only a couple of full-plumaged males seen well, including one perched low in a tree.

  51. BROWN CRAKE - Amaurornis akool - 4
    All were seen at the pond at the overlook behind Temple Tiger Lodge. On only one occasion were they easily visible and walking around in the open.

  52. White-breasted Waterhen - Amaurornis phoenicurus - 5
    Most were fairly easily seen at the pond at the overlook behind Temple Tiger Lodge. One was at the lake we went to by jeep.

  53. Purple Swamphen (Purple Gallinule) - Porphyrio porphyrio - 7
    All were in one flock, when apparently something flushed them into view from the cattails to a mudflat at the lake we went to by jeep at Chitwan NP.

  54. Eurasian Coot - Fulica atra - 50
    All were at the west end of Phewa Tal near Pokhara.

  55. BRONZE-WINGED JACANA - Metopidius indicus - 6
    All were on the lake we went to by jeep at Chitwan NP. We had excellent views of a male and female in the scope in the afternoon.

  56. Greater Painted-Snipe - Rostratula benghalensis - 12
    Quite unexpected near the dam at Begnas Tal, where they were walking around in the open like "normal" shorebirds, not the skulkers they're known to be. A total of 11 was counted here, and there may have been more. A group of eight was approached closely and one photographed. One walked out onto the mudflat at the lake we went to by jeep at Chitwan NP. Without doubt our best views ever, since we only saw one flushing in The Gambia previously.

  57. Common Snipe (Fantail Snipe) - Gallinago gallinago - 12
    All were on the mudflat at the lake we went to by jeep at Chitwan NP.

  58. Jack Snipe - Lymnocryptes minimus - 4
    All were on the mudflat at the lake we went to by jeep at Chitwan NP, but only in the early morning. A lifer for Nancy, and only Allen's second sighting.

  59. Spotted Redshank - Tringa erythropus - 1
    Seen on a gravel bar in the Narayani River at Chitwan NP. A lifer for Nancy, and only Allen's second sighting.

  60. Common Greenshank - Tringa nebularia - 6
    All were along the Narayani River at Chitwan NP.

  61. Green Sandpiper - Tringa ochropus - 8
    All were at the lake we went to by jeep at Chitwan NP.

  62. Wood Sandpiper - Tringa glareola - 13
    Most were at the lake we went to by jeep at Chitwan NP, but three were at the fish ponds at Begnas Tal near Pokhara.

  63. Common Sandpiper - Tringa hypoleucos - 4
    All were along the Narayani River at Chitwan NP.

  64. TEMMINCK'S STINT - Calidris temminckii - 4
    All were on a sand bar along the Narayani River where we were stranded waiting for our ride back to Kathmandu. At least two seemed to be very nearly in full breeding plumage.

  65. SMALL PRATINCOLE - Glareola lactea - 21
    All were along the Narayani River at Chitwan NP, with most seen on our boat trip to look for Gharials. Their flight-style resembled American Golden-Plovers, or even Least Terns a bit.

  66. Little Ringed Plover - Charadrius dubius - 3
    All were on sand bars in the Narayani River at Chitwan NP. These were the first we've seen in breeding plumage, since our life looks were just last November in Japan.

  67. RED-WATTLED LAPWING - Vanellus indicus - 13
    A few were around Pokhara at various places, typically in rice paddies. Most were along the Narayani River in Chitwan NP and along the sandy roads near the beaches there.

  68. Rock Dove (Blue Rock Pigeon) - Columba livia - 300
    In towns and along roadsides throughout. Had we been able to do our trek, we may have had our best chance ever to see truly wild Rock Doves.

  69. ASHY WOOD-PIGEON - Columba pulchricollis - 2
    Seen as high flyovers at Shivapuri Reserve. Seen by Allen only.

  70. Oriental Turtle-Dove (Rufous Turtle-Dove) - Streptopelia orientalis - 6
    One seen well on Pulchowki Mtn. and the others seen briefly at Chitwan NP.

  71. Spotted Dove - Streptopelia chinensis - 205
    Seen in Bangkok and in most cities and along roads in Nepal. Very common at Chitwan NP.

  72. RED COLLARED DOVE (Red Turtle-Dove) - Streptopelia tranquebarica - 2
    One seen very well at the Rama Gardens Hotel in Bangkok. Surprisingly scarce at Chitwan NP, where we only saw one individual in flight.

  73. Eurasian Collared-Dove (Indian Ring Dove) - Streptopelia decaocto - 2
    Two pale doves that landed in distant trees, and were scoped, at the overlook at Temple Tiger Lodge were this species.

  74. Emerald Dove - Chalcophaps indica - 14
    Commonly heard around Temple Tiger Lodge, and several seen fairly well, though all were in flight.

  75. Zebra Dove - Geopelia striata - 3
    Seen at the Rama Gardens Hotel in Bangkok. Does not occur in Nepal.

  76. Orange-breasted Pigeon (Orange-breasted Green Pigeon) - Treron bicincta - 18
    The common green pigeon at Chitwan NP. Seen well perched in trees as well as in flight.

  77. POMPADOUR GREEN-PIGEON (Gray-fronted Green Pigeon) - Treron pompadora - 14
    Picked out of perched, mixed flocks with the previous species.

  78. ALEXANDRINE PARAKEET (Large Parakeet) - Psittacula eupatria - 25
    Fairly commonly encountered at Chitwan NP, and we even learned their calls which were loud and raucous, almost like a macaw.

  79. Rose-ringed Parakeet - Psittacula krameri - 70
    Appeared to be the most common parakeet at Chitwan NP. Also seen flying overhead one evening from the roof of our hotel in Kathmandu, and also along the road on our drive from Chitwan to Kathmandu.

  80. SLATY-HEADED PARAKEET - Psittacula himalayana - 7
    All were in one flock in the forest behind Fishtail Lodge. They perched briefly in nearby trees, allowing us good views.

  81. PLUM-HEADED PARAKEET (Blossom-headed Parakeet) - Psittacula cyanocephala - 60
    The first ones were as we neared Chitwan NP, and all the remainder were inside the park. The bird currently known as Blossom-headed Parakeet (P. roseata) apparently no longer occurs in Nepal.

  82. Red-breasted Parakeet (Rose-breasted Parakeet) - Psittacula alexandri - 35
    Seen only at Chitwan NP, where they were fairly common and sometimes easily distinguished by their more honking calls. Much better views than we had in Bali.

  83. LARGE HAWK-CUCKOO - Cuculus sparverioides - 5
    Heard giving its distinctive call at Pulchowki Mtn. and Nagarjung, but unfortunately not seen.

  84. COMMON HAWK-CUCKOO - Cuculus varius - 8
    The common "brain-fever bird" of Chitwan, where they were mostly heard giving their distinctive call. We saw one calling from a tall bare tree.

  85. LESSER CUCKOO (Small Cuckoo) - Cuculus poliocephalus - 2
    Heard only, at Shivapuri Reserve.

  86. Asian Koel (Koel Cuckoo) - Eudynamys scolopacea - 1
    A male seen in the dim morning light at the Rama Gardens Hotel in Bangkok. Also heard calling there all morning.

  87. GREEN-BILLED MALKOHA (Large Green-billed Malkoha) - Phaeniophaeus tristis - 1
    Seen in a treetop while we were on elephant-back at Chitwan NP.

  88. GREATER COUCAL (Large Coucal) - Centropus sinensis - 10
    Found only at Chitwan NP, where we frequently saw them at dawn and dusk calling from the tops of the elephant grass.

  89. MOUNTAIN SCOPS-OWL (Spotted Scops-Owl) - Otus spilocephalus - 1
    Heard calling as it neared dark at Shivapuri Reserve.

  90. ASIAN BARRED OWLET (Barred Owlet) - Glaucidium cuculoides - 6
    Seen well during late afternoon at Fishtail Lodge, and heard at Begnas Tal near Pokhara and at Temple Tiger Lodge.

  91. JUNGLE OWLET - Glaucidium radiatum - 4
    Heard at Temple Tiger Lodge, and seen in the open forest and grassland at Chitwan NP.

  92. SPOTTED OWLET - Athene brama - 1
    Pointed out to us by Hari at its day roost in a large tree in Pokhara.

  93. Brown Hawk-Owl - Ninox scutulata - 1
    Heard every evening around Temple Tiger Lodge, but never seen.

  94. JUNGLE NIGHTJAR - Caprimulgus indicus - 1
    Heard one evening from Temple Tiger Lodge.

  95. Large-tailed Nightjar (Long-tailed Nightjar) - Caprimulgus macrurus - 5
    Heard mainly around Temple Tiger Lodge, but also heard out in the grasslands as we returned late one afternoon/evening. The calls of this form are quite different from those on Flores, Indonesia.

  96. CRESTED TREESWIFT (Crested Swift) - Hemiprocne coronata - 3
    Seen flying from the overlook at Temple Tiger Lodge.

  97. FORK-TAILED SWIFT (Large White-rumped Swift) - - 1
    Seen only over the Rama Gardens Hotel in Bangkok.

  98. House Swift - Apus nipalensis - 320
    A few over Kathmandu and Pokhara. Most were seen at various areas along the roads from Pokhara to Chitwan and from Chitwan to Kathmandu.

  99. Common Kingfisher (Eurasian Kingfisher) - Alcedo atthis - 14
    Several were at Begnas Tal near Pokhara, and most were at Chitwan NP.

  100. STORK-BILLED KINGFISHER - Pelargopsis capensis - 8
    All were at various locations around Temple Tiger Lodge and Chitwan NP.

  101. WHITE-THROATED KINGFISHER (White-breasted Kingfisher) - Halcyon smyrnensis - 37
    First seen at Fishtail Lodge, then in several areas around Pokhara and Begnas Tal. Common along roadsides and especially common at Chitwan NP. One was even at the Kathmandu airport as we stood on the tarmac waiting for our Mt. Everest sightseeing flight to cancel.

  102. Pied Kingfisher (Small Pied Kingfisher) - Ceryle rudis - 6
    One was at Begnas Tal near Pokhara. All the others were at Chitwan NP.

  103. BLUE-BEARDED BEE-EATER - Nyctyornis athertoni - 1
    Heard giving its rasping call from a treetop at Chitwan NP. Unfortunately, our elephant wasn't as maneuverable as it needed to be for birding at that moment!

  104. GREEN BEE-EATER - Merops orientalis - 13
    All were in the grasslands at Chitwan NP.

  105. Blue-tailed Bee-eater - Merops philippinus - 1
    Seen along the river on our drive from Chitwan to Kathmandu.

  106. Chestnut-headed Bee-eater - Merops leschenaultii - 136
    One seen distantly in the hills southwest of Pokhara. All others were at Chitwan NP, through which they were apparently migrating. Fairly tame around Temple Tiger Lodge.

  107. INDIAN ROLLER - Coracias benghalensis - 17
    The first was near Pokhara and a couple of others were along the road to Chitwan and to Kathmandu. All others were at Chitwan NP.

  108. Dollarbird (Dark Roller) - Eurystomus orientalis - 1
    Seen briefly in flight at the Godaveri Botanical Gardens.

  109. Eurasian Hoopoe - Upupa epops - 1
    Seen briefly as it flew up and landed on a tree stump ahead of us along the road at Chitwan NP.

  110. ORIENTAL PIED-HORNBILL (Pied Hornbill) - Anthracoceros albirostris - 30
    Seen only in Sal forest at Chitwan NP on two different days in two different flocks.

  111. GREAT BARBET (Great Himalayan Barbet) - Megalaima virens - 10
    Several were heard at Pulchowki Mtn. and Nagarjung, but were at least 100 meters upslope from us. Two or three visited the gardens of Fishtail Lodge and were easy to see.

  112. Lineated Barbet - Megalaima lineata - 8
    All were at Chitwan NP, and most were heard. Only one was seen briefly.

  113. GOLDEN-THROATED BARBET - Megalaima franklinii - 12
    Most were heard on Pulchowki Mtn. A couple were at Nagarjung, with one glimpsed briefly in a treetop. One was on the hill near Khare and one was heard at the Kathmandu airport.

  114. BLUE-THROATED BARBET - Megalaima asiatica - 4
    Two frequented the gardens at Fishtail Lodge where we had excellent views. Others were heard at Begnas Tal and at Chitwan NP.

  115. Coppersmith Barbet (Crimson-breasted Barbet) - Megalaima haemacephala - 2
    Heard calling at Chitwan NP.

  116. EURASIAN WRYNECK - Jynx torquilla - 3
    The first one was in a small bare tree near Begnas Tal and the others were in similar situations at Chitwan NP.

  117. SPECKLED PICULET (Spotted Piculet) - Picumnus innominatus - 1
    Excellent views in a vine tangle near an open area at Nagarjung.

  118. GRAY-CAPPED WOODPECKER (Gray-crowned Pygmy Woodpecker) - Dendrocopos canicapillus - 8
    This tiny woodpecker was seen only at Chitwan NP.

  119. Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker (Fulvous-breasted Pied Woodpecker) - Dendrocopos macei - 10
    One was seen well in the gardens at Fishtail Lodge. All the others were seen at Chitwan NP.

  120. RUFOUS-BELLIED WOODPECKER (Rufous-bellied Sapsucker) - Dendrocopos hyperythrus - 1
    Good view at Pulchowki Mtn.

  121. RUFOUS WOODPECKER (Brown Woodpecker) - Celeus brachyurus - 2
    Both were seen together near Temple Tiger Lodge working on a termite nest high in a tree in the Sal forest.

  122. GREATER YELLOWNAPE (Large Yellow-naped Woodpecker) - Picus flavinucha - 8
    First seen in the forest near Fishtail Lodge and later seen from the lodge grounds. A few were seen well at Chitwan NP.

  123. STREAK-THROATED WOODPECKER (Small Scaly-bellied Woodpecker) - Picus xanthopygaeus - 5
    The first one flew right in front of us at the overlook at Temple Tiger Lodge. The others were seen well in the Sal forest nearby.

  124. GRAY-HEADED WOODPECKER (Black-naped Woodpecker) - Picus canus - 3
    One seen briefly, but well, in the forest near Fishtail Lodge. Two were seen well in the Sal forest at Chitwan NP.

  125. HIMALAYAN FLAMEBACK (Three-toed Golden-backed Woodpecker) - Dinopium shorii - 8
    Flying around in noisy flocks in the Sal forest at Temple Tiger Lodge.

  126. GREATER FLAMEBACK (Large Golden-backed Woodpecker) - Chrysocolaptes lucidus - 2
    Seen around the buildings at Temple Tiger Lodge.

  127. GREAT SLATY WOODPECKER - Mulleripicus pulverulentus - 4
    All were together in a loose group in the Sal forest near Temple Tiger Lodge.

  128. WHITE-THROATED FANTAIL (White-throated Fantail Flycatcher) - Rhipidura albicollis - 13
    All were around Temple Tiger Lodge and at Chitwan NP, mostly located by its high-pitched "happy" song.

  129. Pied Fantail - Rhipidura javanica - 2
    Seen at the Rama Gardens Hotel in Bangkok. Does not occur in Nepal.

  130. Black Drongo - Dicrurus macrocercus - 75
    Common in open country throughout. Even a few seen within the boundaries of Kathmandu.

  131. Ashy Drongo - Dicrurus leucophaeus - 2
    Seen well, in the same tree, at the lower elevations of Pulchowki Mtn.

  132. WHITE-BELLIED DRONGO - Dicrurus caerulescens - 1
    Seen briefly by Allen in the Sal forest near Temple Tiger Lodge.

  133. CROW-BILLED DRONGO - Dicrurus annectans - 4
    Seen first around Temple Tiger Lodge, then in Chitwan NP. Apparently an early-arriving summer resident.

  134. BRONZED DRONGO (Little Bronzed Drongo) - Dicrurus aeneus - 2
    One was heard in the forest behind Fishtail Lodge, and one was seen in the Sal forest near Temple Tiger Lodge.

  135. HAIR-CRESTED DRONGO - Dicrurus hottentotus - 20
    Several frequented the gardens and the forest behind Fishtail Lodge. A few were in the Pokhara area, and several were at Chitwan NP.

  136. Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Large Racket-tailed Drongo) - Dicrurus paradiseus - 3
    All were in the Sal forest near Temple Tiger Lodge, where we had much better views than we had in Bali. One bird perched in the open at eye-level, allowing prolonged views and photos. Reminiscent of a Bird-of-Paradise.

  137. BLUE MAGPIE (Red-billed Blue Magpie) - Urocissa erythrorhyncha - 13
    The first group of seven was seen well at Nagarjung, and the second group of six was on the edge of the forest behind Fishtail Lodge. A very elegant bird.

  138. GREEN MAGPIE - Cissa chinensis - 4
    Seen well on the edge of the forest and in the gardens from Fishtail Lodge, as well as in the forest behind the lodge. This was the most unexpected bonus bird of our redirection to the Pokhara area. We thought the species occurred in Nepal only in the Churia Hills of Chitwan NP.

  139. RUFOUS TREEPIE (Indian Tree Pie) - Dendrocitta vagabunda - 3
    Seen on only one day at Chitwan NP. Good views.

  140. GRAY TREEPIE (Himalayan Tree Pie) - Dendrocitta formosae - 64
    First found in the forest near Fishtail Lodge, then found to be quite numerous and conspicuous in the gardens of the lodge. Also seen at other places, only in the Pokhara area, including at Khare and Begnas Tal.

  141. HOUSE CROW - Corvus splendens - 3000
    Very common around Kathmandu, as we discovered when we watched everything coming in to roost from the top of our hotel. Also in virtually every open area and along roadsides throughout.

  142. Large-billed Crow (Jungle Crow) - Corvus macrorhynchos - 33
    Not as common as we expected. One was at the Rama Gardens Hotel in Bangkok. In Nepal, occasional individuals were noted among flocks of House Crows but mainly in rural areas, not in cities. Not in forest either as its alternate name suggests.

  143. Common Iora - Aegithina tiphia - 12
    One was at the Rama Gardens Hotel in Bangkok. All others were around the Temple Tiger Lodge and Chitwan NP.

  144. Black-naped Oriole - Oriolus chinensis - 1
    Seen at the Rama Gardens Hotel in Bangkok. A rare bird in Nepal.

  145. BLACK-HOODED ORIOLE (Black-headed Oriole) - Oriolus xanthornus - 12
    Found only at Chitwan NP and around Temple Tiger Lodge where it was frequently heard and occasionally seen.

  146. MAROON ORIOLE - Oriolus traillii - 14
    Two juveniles were seen on Pulchowki Mtn. All the rest were seen around Fishtail Lodge and in the forest behind the lodge where it seemed surprisingly common. One even came into the garden one morning.

  147. LARGE CUCKOO-SHRIKE - Coracina macei - 2
    Seen in a small tree from the jeep in Chitwan NP.

  148. ROSY MINIVET - Pericrocotus roseus - 10
    A single flock moved through the treetops at Temple Tiger Lodge briefly one afternoon. Possibly migrants.

  149. LONG-TAILED MINIVET - Pericrocotus ethologus - 3
    Seen near the top of the hill near Khare on our walk with Hari.

  150. Scarlet Minivet - Pericrocotus flammeus - 32
    Two were at the Godaveri Botanical Gardens, and all the rest were around Temple Tiger Lodge and Chitwan NP where there appeared to be small migrating flocks.

  151. BAR-WINGED FLYCATCHER-SHRIKE (Pied Wood-Shrike) - Hemipus picatus - 1
    Seen briefly in shrubbery along a bluff near Temple Tiger Lodge.

  152. GOLDEN-FRONTED LEAFBIRD - Chloropsis aurifrons - 2
    One heard, then one seen briefly in the treetops, right over our cabin at Temple Tiger Lodge.

  153. ORANGE-BELLIED LEAFBIRD - Chloropsis hardwickii - 2
    Heard only in the forest behind Fishtail Lodge, and subsequently from the lodge as well.

  154. BROWN SHRIKE - Lanius cristatus - 1
    Seen sitting on a wire by Allen near Gaindakut on our drive from Chitwan to Kathmandu.

  155. BAY-BACKED SHRIKE - Lanius vittatus - 1
    Seen in undergrowth on the edge of the forest behind Fishtail Lodge.

  156. Long-tailed Shrike (Black-headed Shrike) - Lanius schach - 22
    About equal numbers around Pokhara, Chitwan NP, and the drive to Chitwan.

  157. BLUE WHISTLING-THRUSH (Whistling Thrush) - Myiophonus caeruleus - 11
    Most were in the forest behind Fishtail Lodge, where it seemed surprisingly common. Also found on the hill near Khare, and one flew across the road on our drive from Chitwan to Kathmandu.

  158. SCALY THRUSH (Speckled Mountain Thrush) - Zoothera dauma - 9
    Two were at Nagarjung and the rest were in the forest behind Fishtail Lodge, and appeared to be flocking as migrants.

  159. GRAY-WINGED BLACKBIRD - Turdus boulboul - 2
    Both were together in the forest at Nagarjung.

  160. CHESTNUT THRUSH (Gray-headed Thrush) - Turdus rubrocanus - 1
    Seen as it flew up from the road, then perched motionless in a tree for good views at Nagarjung. The illustration in the Nepal field guide doesn't show the race (gouldii) that occurs in Nepal, which has a very dark gray head and neck, contrasting little with the chestnut body.

  161. DARK-THROATED THRUSH (Black/Red-throated Thrush) - - 3
    One immature female was seen at the Godaveri Botanical Gardens, and adult females were seen at Khare and at Fishtail Lodge. The form that is most common in Nepal is apparently the black-throated form, but we never saw an adult male.

  162. SPOT-WINGED STARLING (Spot-winged Stare) - Saroglossa spiloptera - 15
    Seen during our first afternoon/evening walk at Chitwan NP, where they were with hundreds of other starlings and mynas staging in bare trees before going to roost in the elephant grass.

  163. CHESTNUT-TAILED STARLING (Gray-headed Myna) - Sturnus malabaricus - 500
    Common in the flowering trees on the road to the river leading to Fishtail Lodge. Very common at Chitwan NP, but only seen in the late afternoon when the starlings and mynas were staging in bare trees.

  164. White-cheeked Starling - Sturnus cineraceus - 15
    Seen from the plane in a tree adjacent to the runway at Narita airport in Tokyo. Does not occur in Nepal.

  165. ASIAN PIED STARLING (Pied Myna) - Sturnus contra - 1
    Seen briefly along the road from Chitwan to Kathmandu near Gaindakut.

  166. BLACK-COLLARED STARLING - Sturnus nigricollis - 1
    A large, attractive, black, white, and yellow starling seen only at the Rama Gardens Hotel in Bangkok. Does not occur in Nepal.

  167. Common Myna - Acridotheres tristis - 1100
    Abundant virtually everywhere in Bangkok and Nepal. This is the first time we've encountered wild individuals of this species. We've seen them previously in Australia where they've been introduced.

  168. BANK MYNA - Acridotheres ginginianus - 150
    First seen in Pokhara and at Begnas Tal. A few were seen along the road from Pokhara to Chitwan. Most were at Chitwan NP where they were most often in the starling and myna flocks coming in to roost.

  169. JUNGLE MYNA - Acridotheres fuscus - 1000
    First seen at Begnas Tal, and a couple in Pokhara later. A few were along the road from Pokhara to Chitwan. Most were at Chitwan NP, where it was the most abundant myna in the flocks coming in to roost.

  170. WHITE-VENTED MYNA - Acridotheres grandis - 5
    Seen on wires along the highway to and from the airport in Bangkok. Does not occur in Nepal.

  171. Hill Myna (Talking Myna) - Gracula religiosa - 4
    Heard calling from the treetops at Temple Tiger Lodge.

    Myna sp. - Acridotheres sp. - 2000
    There were so many mynas coming in to roost each evening at Chitwan NP that we couldn't identify them all.

  172. DARK-SIDED FLYCATCHER (Sooty Flycatcher) - Muscicapa sibirica - 1
    Seen well in the gardens at Fishtail Lodge.

  173. ASIAN BROWN FLYCATCHER (Brown Flycatcher) - Muscicapa dauurica - 1
    Seen well in scrub northwest of Phewa Tal near Pokhara.

  174. RUSTY-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Rufous-tailed Flycatcher) - - 2
    One was seen well in scrub on the outskirts of Pokhara and one was seen very well at Temple Tiger Lodge.

  175. FERRUGINOUS FLYCATCHER - Muscicapa ferruginea - 1
    Good views in the garden at Fishtail Lodge.

  176. RED-THROATED FLYCATCHER (Red-breasted Flycatcher) - Ficedula parva - 2
    One was seen well in a brush pile on the outskirts of Fishtail Lodge and the other was seen well in an open area near the dam at Begnas Tal, both near Pokhara.

  177. VERDITER FLYCATCHER - Eumyias thalassina - 6
    One was seen well on Pulchowki Mtn. All others were on the hill near Khare west of Pokhara.

  178. SMALL NILTAVA - Niltava macgregoriae - 1
    Heard, and glimpsed very briefly, in trailside brush on the hill near Khare.

  179. RUFOUS-BELLIED NILTAVA (Beautiful Niltava) - Niltava sundara - 1
    Seen briefly, but well, in low shrubbery in the gardens at Fishtail Lodge.

  180. TICKELL'S BLUE FLYCATCHER - Cyornis tickelliae - 1
    A female seen at close range at the Rama Gardens Hotel in Bangkok. Apparently, the race found in Thailand is different from the race in the Indian Subcontinent. Females shown in the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent do not resemble the bird we saw, but the plate in Ben King's Birds of Southeast Asia, and the descriptive text are very convincing.

  181. Gray-headed Canary-Flycatcher (Gray-headed Flycatcher) - Culicicapa ceylonensis - 7
    A couple were around the gardens at Fishtail Lodge. Several were on the hill near Khare.

  182. Oriental Magpie-Robin (Robin Dayal) - Copsychus saularis - 40
    Several on the grounds of the Rama Gardens Hotel in Bangkok gave us good looks (much better than the one we saw in Bali). Commonly encountered throughout Nepal, with a few even in the center of Kathmandu.

  183. White-rumped Shama (Shama) - Copsychus malabaricus - 10
    A few were seen fairly well in the forest behind Fishtail Lodge. All others were heard and glimpsed at Chitwan NP. This is the first time we've encountered wild individuals of this species. We've seen them previously in Hawaii.

  184. BLUE-CAPPED REDSTART (Blue-headed Redstart) - Phoenicurus caeruleocephalus - 1
    Seen briefly on the hill near Khare.

  185. BLUE-FRONTED REDSTART - Phoenicurus frontalis - 2
    The one at the Godaveri Botanical Gardens gave us good views, while one at Nagarjung was less cooperative. Not shown well in Birds of Nepal, as this species is a beautiful sky-blue above with peach-colored underparts.

  186. WHITE-CAPPED REDSTART (White-capped River Chat) - Chaimarrornis leucocephalus - 1
    Seen in the river where we crossed the swinging bridge from Pokhara into the forest behind Fishtail Lodge.

  187. PLUMBEOUS REDSTART - Rhyacornis fuliginosus - 1
    Seen in the river near Pokhara with the previous species.

  188. WHITE-THROATED BUSHCHAT (Hodgson's Bush Chat) - Saxicola insignis - 8
    All were in the open areas around Begnas Tal, along with the following three species. This species isn't supposed to be common anywhere in Nepal, so it is likely these were migrants.

  189. SIBERIAN STONECHAT (Collared Bush Chat) - Saxicola maura - 25
    One was in a brushpile near Fishtail Lodge. There were at least ten at Begnas Tal in the open areas. Most were in the grasslands at Chitwan NP. Recently split from Common Stonechat.

  190. WHITE-TAILED STONECHAT (White-tailed Bush Chat) - Saxicola leucura - 6
    We had to look at every stonechat carefully, and hope it either flicked its tail open or flew to be identified as this species. We found the first one in a rice paddy northwest of Phewa Tal. There were at least two at Begnas Tal also. Others were at Chitwan NP.

  191. Pied Bushchat - Saxicola caprata - 20
    One was northwest of Phewa Tal. There were - - 7-8 at Begnas Tal in the open areas with the other chats. Most common in the grasslands at Chitwan NP.

  192. GRAY BUSHCHAT (Dark-gray Bush Chat) - Saxicola ferrea - 1
    Seen singing in a tree at the summit of the hill near Khare. This is the only case we noticed where the illustration in Birds of Nepal was better than in Birds of the Indian Subcontinent, probably because the breeding plumage is portrayed in the former and winter plumage in the latter.

  193. CHESTNUT-BELLIED NUTHATCH - Sitta castanea - 25
    Once we learned its call, we found it to be very common in the Sal forest at Chitwan NP.

    Two were on Pulchowki Mtn. and one was at Nagarjung. Three were on the hill near Khare.

  195. VELVET-FRONTED NUTHATCH - Sitta frontalis - 5
    A couple frequented the forest near Fishtail Lodge and were easily seen from the grounds. Three were seen in the Sal forest around Temple Tiger Lodge.

  196. BLACK-THROATED TIT (Red-headed Tit) - Aegithalos concinnus - 20
    All were on Pulchowki Mtn., including at the summit.

  197. Sand Martin (Bank Swallow) (Collared Sand Martin) - Riparia riparia - 15
    A few near Khairani on the drive from Pokhara, and a few at Chitwan NP were apparently migrants.

  198. PLAIN MARTIN (Sand Martin) - Riparia paludicola - 700
    First seen over fields and rice paddies northwest of Phewa Tal. Also seen at Khare and Begnas Tal in the Pokhara area. Common along the Narayani River at Chitwan NP.

  199. Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica - 175
    Common in open areas throughout.

  200. Red-rumped Swallow - Hirundo daurica - 34
    Small migrating flocks were encountered at Nagarjung, Pokhara, and Begnas Tal.

  201. Asian Martin (Eurasian House Martin) - Delichon dasypus - 47
    Apparent migrants were found at Pokhara and along the roads from there to Chitwan and from Chitwan to Kathmandu.

  202. BLACK-CRESTED BULBUL (Black-headed Yellow Bulbul) - Pycnonotus melanicterus - 10
    Seen well in low shrubbery at the overlook at Temple Tiger Lodge and in the nearby Sal forest.

  203. Red-whiskered Bulbul - Pycnonotus jocosus - 10
    Seen in shrubbery and elephant grass at Temple Tiger Lodge and Chitwan NP. This is the first time we've encountered wild individuals of this species. We've seen them previously in Florida.

  204. HIMALAYAN BULBUL (White-cheeked Bulbul) - Pycnonotus leucogenys - 53
    First heard at Shivapuri Reserve, where they were strangely elusive, and seen well the next day on Pulchowki Mtn. where it was most common. Also fairly common around Pokhara, including on the grounds of Fishtail Lodge. A couple were seen at and near Chitwan NP, but this species is much less common in the lowlands. Using Birds of Nepal, it would be easy to mis-identify juvenile Red-whiskered Bulbuls as "White-cheeked," or Himalayan Bulbuls, since the rendition of this species isn't accurate, and the juvenile Red-whiskered isn't illustrated.

  205. Red-vented Bulbul - Pycnonotus cafer - 260
    The only ones we found above 2000 feet were five at Pulchowki Mtn. This species was very common at Pokhara, along the roads, and particularly at Chitwan NP. This is the first time we've encountered wild individuals of this species. We've seen them previously in Hawaii.

  206. Yellow-vented Bulbul - Pycnonotus goiaver - 1
    Seen at the Rama Gardens Hotel in Bangkok. This species does not occur in Nepal.

  207. STREAK-EARED BULBUL - Pycnonotus blanfordi - 20
    Seen at the Rama Gardens Hotel, where they were apparently feeding recently-fledged young (which were very confusing in appearance). This species does not occur in Nepal.

  208. ASHY BULBUL (Brown-eared Bulbul) - Hemixos flavala - 2
    Good looks in the forest near Fishtail Lodge near Pokhara. This species is obviously not the same Brown-eared Bulbul that we saw last November in Japan.

  209. MOUNTAIN BULBUL (Rufous-bellied Bulbul) - Hypsipetes mcclellandii - 15
    All were on the hill near Khare, where they were seen in two noisy groups. They reminded us a little bit of Great Crested Flycatchers.

  210. BLACK BULBUL (Gray Bulbul) - Hypsipetes leucocephalus - 12
    Two were seen well at Nagarjung. Several were on the hill near Khare, and a couple were at Chitwan NP.

  211. Oriental White-eye (White-eye) - Zosterops palpebrosus - 15
    Most were on the grounds of Fishtail Lodge, but a couple were found near Khare and a couple were found at Chitwan NP.

  212. HILL PRINIA (Black-throated Hill Prinia) - Prinia atrogularis - 1
    Seen singing from a distant shrub-top near Khare.

  213. YELLOW-BELLIED PRINIA - Prinia flaviventris - 1
    Seen briefly by Allen as it flushed in front of our jeep at Chitwan NP.

  214. ASHY PRINIA - Prinia socialis - 10
    Seen repeatedly, but always briefly, flushing out of the elephant grass at Chitwan NP.

  215. PLAIN PRINIA - Prinia inornata - 1
    Seen briefly, but well, by Allen at the Rama Gardens Hotel in Bangkok.

  216. CHESTNUT-HEADED TESIA (Chestnut-headed Ground Warbler) - Tesia castaneocoronata - 1
    Heard giving its distinctive song and calls at Shivapuri Reserve.

  217. ABERRANT BUSH-WARBLER - Cettia flavolivacea - 3
    One was in a small, isolated shrub in an open area at Begnas Tal, and the other two were at Chitwan NP. Apparently this is the aberrant member of the group because it actually has a tinge of color (yellow) and is not too difficult to see!

  218. GRAY-SIDED BUSH-WARBLER (Rufous-capped Bush Warbler) - Cettia brunnifrons - 6
    Seen, and mostly heard, only at Shivapuri Reserve.

  219. BLYTH'S REED-WARBLER - Acrocephalus dumetorum - 1
    Seen twice briefly by Allen in a brush pile we could see over the wall of Fishtail Lodge.

  220. COMMON TAILORBIRD (Tailor Bird) - Orthotomus sutorius - 34
    Common around Fishtail Lodge, where they were extremely confiding. Also common in most other areas around Pokhara. A few were found at Chitwan NP, and there was one at the Kathmandu airport on our last day.

  221. Common Chiffchaff (Brown Leaf Warbler) - Phylloscopus collybita - 3
    Two were at Godaveri Botanical Gardens and one was on the grounds of Fishtail Lodge.

  222. TICKELL'S LEAF-WARBLER - Phylloscopus affinis - 12
    One of the easier species of Phylloscopus to identify due to its buffy-yellow coloration. Seen on Pulchowki Mtn., Godaveri Botanical Gardens, Nagarjung, and Khare.

  223. BUFF-BARRED WARBLER (Orange-barred Leaf Warbler) - Phylloscopus pulcher - 9
    Another fairly easy one to ID, with its distinct broad buffy wing bar and yellowish underparts. Seen at Pulchowki Mtn., Godaveri Botanical Gardens, and Nagarjung.

  224. ASHY-THROATED WARBLER (Gray-faced Leaf Warbler) - Phylloscopus maculipennis - 11
    This species has a distinct gray throat contrasting with yellowish breast and belly. Seen at Shivapuri Reserve, Pulchowki Mtn., Godaveri Botanical Gardens, and Nagarjung.

  225. LEMON-RUMPED WARBLER (Yellow-rumped Leaf Warbler) - Phylloscopus proregulus - 2
    This species has the brightest yellow rump of any of the more boldly marked Phylloscopus occurring in Nepal. One was seen at Shivapuri Reserve by Allen and the other was at Chitwan NP.

  226. Inornate Warbler (Plain Leaf Warbler) - Phylloscopus inornatus - 10
    An unfairly-named species, not because it isn't nondescript, but because there are many others in the genus that are equally deserving of the name. Seen at Godaveri Botanical Gardens, Nagarjung, and Chitwan NP.

  227. GREENISH WARBLER (Dull Green Leaf Warbler) - Phylloscopus trochiloides - 30
    First seen at Fishtail Lodge, and common all around Pokhara where, in fact, it was the most common of its genus. Also common at Chitwan NP. This species seems poorly named, as it is much more grayish than several other more greenish Phylloscopus.

  228. LARGE-BILLED LEAF-WARBLER - Phylloscopus magnirostris - 1
    We got a good look at the largish bill with pale lower mandible that helps identify this species. It was found in the Sal forest near Temple Tiger Lodge.

  229. WESTERN CROWNED WARBLER (Large Crowned Leaf Warbler) - Phylloscopus occipitalis - 23
    Once we learned its song, we realized it was quite common on Pulchowki Mtn. A few were also at Nagarjung.

  230. EASTERN CROWNED WARBLER - Phylloscopus coronatus - 1
    A fairly well-marked and well-seen individual at the Rama Gardens Hotel in Bangkok. This species does not occur in Nepal.

  231. BLYTH'S LEAF-WARBLER (Crowned Leaf Warbler) - Phylloscopus reguloides - 6
    When they provided the opportunity, their dark bar between the two whitish wing bars, allowed fairly certain identification. Seen at the Godaveri Botanical Gardens, Nagarjung, and Chitwan NP.

    Phylloscopus sp. - 500+
    Clearly there was a significant migration of this genus through the Kathmandu Valley and other lowland areas. Most of the birds we saw were either too high in the trees, were moving too fast with flicking wings, kept hiding behind leaves and branches, or all three.

  232. GOLDEN-SPECTACLED WARBLER (Yellow-eyed Warbler) - Seicercus burkii - 1
    Seen well in the forest near Fishtail Lodge.

  233. GRAY-HOODED WARBLER (Gray-headed Warbler) - - 7
    Allen saw the first one at Shivapuri Reserve. There were two on Pulchowki Mtn. the next day, and four were found on the hill near Khare.

  234. GRAY-CHEEKED WARBLER - Seicercus poliogenys - 1
    Seen well on Pulchowki Mtn.

  235. CHESTNUT-CROWNED WARBLER - Seicercus castaniceps - 1
    Seen well on Pulchowki Mtn.

  236. BLACK-FACED WARBLER - Abroscopus schisticeps - 1
    Seen well on Pulchowki Mtn. as it flew out, tyrannid-like, from a low bare shrub.

  237. YELLOW-BELLIED WARBLER - Abroscopus superciliaris - 10
    We had good views of one near the top of Pulchowki Mtn. This species is distinctive with its whitish throat and yellow breast and belly. Once we learned the call by watching this one singing, we located several more. Not supposed to be this common on Pulchowki, so they were probably migrants.

  238. WHITE-THROATED LAUGHINGTHRUSH - Garrulax albogularis - 35
    The most common laughingthrush on Pulchowki Mtn. Two different, noisy flocks were located.

  239. WHITE-CRESTED LAUGHINGTHRUSH - Garrulax leucolophus - 17
    A substantial flock was seen well at Nagarjung, and a pair was seen on the hill near Khare.

  240. STRIATED LAUGHINGTHRUSH - Garrulax striatus - 3
    All were on the lower slopes of Pulchowki Mtn., where they were quite vocal early in the morning, calling visibly from the treetops.

    Seen briefly by Allen as they were skulking in the undergrowth on Pulchowki Mtn.

  242. STREAKED LAUGHINGTHRUSH - Garrulax lineatus - 3
    One was creeping on the ground in the undergrowth next to the road at Shivapuri Reserve, just like the field guides say! Two others were in a rural garden at the same place.

  243. PUFF-THROATED BABBLER (Spotted Babbler) - Pellorneum ruficeps - 13
    Fairly common, but difficult to observe at first at Chitwan NP, as they preferred feeding on the ground in thick undergrowth. The cheerful song was only heard once.

  244. RUSTY-CHEEKED SCIMITAR-BABBLER - Pomatorhinus erythrogenys - 4
    Heard duetting at Shivapuri Reserve and at Nagarjung.

  245. SCALY-BREASTED WREN-BABBLER - Pnoepyga albiventer - 4
    Heard calling from the forest behind Fishtail Lodge.

  246. STRIPED TIT-BABBLER (Yellow-breasted Babbler) - Macronous gularis - 1
    Seen well in the gardens just outside our cabin at Temple Tiger Lodge.

  247. CHESTNUT-CAPPED BABBLER (Red-capped Babbler) - Timalia pileata - 15
    Fairly common in the grasslands and scrub at Chitwan NP.

  248. STRIATED BABBLER - Turdoides earlei - 10
    Fairly frequently seen in the grasslands at Chitwan NP.

  249. JUNGLE BABBLER - Turdoides striatus - 8
    All were in one flock in a shrubby area along the road at Chitwan NP.

  250. WHITE-BROWED SHRIKE-BABBLER (Red-winged Shrike Babbler) - Pteruthius flaviscapis - 1
    One heard giving a song like a White-eyed Vireo, then the bird appeared briefly in a vine tangle, on Pulchowki Mtn.

  251. HOARY-THROATED BARWING (Hoary Barwing) - Actinodura nipalensis - 4
    In trailside dense scrub on the hill near Khare.

  252. RED-TAILED MINLA - Minla ignotincta - 3
    Heard giving its distinctive song on Pulchowki Mtn.

  253. RUFOUS SIBIA (Black-capped Sibia) - Heterophasia capistrata - 40
    Most were in several flocks on Pulchowki Mtn., but a few were also on the hill near Khare.

  254. WHISKERED YUHINA (Yellow-naped Yuhina) - Yuhina flavicollis - 7
    A flock of four was on Pulchowki Mtn. and a flock of three was on the hill near Khare.

  255. WHITE-BELLIED YUHINA - Yuhina zantholeuca - 10
    Five were in one flock at Nagarjung, and the rest were in two groups at Chitwan NP.

  256. Great Tit (Gray Tit) - - 20
    Fairly common at Fishtail Lodge, near Khare, Begnas Tal, and at Chitwan NP.

  257. GREEN-BACKED TIT - Parus monticolus - 19
    Most common on Pulchowki Mtn. Also seen at Godaveri Botanical Gardens, Nagarjung, and the hill near Khare.

  258. BLACK-LORED TIT (Yellow-cheeked Tit) - Parus xanthogenys - 70
    Common in higher elevation forests, including all areas around Kathmandu, as well as at Fishtail Lodge and surrounding forested areas.

  259. YELLOW-BROWED TIT - Parus modestus - 3
    Seen in the only substantial mixed-species flock we encountered on Pulchowki Mtn.

  260. SAND LARK - Calandrella raytal - 15
    All were seen on the beaches of the Narayani River at Chitwan NP.

  261. House Sparrow - Passer domesticus - 30
    A few with the abundant Eurasian Tree Sparrows in Pokhara, Begnas Tal, and Kathmandu.

  262. RUSSET SPARROW (Cinnamon Sparrow) - Passer rutilans - 3
    Hanging around with Eurasian Tree Sparrows among the buildings in the town of Khare.

  263. PLAIN-BACKED SPARROW - Passer flaveolus - 10
    Mixed in with the Eurasian Tree Sparrows at the Rama Gardens Hotel in Bangkok. This species does not occur in Nepal.

  264. Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Tree Sparrow) - Passer montanus - 750
    Common in all urban, rural, and open areas throughout.

  265. WHITE-RUMPED MUNIA (Sharp-tailed Munia) - Lonchura striata - 1
    Seen in a brush pile just outside the wall at Fishtail Lodge.

  266. Scaly-breasted Munia (Spotted Munia) - Lonchura punctulata - 30
    All were in one flock in the grasslands of Chitwan NP.

  267. Black-backed Wagtail (Pied Wagtail) - Motacilla lugens - 40
    The only birds we saw were of the Himalayan resident race alboides, which seemed to be in breeding plumage, and which had all-black backs (not matching any illustration in Birds of Nepal, however, but matching that in Birds of the Indian Subcontinent). It is our assumption that this race has been assigned to Black-backed Wagtail in the recent split, and not to White or Pied Wagtail of farther west. A good number were seen at the fish ponds at Begnas Tal. Most were encountered at Chitwan NP.

  268. WHITE-BROWED WAGTAIL (Large Pied Wagtail) - Motacilla madaraspatensis - 7
    Two seemed to be building a nest on top of the restaurant (out of view) at Fishtail Lodge. Also seen at Begnas Tal and Chitwan NP.

  269. YELLOW-HOODED WAGTAIL (Yellow-headed Wagtail) - Motacilla citreola - 5
    Most were at the fish ponds at Begnas Tal, some molting into breeding plumage. One was at the lake at Chitwan NP. Sometimes known as Citrine Wagtail.

  270. Gray Wagtail - Motacilla cinerea - 8
    Most were at Fishtail Lodge and Begnas Tal. One was at the lower end of the trail up the hill near Khare.

  271. RICHARD'S PIPIT (Paddyfield Pipit) - Anthus richardi - 1
    Seen in the rice paddies northwest of Phewa Tal near Pokhara.

  272. Paddyfield Pipit - Anthus rufulus - 5
    Two were near Begnas Tal and three were in rice paddies near Pokhara.

  273. BLYTH'S PIPIT - Anthus godlewskii - 4
    All were in the rice paddies at the northwest end of Phewa Tal near Pokhara.

  274. Olive-backed Pipit (Hodgson's Tree Pipit) - Anthus hodgsoni - 16
    Most were in the park-like areas of the Godaveri Botanical Gardens. A few were near the top of the hill near Khare.

  275. Red-throated Pipit - Anthus cervinus - 3
    Still in winter plumage, one was at Begnas Tal and two were in rice paddies southwest of Pokhara. A lifer for Nancy and a much better look for Allen than he had in Japan last November.

  276. ROSY PIPIT (Rose-breasted Pipit) - Anthus roseatus - 3
    All were in the rice paddies northwest of Phewa Tal near Pokhara, with one coming into breeding plumage.

  277. RUFOUS-BREASTED ACCENTOR - Prunella strophiata - 1
    Flushed into view on top of a small shrub near the top of the hill near Khare. A very cooperative bird.

  278. FIRE-BREASTED FLOWERPECKER - Dicaeum ignipectus - 24
    Most were on Pulchowki Mtn. with a few at the Godaveri Botanical Gardens. Several brilliant males were seen.

  279. Olive-backed Sunbird - Nectarinia jugularis - 4
    All were at the Rama Gardens Hotel in Bangkok. This species does not occur in Nepal.

  280. PURPLE SUNBIRD - Nectarinia asiatica - 8
    All were seen at Chitwan NP. Several males were very cooperative. The song sounds a lot like an American Goldfinch.

  281. GOULD'S SUNBIRD (Mrs. Gould's Sunbird) - Aethopyga gouldiae - 1
    Seen briefly but well on the hill near Khare.

  282. GREEN-TAILED SUNBIRD (Nepal Sunbird) - Aethopyga nipalensis - 2
    A male and female provided good views, and an opportunity to tape their calls, at Pulchowki Mtn.

  283. BLACK-THROATED SUNBIRD (Black-breasted Sunbird) - Aethopyga saturata - 3
    A male and two females seen briefly near the top of the hill near Khare.

  284. CRIMSON SUNBIRD (Scarlet-breasted Sunbird) - Aethopyga siparaja - 2
    A female seen well on Pulchowki Mtn. and a male seen briefly by Allen in the gardens of Fishtail Lodge.

  285. FIRE-TAILED SUNBIRD - Aethopyga ignicauda - 2
    A male and female seen well on Pulchowki Mtn.

  286. YELLOW-BREASTED BUNTING - Emberiza aureola - 35
    A flock in a rice paddy, planted with wheat, near Begnas Tal. Many individuals in the flock appeared to be males very near full breeding plumage.

Amphibians & Reptiles

An extremely helpful book was Herpetology of China by Er-mi Zhao and Kraig Adler, 1993, although it was too big to bring along. Color scans of relevant species were brought along instead. The snake was identified using Living Snakes of the World in Color by John M. Mehrtens, 1987.

Several species of unidentified frogs were heard calling at Chitwan NP.

  1. Himalayan Toad - Bufo himalayanus
    One seen in the road as we were leaving Shivapuri Reserve after dark.

  2. Mugger Crocodile - Crocodylus palustris
    One seen in a small pond at Chitwan NP.

  3. Gharial - Gavialis gangeticus
    Three of these strange crocodiles were seen basking along the Narayani River at Chitwan NP.

  4. Garden Lizard - Calotes versicolor
    One seen, appropriately enough, in the gardens around Temple Tiger Lodge in Chitwan NP.

  5. Gecko sp. - Hemidactylus sp.
    Seen in the roof of a couple of restaurants in Pokhara.

  6. Radiated Ratsnake - Elaphe radiata
    Seen along a trail near Temple Tiger Lodge at Chitwan NP.


The Field Guide to the Mammals of the Indian Subcontinent by K.K. Gurung and Raj Singh, 1996, was very helpful. Several additional references were required to identify the squirrel seen in Bangkok. A total of 14 species was seen.

  1. Indian Flying Fox - Pteropus giganticus -20
    Roosting in trees near the Royal Palace in Kathmandu.

  2. Rhesus Macaque - Macaca mulatta - 50
    Seen mostly at Chitwan NP. A few were at Nagarjung where they may have been introduced and a few were at various places in Kathmandu where they may have been escaped pets.

  3. Hanuman (Gray) Langur - Presbytis entellus - 20
    First seen along the road from Pokhara to Chitwan NP. Most were at Chitwan.

  4. Yellow-throated Marten - Martes flavigula - 2
    Both were at the lake we drove to in Chitwan NP. Seen well as they jumped out of a small tree and ran off into the grasslands.

  5. Small Indian Mongoose - Herpestes auropunctatus - 2
    One was at Begnas Tal and one was at Chitwan NP.

  6. Indian Gray Mongoose - Herpestes edwardsii - 1
    Seen running across the road on the outskirts of Kathmandu.

  7. Indian Rhinoceros - Rhinoceros unicornis - 13
    All were at Chitwan NP, with 9 seen the first day from the overlook at Temple Tiger Lodge and along a short nature walk in the first afternoon.

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This page served with permission of the author by Urs Geiser;; July 7, 1999