Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bird Watching Tours


Nepal is a paradise for the birdwatcher with a vast array of exceptionally rich bird life of over 864 species recorded, which are home to over 8% of the World’s total bird population. From the lowland jungle of the Terrai and the Kosi Tappu barrage through dense rhododendron and Oak forest of the middle hills to the windswept plateaus of the high Himalaya there is always something to keep one twitching. 

The various national parks like Chitwan and Bardia harbor a wide variety of birds. But Koshi Tappu has better sightings of an incredible variety of both resident and migratory birds that come from as far away as Siberia. Nepal’s national bird is the Daphe or the Impeyen Pheasant which is found in the Himalayan region.

Birds of the Kathmandu Valley:  Within the Kathmandu valley alone, over 500 species of birds have been recorded. The surrounding hills offer a varied ecology ranging from primary and secondary forests to rhododendron, oak and pine forests. In addition, the wetlands and open fields inside the valley make up a diverse habitat for many species of birds. The most popular bird watching spot is the Phulchoki hill, the highest peak on the Valley rim situated 20 km South East of Kathmandu, with some 265 species recorded to date. The birds have seen here including babblers, warblers, tits, thrushes, Minivets, woodpeckers, eagles and many migrant birds. Godavari, at the foot of Phulchoki hill where the Royal Botanical Garden is situated, records over 100 species of birds including the lesser racket-tailed drongo, Tibetan siskin and the spotted fork tail.
The Shivapuri Watershed and Wildlife Reserve Situated to the North of Kathmandu, is another important location. Nagerjun Royal Forest on Jamacho hill is situated 5 km to the northwest of Kathmandu on the way to Kakani from Balaju, is a renowned sight for bird enthusiasts with blue magpies, kalij pheasants, Bonelli's eagles, great Himalayan barbets amongst the many species found here. 

The wetlands in the valley, the banks of the Manohara River on the way to Bhaktapur, and the Bagmati River, which flows into the Valley from Shivapuri hill and out through Chobhar Gorge, are good places for watching waders and waterfowls. Harboring 40 species of birds mostly dependent on wetlands, Taudaha, a lake on the way to Dakshinkali, attracts flocks of migrant birds. 

Popular Bird Watching Sites outside the Kathmandu Valley: 
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve: As well as other kinds of fauna, the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is renowned for being one of the best locations for birding. Still within Nepal’s sub-tropical Terai belt, this is the smallest (175 sq km) and easternmost reserve in Nepal, just to the North East of the convergence of the Sapta Koshi and Trijuga Khola rivers. Its situation on the Sapta Koshi floodplain means that the environment of this reserve varies dramatically according to the seasons. During the Monsoon (May to September) the flow becomes torrential and covers most of the floodplain, while during the dry seasons, many flat, sandy islands are exposed. The habitat is a combination of scrub grassland and deciduous riverside forest, with over 280 species of birds recorded so far, including 20 species of duck, ibises, storks, swamp partridges (Francolinus gularis), herons, egrets, Bengal floricans (Eupodotis Bengalensis), and many other exotic and migratory waterfowl not found elsewhere in Nepal. 
Chitwan National Park: Chitwan National Park is approximately five hours drive by road from Kathmandu or a 35 minute flight situated in the central Terai region. It is renowned for its array of birds, with over 255 species recorded, including many species of parakeets as well as Blue-Throat (thrush), Long-tailed Nightjar, Indian Peafowl, Great Barbet, red-billed blue magpie and Tick ell's red-breasted blue flycatcher. A two night/three day package, staying at a lodge in Sauraha, is an ideal way to combine bird watching with other pursuits.

Bardia National park: Bardia is also a popular destination for bird watching situated in the far West of Nepal it is an area of extensive jungle which is covered by sal forest riverine and grass lands. A boat ride on the slow moving expanse of the Karnali River provides plenty of opportunities to view a vast variety of birds including Ruddy Shelduck, darters, brahmini kites, brown headed gulls, cormorants, oriental pied hornbills, night heron & purple heron, cinnaon bitterns, orioles and majestic peacocks.

Some Itineraries for Bird watching Tours 
Itinerary 1:
Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu
Upon arrival at the airport, welcome by our representative and transfer to the Hotel. At the hotel briefing about the program by our representative
Day 02: Sightseeing
Kathmandu city, Swoyambhunath, Patan city
Day 03: Kathmandu sightseeing
Pashupatinath, Boudhanath, Bhaktapur.
Day 04: Drive to Phulchowki
Phulchowki is situated about 15km Southeast of KTM; this mountain is 2759m high. It is a good spot for hiking. Rhododendron of different varieties and colors from pure white to dark red are found here. This is also the most popular bird watching spot in the valley. 265 species of birds are recorded here. The birds seen here include flycatchers, yuhinas, sunbirds, flowerpeckers, rosefinches, babbkers, warblers, tits, thrushes, minivets, woodpeckers, eagles and many migrant birds. Godavari, at the foot of Phulchowki hill where Royal Botanical Garden is situated, records over 100 species of birds including lesser Rackettailed drongo, Tibetan siskin and the spotted forktail.
Day 05: Flight to Biratnagar. Drive to Koshi Tappu
Koshi Tappu is easily accessible from Biratnagar after an hour and half drive. Biratnagar is well connected by road (519 km) and several flights with Kathmandu. Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve lies on the flood plains of the Sapta Koshi in Saptari and Sunsari districts of Eastern Nepal. The Reserve covers 175sq.km and established in 1976. The vegetation is mainly tall Khar-pater grassland with a few patches of Khairsissoo, scrub forest and deciduous mixed riverside forest. The Reserve offers important habitat for a variety of wildlife. The last surviving populations (about 100 individuals) of Wild Buffalos are found here. Other mammals occurring here are hog deer, wild boar, spotted deer and blue bull. A total of 423 species of birds are recorded here, including 20 of ducks, two of ibises, many storks, egrets, herons and the endangered swamp partridges and Bengal Floricans. 183 species of different birds are recorded a day here. Visitors can encounter minimum 100 types of birds in a day.
Day 06: Koshi Tappu
A full day Bird activity on foot and in boat, Koshi Tappu is one of the Asia’s finest wetlands and fabulous bird watching area. Almost all of Nepal’s long list of wildfowl, waders, storks, ibises, herons, egrets, tems and gulls occur here plus a great variety of land-birds that include such specialties as Swamp Francolin, Red-necked Falcon and Straited Marsh Wabler.
Day 07: Koshi Tappu to Chitwan National Park.
Drive to Chitwan for 9-10 hrs through the beautiful landscapes. There are ample chances to see White-rumped need tail Swifts and Ibis bills en-route. Upon arrival in Lodge, welcome and get information by the naturalist. Chitwan National Park is the most famous national park in Nepal. Offering 450 species of birds including four species of deer, leopard, sloth bear, wild boar and other wildlife. This park is well known for one horned Rhinoceros and it is a shelter for few Royal Bengal Tigers. Beside this Chitwan also supports a great variety of flora and fauna.
Day 08: Chitwan
After tea or coffee, go for a bird watching tour.  Jungle Safari excursion by jeep or bicycle to the 'Twenty Thousand Lakes' or Wildlife Walk in the dense jungle of the Chitwan National Park, elephant ride, canon ride, village visit. In the evening enjoy a cultural dance performed by local villagers.
Day 09: Chitawan
Full day jungle activities like jungle walk, canon ride, bird watching, nature walk etc.
Day10: Chitawan – Bardia National Park
Drive to the Bardia National Park, Bardia National Park is the largest lowland sanctuary and most undisturbed wilderness area in western Terai of Nepal. Thickly covered with the trees and carpeted with grass and savannah, the park has the second largest tiger population after Chitwan National Park. Other wild animal roams here are the one horned rhino, wild elephant, swamp deer, black buck antelope, crocodile and Gangetic Dolphin etc. Endangered birds include the Bengal florican, lesser florican, silver-eared mesia and Sarus crane. 
Day 11: Bardia
Jungle activities: elephant-back safari, nature walks, jungle drive, bird watching, trekking in the Churia Hills to observe more birds, overnight in the tented camp.
Day 12: Bardia
Jungle activities: Cultural visits to Tharu village, Gangetic Dolphin viewing, rafting in the Karnali River. In the evening enjoy the Tharu (ethnic tribe) Cultural performance.
Day 13: Bardia-Nepalgunj/flight to Kathmandu
Drive to Nepalgunj about 2hrs then fly to Kathmandu. Upon arrival in Kathmandu, transfer to hotel.

Day 14: Free day in Kathmandu for shopping etc

Day 15: Departure to onward destination.

Itinerary 2 :
Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu
Upon arrival at the airport, welcome by our representative and transfer to the Hotel. At the hotel briefing by our representative
Day 02: Sightseeing
Sightseeing in Kathmandu city, Swoyambhunath (Monkey Temple), Patan city
Day 03: Drive to Phulchowki
Phulchowki is situated about 15km Southeast of KTM; this mountain is 2759m high. It is a good spot for hiking. Rhododendron of different varieties and colors from pure white to dark red are found here. This is also the most popular bird watching spot in the valley. 265 species of birds are recorded here. The birds seen here include flycatchers, yuhinas, sunbirds, flowerpeckers, rosefinches, babbkers, warblers, tits, thrushes, minivets, woodpeckers, eagles and many migrant birds. Godavari, at the foot of Phulchowki hill where Royal Botanical Garden is situated, records over 100 species of birds including lesser Rackettailed drongo, Tibetan siskin and the spotted forktail.
Day 04: Flight to Biratnagar, Drive to Koshi Tappu 
Koshi Tappu is easily accessible from Biratnagar after an hour and half drive. Biratnagar is well connected by road (519 km) and several flights with Kathmandu. Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve lies on the flood plains of the Sapta Koshi in Saptari and Sunsari districts of Eastern Nepal. The Reserve covers 175sq.km and established in 1976. The vegetation is mainly tall Khar-pater grassland with a few patches of Khairsissoo, scrub forest and deciduous mixed riverside forest. The Reserve offers important habitat for a variety of wildlife. The last surviving populations (about 100 individuals) of Wild Buffalos are found here. Other mammals occurring here are hog deer, wild boar, spotted deer and blue bull. A total of 423 species of birds are recorded here, including 20 of ducks, two of ibises, many storks, egrets, herons and the endangered swamp partridges and Bengal Floricans. 183 species of different birds are recorded a day here. Visitors can encounter minimum 100 types of birds in a day.
Day 05: Koshi Tappu
A full day Bird activity on foot and in boat, Koshi Tappu is one of the Asia’s finest wetlands and fabulous bird watching area. Almost all of Nepal’s long list of wildfowl, waders, storks, ibises, herons, egrets, tems and gulls occur here plus a great variety of land-birds that include such specialties as Swamp Francolin, Red-necked Falcon and Straited Marsh Wabler.
Day 06: Drive Koshi Tappu-Biratnagar and fly to Kathmandu.
Day 07: Kathmandu sightseeing
City sightseeing of places like Pashupatinath, Boudhanath and Bhaktapur
Day 08:Transfer to the airport for international departure.

For More Detail and Bookings Feel Free to Contact Us : [madanprasain@gmail.com]

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