The birding continues in Sauraha… A local group called the Bird Education Society offers free tours on Saturday (a donation helps support their efforts towards raising awareness of local bird conservation issues) Secretary Krisna met me at the civilised hour of 9am for a bird walk along the Rapti Khola…
At the park entrance in Sauraha, good numbers of Ruddy Shellducks could be seen on gravel shoals, (resting here for the winter before their return to Siberia to breed) along with Pied Kingfisher, White-browed Wagtail and an Osprey. Temmincks Stint, Common Greenshank and Little Egret were also common. Heading north along the river bank into remnant forest beside the NTNC-BCC headquarters we had good views of Greenish Warbler and Tickell’s Leaf Warbler, as well as Jungle Babbler and Common Tailorbird.
In the Grassland along the rivers edge White-throated Kingfisher, Black Drongo, Common Stonechat, Pied Bushchat and Paddyfield Pipit were common. Huge hives of wild bees attract good numbers of Oriental Honey-buzzards to the area, sexes and morphs of which provided some interesting identification challenges when soaring at a distance. We also saw Common Kestrel and Shikra, and a brief glimpse of Booted Eagle (an uncommon passage migrant).
Returning to the forest, we saw Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker, Himalayan Flameback and Lesser Yellownape in quick succession, as well as Grey Tit and next to the elephant enclosure, a Grey-backed Shrike waited, followed soon by a group of four Oriental Pied Hornbill. Tomorrow the students and other staff of Griffith Universities “Conservation in practice” arrive, meaning I will have to tear myself away from the computer screen, and head into the National Park for once.