Birding in Nepal – some frustrations
One of the aspects of visiting Nepal in 2006 that excited me was the propect of seeing many birds for the very first time. This was my first trip overseas and for months before I studied field guides to help me identify the birds, first in Thailand and then in Nepal.
At first I was quite disappointed with the birding I was able to do. I soon realised that watching birds was not my main purpose in visiting these countries, so any birds I did see were a bonus. Secondly, I realised very quickly that identifying birds in a strange country is not easy. Even though I had studied the field guides for many months, getting an ID for some birds was very hard. Third, trying to identify and photograph a bird from the back of a moving elephant, or in the lurching back seat of a 4WD or bus, or while gasping for air when staggering up the track towards Mt Everest IS NOT EASY.
So, in that context, the photo above was a bonus. This Feral Pigeon (Rock Dove) posed for me beautifully on a the ledge of part of a temple in Kathmandu. Still, I didn’t exactly travel a third of the way around the world to see and photograph a common bird I can see just by stepping out my front door at home. [Sigh]
What would I do differently?
The next time I go overseas I will go with different plans and different expectations. I will not expect to be able to identify every bird I see. That takes much experience and knowledge. I will also schedule in more times to just go quietly and not in a rush – certainly not on the back of an elephant – though that is a handy place to be when confronted by a tiger (which I didn’t see) or a rhino (which I did see).
While I did have the expertise of a professional birding guide for some of the time at Chitwan National Park, most of the time I was left on my own when birding. In many Asian countries, birding guides are relatively cheap to employ for a morning or even for a day. Their local knowledge is vital, plus you have the bonus of helping to give employment to a local person which in turn helps a struggling economy.
Related articles from my travel blog:
- Himalayan Monal – national bird of Nepal.
- Another rhinoceros – and some birds too
- Canoe trip – and many birds
- An early morning birding walk – it’s hard in the fog!
- Royal Chitwan National Park – complete with a list of birds I saw.
- Trevor’s Travels – my blog about my travels in Australia, Thailand and Nepal.