NEPAL January,1989 and April to May, 1997.
David Cooper & John F. Cooper
The first section of this report covers the two itinerarys of our two trips to Nepal, with the second section will cover the Systematic List of the birds seen etc.
1/1/89: Left Heathrow with Bangladesh Airways with the flight costing £470 return.
2/1/89: Arrived Dhaka with 4 hour wait in the Airport before leaving for Kathmandu
arriving 2pm local time.
Arriving at Kathmandu Airport.
View looking towards Kathmandu from the Airport.
3/1/89: Pashupatinath Woods then to sort out trekking permit before a walk along the
Manora and Bagmati Rivers near Kathmandu Airport.
4/1/89: Early morning tourist bus to Pokhara taking 8 hours. Found a small lodge at
5/1/89: Walked from the Shining Hospital on the northern outskirts of Pokhara to
Naudanda taking 8 hours - we got lost, but soon re-found the right way!!
Trekking between Pokhara to Naudanda which took around
8 hours. For part of the trek a gravel road had been constructed.
6/1/89: Walked from Naudanda to Birethanti.
Trekking from Naudanda to Birethanti which took us 7 hours.
7/1/89: Walked from Birethanti to Ulleri, A shattering climb.
Sunrise over the Himalayas.
8/1/89: Torrential rain so we stayed in the lodge only getting out birding for an hour.
9/1/89: It finally stopped raining after 36 hours but we could see a lot of snow at
higher elevations - we took the risk of heading up. Conditions were dangerous walking through deep snow up to our waists. Ended up soaking wet due to large amounts of snow falling off the trees. Fell over many times due to the layer of ice beneath the snow. Finally made it to Ghorepani after 8 hours feeling absolutely shattered. Partially revived by some tomatoes crushed in boiling water. After dark some Australians arrived from Tatopani (with some of them suffering from frostbite) having walked through deep snow all the way, telling of 3 people killed in an avalanche along their route.
Fishtail Mountain in view from Ulleri.
As we trekked higher towards Ghorepani, the snow was now
lying in the forest.
Arriving after 8 hours of trekking to a snow covered Ghorepani.
10/1/89: Made the difficult decision to turn back, walking to Tirkedhungha taking 9
hours. Conditions had hardly improved as now walking on sheets of ice
instead of in thick snow. Again we kept falling over.
11/1/89: Walked from Tirkedhungha to Birethanti. Somewhat relieved to have turned
back as the weather had again closed in with more snow falling at higher elevations.
12/1/89: Walked from Birethanti to Phedi and caught a jeep to Pokhara. Caught a taxi
back to Lakeside. Went to a travel agent and booked a lodge at Chitwan.
13/1/89: Spent most of the day in the forests to the south of Phewa Tal and then spent
some time in some fields at Lakeside. Told that Jomoson where we were heading to was snowed in.
Leaving Pokhara for Phewa Tal.
14/1/89: Rowed across Phewa Tal to the northern fields. Rowed back again spending the rest of the day in the same area of forest as the previous day.
Views from Phewa Tal lake.
Rowing to the northern end of Phewa Tal lake.
The marshy area at the northern end of Phewa Tal lake.
View from the northern end of Phewa Tal lake.
15/1/89: Spent all day in the forest to the south of Phewa Tal.
16/1/89: Caught a local bus which took 6 hours to reach the Chitwan Jungle Lodge
drop-off point at Daduwa. The Lodge’s jeep finally arrived and we were
transported to the Lodge. Our initial disappointment of arriving too late for an
elephant ride was quickly dispelled when on a short walk a Tiger appeared on
the track in front of us. We quickly clambered on top of a passing jeep from
where we watched the Tiger walking along the track ahead of us.
Our lodge at Chitwan Jungle Lodge.
Tiger on the jeep track ahead of us.
17/1/89: Day spent birding the variety of habitats close to the Lodge including a
memorable Elephant ride seeing Sloth Bear, a canoe trip along the Rapti River
and flushing a Rhino whilst on foot in dense vegetation - enough to set the
pulse racing !
A dawn start on an Elephant.
We were soon watching one horn Rhino's.
The front end of one horn Rhino.
and the back end.
Our canoe trip along the Rapti River.
Landing from the canoe trip to walk back through forests to the
Jungle Lodge.We had a close encounter with a Tiger in the
Elphant Grass which our guide found tracks and could smell it.
Fresh Tiger paw marks.
Sloth Bear in the early evening at Chitwan.
18/1/89: Walked all day to and from the Churia Hills.
Walk to the Churia Hills.
19/1/89: After some early morning birding hitched a lift with some Australians back
to Kathmandu with the journey taking 6 hours. No buses were using the
Hetauda route so missed a chance at seeing Ibisbill.
20/1/89: Visited the area opposite the Botanical Gardens at Godaveri, then a look in
the Gardens themselves before a quick look along the road leading up
21/1/89: Spent 4 hours in the superb ravine at the base of Phulchowki with the rest of
our time spent walking up the road leading to the summit.
The quarry road leading up from Godaveri to the ravine at the base
Views taken at Phulchowki.
John and David in the ravine at the base of Phulchowki.
22/1/89: Spent all day on Phulchowki reaching the huts half-way to the summit.
23/1/89: Spent the morning at Gokarna Safari Park with the afternoon spent along the
Manora River close to Kathmandu Airport.
24/1/89: Spent all day in the scrub along the track starting opposite the Botanical
Gardens with a brief look in the Gardens in the afternoon.
25/1/89: Spent virtually all day in the ravine at the base of Phulchowki.
26/1/89: Spent our last full day at Gokarna Safari Park.
Gokarna Safari Park
27/1/89: Left Kathmandu at midday and flew along the Himalayas getting spectacular
views, and seeing Mt. Everest.
Views around Kathmandu
Mt. Everest-left hand mountain.
Spectacular flight over the Himalayas with Mt. Everest.
28/1/89: Arrived at Heathrow after a 27 hour journey with the plane spending
prolonged intervals at Dhaka, Dubai and Paris.
SECOND TRIP : LANGTANG & GOSAINKUND TREK.
26TH APRIL TO 17TH MAY, 1997.
26/4/97 : Arrived Kathmandu around 3pm. Took taxi to the Kathmandu Guesthouse and made a brief visit to Nagarjung from 5pm - 7pm.
27/4/97 : Took a jeep to the summit of Phulchowki leaving the Guesthouse at 4.15 and arriving at the summit at 5.50am. Walked slowly down the road exploring several short side trails until reaching the huts around half way down at 3pm. Drove down to the ravine at the base of Phulchowki and spent an hour along the trail in the ravine.
Looking down from Phulchowki.
28/4/97 : Left Kathmandu at 7.30am taking a Land Rover to Trisuli arriving at 11am where we stopped for an hour. Continued in Land Rover to c.8km short of Dhunche where we walked the road towards Dhunche for 3 hours. Camped at Dhunche.
Road to Dhunche.
29/4/97 : Left Dhunche at 6am and walked to Sing Gompa (Chandan Bari) arriving at 4pm the trail leading up a superb forested valley the entire way.
David at the camp site at Dhunche.
Leaving Dhunche behind.
Beautiful Rhododendrons in full bloom.
Rhododendrons that were fully out in full flower.
Arriving at Sing Gompa-now to find somewhere to pitch our tent.
30/4/97 : At dawn walked towards Gosainkund for 4 hours and then returned to Sing Gompa from where we walked to the Prayer Flags in the forest above Syabru. In the afternoon we walked back towards Sing Gompa for an hour and then concentrated in the forest around the Prayer Flags in the evening.Camped at Prayer Flags.
Sing Gompa village.
Trek from Sing Gompa to the forests above Syabru,
1/5/97 : Left prayer flags at dawn and walked down to the Stone Blocks by 5am.Continued to Syabru arriving at 9am and walked to Lama Lodge arriving at 4pm.
More stunning views as we trekked above Syabru.
Two views looking down at Syabru village.
Primula type flower near Syabru.
Attractive rock near Lama lodge.
2/5/97 : Spent from 5.30am to 8am in the forest beyond Lama Lodge and then walked slowly on to Ghore Tabela arriving at 2.30. Heavy rain the rest of the day prevented birding.
Views up the Langtang Valley.
3/5/97 : Left Ghore Tabela at dawn in fine weather and walked to Kyanjin, arriving at 2.30pm. Walked to Ibisbill flats and back in afternoon.
David having a peaceful rest.
The stunning views just keep appearing.
The trek up the Langtang Valley towards Kyanjin.
4/5/97 : At dawn walked towards Yala Hill. In late morning returned to Kyanjin and walked to the Birch Forest on the opposite side of the valley. In the afternoon we again walked to the Ibisbill flats.
Walking away from Ghore Tabela.
Looking back towards Ghore Tabela.
5/5/97 : Left Kyanjin at 5.30am and walked to Lama Lodge arriving at 3pm. Late afternoon spent birding in forest towards Syabru.
Spectacular views as the sun rose above the Himalayas at Kyanjin.
David birding on the trek.
Lama Hill, Kyanjin.
Old Temple near Kyanjin.
Local Children in Langtang Village.
Waterfall on our trek to the Lama Lodge.
6/5/97 : Left Lama Lodge at dawn and walked slowly to Syabru arriving at 5pm
having spent a couple of hours in the vicinity of the bridge below Syabru.
Primula type alpine flower.
7/5/97 : Left Syabru at 6am and in an attempt to walk through good forest, unfortunately mainly cleared areas to a lodge between Sing Gompa and Gosainkund.
8/5/97 : Left lodge at dawn and climbed up to Gosainkund lakes (which were frozen) by 9am. Spent an hour birding the edges of the lake and then continued over the Laurebina Pass (>15,000 feet) and on to Phedi arriving at 4pm.
Its getting colder and approaching upto 15,000 ft.
At this height, we had to take the trek with care.
Having just trekked through the Laurebina Pass we now
were at 15,000 ft with the marker just to our left.
Looking back at the Laurebina Pass which we had just crossed.
Alpine flowers found up at the Laurebina Pass.
Arriving Phedi area, the weather had now improved.
9/5/97 : Left Phedi at dawn and slowly walked to Gapte arriving just after midday.Spent afternoon in the forest below Gapte.
Icicles when we awoke at Phedi.
The trek from Phedi to Gapte.
10/5/97 : Spent all day in the vicinity of Gapte.
Views around Gapte.
11/5/97 : Spent all day in the vicinity of Gapte.
12/5/97 : Left Gapte at 5am and slowly walked to Thare Pati arriving 1pm.
Looking across towards Gapte.
Primula type flowers.
The camping site at Thare Pati
I wonder where DC is off to.
Sunset, we also had some superb views of the
Southern lights later during the night.
13/5/97 : Left Thare Pati at 6am and walked to Magengoth arriving at 11am. In the afternoon we birded on a trail at the back of the army checkpoint.
The army checkpoint.
View from Magengoth with the high Himalayas never far away.
More Alpine flowers.
14/5/97 : Early morning spent in the forest back towards Thare Pati and then walked to Kutumsang arriving 1pm.
The trek to Kutumsang. The last picture shows the trek going
over the hills.
At this lower altitude, tree orchids became more common.
We were now heading downwards leaving the forests and
Heading towards terracing and finally Katmandu.
15/5/97 : Walked to Chisa Pani arriving at 3pm.
Trekking to Chisa Pani.
After serving us well during our trek,the guides, cook and porters
now departed at Chisa Pani.
16/5/97 : Walked over the Sheopuri ridge and descended to Sundarijal arriving at 1pm. Jeep ride back to Kathmandu Guesthouse arriving at 2pm.
End of the Langtang trek-looking down from the Sheopuri Ridge.
David and John in the Phulchowki Ravine in exactly the same spot
as where they took the picture on their first visit in January, 1989.
Brought back some happy memories of our previous trip.
We now arrived back in Kathmandu and with a couple of hours left we decided to visit Old Kathmandu.
A visit to Durban Square, Kathmandu to look around the
Taken at the Monkey Temple.
View over looking Kathmandau from the Monkey Temple.
18/5/97 : Left Kathmandu on 8am flight, back to the UK.
Little Grebe - Tachybaptus ruficollis capensis C
Two were seen at the northern end of Phewa Tal on the 14th.
Great Crested Grebe - Podiceps cristatus cristatus C
On Phewa Tal 6 were seen on the 13th and 12 the next day.
Great Cormorant - Phalacrocorax carbo sinensis C
Near Mugling 4 were seen from the bus on the 4th and 1 on the 19th and around 50 were seen near the Chitwan Jungle Lodge on the 17th.
Indian Pond Heron - Ardeola grayii C
Seen on twelve dates in fair numbers with a maximum of 15 seen at Chitwan on the 16th but was also present around Kathmandu and Pokhara. A single bird was seen at Birethanti on the 11th.
Indain Pond Heron near Kathmandu.
Cattle Egret - Bubulcus ibis coromandus C
Very common around Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan being seen on sixteen dates.
Up to 20 were seen in trees near Rani Poklhari in Kathmandu on the 27th, 1 was seen on the drive to Trisuli on the 28th and 6 were seen on the drive from Sundarijal on the 16th, and finally 30 were seen on the drive to and from Phulchowki on the 17th.
Black Crowned Night Heron – Nycticorax nycticorax nycticorax
At least 6 adults were seen at Rani Pokhari in Kathmandu on the 27th.
Little Egret - Egretta garzetta garzetta C
Present around Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan being seen on thirteen dates with a daily maximum of 50 seen flying to roost with Cattle Egrets at the Royal Palace, Kathmandu on the 2nd.
Intermediate Egret - Egretta intermedia intermedia C
Around 25 flew into roost over Lakeside on the 4th, 1 was seen at Phewa Tal on the 13th with 8 seen there the next day and 2 were seen near the Chitwan Jungle Lodge on the 17th.
Great Egret - Egretta alba modesta C
At the northern end of Phewa Tal 8 were seen on the 14th and at Chitwan up to 4 were seen on three dates.
Asian Openbill Stork - Anastomus oscitans C
A single individual was seen near Tadi (near Chitwan) on the 16th with 3 seen there on the 19th and 1 was seen just outside Chitwan NP near the Chitwan Jungle Lodge on the 17th. This species is listed as Near-threatened by Collar et al. (1994).
Black Stork - Ciconia nigra C
On the 17th around 80 moved over high at the Chitwan Jungle Lodge and 1 was seen along the Rapti River.
Black Stork along the Rapti River, Chitwan.
Woolly-necked Stork - Ciconia episcopus episcopus C
Near Mugling 1 was seen from the bus on the river on the 4th and 2 were seen along the same stretch on the return journey on the 19th.
Lesser Adjutant - Leptoptilos javanicus C
We saw 2 near the Chitwan Jungle Lodge on the 17th. This species is listed at Vulnerable by Collar et al. (1994) who state that ‘its numbers appear to be much reduced throughout , as a result of habitat loss, hunting and human disturbance’.