Birding around Lumbini and Jagdishpur Reservoir, 2-3 MARCH 2020

I accepted Hem Sagar Baral’s kind invitation to join him and Tika Ram Giri birding around Lumbini and Jagdishpur Reservoir enthusiastically. In two previous years I had some great birding there, however, this time our birding even exceeded my expectations.

We stayed at Lumbini Buddha Garden, which is an ideal location for birding the area and offers a range of comfortable accommodation to suit any pocket, as well as delicious meals and helpful, friendly staff.

Tika and I arrived in the afternoon by road from Sauraha and then joined Hem for a most enjoyable walk around the Sacred Ponds at the Lumbini shrine, only half an hour’s drive away. These are attractive manmade wetlands where our highlights included 15 Ferruginous Duck, 1 Lesser Coucal and 3 Smoky Warblers. Back at Lumbini Buddha Garden we relaxed in the peaceful, semi-natural garden and were treated with 8 White-rumped and 2 Himalayan Vultures and 1 Eurasian Griffon soaring directly overhead! During the evening we could hear Indian Thick-knee and Indian Scops-owl calling from the garden.

Early the following morning a walk around the garden proved rewarding with a variety of species including Thick-billed Flowerpecker, and Hume’s and Greenish Warblers in the trees and bushes, most of which were planted to attract birds.

After a quick and tasty breakfast, we set off for Jagdishpur Reservoir, which is only about one and half hours drive from Lumbini Buddha Garden. In the farmlands on our way we saw 12 birds of prey. This is a far higher number than Tika and I found on any of our road journeys during our two-week trip, which started at Sauraha and ended at Shuklaphanta National Park. The raptors included an Eastern Imperial Eagle and Long-legged Buzzard which we did not see anywhere else on our trip and also Steppe Eagle and Egyptian Vulture. En route we were delighted to have 15 Sarus Cranes. The Lumbini Farmlands and Jagdishpur Reservoir Important Bird Area is a valuable breeding and feeding area for this globally Vulnerable crane and its main site in Nepal. Good numbers of storks were seen on the journey too: 40 Asian Openbills, 30 Lesser Adjutants and an Asian Woollyneck.

Jagdishpur Reservoir is one of the best wetlands for birds in Nepal. Our visit produced as many as 14 duck species including a very smart drake Falcated Duck, a globally Near-threatened species and rare in Nepal. Other ducks included 350 Red-crested Pochard and 2 Indian Spot-billed Ducks. Birds of prey provided more excitement at Jagdishpur including a female Pied Harrier, a Besra, and 3 Booted Eagles! We were especially pleased to see 2 White-tailed Lapwings and a Grey-headed Lapwing, as well as 6 Pheasant-tailed Jacanas feeding close to the reservoir edge. Other wetland birds of note were Red-naped Ibis (46 in total), 3 Purple Herons, four egret species, 30 Purple Swamphens and a Brown Crake.

A flock of 8 gorgeous Blue-tailed Bee-eaters was a lovely surprise, as was my first Red-breasted Flycatcher in Nepal and an Ultramarine Flycatcher! We recorded a wide range of warblers including a Striated Grassbird, Thick-billed, Blyth’s Reed and 10 Smoky Warblers, and Citrine Wagtail.

On our return to Lumbini Buddha Garden, while relaxing over a cuppa we were thrilled to have even more raptors soaring over us than the previous afternoon: a Long-billed Vulture (extremely rare in Nepal), 4 White-rumped and 40 Himalayan Vultures, 1 Eurasian Griffon, 3 Indian Spotted, a Greater Spotted and 4 Steppe Eagles!

Late afternoon we wandered along the banks of the Telar River, directly opposite Lumbini Buddha Garden. The scrub and scattered trees along the river produced more species for the day: Grey Francolin, 2 Western Himalayan Bush Warblers, 5 Common Babblers (now rare in Nepal), 4 Brahminy Starlings, Black-throated Thrush, and 60 Red Avadavats.

Back at Lumbini Buddha Garden, we enjoyed a delicious dinner that evening and tallied 144 species, by far the largest daily number of our lowland trip! Many thanks to all the staff at Lumbini Buddha Garden for helping to make this such a memorable stay.




by Carol Inskipp (inlcuding all photos used in this blog)

Lumbini Buddha Garden

Telar River, Parsa Chauraha Lumbini, Rupandehi

+977-71-404004, 977 9851198328(24 HOURS)

Kathmandu Address

PO Box 10918, Musu Marg, Chabahil Ganeshsthan
Kathmandu, Nepal

Tel. +977-1- 4442016 / Fax 977 1 4444527

Mobile: +977-9857011187(6 AM – 10 PM)

Mobile: +977-9851100566(6 AM – 9 PM - Overseas & Travel Agents)


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