This trip offers you a wonderful opportunity to explore the rich bird life in Nepal. You begin your birding journey from Phulchowki Hill that lies on the outskirts of Kathmandu. With some 288 bird species recorded to date, Phulchowki is the most popular bird watching spot in the valley. The hike to verdant Shivapuri National Park will offer you glimpses of the Spiny Babbler and Hoary-throated Barwing. Taudaha Lake located in the southern part of the valley is a favorite nesting site for migratory birds and water fowls.
You take a drive to the scenic lakeside town of Pokhara and enjoy myriad activities including bird-watching. You further proceed to Chitwan National Park & Hetauda and spot many of the endangered winged creatures while indulging in exciting jungle activities. A total of 540 species of birds has been recorded at Chitwan National Park till date. The park is especially important for grassland species like the Bengal Florican, Grey-Crowned Prinis, Slender-billed Babbler and Lesser Adjutant. Hetauda situated at an altitude of 474m is a stopover point for high altitude birds like the Ibisbill, seeking a warm site in winter. Cattle egrets, swallows, mynah and bulbuls are resident birds.
Further you drive to the next destination, Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve which covers an area of 175 sq km and is in the eastern Terai region of Nepal. It is a beautiful and fascinating aquatic environment and is home to an astonishing variety of water birds that flock to its ponds full of flowering plants. The reserve provides an important habitat for a variety of wildlife but, in particular, water birds, including several migratory species such as the sarus crane from Siberia. In all, a total of 280 different species of birds have been recorded and these include many varieties of ducks, ibis, storks, egrets and herons, as well as the endangered swamp partridges and Bengal floricans. Koshi Tappu is also home to the last surviving population of wild water buffalo and its other inhabitants include blue cows, various species of deer, Gangetic dolphins and gharial crocodiles.
No doubt, this special 2 weeks’ tour provides you wonderful locations with high species count and best sightings. But most importantly, it also offers you an accomplished birding expertise of Andy Teasdale, a brilliant tour leader known for handling such remarkably challenging tasks.
Andy Teasdale, Team Leader
A passionate photographer, bird expert, qualified Mountain instructor and International Mountain Guides Carnet, Andy Teasdale runs a company based in Snowdonia offering sheltered and joyful guiding service that provides special outdoor adventures including photography, climbing, walking, alpinism and ski touring in Snowdonia and the Alps. An ardent birdwatcher and outdoor adventure enthusiast, Andy spends a lot of time in the mountains of Snowdonia and the European Alps instructing, guiding and leading expeditions year round to the greater ranges.
Andy’s expertise combines excellent birding knowledge, seamless photography skill and a vast experience of leading outdoor tours.
Beside his profound interest in birds, his other photographic interests involve adventure sports and landscape. Never away from his adventure ingenuity and his loved camera to capture the spirit, Andy feels that photography is the best way to enhance and immortalize stories and experiences. You can visit his Facebook and Insta pages to see an impressive collection of his engagements. Explore Himalaya is really proud to partner with Andy Teasdale for a bird watching photography tour during November 2020, a relief project to uplift Nepali tourism that is severely hit by covid-19 setback.
Day Day 01
Arrive Kathmandu and transfer to hotel
It is a panoramic thrill flying into Kathmandu on a clear day. The views of snow-capped mountain peaks sprawling down below you are almost ecstatic, beginning a whole chain of memorable experiences that stay with you for a long time. A representative and driver from our office will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. The representative will help you check into your designated hotel. At the hotel you will be briefed about the whole trip.
Overnight at Hotel in Kathmandu
Day Day 02
Bird watching tour in Kathmandu-Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park
Your birdwatching starts with a trip to nearby Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park, which is just about 12km north of the main city hub. Consisting of two forest islands Shivapuri and Nagarjun, it covers 159 sq. km, providing an appropriate habitat to plenty of wild-lives within its dense vegetation. Ornithologists have recorded more than 300 species of birds in the area which includes spiny Babbler, scarlet Finch, yellow-bellied Bush warbler, Eurasian eagle-owl, white gorgeted flycatcher, barred cuckoo-dove, Golden-throated barbet and many more. After a day’s bird watching tour in the conserved woods of the Park, you will be staying at a hotel/resort in the nearby area. Overnight at Park Village Resort.
Day Day 03
Bird watching tour in Kathmandu-Phulchowki hill (1520m – 2760m)
Phulchowki lies 18km southeast of Kathmandu. Phulchowki (2760m), the highest hill encircling Kathmandu valley, is considered a bird’s paradise. The lower region of this hill is covered on the first day. After the early morning breakfast you will drive towards the lower Phulchowki. Commonly found species of birds in the area include besra, black eagle, mountain hawk-eagle, kalij pheasant, common hill partridge, ashy woodpigeon, wedge-tailed green pigeon, mountain scops owl, collared owlet, golden-throated barbet, speckled piculet and crimson-breasted pied among others. More than 50 species of migratory birds have been recorded to visit the place as the seasonal visitors. After a long day watching birds at lower Phulchowki, you will be escorted back to your hotel nearby. Overnight at Godawari Village Resort .
Day Day 04
Birdwatching tour in Kathmandu-Phulchowki hill (1520m – 2760m)
Today, your birding tour continues towards the densely vegetated part in the higher elevation of Phulchowki hill. During the tour, you will get an opportunity to spot commonly found species mentioned above or if you are lucky you may encounter some very rare species of birds which normally visit the place. In addition to the bird watching, you will also get the chance to witness the panoramic beauty of the surrounding hills and the valley. After the exciting and refreshing tour at Phulchowki, you will move back to your hotel. Overnight at Godawari Village Resort .
Day Day 05
Birdwatching tour in Kathmandu-Taudaha Lake
Today you will be traveling just for a while. Taudaha lies 10km south-east to the Kathmandu valley, on the way to the Dakshinkali Temple. Taudaha- a wetland of Kathmandu valley covers up the area of 4.7 hectares out of which 4.2 hectares is a structural area whereas the remaining 0.5 hectare is the peripheral land around the lake. Taudaha is one of the chief habitats for water fowls. It is also a significant passage for migratory birds on their way from Siberia to India, whose species count during the winters exceeds two hundred. They often rest over here for a couple of days before they restart their flight to India. The cyclic arrival of migrants has served to boost the biodiversity of this particular wetland. The whole day, you will engage in bird-watching, fish feeding and exploring the vicinity around. At the end of the day, you will drive back to your hotel in the city. Overnight at Hotel in Kathmandu .
Day Day 06
Flight to Pokhara (25 mins) and Birdwatching tour around Pokhara
After breakfast, as per your flight schedule, you will be driven to the airport for your flight to Pokhara. After about 30 minutes’ of flight, you will reach Pokhara where the company representative will cordially receive and escort you to your designated hotel. After lunch, you will enter the woods in Raniban just above Phewa lake in search of birds. You will climb up to the Peace Stupa at the top of Raniban spotting varieties of species of birds. Overnight at Raniban Retreat .
Day Day 07
Birdwatching tour around Pokhara and Begnas
A short morning drive towards south-east of Pokhara city will take to Begnas Lake, a pristine lake district about 12 km away from Pokhara city. The Lake offers spectacular views of mountain ranges and refreshing wooded areas surrounding the Lake. The watershed area which is rich in floral and faunal diversity is home to more than 100 species of birds including woodpecker, hoopoe, gull, tern, kestrel, egret, vulture, raptors, chestnut-bellied nuthatch, and endemic bird spiny babbler. After a full day’s touring, you will retreat in the relaxing ambience of a nearby luxury camp overlooking the Lake and its widespread natural surroundings. Overnight at Annapurna Royal Camp.
Day Day 08
Drive to Chitwan (4-5 hrs) and Birdwatching tour around Chitwan
Early morning, you will stroll around the immediate area to spot more interesting species. Afterwards, a car will drive you along the Prithivi Highway towards Chitwan. The highway itself offers abundant opportunity to spot different species of birds at the river shores and roadside woods. Chitwan is the home of Chitwan National Park, situated 116 km south-west of Pokhara. After reaching a comfy hotel near the national park, you will spend the evening strolling the neighboring area to spot some interesting bird species. Overnight at Resort/Lodge in Chitwan.
Day Day 09
Chitwan National Park- Birdwatching tour & jungle activities
Early breakfast in the resort will follow your bird watching tour in the national park. More than 70% of the land in the park is covered by the wild grassland and river. The place is a home for many endangered species like one-horned rhino and royal Bengal tiger. Above 450 species of birds have been spotted within the park. The huge park covering 932 sq. km is the home of Nepal’s two third globally threatened species of birds. Apart, from the regular habitats several endangered species of birds visit the park during spring and autumn. Flocks of common and demoiselle cranes appear here during March and May and October/November. Along the marshlands and small ponds you may spot cormorants, darter, cinnamon bittern, black-crowned night and purple herons, Asian openbill, woolly-necked and lesser adjutant storks, lesser whistling duck, cotton pygmy goose, balloons ruddy-breasted and brown crakes, purple gallinule, bronze-winged jacana etc. After the long tiring day of attempting to spot different species of birds, you will enjoy the hospitality at the resort in the evening. Overnight at Resort/Lodge in Chitwan.
Day Day 10
Drive to Hetauda (2-3hrs) and Birdwatching tour around Hetauda
Early morning breakfast amidst the woods at Chitwan National Park will be followed by a short drive on an easy Mahendra Highway towards Hetauda. Hetauda is just 90 minutes’ drive from Chitwan. Hetauda with vicinity at the base of the Mahabharata range elevated at 474 m is a suitable stopover point for high altitude birds seeking a warm spot during winter. In Hetauda, the bird watching sites are Rapti River, Fish Farming Area and Forestry Campus. Hetauda's location is attached to the Dun Hill comprising sal woodland, which feeds water in rivers and fish farms offering an environment favorable to bird watching. Ibisbill, one of the high altitude birds, the over present minah and the cherry red vented bulbuls feasting in the mulberry trees are the major birds that can be spotted at Hetauda and its neighborhood. After the thorough exploration of birds in Hetauda and its vicinity, you will drive to the lodge for the well-earned rest and dinner. Overnight at Local Hotel/Lodge in Hetauda
Day Day 11
Birdwatching tour in and around Hetauda
At a lodge, you will receive an early morning wakeup call before 6am for the morning activities. By 7:30 am you will begin the canoe ride for 30 minutes along the government authorized jungle trial. During the canoe ride, you will have opportunities to see many kinds of birds. White breasted kingfisher, paradise flycatcher, large racquet-tailed drongo, golden backed woodpecker, etc are some of the common sights. Giant hornbill, one of the endangered bird species is found in some forest patches. Reptiles including python, common cobra, banded krait and king cobra, mammals including rhinoceros, deer, and Bengal tiger can also be spotted in the jungle during the ride. After lunch, you will ride through open grassland & forest and look out for rhino & other wild animals closely. After your jungle activities come to an end, you will drive back to your hotel in Hetauda. Overnight at Hotel/Lodge in Hetauda .
Day Day 12
Drive to Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve (6-7hrs). Birdwatching tour & other activities
Koshi Tappu is 6-7 hours’ drive from Hetauda. After the morning breakfast, you will hit the road on Mahendra Highway towards Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve. Upon reaching Koshi Tappu, first you will check-in into your designated forest lodge and then you will begin your brief bird watching session in the nearest areas of the park. In the evening, you will return to your hotel for dinner and go for the well-earned rest. Overnight at Koshi Tappu Wildlife Camp .
Day Day 13
Full day Birdwatching tour in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve area
Today you will wake at dawn and begin your fresh morning nature walk in the close by neighborhood. Then after the breakfast, you will begin your rafting session at Saptakoshi River to witness various marine and jungle wildlife including the water birds. At some point you will enjoy the picnic lunch at the bank of the river. Post lunch, you will drive to Koshi Barrage to view the bird life and fresh water dolphins. Koshi Tappu is the home to more than 485 species of birds including water-cock, Indian nightjar, dusky eagle-owl and critically endangered species like Bengal florican. After the long bird-watching trip for a full day, you will return back to your hotel. Overnight at Koshi Tappu Wildlife Camp .
Day Day 14
Morning Birdwatching tour. Drive to Biratnagar and fly to Kathmandu
With the early morning wake up call, you will wake to begin the birding tour in the nearby woods. After a couple of hours’ bird watching tour, you will return to your hotel for breakfast and then drive to Biratnagar Airport. From Biratnagar, you will board a plane to Kathmandu. After an hour flight, you will land at the domestic section of Kathmandu Airport from where you will be cordially received by the company representative who will escort you back to your hotel room in the city. Rest of the day is on your own. Overnight at Hotel in Kathmandu .
Day Day 15
Three and half-hours prior to your departure, your tour officer and a driver will be at your hotel reception to pick you up. You will be transferred to the airport in a private vehicle. Your tour officer and driver will see you off. Have a safe flight.
October 24 2020
The guide and drivers were very attentive and looked after us very well.