Friday, 9 April 1982

30 years ago: 1-8 April 1982, Kathmandu Valley

Thursday 1st April 1982:  Pokhara to Kathmandu, Nepal
Our bus to Kathmandu left at 07:00 and arrived at 14:00, only half an hour longer than it was supposed to take.  I wasn’t by a window so found the journey pretty boring.  I collected two letters from Poste Restante and we checked back into Tourist Cottage (where room charge had increased to 11 rupees each).  We were in a front room which was noisy.  Remainder of day spent doing little and eating too many pies!

Birds seen:  Black Kite 5, White-breasted Kingfisher 1, Red-rumped Swallow 10, Pied Wagtail 5, Red-vented Bulbul 5, Pied Stonechat 5, Black Drongo 10, Indian House Crow 10, Large-billed Crow 5, Chestnut-tailed Starling 20, Asian Pied Starling 1, Common Myna 100, Jungle Myna 50, House Sparrow 100, Tree Sparrow 10.

Friday 2nd April 1982:  Kathmandu, Nepal
Day resting, writing cards and letters and reading.  Excellent steak at KC’s.  Saw Craig Robson, Mick Turton, Mike Parr and Rod Martins.  From what they say it sounds as if Kosi could be good.  I visited the British Council Library to catch up on news but it closed early so only had half an hour there.

Birds seen:  Indian Pond Heron 2, Cattle Egret 10, Indian House Crow 50.

Durbar Square, Kathmandu

Freak Street, Kathmandu.  My favourite pie shop, Stylist, was on the left
Saturday 3rd April 1982:  Gokana, Nepal
After breakfast at Aunt Jane’s six of us got a taxi to Gokana and spent several hours there (09:30-14:00).  I saw three new birds including an excellent Brown Wood Owl that Craig found.  We got a bus back to Kathmandu and Colin and I revisited the British Council Library but being a Saturday it was closed.  We ate in Jamaly’s, although I didn't think it was up to their usual standard.

Birds recorded included:  Black Kite 10, Egyptian Vulture 1, Asian White-backed Vulture 8, Long-billed Vulture 1, Red-headed Vulture 1, Besra 1, Steppe Eagle 1, Ashy Wood Pigeon 3, *Brown Wood Owl 1, White-breasted Kingfisher 1, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater 2, Great Barbet 1, Blue-throated Barbet 2, Coppersmith Barbet h, Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker 1, *Brown-fronted Woodpecker 1, Grey-capped Pigmy Woodpecker 1, Olive-backed Pipit 15, Long-tailed Minivet 6, Common Iora 3, White’s Thrush 2, Orange-headed Ground Thrush 1, *Tickell’s Thrush 2, Black-throated Thrush 3, Hume’s Leaf Warbler 10, Beautiful Niltava 2, Blue-throated Blue Flycatcher 2, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch 1, Plain Flowerpecker 1, Bronzed Drongo 1, Tibetan Siskin 40+.

Tibetan Siskin at Gokana

Brown Wood Owl at Gokana, an excellent find by Craig

 Sunday 4th April 1982:  Godaveri, Nepal
Dave and I went to Godaveri by bus and got to Latipur soon after 07:00 but had to wait until 08:00 for the next stage.  We arrived at Godaveri at 08:35 and after buying a few biscuits we split up.  I headed up to look for Cutias, taking three hours climbing up the dirt road to Pulchowki, and a few short cuts, to reach the area but was unsuccessful in three hours of searching.  A superb White's Thrush on the way was excellent compensation.  I returned quite quickly and was back at Godaveri at 16:00 to find a bus was not due until 16:30.  A fight broke out on the bus as it arrived at Godaveri, although I’d no idea why and nobody seemed to be hurt.  I got on the bus but then two or three people on it started kicking and punching another.  The bus roared off with those on board, and the victim (wailing and bleeding heavily from mouth and nose) was deposited at the police station in the next village.  Waited there until 17:10 when all the locals got off the bus, presumably to wait for the next one.  I joined them but a truck came along two minutes later getting to Latipur at 17:35 and I was back in Kathmandu by 18:10.

Birds recorded included:  Crested Serpent Eagle 1, Besra 1, Black Eagle 1, Common Hawk Cuckoo h, *Oriental Cuckoo 1 seen and several h, Common Cuckoo h, Great Barbet 1, Olive-backed Pipit 6, Long-tailed Minivet 6, Orange-bellied Leafbird 1, White’s Thrush 1, Grey-winged Blackbird 1, Lemon-rumped Warbler 1, Hume’s Leaf Warbler 10, Beautiful Niltava 1, Large Niltava 1, Black-chinned Babbler 2, White-throated Laughingthrush 20, White-crested Laughingthrush 3, Striated Laughingthrush 3, Rufous-chinned Laughingthrush 3, Blue-winged Minla 1, Red-headed Tit 6, Black-lored Tit 4, White-tailed Nuthatch 2, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch 2, Brown-throated Treecreeper 1.

quarries at the start of the track up to Pulchowki

lower slopes at Godaveri, still decent habitat here

White's Thrush at Godaveri
White's Thrush at Godaveri, or is it in the Magnolia grandiflora in our back garden?  ExIf data won't help as this image was taken on 9 February 2012.  The slight reddish cast might however give a hint of its origin, as an image of a projection of the original slide.  
Monday 5th April 1982:  Godaveri, Nepal
I went back to Godaveri, on my own, taking 90 minutes to get there by buses.  One there I headed up to look for Cutias again, with no success.  A Collared Pigmy Owl with a dead Black-headed Sibia was a surprise given there is little size difference between the two (perhaps the owl was getting as annoyed with sibias as I was, every interesting sized bird seen while looking for Cutias seemed to be one).  I ticked off Ben King leading a tour when I got back down to the village, I thought he was a dude at first and made a fool of myself by explaining that bird flocks had dispersed as breeding season was starting before he introduced himself!  I then had tea with Dave’s friends in village before returning to Kathmandu.

Birds recorded included:  Crested Serpent Eagle 1, Common Hawk Cuckoo h, Oriental Cuckoo 1 seen and several h, Collared Pigmy Owl 1, Bay Woodpecker 1, Rufous-bellied Woodpecker 1, Long-tailed Minivet 5, White’s Thrush 2, Grey-hooded Warbler 10, Orange-barred Leaf Warbler 1, Lemon-rumped Warbler 10, Hume’s Leaf Warbler 10, Beautiful Niltava 2, Verditer Flycatcher 6, Siberian Flycatcher 1, Ultramarine Flycatcher 2, White-throated Laughingthrush 5, Striated Laughingthrush 1, Red-headed Laughingthrush 30, White-browed Fulvetta 4, Black-capped Sibia 40, Whiskered Yuhina 4, Black-lored Tit 3, White-tailed Nuthatch 6, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch 1, Brown-throated Treecreeper 1, Jay 2.

Rufous-bellied Woodpecker at Godaveri

Collared Pigmy Owl at Godaveri having caught similar sized Black-capped Sibia
Tuesday 6th April 1982:  Kathmandu, Nepal
A day spent in Kathmandu.  First I went to Foreign Post Office to send my large coat home by sea mail.  This cost 150 rupees, involved various hassles and took nearly two hours to complete the formalities (but it made it, although as my plans changed I was later to wish I'd kept it).  Then to Post Office where a letter from Nick was waiting saying he was coming out on 5th and would meet us in Jamaly’s that evening.  I’d just finished his letter and was wondering how we'd missed him the previous evening and where he was now when I saw him frantically waving to me across the Post Office.  Brilliant.  Our perhaps rather cruel regular airletters gripping him off and imploring him to come out and join us clearly had worked!  We went back to the lodge (the sewage smell there not improving) and to Stylist Pie Shop for a few pies, then I changed US$100 at a bank and dropped in at Royal Nepal Airlines Office for information on flights out of Lukla (our intention being to trek there through the eastern lowlands from Sunischare and Ilam).  It was too late to go to Immigration, although one can stay in Nepal for a 4th month for 160 rupees a week.  The British Council Library was open and Colin and I spent two hours there catching up on news.  Then to KC’s where we rejoined Nick and Dave for an excellent steak and on to Jamaly’s for more pies, seeing Craig et al there, and later Richard Grimmett.
Birds seen:  Cattle Egret 5, Little Swift 5, Common Myna 20, Indian House Crow 20.
Kathmandu rug shop, I'd brought one home on my previous visit but it wasnt practical to get another with hopefully three months of the trip still to go

Wednesday 7th April 1982:  Nagarjung and Gokana, Nepal
Up at 06:00 and Colin, Dave, Nick & I got a taxi out to Nagarjung arriving at 06:25.  We birded along the road for four hours seeing Spiny Babblers and Colin finding a male Siskin (the first record for Nepal).  We walked back into Kathmandu stopping at KC’s, but it was too early for a steak.  We moved on to Jamaly’s,  back the lodge to pick up some photos and then on to Immigration to drop off passport for trekking permits.  We also got bus tickets to Kosi Barrage for 70 rupees each and I bought a new ‘hippie’ bag for 12 rupees.  Nick and I then returned to Ratna Park to get a bus to Gokana, arriving at 15:00.  I managed to show Nick the wood owl but we saw little else, leaving at dusk (18:00).  Bus back into Kathmandu and went to KC’s for a steak and Jamaly’s for lemon pie and vanilla ice cream - excellent!  Returned to lodge quite late.  My insides intermittently bad from Gokana onwards. 

Birds seen at Nagarjung:  Black Kite 15, Bonelli’s Eagle 1, Rufous Turtle Dove 5, Common Cuckoo 1, Olive-backed Pipit 15, Blue-headed Rock Thrush 2, Black-throated Thrush 7, Spotted Forktail 2, Rufous-capped Bush Warbler 2, Greenish Warbler 20, Blyth’s Crowned Leaf Warbler 1, Yellow-browed Warbler 30, Tickell’s Warbler 1, Verditer Flycatcher 6, *Spiny Babbler 3, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler 1, Black-chinned Babbler 6, Blue-winged Minla 3, Chestnut-tailed Minla 5, Red-headed Tit 4, Crimson Sunbird 1, Bronzed Drongo 8, Grey Treepie 3, Siskin 1 male, Scarlet Rosefinch 6, Crested Bunting 1.

Birds seen at Gokana:  Little Ringed Plover 1, Speckled Wood Pigeon 100, Brown Wood Owl 1 (same), White-breasted Kingfisher 2, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater 8, Great Barbet 1, Brown-throated Sand Martin 20, Common Iora 1, Tickell’s Thrush 2, Red-throated Thrush 2, Beautiful Niltava 1, Blue-throated Blue Flycatcher 3.

male Blue-headed Rock Thrush at Nagarjung
Thursday 8th April 1982:  Ravines at Godaveri, Nepal
Up at 05:45 feeling a little better.  I went to Godaveri with Nick.  The bus service was ultra-irregular, the 06:30 connecting with 07:05 which then arrived at 07:35.  Concentrated on ravines when feeling OK, otherwise very static.  We got bus back to Kathmandu at 12:30, arriving at 13:10.  Collected our trekking permits from Immigration, I cashed US$200 and posted last minute card home.  Returned to room to find locked out for an hour, then tidied up things and packed, with a short visit to Aunt Jane’s for a meal.

Birds seen:  Goshawk 2, Blue Whistling Thrush 3, Spotted Forktail 2, Grey-bellied Tesia 2, Chestnut-headed Tesia 1, Rufous-capped Bush Warbler 1, Chestnut-crowned Warbler 2, Black-faced Warbler 2, Greenish Warbler 1, Blyth’s Crowned Leaf Warbler 2, Lemon-rumped Warbler 3, Yellow-browed Warbler 10, Siberian Flycatcher 2, White-throated Laughingthrush 10, Nepal Fulvetta 1, Scarlet Rosefinch 1.

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