Wednesday, 12 May 1982

30 years ago: 7-12 May 1982, Kathmandu & Pulchowki

Friday 7th May 1982:  Kathmandu, Nepal
A lazy day in Kathmandu.  I visited British Council Library and caught up on the Falkland’s war news.  I then visited pie shops and second hand book shops in Freak Street before statting to write up the birds I'd seen on the Everest Trek in 'back-up' grid form.  I ate a lot again.  Very few birds seen.

Ratna Park, Kathmandu

view of the local laundry from my window in the Tourist Cottage.  Drying while you wait option being exercised?

Saturday 8th May 1982:  Kathmandu, Nepal
It is pretty hot here now.  I read and ate a lot (3rd day running I had 250g of yak cheese).  I finished writing up my grid of birds I’d seen on the Everest Trek.  Still no sign of Nick, Colin & Dave so I may have to do the Langtang Trek on my own.  I’m also keen to spend a couple of days at Godaveri trying for Cutia again.  Very few birds seen again.

Sunday 9th May 1982:  Kathmandu, Nepal
I had curd for breakfast in the Golden Dragon.  I visited the Post Office to post a card, and immigration - no hassle about changing trekking permit but I must leave Nepal on 1st June (after 3 months).  I went to British Council Library but they had no more recent newspapers than before, in fact the most recent ones then were no longer present.  I found a place advertising a bus to Delhi for 480 rupees but it only goes on Thursdays (so would have to leave on 27th, which is cutting it pretty fine to do Langtang).  So much for the idea of flying when it comes down to cost!  I met Mike Parr who believed Colin, Dave & Nick were at Chitwan.  This is very good news as I may get to do the Langtang Trek with them after all.  Need to get to Godaveri first (perhaps tomorrow).  I saw Craig Robson and Rod Martins in the evening.

Birds seen:  Cattle Egret 20, Night Heron 1, Black Kite 10, Asian White-backed Vulture 5, Little Swift 20, Magpie Robin 2, Indian House Crow 25, House Sparrow 30.

Monday 10th May 1982:  Kathmandu and Godaveri, Nepal
A busy morning, had breakfast, bought a newspaper, collected my passport and trekking permit (but unfortunately my used Everest one had been lost).  Back to Stylist Pie for an apple crumble.  I found out it cost 1750 rupees to fly to Delhi.  Bus seems better value, but a second place advertising a cheap one was deserted although it looked to be for same bus and so also likely to be for Thursday’s only?  I revisited second hand book shops and bought 12 100g packets of biscuits and 5 oranges before returning to the lodge.  I told them I’d be at Godaveri should the others return that evening.  Enough faffing about I then got a bus to Godaveri at 12:45, arriving at 13:50.  Typically it started raining soon after I arrived - in shorts and a T shirt!  I walked three-quarters of the way up towards summit of Pulchowki in pouring rain.  It was quite cold and still raining so I crashed out in bivy bag at 17:30.  I had stomach cramps during the night, probably from over-eating!

Birds recorded included:  5 species of cuckoo h, Mountain Scops Owl h, Rufous-bellied Woodpecker 1, Golden Bush Robin 1, Grey-winged Blackbird 1, Chestnut-headed Tesia 1, Grey-hooded Warbler 2, Blyth’s Crowned Leaf Warbler 4, Green Warbler 1, Greenish Warbler 3, Tickell’s Warbler 2, Beautiful Niltava 1, Red-headed Laughingthrush 3, Hoary Barwing 2, Red-headed Tit 6, White-tailed Nuthatch 2, Green-tailed Sunbird 10, Jay 2.

Tuesday 11th May 1982:  Godaveri, Nepal
I woke up at 05:20 feeling fine to an excellent clear morning.  I walked up almost to the summit of Pulchowki then slowly returned.  I spent a couple of hours in the area where Cutia had been seen and was just about to give up again when a bird about the right size appeared below me on the mossy branches.  It was a White-browed Shrike-Babbler, very nice but not what I was hoping for, although the two birds behind it in the tree were – a male and female Cutia.  Brilliant, but Indian Blue Robins, which I’d been really annoyed to miss at Ghorowa before giving up on the Ilam Trek four weeks before, were even better.  I also saw some of the cuckoos I’d only heard the previous day, the hairpin bends in the road giving one several opportunities to look out over the forest and pick them up.  Three new birds made it a very worthwhile visit and I continued back down to Godaveri as if walking on air.  I then spent a bit of time in the ravines adding White’s Thrush, Chestnut-headed Tesia and Snowy-browed Flycatcher to an already impressive day list.  I left Godaveri at 15:00 and returned to Kathmandu in great spirits.  They were boosted further when I met Colin, Dave & Nick during the evening.  They’d got in from Chitwan having seen several Indian Pittas there.  They’d also seen Yellow-faced Warblers on the Ilam trek being, the species I’d had head obscured untickable views of in Thailand.  I had to fit in a flying visit to Chitwan to twitch Indian Pitta while the others sorted themselves out in Kathmandu ahead of us doing the Langtang trek.

Birds recorded included:  Upland Buzzard 1, Steppe Eagle 3, Large Hawk Cuckoo 1, Oriental Cuckoo 2, *Little Cuckoo 1, Mountain Scops Owl h, White-throated Needletail 3, Great Barbet 2, Golden-throated Barbet 1, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker 1, Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike 1, *Indian Blue Robin 6, Golden Bush Robin 1, Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush 2, White’s Thrush 2, Grey-winged Blackbird 5, Chestnut-headed Tesia 4, Grey-hooded Warbler 6, Blyth’s Crowned Leaf Warbler 8, Greenish Warbler 5, Large-billed Leaf Warbler 1, Ashy-throated Leaf Warbler 1, Tickell’s Warbler 3, Rufous-capped Bush Warbler 3, Large Niltava 2, Beautiful Niltava 1, Verditer Flycatcher 20, Siberian Flycatcher 5, Brown Flycatcher 3, Snowy-browed Flycatcher 3, Rufous-gorgetted Flycatcher 5, Little Pied Flycatcher 1, Yellow-bellied Fantail 3, White-throated Fantail 1, White-throated Laughingthrush 6, Streaked Laughingthrush 3, Red-headed Laughingthrush 10, *Cutia 1 pair, White-browed Shrike Babbler 1, Chestnut-tailed Minla 2, Black-capped Sibia 20, Rufous-winged Fulvetta 2, Whiskered Yuhina 10, Red-headed Tit 20, Yellow-browed Tit 1, Black-lored Tit 5, White-tailed Nuthatch 6, Stoliczka’s Treecreeper 2, Green-tailed Sunbird 25, Jay 4.

Kathmandu Valley from Pulchowki

upper slopes of Pulchowki

view from near the sumit of Pulchowki

Oriental Cuckoo at Pulchowki
Indian Blue Robin at Pulchowki, they are much more impressive when not viewed against the light

male White-browed Shrike Babbler at Pulchowki

a very colourful species but not my target here ...

... this was though, female Cutia at Pulchowki.  The male was even better but didn't stay still long enough for a photo
looking down on Godaveri from the lower slopes of Pulchowki
Glassy Tigers on the track at Godaveri

Wednesday 12th May 1982:  Kathmandu, Nepal
I got breakfast, a bus ticket for the next day to Narangot (25 rupees) and a provisional booking on a flight home from Delhi on 20 June.  I had a pizza and transferred my rucksack to Colin, Dave & Nick’s room at the Blue Mountain Lodge as I intended to return there after my short visit to Chitwan.  I’m travelling very light with Tanya, who I’d met in the lodge and was keen to join me and then go on to Pokhara.  She is having a gap year before going to Medical School and is travelling on her own in Nepal for a couple of months after working in a hospital in India - very impressive.  Very few birds seen.

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