CHITWAN.A PARADISE FOR RHINOS.


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Chitwan National Park is located at the south of Nepal, in the Terai lowlands area.68 species of mammals and 543 species of birds inhabit the park.The Bengal Tiger and the Indian Rhino are the main mammal stars of the park.There is an estimated population of 605 Rhinos,most of the total population of Rhinos in Nepal.Other mammals are Leopards, Sloth Bears, Gaur, Sambar deer, Hog Deer, Spotted Deer, Smooth-coated otters, Wild Dogs, Jungle Cat, Civet cat, Bengal Foxes, Spotted Linsangs and Honey Badgers among others.

Bird specialities are the Bengal Florican, Grey-crowned Prinia, Rufous-rumped Grassbird, Slender-billed Babbler and Spot-winged Starling, as well as, in and around park in buffer zones, Indian Peafowl, Red Junglefowl, Oriental Darter, Lesser Adjutant, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Indian Spotted Eagle, White-eyed Buzzard, Collared Falconet, Brown Crake, River Lapwing, Small Pratincole, Alexandrine, Plum-headed and Red-breasted Parakeets, Crested Treeswift, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Blue-bearded and Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters, Great and Oriental Pied Hornbills, woodpeckers, Hooded and Indian Pittas, Green Magpie, Black-crested Bulbul, Siberian Rubythroat, White-tailed Stonechat, White-rumped Shama and Grey-bellied Tesia.

To get to the park you can take an organised tour from Kathmandu or travel independently.A tour of 2 nights and 3 days cost around 100 euros including transportation, food, accommodation, a boat ride  along the river and a guided tour near the guesthouse.You can get a bus to go to Bharatpur and then another local bus to Chitwan.Local buses are usually quite small and fully crowded, while paying only a bit more you can get tourist buses, that are more spacious and comfortable and depart from a different station.The trip to the park took me about 10 hours.The views while the bus is descending from Kathmandu to the lowlands were amazing.Unfortunately, I saw many car and bike accidents along the road.

My guesthouse, Jungle Wildlife Camp, was located beside the river,on the boundaries of the park.It had amazing views from the balcony and the rooms were clean and cosy.The staff was friendly and very helpful.From the garden i could get the first views of some birds and another interesting wildlife.Once i arrived there, i took a short stroll beside the river where i could observe Gharials,see the second picture below, and Mugger Crocodiles,see the first picture below, laying quietly on the banks of the river.

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Despite the size of gharials, these animals feed on fish and don’t attack human beings.

I saw some interesting birds when walking but what really catched my attention for a while were the nests of Bee-eaters on the banks of the river.

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Next day, i woke up early and i took a boat ride along the river.I saw many interesting birds.The most remarkable were Stork-billed Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher,see the third picture below, Lesser adjutant,see the first picture below, Black Ibis,see the second picture below, River Lapwing, Wolly-necked stork and Ruddy Shelduck ( the latest appeared in good numbers ).I also spotted Gharials and Mugger Crocodiles again on the banks of the river.

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Due to the distance of my subjects from the boat and my short 300 mm zoom didn’t allow me to take close up shots.Furthermore, the day was cloudy and i had to bump the iso and the camera didn’t performed as well as i wanted from the boat.

Once back to the guesthouse, I went nearby to do some birdwatching.Beside my guesthouse, i spent time exploring a garden area that delivered me some interesting species.The most remarkable was an outstanding male of Asian Paradise Flycatcher white morph perched on a tree !!! The female was on the nest calling him,see the second picture below.This entertained me for a long time,trying to search for a nice shot.

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Other birds seen in the garden were the beautiful Red-Whiskered Bulbul,see the first picture below, Lineated Barbet,see the second picture below, Plum-headed Parakeet, Common Tailorbird, Crimson Sunbird, White-browed Wagtail and the very common Jungle Babbler among others.

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In the afternoon i decided to explore the park by four wheels,expecting to see the main attraction of the park,the Indian Rhino.I paid about 30 euros for the driver and entrance fees. I crossed the river by boat and the four wheels driver waited me in the other side.He took me inside the park.

At 3 o’clock bird activity was a bit quiet.However some birds, like the remarkable Bronzed-winged Jacana, among others, could be spotted along the swamps that were on the sides of the dirt track.Finally, the driver led me to a place where i could take a stunning view of the magnificent Indian Rhino.He was spending its time bathing on a swamp,indifferent to our presence.I took the picture that you see on the top of the post.Around 4 o’clock,when the sun was a bit down, i saw another Rhino grazing on the long grass.The views were not so great and i could only see its back moving along the grass.

I was quite satisfied for the trip,specially for the remarkable birds that i found, although I expected to see more birds.Maybe i should need more time to explore the area but I had to continue my trip to Puthouli and Bardia NP.

See you in my next post my friends !!!

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