Bardia National Park is the largest wilderness area in the Terai lowlands.It’s not as touristy as Chitwan and offers great wildlife watching experiences.Together with the Banke National Park it protects one of Asia’s largest stretches of tiger habitat.The park is covered with a mixture of grassland, savannah and riverine forest.
Bardia has a moderate tiger population, with an estimation of 25 adults and a total of about 60 individuals.Other mammals that inhabit the park are Asian Elephant, Indian Rhino, Spotted Deer, Hog Deer, Barking Deer, Sambar Deer, Nilgai, Black Buck, Wild Boar, Leopard, Wild Dog, Golden Jackal, Stripped Hyena and Gangetic Dolphin.
There are more than 350 species of birds including cormorants, egrets, storks, geese, junglefowls, kingfishers, hornbills plus endangered species such as the Bengal Florican, Silver-eared Mesia and the Sarus Crane making the park a true delight for bird watchers.
To get there I got a bus from Pithauli to Kawasoti and then another one to Nepaljung.The trip was a quite hard experience,sitting between the gear level and the seat beside the driver.Once in Nepaljung another bus dropped me in Bardia.There are quite many budget guesthouses and not many tourists.
I paid for a 4 wheels and a guide for next day.Some people go walking along the trails,but due to the high density of tigers i decided to go by car.A guy told me that next to a belor tree there were fresh tiger and rhino tracks.This tree was located at the end of a trail, beside the river that bifurcates in Tunkini.In Tunkini there is a watching tower ( R.Manchan ) where you can watch wildlife going to drink to the river.
Next morning I woke up early before sunrise and went to the park with the guide.We saw some fresh tiger tracks on a path.
We stopped in some spots that are good for tiger watching, beside the Kamali river.I walked a bit to explore the surroundings and we waited a long time for the tiger to come to drink.I was a bit nervous thinking that a tiger could appear at any time.Tigers are quite secretive and difficult to observe and i wasn’t lucky enough to spot one in the morning.You can see a picture of the habitat of the tiger below.
However i spotted other interesting wildlife.A river otter captured my attention swimming in the river.I saw as well a pair of Asian Elephants,one Indian Rhino grazing on the grass a bit far from the car,Spotted deers,Grey Langurs,Rhesus Macaques and a pair of Mugger Crocodiles.
Birds were quite active during early morning.Red Juglefowl were seen crossing the dirt track.Other birds seen were Indian Peafowl, Great-Slaty Woodpecker, Indian Grey Hornbill, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Pied Kingfisher, Common Kingfisher, Rose-ringed Parakeet, flying on flocks, River Lapwing, see the first picture below, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Black Ibis, Grey Treepie, White-tailed Robin, see the second picture below, Jungle Myna and Jungle Babbler among others.
Next morning i spend it doing bird watching around the gardens of the guesthouse and nearbies,where i could see a pair of Purple Sunbirds nesting.
Other interesting birds near the guesthouse were the Great Tit, Oriental White-eye, Asian-Pied Starling, Chestnut-tailed Starling, Indian Grey Hornbill, Crimson Sunbird, Green Bee-eater, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater and Blue-tailed Bee-eater among others.
Afterwards i head to Tansen,to see the vultures, and finally to Pokhara,a small town with a beautiful lake and stunning views of the Himalayas when it’s not cloudy.I was planning to do a trekking to the Anapurnas to watch some montane birds when the earthquake stroke in Nepal.I had to sleep beside the lake, where there were no posts or other things that can fall down.It was a quite tense situation.The roads to Kathmandu were blocked,so i had to fly.Once i arrived in Kathmandu airport,i saw many people in the entrance and the situation was very chaotic.My embassy provided me accommodation and next day i went back to the airport to book a flight.I could manage to book a ticket for the same day.Once I arrived in Delhi i felt happy,safe and calm but at the same time i felt pity and sorrow for all the people i knew along my trip and that maybe they possibly died.Hope all my best to the Nepalese people.They are one of the nicest and kindest people that i have ever known.
Next trip Masai Mara,in Kenya, with new adventures, bird checklists and many pics of birds and other interesting wildlife !! See you soon my friends !!