Wed. Dec 2nd, 2020

Critically Endangered Striated Grassbird has been recorded at highest elevation so far.

Photo: Sanjaya Tha Shrestha

Striated Grassbird is rare and local resident of lowland Terai region of Nepal (75-250 meter above sea level). Habitat of this species is tall wet grassland and reed beds. Recently, this bird has been recorded along Manohara river premises of Kathmandu Valley.

Due to global pandemic of COVID-19; bird watchers, researchers, wildlife photographers and ornithologists have more leisurely time now. Some naturalists and birder are jobless and kept redundant at their office/work places. Thus, bird enthusiasts have more time to explore less visited places such as Manohara river premises which they found very important and interesting for birds movement/activities. Birders and photographers of Kathmandu usually visit Bagmati River corridors, Taudhaha as well as Manohara river premises.

Photo: Sanjaya Tha Shrestha

Significant records of vagrants, passage migrants and winter visitors have been done this year in Kathmandu Valley. Some of the birds have been recorded after seven decades, four decades and two decades. According to senior ornithologist Dr. Hem Sagar Baral, this is really great achievement in bird watching and research field.

A group of ornithologists, tourism professionals and wildlife photographers namely Sanjaya Tha Shrestha, Gopi Shrestha, Sugam Tamrakar and Sangyam Rumba were able to capture photographs and other information of this lowland species at Maohara river premises yesterday; November 21st, 2020.

Photo: Gopi Shrestha

First time in Nepal, in 1989; Bailey had specimen collection along Koshi River of east Nepal. This species was said to be occasionally seen until 1953. No one has clear evidence of this species until senior ornithologists Carol and Tim Inskipp of Great Britain recorded at Suklaphanta National Park in 1982.

Although in 1983, it might have been considered a resident and breeding species in Chitwan, nobody had recorded this species except senior ornithologist Hathan Chaudhary in 1993 and Dr. Hem Sagar Baral in 2004.

According to Birdlife International this species is found in Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam and population is declining due to habitat loss, bushfires, floods, over grazing and over harvesting of forest products such as grass and reed.

Team members

Mr. Rajendra Gurung, President of Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN) is very happy for such findings and further encourages for active participation of Birders and photographers for more field visits in coming days.

Whiskered Tern also recorded in Kathmandu Valley for the First time.

Bhaktapur is famous for the temples and place of archaeological importance. Small ponds in Bhaktapur built with using cement and concrete are not suitable for water birds. However, in year 2017 wildlife photographers and tourism professionals Sanjaya Tha Shrestha and Subhas Poudel were able to record this species at Kamalpokhari near Bode with photographic evidence.

Photo: Sanjaya Tha Shrestha

Hari Sharan Nepali “Kaji” had collected the specimen of this irregular, uncommon and passage migrant species in 1971 at Shishawabit of Saptari district. This species is commonly seen in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve and Koshi Barrage Area, also recorded in Chitwan National Park, Jagadishpur water reservoir and Rapti khola of Makawanpur district.

The columnist recorded Whiskered Tern in Pokhara valley, specially in Phewa lake in year 2015 and regularly every year.

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