Monday, March 5, 2018

One of a Kind Community Forest in the middle of Kathmandu Nepal

Work-related trip to attend a meeting in Kathmandu, Nepal gave me the rare opportunity to visit a Community Forest in the heart of Kathmandu, Nepal. Thanks to my birdwatching friend from Nepal, Rajendra Gurung who introduced me to Ranibari Community Forest. When he said I could see owls in this forest, I was not convinced more so since he planned to start birdwatching at around 12.30pm noontime! Lo and behold a family of Spotted Owlets peered at us in broad daylight. It took me a few minutes to FIND them since the colour of their plumage created an almost perfect camouflage against the trees. It was only when Rajendra pointed out the hole in which the owlets were in that I almost whooped for joy when I spotted them! It seems this precious patch of forest is home to this family of owlets. This family of Spotted Owlets, other feathered and furry friends continue to co-exist peacefully with the residents of Kathmandu. Jyotendra from Bird Conservation Nepal had also joined us for this mid-day birdwatching outing and he pointed out that the forest were demarcated and fully fenced against the residential area that surrounded it. There was a small Hindu temple on top of the hill inside the forest. Two ladies were operating a food stall at the entrance to this forest and we had lunch after completing our walk around the forest. The chapati and potato curry were served piping hot together with hot chai. I stayed on to bird at the forest until 4.30pm. The forest closes by 4.45pm. I would have loved to bird until then but I was not familiar with traffic in Kathmandu and I had a return flight to Kuala Lumpur to catch that Sunday night. The forest was silent for some time in the earlier parts of that Sunday afternoon. It only came alive in the last hour before closing time. I had a much better view of the Rose-Ringed Parakeet (more of that in the next post) in the community forest. There was small flock of Rose-Ringed Parakeets that I had seen earlier near my hotel in Durbar Marg, Kathmandu. This flock perched on a tree-top opposite a very busy road. These Parakeets only came in to roost in the trees by 6pm. It was already dark in Kathmandu by 6pm evening time and there was no chance of a good view since my meetings ran from morning to evening. Am thankful to Rajendra for unveiling this best kept secret of Kathmandu! More pictures of Spotted Owlets below, rounding off a memorable albeit very short birdwatching opportunity for me during a work trip to Nepal. Read on about Ranibari Community Forest hereNorthern Boobok coming up in the next post.       


  1. Athene Brama is the Latin name for Spotted Owlet. Athene or Athena is the Greek Goddess of Wisdom, Handicraft and Warfare (Roman - Minerva). She symbolizes freedom and democracy. As the story goes, this Goddess often appears as an owl.

    1. Clash of Titans movie is based on Greek gods and myths.

  2. Am reading Birds and People by Mark Cocker, about the long history of Man's relationship with birds, often involving exploitation, to the extent of extinction for some unfortunate species. Your story about the community forest and owls is a reminder that we humans can live in harmony with birds. Thanks for a tip when I finally get to Nepal ��


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