In Search of Red Panda
Red Panda of East Nepal!
Just when we, were almost ready, there was a phone call, wonderful surprise, phone does works here in this middle of nowhere place, from our wildlife tracker, that the red Panda has been spotted in some distance of 45 minute walk from our lodge. Excited really very much, we started on a easy trail on the side of the hill, with beautiful forest view, that was lively with the birds call and song. Even though, my mind was also very much into the birds, did not like to miss the birds of this area as many of the birds, specially some of endemic species of this area, however, the urgency of Red Panda call, and we also never wanted to miss it. After passing numerous creeks, slopes and climbs, we arrived to the spot and there, this amazing cute Red Panda on the tree, nearly on the upper canopy, feeding itself in no rush style some time looking down and on the side. Trying not to disturb it as much as possible but capturing it in our camera without much of worry of slipping or falling down the rocks or creek. Luckily, nobody did, that was great as we were careful too. We enjoyed it watching below in a distance. After some 30 minute or so, it wanted to get down, probably wanted to get to other place for food or maybe it was thirsty, we saw it slowly dropping down and disappeared very fast. With our stay there for 3 days, we were lucky to see the Red Panda every day, fantastic luck, we were. It was an unforgettable experience of lifetime, can not be shared in words. You have to come and experience yourself! Besides Red Panda, we also saw Yellow-throated Marten, Rhesus and Languor Monkey etc. The trip will be only complete specially for me, if I do not talk about birds. This area has many endemic species of this part of the country and Himalayan Monal and Satyr Targopan were amazing with many lively and lovely species of birds such as extremely common Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, Hill Partridge, Bar-throated Siva, Red-tailed Minla, White-collared Blackbird, Scaly Thrush, Yellow-cheeked Tit, Rufous-chinned Yuhina, very vocal Large Hawk and Eurasian Cuckoo with occasional call from Lesser Cuckoo little dipper and higher in the forest. The stunning Fire-tailed Sun bird in its full breeding plumage, Warblers and many species were, all amazing to see and hear them. We started our tour with 45 minute flight to Bhadrapur in est Nepal and drove to Ilam district and other areas with day or couple of days hike to the famous hill station of Gandalf right on the Nepal and Indian border. There are many other options of getting there in different area by four wheel drive or walk depending on your time!
Vimal Thapa/May 2019
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