Birdwatching Hotspots in Pokhara Valley
June 28, 2022
Birdwatching Hotspots in Pokhara Valley
Birds of Pokhara Valley
Located south of the Pokhara valley Phewa lake is a freshwater lake. It is the second-largest lake in Nepal and the largest lake within Gandaki province. The total surface area of the lake is 4.43 km² with a maximum depth of 12.3 m. Phewa Lake is famous for Taal-barahi temple. Phewa Lake is surrounded by the typical sub-tropical Schima-Castonopsis forest on the southern and western sides. It is a major Lake of LCPV. Harpan Khola, Adheri Khola, and Phirke Khola are primary inflows. This lake is famous for birdwatching specially water birds. Good diversity and a number of winter migratory waterfowl are sighted in and around this lake.
This lake is home to 42 water bird species. Common Pochard, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Northern Pintail, Bar-headed Goose, Great Bittern, Northern Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Black-necked Grebe, etc. are some of notable birds species in Phewa Lake. Similarly, some rare passage migrant sighted is Whiskered Tern, Black-headed Gull, Brown Headed Gull, Pied Avocet, Black-winged Stilt with few vagrant species such as Greater White-fronted, Graylag Goose, Smew, and Greater Scaup.
Raniban and World Peack Pagoda (Shanti Stupa)
Located on the southern hill of Phewa lake, the forest of Raniban is well known. This forest is the proposed site of the Biodiversity Zoological Park by the Nepal Government. Located at the top of Raniban, World Peace Pagoda is a famous religious tourist site in Pokhara. These sites are famous for diverse flora and fauna. Grey-billed Tesia, Chestnut-headed Tesia, Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Nepal Cup wing, Spiny Babbler, Long-tailed Broadbill, Common Green Magpie, Greater Flame black, Long-tailed Minivet, and Brown Fish Owl are special birds sighted in these hotspots.
Begnas Lake is the second largest lake in Gankaki province and is located in the northeastern part of Pokhara Valley. The total surface area of the Lake is 3.38 sq km and the maximum depth is 10m. Syankhudi Khola and Talbesi Khola are permanent feeders and water outlets through Khudi Khola. This lake is also famous for water birds. The lake is consisting a large area of swamps and mud flats, With the human encroachment surrounding Lake some parts of Lake changed into cultivable land. The lake is famous for many wildfowls in water like Tufted Duck, Great-crested Grebe, Osprey, and passage migrant. The surrounding forest provides some forest species like Greater Necklaced Laughing thrush, Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, etc.
This lake is located northeast of Pokhara Valley. Rupa Lake is third biggest lake in Pokhara Valley at 600m altitudes with a maximum depth of 6 meters and a surface area of 30 km². Rupa Lake is famous for commercial fish farming and lotus flower. This lake holds over 23 waterfowl including winter migratory ducks. Rupa Lake is close to the holds healthy subtropical forest dominant of Schima-Castanopisis species and provides good habitat for woodland birds. Under Pokhara Zoological Park, there is dramatic decline in bird species after the construction of a dam on the southern side of Lake.
Dovan Khola and Taalbesi Khola are the main sources of water inlets of Lake and outlet through Tal Khola at Sistani Ghat. Rupa Lake is one of the tourist spots of Pokhara Valley. Community-based cage fishery was launched within the Lake as part of sustainable conservation and wise use of the natural resources of Lake. This lake is famous for bird species like Crested Kingfisher, Indian Spot-billed Duck, Mallard, White-tailed Sea Eagle, Black-crowned Night Heron, Asian Woolly neck, Greater Painted-snipe, etc.
Khaste, Neurani and Gunde Lakes
Khaste Lake is a freshwater Lake with a watershed area of 2.7 sq. km and a water area of 0.09 sq. km. Thado Khola is inlet for Khaste Lake during monsoon and it drains through Gaduwa Khola. Khaste Lake and Neureni Lake were proposed to be developed as Lake for bird watching and fishery operations. Khaste- Neureni wetland is rich in biodiversity and consists of twenty-four emergent plant species and 12 species of fishes. Lesser-whistling Duck, Common Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Mallard, Cotton Pygmy-noose, Cinnamon Bittern, and Yellow bittern are major bird species found in Khaste Lake. Critically endangered species Yellow-breasted Bunting and White-rumped Vulture are regular species.
Gunde Lake consists of a Water body of 0.088 sq. km and a total catchment area of 0.6 sq. km. A marshland and some patches of the swamp of the Lake make suitable habitats for rare and endangered fish species and other aquatic flora and fauna. The lake is named after a type of grass Gund (Typha angustifolia), a common emergent aquatic macrophyte found in lake area. Lake has cultural and religious significance and provides good habitat for migratory and resident birds. Major bird species Ferruginous Pochard, Mallard, Cinnamon Bittern, and Yellow Bittern. The wetland is under threat of Sedimentation, and human encroachment.
Dipang Lake, also known as Honeymoon Lake, is the fourth largest Lake in Pokhara valley and is located in the north-eastern part of the Valley. The Lake is part of LCPV spread on 2.4 sq. km in total including 0.06 sq. km of water body. Lake is surrounded by paddy fields on the south and north and mixed forest on the east and west. It is a popular birdwatching destination of Pokhara where birders can sight Cinnamon Bittern, Lesser Whistling Duck, and Little Grebe, etc. Critical Endangered White-rumped Vulture has been recorded nesting around this site. Crested Serpent Eagle, Egyptian Vulture, Bonelli’s Eagle, and Mountain Hawk Eagle are common species of this lake.
Ghachowk Vulture Restaurant (Vulture Safe Feeding Site)
The restaurant was established in 2010 with technical and financial support from Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN) at Ghachowk approximately 13 km northwest of Pokhara in Machhapuchhre Rural Municipality. It is located on the Seti River bank with a scenic view of the Annapurna range in the background. This is a community-managed vulture restaurant to provide safe food (carcass) to vultures in nature. The retired and disabled cattle are collected and reared providing proper food and shelter. After their natural death carcass is fed to vultures. This is the most successful program for recovering the vulture population in wild. Visitors can observe the feeding behavior of vultures from the hide. Ghachowk is a good site for Nepal’s eight species (Red-headed, Slender-billed, White-rumped, Egyptian, Eurasian, Himalayan, Bearded, and Cinereous) of vultures. Other common bird species seen are Bonelli’s Eagle, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Sparrow hawk, Red-billed Blue Magpie, etc.
In addition, there is an opportunity to explore local Gurung culture apart from birdwatching. Well established homestay in Gurung culture, provide you homely atmosphere away from the noise. Hiking and hot water spring are other attractions in this area.
Dobhilla and Sanitary Landfilled Site
Dobhilla is around 4 km to the west of Phewa Lake. It is easily accessible by local transportation. These are good roosting sites for vulture species and nesting of White-rumped, Slender-billed and Egyptian vultures. The endemic bird of Nepal Spiny babbler is frequently sighted around the site. Phurse Khole flows along with this site, which provides good habitat for water birds. The confluence of Phurse Khola to Seti River gives the best habitat for elusive Himalayan wader Ibisbill.
On the opposite side of Dobhilla, there is Sanitary Landfilled Site of Pokhara city where garbage and solid waste are dumped and disposed of. The dumping site has many scavenger bird species. Seen vulture species are commonly sighted in dumping grounds. A large number of Egyptian vultures can be seen roosting on trees and caves near landfills. Other birds like Black Kite, Eurasian Sparrow hawk, Steppe Eagle, Common Kestrel, Paddyfield Pipit, Common Stonechat, Long-tailed Shrike, etc. are also commonly sighted bird species.
Thoolakharka (Austrian Camp)
Thoolakharka is the most famous site of Pokhara Valley, a renowned migration flyway for raptor migration. Regular raptor migration is conducted every year from October to December during migration in Thoolakharka (Austrian Camp). Thoolakharka is located about 32 km northwest of Pokhara Valley and provides the best view of the Himalayan range at 270°. Subtropical and lower temperate forests Rhododendron, Daphniphyllum himalayense, and Quercus are major dominant trees in the hill.
The hill is the best destination for birdwatchers as well as day hikers. As many as 1310 Steppe Eagles have been counted in a day, and other raptors like Peregrine Falcon, Lesser Kestrel, Amur Falcon, and Vultures are also seen. Forests around the Thoolokherka provide good opportunities to sight Hill Partridge, Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Slaty-headed Parakeet, Rufous-throated Partridge, and White-throated Laughing thrush, Nepal Fulvetta, Green-tailed Sunbird, Rufous-breasted Accentor, Golden Bush Robin, etc.
Sarangkot is a well-known Paragliding site. Besides paragliding, Sarangkot also holds good diversity of birds. Subtropical forests and scrubs are dominant of Schima-Castanopsis and Pinus tree species. It is also a famous destination for observing sunrise and mountain scenery just west of the city. A large number of tourists are crow during sunrise for a complete view of Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, and the Ganesh Himal range. The ridge from Sarangkot and onwards to Naudanda is the best location for Spiny Babbler and Black Eagle. Other species are sunbirds, Laughing Thrushed, Upland Pipit, Warbler, and owls.
Location in the center of the Institute of Forestry, Pokhara, Banple Danda is also an interesting site for birding. Birds commonly seen here include Kalij Pheasant, Shikra woodpecker, and warbler’s family.
5 km northeast of Pokhara Kannani Danda is also one of the exciting sites for birding. It is a hillside on the west of Gunde Lake. This site is famous for Spiny Babbler, Blue-napped pitta, White-crested Laughing Thrush, Spot-winged Grosbeak, and Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo.
Source: ©Birds of Pokhara Valley
Birds Watching Tour in Pokhara Itinerary
|Day 01:||Phewa Lake, Raniban and World Peack Pagoda (Shanti Stupa)|
|Day 02:||Begnas Lake and Rupa Lake|
|Day 03:||Khaste, Neurani and Gunde Lakes|
|Day 04:||Dipang Lake and Ghachowk Vulture Restaurant (Vulture Safe Feeding Site)|
|Day 05:||Dobhilla and Sanitary Landfilled Site, Sarangkot, Banpale Danda, etc.|
Birdwatching Hotspots in Pokhara Valley, Similor Information