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31 May, 2012

White-tailed Eagle back again in Pokhara

Status and record of Haliaeetus albicilla White-tailed Eagle in Nepal

Globally threatened status: Near-threatened
Nationally threatened status: CR C2a(i), D1

Rare winter visitor and passage migrant; formerly a scarce and local but regularly recorded winter visitor up to 915 m (-1370 m). The maximum of four seen at Koshi in February 1989 (Kennerley and Turnbull 1989) and February 1994 (Cottridge et al. 1994); one or two recorded there regularly (Badri Chaudhary verbally 2010) e.g. in February 2000 (Choudhary 2000a, Basnet 2000a), December 2001 (Naylor et al. 2002a), November 2002 (Basnet 2002b), February 2003 (Chaudhary 2003b), February 2004 (Choudhary 2004), March 2005 (van der Dol 2005), April 2006 (GC 2010), December 2007 (Chaudhary 2007b), January 2008 (Tribe 2008) and winters of 2009 and 2010 (Badri Chaudhary verbally 2010). In 1979 seven birds were seen at four Nepal localities (Lambert 1979, Redman and Murphy 1979). Since at least 1990 there has been a decrease in  records from other sites. Singles at Chitwan in December 1991 (Mackenzie 1994), February 1998, December 2000 (Chaudhary 2004a), two in February 2005 Sisuwar area Budhi Rapti River, Chitwan (Subedi 2010a), one in January 2010 (Baral 2010a and Giri 2010b) and one in February 2010 (Subedi 2010a). One at Gokarna, Kathmandu Valley in January 1992 (Baral 1992b), two at Bardia in February 1995 (Wheeldon 1995), one at Pokhara in March 1996 (Daulne and Goblet 1996), two records of singles in the Kathmandu Valley in December 2005 (Mallalieu 2008; A. van Riessen to C. & T. Inskipp January 2011). Inhabits large rivers and lakes. Threatened by habitat damage, food shortage and possibly also by pollution including pesticides. (this text was taken from State of Nepal's Bird 2010).

There was no additional recording of this species in Pokhara since 1996. Recently in 17 March 2012 one sub-adult (immature) bird has been recorded at Pame area near the Fewa Lake in Pokhara.  Following is the picture of our observation. 

White-tailed Eagle (Sub-Adult)

White-tailed Eagle (Sub-Adult)- take off

30 May, 2012

Raptor around Pokhara

This May, temperature is unusually  high in Pokhara. The high temperature make uncomfortable from the early morning that bite a lot during the whole day in field and mostly T-Storms and showers in the evening hours makes to come down the temperature. 

Carcass of the domestic ungulates is common food for vulture, which is dry off very quickly and hardens enough for vulture to eat. Sometimes river carries some carcasses and waste food for vulture, therefore we can see the vultures looking for food along the river corridor.  

To escape from the high midday temperature, it is better to start field work early in the morning, say 7:00 am. Few species of raptors are frequently seen around Pokhara. Most numerous are the Black Kites. Of Course! Those are the common raptor seen everywhere in the country. However good flight of vulture is also seen.
Red-Headed Vulture (Sub-Adult) 

Most of the Himalayan vulture might have to return back to the higher altitude.  Numerous vulture seen are White-rumped vulture and Egyptian Vulture; although good number of Red-headed and Slender- billed Vulture can be seen. Flight of Red –headed vulture has been seeing enough close to the ground from where it is easy to take a full-frame picture with small camera. Sometimes perched vulture can be seen over the small tree or rocks.     
Slender-billed Vulture

Steppe Eagles are not seeing in this time because all of them might have to return back to their summer ground in China, Mongolia and Southeastern Russia.  
Other Raptors seen are Common kestrels .. they breed along the cliffs of Seti River.  
Common Kestrel
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