Black-winged Stilt – Soon Valley

A Black-winged Stilt observed at Uchhali lake in the Soon Valley. It was feeding on the underwater invertebrates in the shallow water.
Black-winged Stilt is a widely spread water bird; mainly found in Europe, Africa, and South Asia, and is characterized by its long red foot.
When it flies, its feet resemble the tail feathers.
In Pakistan, it travels as a summer bird in northern Punjab. Moreover, it is observed all year round in the waters of southern Punjab, Sindh and on the coast of Balochistan.

 

Uchhali Lake with black saltwater reflecting the exquisite scenery around the lake.

 

The lake is surrounded by lush green mountains and tranquil villages.

 

If there is no wind, the lake surface reflects the view as a clear mirror.

 

A beautiful and crystal-clear sight of Black-winged Stilt reflected on the surface of the lake, just like a mirror.

 

Photo: MARIKO  Text: MARIKO & SAROSH
Observation: end of March 2019, Uchhali Lake, Soon Valley, Punjab
Reference: Birds of Pakistan, Birds of the Indian Subcontinents (Helm Field Guides)

Category : # Punjab > ** Birds of Pakistan > - Black-winged Stilt > - Soon Valley
Tag : , , , ,

Stoat of Deosai Plateau

It is a Stoat, also known as a short-tailed weasel, which I observed at Deosai National Park, in October.
The morning and evening temperatures were below freezing point during this season. The Stoat was completely engulfed in white winter fur; protected from the predators and the harsh cold weather.

A Stoat is widely distributed in northern Eurasia continent and North America. In Pakistan, it is found in the northern mountainous areas.

There was no one where we stayed at Bara Pani campsite. A calm and peaceful place and only cold wind were blowing… Ultimately, a Stoat came quite close to us without any fear! Thus, we had the perfect opportunity to photograph it.

Photo: Mariko  Text: Mariko & Sarosh
Observation: Oct 2015, Deosai Plateau, Gilgit-Baltistan

Category : # Gilgit-Baltistan > - Deosai National park > - Stoat
Tag : , , , , , , , ,

Snow Leopard observed in Morkhun Village -2

To begin with, when we were informed that the Snow Leopard hunted Ibex in the Morkhun village and sat on the other side of the river, we were near Gilgit. Thus, we changed the direction and headed towards Morkhun Village.

We had to drive slowly because it was dangerous and slippery on snowy roads, due to which, the chances of seeing the snow leopard decreased. It was a risky decision, as the snow leopard may not be there once we reach.
However, against all odds, we headed to the Morkhun village with a complex mind.

This is the Snow Leopard I saw when I just arrived. It was on the other side of the river and the distance was short. At first, I could not find it as it was camouflaged. But then I were able to see it, once it moved its tail.

It was already past 15 o’clock, and I was worried that the snow leopard would move before it became dark.

According to the villagers who have been observing it since morning, the Snow Leopard was hunting Ibex, eating it, hiding the rest of meat in the bush, entering the river, climbing up the rock, then it was sitting there for a while, and at last, went to sleep…till now. Villagers were showing us video clips of Snow Leopard they took through their mobile phone, while we were waiting for the movement of Snow Leopard.

The snow leopard has begun to move!
Villager screams in Wakhi saying, “Shou-bashi!”, meaning “Very good “/”Well Done”.
At this time, about 30 people from the village of Morkhun and the surrounding villages were witnessing the snow leopard.

Snow Leopard has jumped out. The villagers are delighted to say, “Shau-bashi! Shau-Bashi!”

Wild Snow Leopard is in front of us! I was really waiting for this perfect moment for a long time in Pakistan.

The villagers expected that Snow Leopard might go to the Ibex it hunted, but the Snow Leopard sat down again.

It was already dark, consequently limited chance to photograph the snow leopard. I followed the last figure of the snow leopard until I could not see it and left the place finally.

This is the place where we were observing in Morkhun village (drone shot)

Lastly, thanks a lot to the local people of Morkhun village.

Photo: Mariko Text: Mariko & Sarosh
Observation: Jan 2019, Morkhun Village, Gojal, Gilgit-Baltistan
Special Thanks to Mr. Sultan Gohar (Khunjerab National Park), Mr. Yousaf Akhtar for Drone shooting.

Category : # Gilgit-Baltistan > ** Wildlife of Pakistan > - Morkhun > - Snow Leopard
Tag : , , , , , , ,

Snow Leopard observed in Morkhun Village -1

This is a Snow Leopard I observed at Morkhun village in the beginning of January. I saw a lot of footprints of Snow Leopard in Khunjerab National Park (KNP), yet I could not witness it live.

At last! Now Snow Leopard is in front of me.

At around 10:30 am, a villager found Ibex blazing down the slopes of the mountain. When looked carefully, it was chased by a snow leopard.
Finally, Snow Leopard hunted Ibex, but the place was just across the river of Morkhun village. It was a distance of about 30m across the river.

At 15:00, I arrived at Morkhun village after receiving a message from Mr. Gohar, KNP.
The Snow Leopard was concealed, sitting inside the tree branch. But it started to move in the evening.

Villagers state that as this Snow Leopard entered the river after hunting of Ibex, so the fur was not fluffy.
The sunlight shining on Morkhun village — encompassed by high peaks of The Karakoram range — was short and faded quickly.
Sadly, now the time was over…

Photo: Mariko   Text: Mariko & Sarosh
Observation: Jan 2019, Morkhun, Gojal, Gilgit-Baltistan
Special Thanks: Mr. Sultan Gohar – KNP (Khunjerab National Park)

Category : # Gilgit-Baltistan > ** Wildlife of Pakistan > - Morkhun > - Snow Leopard
Tag : , , , , , , , ,

BALOCHISTAN – MUD VOLCANO EXPLORER

I visited Balochistan 3 times in last season.. and this is 3rd video clip I made about Mud Volcano of Hingol National park.

What we will see in next season…

Please contact to Saiyah team for explorer Balochistan!

 

Other Movie of Balochistan

True beauty of Balochistan – Pakistan

Pakistan Bikers – Balochistan 

 

Videography & Text : Mariko SAWADA

Visit of Balochistan : Nov 2018, Feb & Mar 2019 with SAIYAH Team

Category : # Balochistan > ** Video clip of Balochistan > - Hingol National Park > - Makran Coast > - Mud Volcano
Tag : , , , , , , , ,

Himalayan Brown Bear in Autumn – Deosai National Park

A Himalayan Brown Bear which makes the glorious Deosai plateau a well-known and famous place to traverse and explore for wildlife lovers around the world. In fact, the name itself literally translates to, “The land of the Giants”.

The Himalayan Brown Bear is a subspecies of the brown bear that lives in and around the magnificent Himalayas.
Originally, it inhabited widely in Nepal, Tibet, North India, and North Pakistan. However, due to trophy hunting and specifically for the purposes of fur and medicine, it lost its habitat and the population decreased drastically.
It is said that Himalayan brown bear in Bhutan has already been extinct. Moreover. Only a few hundreds population in Northern India and Northern Pakistan remain in the world.

In October, I went to Deosai Plateau for the observation of Himalayan Brown Bear with Deosai National Park staff. During my visit, a staff member explained to me that the bear may come closer to the roadside, as there are comparatively fewer cars and people during this season.
But still it was far and I had to walk quite a distance to approach the bear….

The sun has fallen.
No doubt, it was difficult to walk quickly, considering the fact that we were over 4,000 meters above sea level.

Finally, I came to the perfect distance where I could photograph the gigantic Himalayan Brown Bear.

View of a Himalayan Brown Bear from the backside!
According to the staff of the national park, he was a young male, and he was seamlessly fat enough before the hibernation period.

Himalayan Brown Bears go into hibernation between November and December.

Photo : Mariko   Text : Mariko & Sarosh
Observation : Oct 2015, Deosai National Park, Gilgit-Baltistan

Category : # Gilgit-Baltistan > - Deosai National park > - Himalayan Brown Bear
Tag : , , , , , , , , ,

Snow Leopard returns to the mountain

In late February 2017, a Snow Leopard which attacked livestock in the village of Misgar in Northern Pakistan was captured. She entered the barn and killed goats and sheep. However, she could not get out of the barn.
The villagers understood that the Snow Leopard must be protected at all cost, but they wanted to ask the administration for compensation of their killed livestock. So, it was the third day after being captured, when she was finally released to the mountain.

This snow leopard was a female snow leopard who was being observed with two cubs near the village of Misgar. They did not release at Misgar but they transported to the Khunjerab National Park where she was released.

The story that snow leopard was captured in Misgar became news immediately, and I was trying to go there. Unfortunately, I was informed that a foreigner needs a permit to go there and I had no time for that. So, I gave up and stayed at Deh check post of Khunjerab National Park, where this snow leopard arrived.

To see the moment when this Snow Leopard is released, TV crew and government officials gathered and moved in a row.
It was decided to release her on the slope of the mountain, just after the Deh check post.

Even the cage was opened, snow leopard did not come out immediately. As it didn’t come out, the locals who were around enchanted, “Lolly, Lolly, come!”.
“Lolly” is the Snow Leopard kept at Sost check post, until autumn of 2016.
Now she has been shifted to Naltar valley. But when National Park staff see a female Snow Leopard, they cannot stop calling it “Lolly.”

As she was thirsty, so she immediately started to eat the snow.

She looked forward towards the people, after eating the snow.

And cautiously observed the environment around her.

She came out slowly from the cage. At this moment, applause arose from the local people standing there.

Finally, now she is freely walking into the wild.

After three days of restraint, her fur was disordered, and the blood of the livestock was still spread on her body.

She stopped to eat the snow.

The Snow Leopard went into the bush but still stared at us.

After a while, it started climbing the mountain again and sat down again.
Although this is a released Snow Leopard, it was first time to see a wild Snow Leopard in Pakistan for me.

We left the place hoping that this snow leopard could safely return to the two cubs in Misgar.
The next day, the staff went to see where the snow leopard was last sighted, but it was not there no more.

Fortunately, three days after the release, there was a message from the National Park staff that this snow leopard was witnessed in Misgar with two cubs.

Photo: Mariko  Text: Mariko & Sarosh
Observation: Feb 2017, Khunjerab National Park, Gilgit -Baltistan
Special Thanks : Mr. Sultan Gohar -KNP(Khunjerab National Park), Mr. Farman Razah – KVO ( Khunjerab Villager Organization), Wildlife Department of Pakistan

Category : # Gilgit-Baltistan > - Khunjerab National Park > - Snow Leopard > - Snow Leopard (in Captivity)
Tag : , , , , , , , , ,

Nanga Parbat (8,126m) from the Deosai Plateau

Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain in the world. It is a mountain also known as, “The Killer Mountain”, because many climbers died on their way to the summit, during the last century.

There are several famous places from where you can have a breathtaking view of Nanga Parbat. Such as Fairy Meadows, Herrligkoffer Base Camp, that overlooks the Himalaya’s largest ice wall, “Rupal Wall”, with the differences of 4,500 meters.

Nevertheless, Nanga Parbat from the Deosai Plateau side is also admirable!

We entered “Deosai National Park” from the Chilam gate.
Brace yourself. This is just a view from the entrance of “Deosai Plateau”.

You can see this splendid sight just from the roadway!

Soon you will see picturesque Sheosar Lake with reflecting blue water… It is at an altitude of 4,140m.
From here you can see Nanga Parbat, against the backdrop of the lake, in the sky.

We drove further to Kala Pani from Sheosar Lake. Nanga Parbat can be seen from the heart of Deosai plateau.

We visited this place in early October. The temperature of the camp at night dropped to below freezing, but I was able to see the beautiful Nanga Parbat, blessed with the fine autumn weather.

Photo: Mariko Text: Mariko & Sarosh
Visit: Oct 2015, Deosai Plateau, Gilgit-Baltistan

Category : # Gilgit-Baltistan > ** Mountains of Pakistan > - Deosai National park > - Nanga Parbat
Tag : , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lolly the Snow Leopard -3

This is about Lolly the Snow Leopard, who has moved to the Naltar Valley.
Continuing from the previous day, I spent at Lolly’s facility from the morning. (The photo of Snow Leopard in this article is in captivity, not in wild)

Firstly, stop the jeep near the ski slope and walk from here. I asked the locals why Lolly was supposed to come to Naltar instead of Khunjerab National Park where she was born.
“I don’t know for sure, but it’s because Naltar has army facilities and army officials are watching it.”, he said. Certainly, at the fence of Lolly, there are army related people besides the tourists.

When I arrived at the fence, I saw Lolly was walking along the fence.
The staff said, “After eating meat, she walks like this.”

If you are observing for a long time, you will understand Lolly’s path, and if you wait there Lolly will come from the front.

Lolly from the back side. What a gorgeous looking snow leopard it is. That snow on the body, lovely.

I really feel Lolly is a charming female, and she needs a mate.

Look at the tail’s design! Look at the design of ears from the back!

Lolly was so active and showed various appearance today.
Finally, Lolly got meat at 16:00. The meat was frozen due to low temperature, but Lolly was chewing on the bones.
And after eating, she was cleaning herself.
I kept observing the lovely Lolly until dark.

Photo: Mariko     Text: Mariko & Sarosh
Observation: Feb 2017, Captive condition at Naltar Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan
Reference: The local staff of SLF at Naltar Valley

Category : # Gilgit-Baltistan > - Narltar Valley > - Snow Leopard (in Captivity)
Tag : , , , , , , , ,

Lolly the Snow Leopard -2

The story about the Snow Leopard, “Lolly”. (The photo of snow leopard in this article is in captivity, not in wild)

The Snow Leopard Lolly moved from Khunjerab National park check post to Naltar Valley in the winter of 2016. It moved to a larger facility, but it was a different environment from Khunjerab National Park, where she was born.

We visited the Naltar valley in the month of February. The high peaks, villages were very beautifully shrouded in snow, truly a winter wonderland.
We continued to Naltar where heavy snowfall was expected.

Naltar is a heavy snowfall area and is also known for its ski area. It is close to Gilgit, but I had to go by 4WD.

Finally, I arrived at Naltar. I went to the place where Lolly inhabited.
The place was located about 10min walk from Ski slope on the mountain.
But I was unable to find Lorry. I asked the person who is taking care of Lolly, he replied, “Lolly is sleeping in the snow pit, so wait”.
At last! Lolly came out of the snow pit.

Lolly must be about 4 years old. A beautiful female Snow Leopard.

Lolly started to move. This facility is located on the mountain slope. So, sometimes it is difficult to follow Lolly on the snowy slope.

The fence of the facility. If you want to take a beautiful picture, then you need a telephoto lens such as 400mm. Also, to get a better chance of photography, you need patience and time to stay and wait, as Lolly may be sleeping in the day time.
More importantly, it is ideal to stay overnight at Naltar where a simple guest house is available. It will be another winter experience!

Photo: Mariko    Text: Mariko & Sarosh
Observation : Feb 2017, Captive condition at Naltar Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan
Reference: Local staff of SLF at Naltar Valley

Category : # Gilgit-Baltistan > ** Wildlife of Pakistan > - Narltar Valley > - Snow Leopard (in Captivity)
Tag : , , , , , , , ,