Bird Photography / Nepal / Travel / Wildlife

Royal Chitwan National Park – Nepal

26 Apr ’11

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Other highlights of my trip through Nepal. I’ve seen this place many times in documentaries and I always wanted to go there. I could have gotten more shots if I had been there only for photography but I’m really happy with, first, what I saw, and second, some of the images I captured. Some of the trickiest shots was from a moving canoe and from the back of an elephant. Un autre point important de mon voyage au Nepal. J’ai vu cet endroit pleins de fois dans des documentaires et vu que je suis un grand passioné de photo animaliere j’ai toujours révé d’y aller. J’aurais pu faire bien plus d’image si j’y etais allé que pour ca mais je suis deja content d’y etre allé et des images que j’ai pu ramener.

Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) in Chitwan National Park Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) in Chitwan National Park

The Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) taken from a canoe on the Rapti River

Blyth´s pipit (Anthus godlewski)

Blyth´s pipit (Anthus godlewski), the local bird guy told me it is was a Paddyfield pipit but it really does not fit the description, if anyone has an opinion ?

I went frogging on the Rapti riverbanks at night (beware of crocodiles!) and I found two species. As I did not bring my flash with me to Nepal I had to compose using the two smallest flashlights ever. Thanks to my great team who helped me by holding them so I could get these images. The two first images are from melanistic toads (Bufo melanostictus) and then it’s a frog from the Limnonectes genus but no one could identify it down to the species. Je suis allé a la recherche de grenouilles sur les rives de la rivière Rapti de nuit (attention aux crocodiles!) et j’ai trouvé deux especes différentes. Je n’ai pas amené mon flash au Nepal donc j’utilisais ce qui etait certainement les 2 lampes de poche les plus petites qui existent. Merci a mes amis qui m’ont aidé pour donner l’eclairage que je voulais a ces images. Les deux premieres sont d’un Bufo melanostictus and ensuite c’est une grenouille du genre Limnonectes.

Melanistic toads (Bufo melanostictus) at night Melanistic toads (Bufo melanostictus) at night

Limnonectes sp. frog in Nepal

There is two species of crocodiles present in Nepal, one of them is the Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris). It can grow up to 5m and I have to admit that being in these tiny canoes that feel like they are about to sink every 10m we did not feel safe while passing 3 or 4 m away from a 4m male… 2 especes de crocodile sont présentes au Nepal, l’une d’elle est le crocodile des marais (Crocodylus palustris). Pouvant mesure jusqu’a 5m je dois admettre que passer tres pres d’eux dans ces canoes pas super rassurant, ca donnait pas mal de frissons.

Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris)

Here we are with the “flagship species” of Chitwan National Park, the Indian Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis), which as you can see only has one horn. Chitwan hosts the second largest population of this rhinoceros in the world. This article came out 3 days ago and it’s good news, RHINOS NUMBER ARE INCREASING.

Indian Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) Indian Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) Indian Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis)

This is what happens when you have a 300mm + an 1.4 extender and the rhino pops out on the side of the elephant about 6meters from you, you can’t fit everything in the frame.  The adventures of wildlife photography. Voila ce qui arrive quand on a pas la bonne focale (300mm + extendeur 1.4), on se retrouve a couper les oreilles !

Indian Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis)

#1 taking a bath at the end of the day. At first I was thinking it was a log but then the ears popped out of the water. We were quite close to him but he was really relaxed.

Indian Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) Indian Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis)

On these two last  above shots it’s the closest I’ve ever been to them. Such a great feeling, intimidating of course but it’s better to get them from this perspective than from a higher angle I think. Below is a sambar (Rusa unicolor), a very common deer in Chitwan National Park. You might ask why such big ears? With Tigers lurking around it is a good thing to be able to hear everything…

sambar (Rusa unicolor) portrait

This lizard is a common garden lizard (Calotes versicolor), it’s also present in Australia. I used my had to dim the harsh light while shooting.

Common garden lizard (Calotes versicolor) close-up

The next images are from the second species of crocodile present in Nepal, the Garhial (Gavialis gangeticus). It is extremely endangered with only 200 individuals remaining in the world and about 80 in Nepal. I feel really lucky to have seen four (the last census counted 24 individuals in the Rapti river). Les prochaines images sont celles de la secondes especes de crocodile presente au Nepal, le Gavial (Gavialis gangeticus). Cette espece est en danger d’extinction avec une population d’environ 200 individus au total et seuleument 80 au Nepal. C’est rien du tout et je m’estime tres chanceux dr’en avoir vu 4 sachant que dans la riviere Rapti le dernier recensement en a compté 24…

Garhial (Gavialis gangeticus) Garhial (Gavialis gangeticus)

This might be looking like a simple mouse to you but it is in fact the smallest mammal in the world, Etruscan shrew (Suncus etruscus). The adult weights about 2 grams. Ceci vous evoque peut etre une simple souris mais il s’agit du plus petit ammmifere au monde, le Pachyure etrusque (Suncus etruscus), l’adulte pese environ 2 grammes.

Etruscan shrew (Suncus etruscus)

I always try to keep my macro lens around when I’m out shooting as ants are everywhere and I’ve always been fascinated by their life and biology.

Ants foraging in Nepal

This is the best of selection, I could have uploaded way more but I kept it down to my favourites. The rest will be online somewhere at some point (Pied Kingfisher, Egrets, Deers, etc…). It was so excited walking in the elephant grass, trying to listen for wildlife, encountering all sorts of deer, rhinos, and seeing tiger pugmarks… ) I always had the 7D and the 40D ready in case something would happen. Shooting from the back of an elephant was really difficult as it moves in an even more unpredictable than a boat! But you can get really close to the rhinos and still have a decent feeling of security. As in the street portraits I had no real power on the light conditions so I had to deal with what I have, if you see a rhino under some bright noon light you can’t ask him to come back later. Voila, cette selection est le Best of, j’aurais pu en mettre bien plus mais j’ai préféré limiter. Le reste sera surement online quelquepart. C’etait vraiment genial de marcher des kilometres et des kilometres dans les hautes herbes a l’affut du moindre bruit (pour notre securité), rencontrer des Paons, des cerfs et des Rhinos… j’ai appris que faire des photos depuis un elephant c’est pas facile du tout. Comme pour les portraits de rue je n’avais pas de controle sur l’heure et la lumiere donc encore une fois, un bon entrainement.



I am a nature photographer specialising in wildlife photography. I have a special passion for this type of photography which comes from my background as an ecologist & conservation biologist.

Comments (7)

  • April 26, 2011 by David


    Loving these as usual Nic. You seem to be in your element in these kinds of wild situations. I was gutted when we went to north Qld and I didn’t see a croc, though I’m not sure I’d have wanted to canoe next to one! We gotta go travelling somewhere good, I think I could learn a lot from your approach!

    • April 27, 2011 by Rako


      A trip to Scotland to photograph the puffins ? 😀

  • April 27, 2011 by Ben


    Funky les Rhinos ! 🙂

  • April 28, 2011 by lipy


    the pictures are just awesome!! well done nick!

  • May 3, 2011 by Chris Tuohy

    Chris Tuohy

    Great Shots as always mate, the Bufo is my favourite for sure! Cheers

  • May 5, 2011 by Mario


    Salut Nico,
    on a une amie en commun (mag) et elle m avait montre ton site et donc je voulais juste te feliciter pr ta publication dans competences photo.
    Beau travail !! keep it up !!

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