Citrine Wagtail (Deosai Plateau)

This is the Citrine wagtail observed in the summer of the Deosai Plateau. The breeding plumage of the male makes his bright yellow head, beautifully contrast with the black wings. Even amongst a carpet of blooming wildflowers, the birds stand out on the plateau.

 

Pakistan’s Citrine wagtail spends the summer breeding season along rivers and lakes in the northern highlands and overwinters in the open plains along the southern Indus River.

This photo was taken near the Barapani on the Deosai Plateau (elevation around 4,000 m). I was observing the Citrine wagtail that was in the riverbank near the campsite.

 

This wagtail appeared on the riverbank with its head all wet.

 

Breeding males have the bright yellow heads, while females have a light yellow-gray color.

 

This is young Citrine wagtail.

 

This one has caught a worm.

 

A Citrine wagtail on the flowering Deosai Plateau.

 

The Barapani campsite at night. Clear crisp air at an altitude of 4,000 m.

 

There was some frost in the morning. Even in July, we need to be prepared with sufficient protection against the cold.

 

Full moon in the morning.

 

From the clear skies over Deosai Plateau, appeared the 9th highest peak in the world, Nanga Parbat, at 8,125 m. The massive and dynamic Himalayan mountain range is so overwhelming to take in.

 

Photo & text: Mariko SAWADA
Observation: July 2016, Deosai National Park, Gilgit-Baltistan

Category : ◆ Gilgit-Baltistan > ◇ Birds of Pakistan > - Deosai National Park
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Long-Tailed Marmot in the Summer (Deosai National Park)

The Long-tailed Marmot observed on the Deosai National Plateau in the summertime. The Plateau, designated a National Park in 1993, has an average altitude of 4,100 m (about 14,450 ft high) near the boarder of India and northern Pakistan.

In the last few years, the number of Pakistani domestic tourists visiting the Park increased drastically, and despite being a National Park, the tourists having bad manners, became difficult to manage. There is a great concern about the impacts the tourism has on the natural environment.
At the campsite, there are parties and lots of tourists making noise, so for those who came to seek nature, its well known that the camping areas are a tough place to be. Besides that, there are the native wild animals who are trying to make the most of the short season of “Summer on the Deosai Plateau” as well.

 

When you camp at the Deosai Plateau, you will get to see this marmot around. These are the same marmots that can be found on the Pamir Mountains of Central Asia, called the Long-tailed Marmot or Golden Marmot.

The marmots often check for danger, as they stand up on their back legs near their burrows and carefully monitor the situation; when needed they sound an alarm call “Kii-Kii!” Of course, they will make calls for people who venture too close, but they are mainly on the lookout for the foxes and birds of prey above who often target the marmots.
Ranging from altitudes of 3,200m to up to 5,000m, the marmots live in very large colonies, digging burrows into the alpine plain grasses and among the rocks. Being monogamous, it is said that the marmots are highly social animals with a complex society.

 

They often stand next to the opening, always ready to duck into their protective cavity. This burrow is used for hibernation.

 

I stood watching the colony near the road for a very long time. Eventually, the marmot families relaxed a little and the babies began to come out.

 

A mother and her pup came out of the burrow. The pups will spend the first 6 weeks of their life in the burrow and then start to venture out.

 

They are so, so cute.

 

The pup plays with the momma.

 

One more pup came out. Long-tailed Marmots will give birth to about 4 pups at a time, but only about half of them can survive the first summer, and many are lost during the first hibernation. While observing them, I could see the little heads of many pups in this colony.

 

The snows begin in October on the Deosai Plateau. In previous visits to Deosai, I saw the marmots were still active in the first week of October. They will probably enter hibernation around November, and I hope these little guys make it through the winter!

 

Photo & Text : Mariko SAWADA

Observation : Jul 2017, Deosai National Park, Gilgit -Baltistan

Special Thanks  : The late Mr.Zahoor Salmi,  Deosai National Park

Category : ◆ Gilgit-Baltistan > - Marmot > ◇ Wildlife of Pakistan > - Deosai National Park
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(Video) Red Fox Hunting (Khunjerab National Park)

In the spring, as the snows melt away from the mountainous slopes of the Khunjerab National Park, sitting at 4,000 meters above sea level, the wildlife also seems to spring back to life.

In this video, the red fox catches a mouse. The classic fox hunting technique of locating, jumping and diving into the snow, nose first. Then the prey seems to confuse the fox by “playing dead” …an interesting sighting of the wildlife in the thawing Karakoram.

 

A Red fox hunting / 狩りをするアカギツネ

 

Videography : Mariko SAWADA

Observation : April 2021, Khunjerab National Park, Gilgit-Baltistan

Category : = Video Clip Gilgit-Baltistan > ◆ Video Breathtaking Views of Pakistan > - Fox > ◆ Gilgit-Baltistan > - Khunjerab National Park > ◇ Wildlife of Pakistan
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(Video)The Apricot Blossoms of Khyber Village

In late April, the apricot flowers are in full bloom, much later than usual in the upper Hunza’s Khyber Village. The wave of modernization and development is making its way up the Hunza Valley. But I hope that the scenic beauty of this stunning village will continue forever.

 

Apricot Blossom in Khyber

 

Videography : Mariko SAWADA

Visit : April 2021, Khyber, Gilgit-Baltistan

Special Thanks : Hunza Hill-Gah – Khyber

Category : = Video Clip Gilgit-Baltistan > ◆ Video Breathtaking Views of Pakistan > - the Karakoram Highway > ◆ Gilgit-Baltistan > - Gojar > - Khyber
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(video) Northern Pakistan, Autumn the Hunza Valley, a hidden paradise

Northern Pakistan, Autumn the Hunza Valley

In the past, the main tourist season of Pakistan was mainly in the  summertime, but now many people are travelling to see the apricot blossoms in the spring or to see the autumnal colors of the fall season.

And it is quite remarkable.

This drone footage is nice, but the view from the hotel terrace is indeed just as spectacular and the mountains and orchards make you feel like you are in a real hidden paradise.

The autumn comes a little later each year, due to the unfortunate effects of climate change. However, in Hunza and in the upper reaches of the Hunza, each village is at its own elevation and exposure to sunlight is different, causing just enough variety of options, to be sure to catch the beautiful scenery in one of them.

Villagers also prepare for the winter during this time. Potatoes are distributed and the livestock return from the highland pastures back down to the villages.

 

Video & text : Mariko SAWADA

Visit : Oct 2018, Hunza, Upper Hunza,  Gilgit-Baltistan

Category : = Video Clip Gilgit-Baltistan > ◆ Video Breathtaking Views of Pakistan > ◆ Gilgit-Baltistan > - Hunza > - Gojar > - Morkhun > - Passu
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Himalayan Brown Bear in Summer – Deosai National Park

The Deosai Plateau – Land of the Giants – on the border with India is known as a habitat for the Himalayan brown bears.

However, it is not something you can see easily if you go to the Deosai Plateau. In addition, It has been a target of hunting for many years. They are very timid and run away quickly.
Furthermore, there are too many tourists in summer, and Himalayan brown bears go deep in the valley. So you have to walk a lot to meet them.

From a camp at altitude of about 4,000m, we went up to a valley where the altitude rises a little and countless creeks flow.

 

Suddenly the accompanying ranger shouted with surprise, “Bear!”

I quickly took out tripod and snapped the picture with the best possible zoom.
Two bears! A Mother bear and its cub. Wait… The mother bear is observing something.

 

It was a male Himalayan brown bear that the mother bear was looking at.
Mother bear and cub walked towards us in the grass along the creek avoiding this male.

Luckily, we were downwind and were able to come to a relatively closer position for observation of the Himalayan brown bear without being noticed by the bear.

 

Oh, bear cub found us, looking at us how cute!

 

Mother bear also found us, standing upright and staring at us.

 

Finally both of them looking at us. A dreamy camera angle. After this, unfortunately the two headed away.

 

Afterwards, Mommy bear and cub appeared a little away. They were moving while searching various things in the grassland.

 

When a cub was doing strange actions on the rock, they were observing another female Himalayan brown bear.
The other female bear completely ignored them and passed across them.

 

After that, the cub bear had a little sleep and played in the pastures.

 

At last, the mommy bear and cub went over the hill. It was really a beautiful, unforgettable sight.

 

Photo & Text : Mariko SAWADA
Observation : Jul 2017, Deosai National Park, Gilgit-Baltistan
Reference : Mr. Ghulman Raza – Deosai National Park, Mr. Zahoor Salmi (late)

Category : - Himalayan Brown Bear > ◆ Gilgit-Baltistan > - Deosai National Park
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Northern Pakistan’s autumn feature: meet the movement of livestock in Passu

This is one of the most highlighting feature of the northern Pakistan in autumn; the great movement of the livestock. In October, livestock such as goats, sheep, and yaks that spent the summer in high altitude pastures return to the village all at once.

 

When I was traveling north on the Karakorum Highway, villagers brought livestock appeared in the backdrop of Passu mountains.

 

Villagers with their livestock who spent the summers on the highland pastures.

 

Goats and sheep collected from various houses in the village are gathered together and moved together. Finally, when they arrive at the village, they are divided into their respective homes for winter preparation.

 

A very healthy herd of livestock passing by, extremely wonderful herd sheep & goats, with signature long and twisted horns directing towards the back.

 

Villagers moving with their livestock, the village is already near.

 

Photo & Text  : Mariko SAWADA

Visit: Oct 2014, Passu, Gilgit-Baltistan

Category : ◆ Gilgit-Baltistan > - Passu
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