Friday, April 7, 2017

I've spent the last couple of days in Naypyidaw, capital of Myanmar - a strange city indeed which is mostly made up of huge conference centres  for the Myanmar government to hold negotiating meetings with donors and investors.

The resort where I have been staying has extensive grounds, which offered a few birds before breakfast on both my mornings here.  The highlights were three endemics, all pictured below:

White-throated Babbler

Burmese Bushlark

Burmese Bushlark

Irrawaddy Bulbul

Other notables included Oriental Reed Warbler, Black-browed Reed Warbler and Thick-billed Warbler all in song, a Wryneck and a small Reticulated Python swimming across one of the resort lakes.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Winter on the patches

Non-birding commitments have meant that my forays to Suan Rotfai and the grounds of the Dept of Public Relations in recent months have been irregular and all too brief, and consequently I've had no time to post updates on sightings.

Generally the birding has been quite slow, with no really interesting records - a product of my limited field effort for sure, but also we have been having an extremely warm "winter" with few days of cool weather that might have pushed birds southwards. The best has been a male Verditer Flycatcher at the Dept of Public Relations that graced a fruiting fig on the last day of 2016, whilst 6th January produced an Eye-browed Thrush and a pair of Hair-crested Drongos in Suan Rotfai.

Below are a few images of my recent encounters.

Asian Brown Flycatcher

leucogenis Ashy Drongo

Brown Shrike

This unfortunate Brown Shrike was present from late Oct until early Jan

All my recent mid-winter PLLW/Saks have proven to Sakhalin on call

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mae Sot

I worked in Mae Sot (on the Thai-Myanmar border) on Monday and Tuesday this week.  This gave me the opportunity to check out the fields behind Mae Sot Airport, giving a nice selection on wintering migrants.

These included three Brown Shrikes, at least four Siberian Rubythroats (heard), three Bluethroats in one area of recently burnt stubble that also held a flock of at least six Amur Wagtails and five Eastern Yellow Wagtails.

I also came across three Red-throated Pipits and Paddyfield (at least four birds) and Richard's Pipits (two birds). The latter two species offered opportunities for photographing and comparing them - Richard's being substantially bigger, longer tailed, heavier billed and generally more robust.

adult Brown Shrike


Amur Wagtail

Paddyfield Pipit

Richard's Pipit

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Mae Sariang

A work trip to Mae Sariang (Mae Hong Son province) this week got me out of the city and I brought my binoculars in case I managed to sneak in a few birds between meetings.

Actually the trip gave me a couple of notable records - firstly and I think bizarrely - I saw three Java Sparrows on top of Don Muang airport car park in Bangkok - I have never seen this species before, anywhere!  Whether I can tick this feral population is another matter, but you can i agine my surprise as I dragged my suitcase from car to terminal!

When I got to my hotel in Mae Sariang I went for a stroll along the river below my room and found a real, genuine Thailand tick in the form of a Green Sandpiper feeding on a shingle bank - a seemingly sparsely distributed winter visitor to northern Thailand.  This bird was in the lose company of three Amur Wagtails, two Common Sandpipers and three Little Ringed Plovers. So with Siberian Rubythroat, Thick-billed and Dusky Warblers calling as they skulked unseen in the undergrowth, this makes a very pleasant place to explore out between meetings.

On my second day checking this area I added Wire-tailed Swallow (three birds feeding at close range along the river) and a probable Asian House Martin (poor views in bad light) as well as Common and Black-capped Kingfishers and a group of small starlings (presumably Chestnut-tailed or White shouldered).

Not proper birding by any stretch of the imagination, but better that being stuck at my desk in Bangkok.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Stejneger's Stonechat

A morning birding around Mae Sot last week gave me the opportunity to photograph this male Stejneger's Stonechat - a form (species?) of Siberian Stonechat that has got many european birds's interested this autumn, and is the default winterer here in Thailand.

Marus only occurs in northern Thailand, where it is resident at high altitude.

Stejneger's Stonechat

The fields around Mae Sot where pretty productive with Pied Harrier (2 males), two White-shouldered Starling, at least  seven Siberian Rubythroat, a Two-barred Greenish Warbler, three Black-browed Reed Warbler, two or three Thick-billed Warbler, four Red Avadavat and 15 Black Drongo.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

(very) local goodies

Early morning birding at the government compound near my house produced a few migrants this morning, with two Ashy Drongos of the uncommon mouhouti race which I only ever see in Bangkok as a passage migrant.

I then picked up the soft "tack" call of a Cyornis flycatcher, which eventually revealed itself to be a female Hill Blue Flycatcher - a rare passage migrant in Bangkok. 

Whilst trying to relocate the Hill Blue Fly I found a Paradise Flycatcher, which gave poor and distant views  but from the images I got of it, appears to be a Blyth's (identified by the greyish throat, which would be blackish in Amur PF). The same small group of trees also held single Arctic Warbler, Taiga and Asian Brown Flycatchers.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Incidental birding

Work and family commitments have kept me away from any dedicated birding odf late, so I have had to make do with slim pickings - but any free moments have been rewarded - these included migrating Ashy and Crow-billed Drongos near my house, whilst a weekend at the beach at Hua Hin managed to produce an impressive migrating flock of 60 Grey-headed Lapwings, two Hoopoes and an Amur Wagtail whilst lazing in the pool!  This morning I was at a major "spaghetti junction" in the centre of Bangkok doing the school run when I spied a Paradise Flycatcher spp sallying between two highway ramps!