Monday, July 28, 2014

Suan Rot Fai in late July

I did the patch yesterday morning (Sunday, 27th) for the first time in a month.  The park is not exactly inspiring in mid summer, but there was enough to justify the trip with the first birds encountered being a pair of Stork-billed Kingfishers calling loudly and flying around the park at considerable altitude.  This behaviour made me wonder if I was seeing an adult and newly fledged chick - perhaps they have bred in the park?!

city centre Stork-billed Kingfisher

Other notable birds were TWO Chinese Pond Herons - very surprising to see here in mid-summer.  They were a breeding plumaged bird (presumed to be the same individual seen in late June) plus a second bird in almost full non-breeding plumage, with a few vestiges of maroon on the neck and head.  A juvenile Shikra was chased across the park by a murder of Large-billed Crows, and I had a brief encounter with a Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (without rackets) which might be either a post-breeding dispersant or an an escapee  from the weekend market.

Javan Pond Heron

Chinese Pond Heron

Chinese Pond Heron

CPH - note maroon tones in neck & head feathers

Sunday, July 13, 2014

12th July - Thailand Tattler

I spent this afternoon looking for waders ar Khok Kham with a recently arrived Canadian expat birder.

We struggled a bit to locate the wader flocks, arriving too late to see birds on the mudflats due to the rapidly rising spring tide, and birds seemed to be well spread out over the saltpans.  Eventually we found a flock of Common Redshank and on close approach in the car we soon found that they were joined by three Grey-tailed Tattlers (the first time I've encountered this species in Thailand, and only the second time ever, having twitched the Scottish bird almost twenty years ago!).

G-t Tattler amongst eastern Common Redshank

The Common Redshanks numbered approximately a hundred whilst other waders encountered were two Common Greenshank, three Pacific Golden Plovers, two Greater Sand Plovers, c. 20 Lesser Sand Plover, two Black-tailed Godwits, and approximately 80 orientalis Eurasian Curlews (pictures below).

Sunday, June 29, 2014

A wander around the patch at this time of year is always accompanied by low expectations, with no migrant interest to be had, and many species finishing breeding.

Today's visit was my first since April: busy with other things + with low wet season expectations = neglected patch!

The highlight today was the presence of a scruffy breeding-plumaged Chinese Pond Heron. CPH is a winter visitor to Thailand, so this is pretty unusual. There was one present on the the patch last summer, but I've only come across one other mid-summer record in Thailand.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Khok Kham

A short visit to Khok Kham early this morning with Graham Gordon was not very successful as the road to the Mangrove Research Station had been closed (so we could not access the shoreline).

Small numbers of waders were seen on the salt pans with about 10 Curlew Sandpipers and 50 or so Red-necked Stints.  Only two birds were in summer plumage (one Curlew Sand with a damaged foot, and a Red-necked Stint), several other R-n Stints appeared to be 2CY.

Other notables included a pair of White-winged Black Terns amongst the Whiskereds, and a group of three Turnstone.

Saturday, May 31, 2014


I spent the last week working in Mae Sot.  This allowed for some pre-work birding on three mornings, which was generally rather unproductive given the time.

A couple of nice features however were regular encounters with Horsfield's Bush Larks in song flight, but more spectacularly encounters with a group of Red Avadavats in the grassy filed where I had seen four birds the previous week.  This time I was armed with the camera, and whilst is is very difficult to estimate how many birds were present I feel confident of a minimum count in the range of 15-20 birds.

Unfortuantely none of these were adult breeding males (I think they have already finished breeding as I have seen breeding males with nesting material in early January).  HBW states: "Female is greyish-brown above, rump and uppertail-coverts red with few indistinct white spots, small white or pale buff tips on upperwing-coverts and tertials" and it also states that the female "gives a short song" whilst "Male non-breeding is like female, but with white spots on red uppertail-coverts, larger pale tips on greater coverts". This makes me think that perhaps that perhaps Bird 1 is an adult female - it was singing but the spots on the tertials are rather dull and the uppertail coverts only have a few spots.  I think that birds 2 and 3 are both males.

All images are taken with a Nikon V1 and 300mm f4 lens.

Bird 1 - female in song

Bird 1 - female

Bird 2 - non-breeding male, moulting tertials

Bird 3 - non breeding male

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Mae Sot

A quick pre-breakfast visit to the rice fields behind Mae Sot Airport this morning produced excellent, prolonged views of four female-type Red Avadavats and a Bright-headed Cisticola. Naturally my camera had been left at home...