Sunday, February 8, 2015

Phylloscopus shower

Birding on the patch this weekend produced views of the Hartert's Leaf Warbler on both days.  On Sunday I watched it taking a shower alongside Radde's, Pale-legged/Sakhalin and Yellow-browed Warblers when the Park's sprinkler system was turned on!

Hartert's Leaf Warbler

Pretty much everything else was run-of-the-mill, but the Lineated Barbet was still present on Saturday and I encountered several Pond Herons well-advanced in attaining summer plumage (two Chinese, three Javan).  Birds are also increasingly showing signs of breeding, with a pair of Yellow Bitterns chasing one another around rather flirtatiously.

cristatus Brown Shrike

Taiga Flycatcher (with just a hint of red throat)

Yellow Bittern

Chinese Pond Heron

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

More Hartert's action

Once again I went out to photograph the Hartert's Leaf Warbler before work this morning. On viewing these photos afterwards I noted that the bird is missing a toe from its right foot.

The bird was not heard to call this morning, during the time that myself, Phil Round and a small number of other local birders watched it.

indochinensis Asian Paradise Flycatcher

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

More time with Hartert's Leaf Warbler

I visited the patch for an hour this morning with the objective of seeing the Hartert's Leaf Warbler again. 

I actually picked it up on call, which was surprising as it had been silent when I saw it on Saturday, but I failed to get a sound recording (another reason to go back again).  This morning I got some additional photos, with the bird showing at close range when bathing, and at some moments so close that I couldn't focus the camera on it (Note to self: need to switch the focus limiter off next time!).

Under all lighting conditions the undertail coverts were contrastingly yellow compared with the paler belly, whilst the upper breast could appear almost oilve when the bird was seen head on. The coronal stripe appears stronger at the rear than at the front.

Behaviour wise it did a mixture of "nuthatching" (ie foraging along thicker branches and peering over them, neck outstretched), some gleaning from leaves and some foraging around dead palm fronds.

Other notable birds seen this morning included the Asian Paradise Flycatcher, two Black-naped Monarchs (including a glowing male) and the Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, which seems to be a good signpost for the Hartert' LW a they seem to be feeding in close proximity (various people have suggested that the Flycatcher benefits by catching insects disturbed by the Warbler).

Monday, February 2, 2015

"Hartert's" Leaf Warbler

A number of observers visited Suan Rot Fai yesterday morning and this morning, securing more and better photos of the mystery Phyllosc. These images can be found here and here.

The consensus amongst all observers is that this is a Hartert's Leaf Warbler of the nominate form goodsoni, with expert opinion sought from Paul Leader, who agrees on the ID. This bird is endemic to China, and I am unaware of any records from outside of that country. Whilst I was fortunate enough to relocate the bird on Saturday, 31st January credit for its identification really belongs with Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok and Philip Round who initially suggested Hartert's Leaf Warbler after seeing a single, highly color-saturated image taken by a Chaiwat Tangpradit on 17th January and posted on Thai Bird Report by Smith Sutibut on 23rd January. Many thanks also to Wich'yanan, Andrew Pierce, Mark Andrews and Paul Leader for discussions on this bird.

If the bird sticks around efforts may be made to mist net it for biometrics and DNA sampling to confirm the ID beyond doubt.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Asian Waterbird Census

I did my two AWC sites this morning.  They were the same locations that I did last year -  a couple of random areas of water selected for me by the co-ordination team. In many ways, these sites represent what I am increasingly witnessing when I leave Bangkok and head out into areas a long the inner gulf coast: "development" at the cost of wildlife.

The first site I visited had been something of an unexpected gem last year, a roadside scrape that hosted more than 600 Spotted Redshank and more than 250 Marsh Sandpipers, with a flock of 11 Glossy Ibis (a rare bird in Thailand) dropping in during the count, and over 200 Whiskered Terns feeding over the marsh. Today I found the site had been turned into a fish pond which hosted  a small number of herons and cormorants, with the only waders being single Pacific Goldie, Common Sandpiper and two pairs of Black-winged Stilts.  Next to the pond a building was being was being constructed.

The second site that I visited last year held over 3,000 Lesser Whistling Duck, but today the same lack was devoid of bird life, with small numbers of Lesser Whistling Duck flying over and circling but then moving on, whilst a couple of pools further on held two Greenshank and single Wood, Marsh and Common Sandpiper.  That site also appears to be under development, with the dirt road that I used last year apparently being upgraded, and more construction underway.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

A complex warbler

After a pretty productive morning on the patch, which had already produced only my second record of Grey-headed Lapwing (again a flyover) and the Lineated Barbet, I walked into "the secret garden", an area that is off limits to the public, but which has lots of big trees and good cover, and was where the "mystery Phyllosc" was photographed on 17th Jan (exactly two weeks ago).  Having drawn a blank on it when looking earlier in the week I had little hope of relocating it, but given that it was a Saturday I could allow time for a more exhaustive search.

Soon after entering the secret garden I found a ground-loving phyllosc which turned out to be a Radde's Warbler.  I only get to see a couple of Radde's each year on the patch, so wanted to give it some attention and try to get some photos.  As it moved towards the blow of a small hillock I was watching it with my bins and then realised that somewhere behind it, in a low tree was another phyllosc.  As soon as I got focused on this second bird I knew I had re-found the "mystery warbler"!

This thing clearly had  dark sides to the crown and a well marked lateral crown stripe, plus two wingbars and a strong yellowish  suffusion to the underparts.  I set about securing photos of it and putting the news out to a few local birders who had been contributing to the discussion on the ID since the first photo appeared on Facebook last week.  The bird moved "nuthatch-like" along branches and peering underneath them, and though I lost it a number of times it reappeared and eventually offered some close views.

Hopefully more information about the ID of this bird will be forthcoming soon, but it is clearly part of the "Blyth's Complex" and seems to fit Hertart's Leaf Warbler of the nominate race goodsoni. Hertart's is regarded as a Chinese endemic (some photos on Oriental Bird Images show winter birds from Hong Kong).

During the time I watched it it did not vocalise, but it did take an interest in a tape of goodsoni contact call that I had on my iPhone.

The same little area also held an Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher and two Black-naped Monarchs.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Lineated Barbet

Lineated Barbet

I visited Suan Rot Fai this morning to search for what is increasingly looking like an Ogilvie-Grant's Leaf Warbler that was photographed there on 17th January.  This obscure phyllosc is, I believe part of the "Blyth's complex" but the taxonomy and distribution seems to be somewhat confused (at least, I feel confused by it). There was no sign of the warbler, but I managed to pull out a patch tick in the form of a Lineated Barbet, a mid-winter wonderer, and my first mid-winter record of Siberian Blue Robin. The only other notable bird was a Pale-legged/Sakhalin Leaf Warbler.

Siberian Blue Robin