Wednesday, October 28, 2009

27th Oct 2009 - A severe case of Thrush

The offering of South Easterlies and early rain meant that Sacha and I were Blakeney Point bound today. Whilst having breakfast and sorting out the moth trap in the garden we had a flock of 40+ Redwing go over. Game on.

Got to Coastguards and a short seawatch releaved more thrush flocks coming in-off, low over the water, then gaining height over Cley Marsh.

Walking up the Point quickly produced a mass of newly arrived Blackbirds flushing out of the suede, with two Ring Ouzel amongst them. More thrush flocks went over continually, some mixed, others pure Blackbird/Redwing/Fieldfare, some more than 100 birds strong, and joined by others that had been decked in the suede. The scale of the movement was nicely exemplified by finding more than 50 Blackbirds in the tiny Plantation!

A Peregrine and a Merlin passed over, obviously being kept busy by the movement of thrushes, and there seemed to be good numbers of Reed Buntings around the boat between Coastguards and Halfway House.

Smaller numbers of thrushes were seen as we headed back down the Point, when a Woodcock dropped from the sky, whizzing past Sacha's head and almost impaling him.

Arrived back in Fen Drayton after dark and heard yet more Redwings passing over. A great day of vizmig.

The scale of the passage is nicely summarized by the Punks here.

26th Oct 2009 - Norfolk hopes

The first of a couple of days birding with Sacha didn't look too good - brisk WSW winds in a county that has had a poor autumn. Nonetheless Sacha's local knowledge took me to a couple of sites that I've not visited for a very long time, and to areas at those sites that I had no idea existed.

Rares of the day were second hand Gween-winged Teal and White-rumped Sandpiper at Cley (the latter we picked up immediately on getting to a full Daukes Hide...the other occupants of Daukes were grateful to us for putting them onto the closest wader, which they had completely overlooked). Much more enjoyable however were a Woodcock in-off at Muckleburgh and a photogenic Barn Owl that seemed rather exhausted and ended up roosting in the open (migrant?). Passerines at Muckleburgh included a duck & drake Blackcap, a nominate Chiff and brief views of a very pale bird that looked really similar to the first bird detailed in this thread on Birdforum.

Secondhand Sand


Got to the UK on evening of 22nd, an early-xmas trip to see the new baby in my family, and hoping to catch the tail end of autumn migration before the sun disappears below the horizon for 6 months. Four hours after landing news broke of the UK's first Eastern Crowned Warbler being found in South Shields - I momentarily considered the crazy prospect of twitching it, but jetlag, apathy and sense soon set in.

Tried for the Brown Shrike at Stains on 24th en route to more family, but was thwarted by the actions of a fieldcraftless photographer who had flushed it a hour before I got there. Did Fen Drayton RSPB (conveniently next to my sisters house) on 25th and managed a Chiff and a Goldeneye and not much else.

Monday, October 19, 2009

More of the same

Patch working again this morning - more of the same migrants - not boring, but it would be nice to get some variety (like a Sibe Blue Robin or a Paradise Fly, or...?). Anyhow, the sun was out and a few of the protagonists behaved for the camera. Totals included ABF 3+, TAIGA 5+, ARCTIC W 1-2, BLACK-NAPED ORIOLE 1, BLACK-CAPPED K'FISHER 1, COMMON K'FISHER 1

Taiga Fly (note the small amount of pink at the base of the lower mandible)

Arctic Warbler

1cy Black-naped Oriole

Asian Brown Fly

Sunday, October 18, 2009


A brief early morning trip to Suan Rot Fai today gave me my first YELLOW-BROWED WARBLERS (2-4 individuals) of the autumn, with the added bonus of a FOREST WAGTAIL. Other migrants included ABF heard, three Taiga Flycatchers, Common Kingfisher and bad views of another phyllosc.

An exceptionally confiding SCALY-BREASTED MUNIA provided a nice photo opportunity.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A trickle of migrants from my study today, whilst working - a BLUE-TAILED BEE-EATER, a male BLACK-NAPED ORIOLE, three DRONGO SPP. the only one seen reasonably well looked like a mouhoti Ashy Drongo; and one migrating accipiter spp (very frustrating not getting views to identify it).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

14th October - Birding in the outdoor sauna

This is what a REAL one looks like...

A late afternoon trip to the local patch found me struggling - mid afternoon rain and high humidity meant that the air was full of steam, and when I removed my bins and camera from my bag (which had been in my air conditioned study all day) they immediately fogged up! My first of three BROWN SHRIKES was watched through fogged bins; a male BLACK-NAPED ORIOLE buzzed over; TAIGA FLYCATCHERS were very conspicuous (at least five seen), and ARCTIC WARBLER did its best to offer photo opportunities, but I had my shutter speed too low for most of the shots (idiot!). A BLACK-CAPPED KINGFISHER showed distantly, a BLUE-TAILED BEE-EATER made a couple of passes and a hidden ASIAN BROWN FLY called but didn't reveal itself. The Park's fairways are now covered in unidentifiable POND HERONS, and a couple of LITTLE HERONS showed. A final adult male BROWN SHRIKE showed well and tolerated flash photography just be fore heading off to roost in thick cover.

Arctic Warbler

Black-capped Kingfisher

Monday, October 12, 2009

North (??!!) bound migrants

Working from home today produced a few hirundines going north (north, WTF?!!?), including 2 RED-RUMPED SWALLOWS (house tick!), also a single BLUE-TAILED BEE-EATER, and a very nice 1st winter male pandoo BLUE ROCK THRUSH (the first one I've seen at the house for 18 months), and a male KESTRAL being mobbed by the local corvids. Yesterday a group of 4+ BLACK-NAPED ORIOLES passed through (also going north).

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dusky @ dusk

Last few days have been more birding-free than I'd like at this time of year; went to see my wife's relatives in Phitchit Province but had little chance to do much birding - highlights were a migrant Blue-throated Bee-eater from the car, a couple of longicaudatus long-tailed shrikes and 2-3 leucogenis Ashy Drongos on passage. I did see a large raptor over the village, but without bins...

Back in Bangkok today, tried my hand at skywatching for migrant raptors and was astonished to find an accipiter almost immediately, which was obviously migrating (high altitude, fast, level, direct flight north to south - carried on looking once I had got the scope up, but to no avail). This afternoon made a short trip to Suan Rot Fai which was heaving with migrants - TAIGA FLY, EASTERN CROWNED WARBLER and a DUSKY WARBLER (first of the autumn) all in one small area, plus 3 other Taigas, an ASIAN BROWN FLY, female-type YELLOW-RUMPED FLY and the first BLACK-CAPPED KINGFISHER of the autumn...not bad for 45 minutes!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

More homeworking

Some more vizmig today whilst working in the study, with several POND HERONS (presumably Chinese) all heading SW over the house, two groups of BLACK-NAPED ORIOLES (2 and 3) also going SW, and a BLUE-TAILED BEE-EATER late afternoon.

I also saw a BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON from my desk, which was a house tick.

The weather looks good for grounding migrants - the remnants of Typhoon Ketsana (which mashed the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia) is now sitting over Thailand, producing low cloud and drizzle, and it's actually almost cool enough for long sleeves!

Better get to the park in the morning...