Saturday, August 20, 2011

It begins...

0700-0930 at Suan Rot Fai. I have started checking the patch earlier this autumn in the hope of picking up some species that are known as early migrants - Yellow-rumpled Flycatchers start passing through in mid-August, as do a couple of the rarer flycatchers - Brown-streaked (a split from Asian Brown) and Dark-sided. Asian Brown by contrast doesn't usually appear until about the third week of September.

Whilst re-reading the species account for Dark-sided Fly in Phil Round's Birds of the Bangkok Area last night, I noted that it is a scarce migrant, with Brown-streaked represented by a handful of records in August - so I made a mental note not to get my expectations up too much... This meant that I was very pleased, but not entirely surprised when I found a Muscipcapa flycatcher this morning. It gave me a couple seconds of bad views, then disappeared for a few minutes before reappearing and showing well, enabling me to confirm it as Dark-sided of the race siberica. This is a patch tick for me - the ninth species of flycatcher I have seen here.

These photos are not particularly good, but I am posting them because I think a lot of people struggle with identifying the Muscicapa flys. In the field this bird looked long-winged, the bill has pale colouration restricted to the base of the lower mandible, and the upper breast is streaked, turning to a uniform dark suffusion on the sides.  One feature often mentioned in the literature is the dark centres to the undertail coverts, though it is also noted that this can be hard to see - but is seems to be visible in these pictures (I didn't see it in the field). 

So that's it - passerine migration is underway!

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