Thursday, September 29, 2011

Welcome to the jungle

Though the sun was shining and I expected there to have been a clearing-out of migrants, at this time of year anything can turn up - so I went to Suan Rot Fai before work today.

Things looked promising as the first two birds I saw were an adult Brown Shrike and an Asian Brown Flycatcher, followed almost immediately by my first Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn which meant new birds were in. Soon afterwards a got a fleeting glimpse of "something odd" that looked promising - a rich brown passerine that seemed to flush from very low down in a patch of gloomy palm fronds and sat up (but hidden) about five feet off the ground in some dense bamboo. I had only seen it with the naked eye, but my immediate reaction was "what the f*ck was that?" I waited for about 10 minutes but the bird didn't reappear. A bird then flew back from the same area into the palms. I scanned for several more minutes but all I could see were  Streak-eared bulbuls - perhaps that was what it was... a badly seen bulbul?

I wondered back in the direction where I had seen the bird, more to follow another path than to look for it, when it flushed from a low branch over the path, and back into the palm fronds.  I had again only seen it with the naked eye, and I had no idea what it was, other than the fact that it wasn't a bulbul!  Moving to the farthest part of the palms so as to not disturb the bird I was astonished to see it flycatch and then drop to the ground - my view was obscured by vegetation so that all I could see was a warmish brown tail and pinkish legs - it then flicked around to show me its head and I suddenly felt very lost for an ID.  The bird was acting chat-like on the ground, I could see a pale throat, dusky sides to the head extending in a diffuse band across the chest and the bill was dark but appeared to have a pale yellow base.  It then disappeared and I was left trying to work out if I had seen a chat/robin or a flycatcher.  Two birds entered my mind - Rufous-tailed Robin and Brown-chested Jungle Flycatcher; the breast seemed wrong for the robin, and the bird looked quite large, so I started thinking more about the Jungle Fly - this was after all the exact same area of the park where I had found  a Brown-chested Jungle Fly on 21st Sept 2008.

I went back to my original position and decided to wait it out.  After about 15 minutes the bird reappeared in the palm fronds, giving an intensely harsh "tac" call several times in quick succession, and I saw it in flight, and perched, but obscured a couple of times - it was a skulking flycatcher, tending to keep low down in dense undergrowth, and sitting still for long periods.  I also got to see that it had an obvious diffuse breast band and by this stage I was  100% certain that it was indeed a BROWN-CHESTED JUNGLE FLYCATCHER - a species listed as globally threatened, and one of the species that had inspired me to keep plugging away at Suan Rot Fai after my find in 2008.

I then moved postion, and found the bird perched in the open, and sitting very still:

Note the hooked tip of the bill, which can just be seen here.

For the benefit of birders in Bangkok, look at the google map here and look for the marker that says "Canal Zone" which marks the place where I saw the bird.

Whilst trying to clinch the ID on the bird I also managed to photograph another Pale-legged Leaf Warbler and an Arctic Warbler. I also saw a single Eastern Crowned Warbler, a single Yellow-rumped Flycatcher and another couple of Asian Brown Flys.

Pale-legged Leaf Warbler

 Arctic Warbler

Arctic Warbler


ponchai said...

i'll be there on saturday. can you tell me more detail .... thanks

David Gandy said...

Ponchai, see the googlemap. If you come from Chatuchak park th bird is near the bridge that you cross over the khlong when you enter the park (instead of going into the Ornamental gardens). The bird favours the vegetation along the khlong.

Mark James Pearson said...

why did come to Krabi again? Nice work Dave, what a killer find....

Gerry Brett said...

Brilliant stuff, Dave, your perseverance really paid off.

David Gandy said...

Thanks guys, I can't believe this bird was just 50m from the site of the 2008 bird!

ponchai said...

Thank you, Dave.