Saturday, February 23, 2013

Storks and Stork-bill

 A couple of hours on the patch early morning provided me with prolonged views of the Stork-billed Kingfisher that has been around since December, whilst I also had the biggest count of Open-billed Storks that I have recorded at the site - how many were actually present is a point of conjecture, but I saw 12 together, and odd ones and twos at various points, so I think 17 individuals is accurate - quite remarkable given that the first time I saw any in the park (rather than a fly-over at considerable altitude) was a pair in April last year and numbers have steadily built up ever since.

Also present this morning were 3-4 Brown Shrikes, 2 Yellow-browed Warblers, 4-5 Taiga Flycatchers 1 Asian Brown Flycatcher, 2 Barn Swallows, a Yellow Bittern and 3 Night Herons (one adult and two sub-adults).

Chinese Pond Heron

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Confusing Hawk-cuckoo

Highlight of my visit to Suan Rot Fai this morning was this Large Hawk-cuckoo which I initially thought was Hodgson's, however looking at it more carefully I've realised it is a Large Hawk-cuckoo.  Size was hard to determine due to the fact that it was alone, although I almost wrote it off when I first glimpsed it, thinking it was an Asian Koel (much closer in size to Large, rather than Hodgson's). Other factors counting against Hodgson's are the lack of a narrow second-to-last tail band, apparent lack of rufous-tinged tail tip, and the apparent barring (rather than streaking) that is developing on the sides of the breast. Compare with this Hodgeson's that I found two years ago.

Other notables this morning included 1-2 Pale-legged Leaf Warblers and a single Thick-billed Warbler.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A new Owl from Lombok

Paper here on the newly described Rinjani Scops Owl

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Finally, a wader!

Often, one of the first things I do when visiting my local patch is to check out the main lake, in the hope of picking up a lost wader - Common Sandpiper is probably the most likely candidate that I might find (in fact there is at least one previous record), but until today I had had no such success. The main lake does hold some other interest in that it seems to have become the regular roost (perhaps future colony?) of the Black-crowned Night Herons that are now resident in the park (2 adults and 1 subadult seen this morning) and offers big vistas to look skywards.

So it was that I found myself at the main lake this morning when I heard an unfamiliar, shrill, lapwing-like piping. My initial reaction was to think it might to a red-wattled lapwing (common throughout provincial  Thailand) but despite looking I couldn't see the source of the sound and momentarily considered it was coming from a child wearing those shoes that squeak when they walk! However I eventually picked up a lapwing-sized bird which was obviously the source of the call, coming towards me - I got my bins on it as it came overhead and was surprised to see that in fact it was a Grey-headed Lapwing. It made a circuit of the main lake, came back overhead and then disappeared to the north. This bird seemed to be looking for somewhere to pitch down but given that the park is quite busy on a Sunday morning it seems to have decided to move on. The other notable sightings this morning were a pair of Red-breasted Parakeets (a long overdue addition to the patch list) and a male Cinnamon Bittern (only my third patch record).

Passerines were of less interest this morning, with a single Black-naped Monarch heard, the wintering Dusky Warbler still present and a few Taiga Flys and YBWs seen.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


The last couple of weeks have seen me with a huge workload and consequently no free time to get out in the field. However this morning a short visit to Suan Rot Fai produced a Black-naped Monarch and a Pale-legged Leaf Warbler as highlights, as well as 20+ Black-naped Orioles, five Taiga and one Asian Brown Flycatcher and a single Brown Shrike. Kingfishers included single Common, White-throated and Black-capped, whilst I met a bird photographer who said that a Stork-billed had been seen a few days ago.

There seems to be quite a lot of pre-breeding activity now, with various species often seen in obvious pairs, and birds attaining breeding plumage including a splendid male horizoptera Common Iora.

Brown Shrike, Nikon V1 + 300mm af-s

Common Kingfisher, Nikon V1 + 300mm af-s