Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bronze-tailed Peacock-pheasant

I have just returned from Sumatra where I spent a week birding Mount Kerinci and the Tapan Road with Chris Collins.  During our visits to the Tapan Road were were lucky enough to seen one or more Bronze-tailed Peacock-pheasants (a Sumatran endemic, which is often heard but is very hard to see), and I was able to secure the image above.  The bird was in a gully, feeding on figs that had fallen from an adjacent tree in heavy fruit.  Increadibly we found this bird because our local guide took me to look into the gully to show me where he had seen a Bronze-tailed Peacock-pheasant in the past (he'd only ever seen one about two years ago, and it was in this exact spot).

Is this the first ever photo of a wild Bronze-tailed Peacock Pheasant?  A Google search finds only images of the species in captivity.

This was the best place we found on the Tapan Road, and from this single location we saw the Peacock-pheasant several times, a pair of Rhinoceros Hornbills, a pair of Wreathed Hornbills  and more than 50 Sumatran Green Pigeons feeding in the fruiting tree.  There were also two Graceful Pittas calling up the slope behind us!

I will publish a full report about our trip soon.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

More Ficedula action this morning, this time at the Ministry of Public Relations - one adult male Mugimaki Flycatcher was the star of the show, with a male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher (probably a first summer) seen rather poorly.

Other migrants included an Ashy Drongo, two Brown Shrikes, and two 1-2 Yellow-browed Warblers.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Migration continues

More migrants at Suan Rot Fai this morning (9am - 12 noon) included two Forest Wagtails, with flycatchers represented by two Mugimaki, two Yellow-rumped, two Taiga and one Asian Brown.  I heard a number of Eye-browed Thrushes and glimpsed three individuals, whilst phylloscs included 2-3 Pale-legged Leaf Warblers and one probable Eastern Crowned seen badly several times.   The hepatic phase Himalayan Cuckoo was moving around quite a lot and I ran into it three times,  I also saw 2-4 Thick-billed Warblers.

I was informed by other birders that the Ruddy Kingfisher and Hodgson's Hawk-cuckoo were both still present this morning, and that there was also an Orange headed Ground-thrush seen in the last few days.

Himalayan Cuckoo

Monday, April 15, 2013

Siberian Thrush!

This morning had "rare" written all over it - rain started falling yesterday evening just before dark, and continued until well after midnight, with heavy cloud cover still at dawn.

The first birds I saw were both migrants - a drongo spp. and a Brown Shrike, so things looked promising.  Soon afterwards I could hear the thin, high-pitched calls of Eye-browed Thrushes and eventually managed to see at least four birds in the tops of several large trees, with others apparently calling unseen (I found it difficult to estimate numbers because it is hard to determine the direction of the calls and so the number of birds possibly involved). Whilst trying to get more views of the Eye-browed Thrushes I flushed another, all dark, bird in the lower branches of a large tree and on getting my binoculars on it was elated to see that it was an adult male Siberian Thrush - a rare bird in Thailand (Round, 2008 indicates only one previous record for the Central Plains) and as a migrant something that I have long-hoped to find on the patch but without any real expectation, given it's rarity.  Just as quickly as the bird had appeared it was gone, and the calls of the thrush flock soon petered out - these were birds on the move!

Whilst still birding in the same area I found a Hodgeson's Hawk-cuckoo (my third record in Bangkok and seemingly a rare migrant), and the Himalayan Cuckoo (first seen on the 12th) as well as two Thick-billed Warblers, a Pale-legged Leaf Warbler, three Asian Brown Flycatchers, two Ashy Drongos and several Ashy Minivets (the latter heard only).  Notable by their absence were any Taiga Flycatchers - perhaps they have gone north?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Ruddy Kingfisher

Suan Rot Fai early morning produced more views of the Ruddy Kingfisher, and the opportunity for some poor record shots. Other migrants included several Ashy Minivets, a 1st summer male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, two Asian Brown and two Taiga Flycatchers, a Pale-legged Leaf Warbler,  three Thick-billed Warblers and two Brown Shrikes.

Ruddy Fantastic!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Ruddy birds!

Excellent day's birding started slowly at the Ministry of Public Relations with two Asian Brown Flycatchers (the first I have seen in a week suggesting that they were migrants from further south, grounded by yesterday's rain and the cloudy conditions overnight).  I arrived at Suan Rot Fai at 9am in still overcast conditions and soon found a stunning male Black Bittern, only my second patch record.  This was soon followed by a flock of seven Ashy Minivets, another two Asian Brown Flycatcher, a Dusky Warbler, a Thick-billed Warbler and a 1st summer female Mugimaki Flycatcher.  A bit further on I found a female Himalayan Cuckoo (again, only my second patch record) feeding on caterpillars. On the way back to my normal exit point I was stunned to come face-to-face with a Ruddy Kingfisher - a species that I have only heard of being seen in the park once before (in 2008), and which I really never expected to see there myself.

Black Bittern

Himalayan Cuckoo

After lunch I went to Khok Kham with visiting Iraqi birder Mohamad, to look for (hopefully breeding plumaged) Asian Dowitchers, and did very well. We found an initial flock of at least 44 Asian Dowitchers, of which at least one third were in breeding plumage.

Asian Dowitchers

We then found another, much more distant flock, but they were too distant to count, though I am confident that there were at least 50-100 individuals present.  Other waders seen included the usual suspects - Red-necked and Long-toed Stints, Common Redshank & Greenshank, Marsh Sandpiper, a couple of Terek Sandpipers, Curlew Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, Red and Great Knot.  Other notables includes several Racket-tailed Treepies and two Ruddy-breasted Crakes.

Ruddy-breasted Crake

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Eye-browed Thrush again

The grounds of the Ministry of Public Relations again produced another Eye-browed Thrush (a male) this morning.  Also a single Ashy Drongo and a very smart male Brown Shrike in breeding plumage. This afternoon we have had a heavy downpour, the first serious rain in Bangkok for about three weeks,  so I'm hoping there may be some grounded migrants around tomorrow morning...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Himalayan Cuckoo

Early morning walk at the Ministry of Public Relations produced a migrant Himalayan Cuckoo overhead, a few streets away from my house, and this was followed at the Ministry itself by excellent, prolonged views of an Eye-browed Thrush (with another bird calling), Thick-billed Warbler, Brown Shrike and Taiga Flycatcher.

I've only seen one Himalayan Cuckoo in Bangkok before, in April 2010, so it seems to be a rare migrant.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Monday 8th April

A quick look at the Ministry of Public Relations in Ari produced one male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, plus an Asian Brown Flycatcher and a Brown Shrike.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Drongo Cuckoo

Another very productive morning at Suan Rot Fai, with quality rather than quantity the name of the game (as is often the case here with  spring migration).  The undoubted highlights today were two patch ticks in the form of a very obliging Fork-tailed Drongo Cuckoo in the "Canal Zone", and a female Swinhoe's Minivet with a flock of c.10 Ashy Minivets. In addition to these I found a small party of Eye-browed Thrushes (two seen, and perhaps two more heard) in trees by Lotus Lake and a male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher in the Ramble.

Fork-tailed Drongo Cuckoo

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Mugimaki moving

Rather a productive morning at Suan Rot Fai with a first summer male Mugimaki Flycatcher and three Ashy Minivets as the main highlights. Also one Pale-legged Leaf Warbler 1-2 Thick-billed Warblers, four Asia Brown and 1-2 Taiga Flycatchers.

I also had poor and brief views of a large Cuckoo spp (of either the genus Hierococcyx or Cuculus), quite possibly a patch tick...ouch!

Mugimaki Flycatcher

Ashy Minivet

Friday, April 5, 2013


Spent the last hour of daylight checking the small woodland at the Ministry Of Public Relations, with more success than I hoped for: On arrival I glimpsed my first Yellow-rumped Flycatcher of  spring passage, a female which eventually showed well several times.  This was followed by two Crow-billed Drongos (probably the Drongo spp seen yesterday) and a Two-barred Greenish Warbler.

Here's hoping that the next few days (it's a long weekend in Thailand) will reveal more...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Eye-browed Thrushes

I got fleeting views of an Eye-browed Thrush in the grounds of the Minsitry of Public Relations this morning, with two ot three other birds calling closeby.  Bizarrely the only time I have seen the species there before was exactly one year ago (to the day, and the hour!).

The only other notable birds this morning were a rather scruffy Asian Brown Flycatcher, a couple of Black-naped Orioles, an Ashy Drongo and one other Drongo spp. seen briefly.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Not quite there yet...

I have grabbed a couple of brief opportunities to get out in the last few days, but with limited success: a skywatch from my house during the last hour of day light on 1st April aimed to pick up some migrant raptors but produced only one distant Peregrine.

This morning I checked the Ministry of Public Relations and scored a rather smart (red) Taiga Flycatcher, a Brown Shrike and there seemed to be a lot of Black-naped Orioles around, but not much else. Birds are obviously moving through however as I got news that a Ferruginous Flycatcher was seen at Suan Rot Fai a few days ago, and a Yellow-rumped Fly was seen there on Sunday/Monday.

Monday, April 1, 2013

31st March - Python in the park

Suan Rot Fai 0645-0915 hrs produced one migrant highlight in the form of an Eastern Crowned Warbler (possibly my first patch record of the species on spring passage).  There were also five Asian Brown and three Taiga Flycatchers present, Brown Shrike and several Black-naped Orioles, plus three Black-capped Kingfishers and several Chinese Pond herons.

Highlight of the morning was a small (approx 1-1.5 meter) Reticulated Python that was being mobbed by Large-billed Crows and Common Mynas.

Chinese Pond Heron