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

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