Monday, July 22, 2013

Passage waders

A morning trip to Khok Kham this morning was never going to give brilliant views of waders as I knew I would hit low tide.  Despite this I managed to find at least three Asian Dowitchers amongst one of the closer groups of Black-tailed Godwits, and an early Broad-billed Sandpiper (Round, 2008 states the first record as being 3rd August). There were also quite a few Curlew Sandpipers around, and good numbers of Lesser Sandplovers, including several full summer plumaged male schaeferi (part of the atrifrons group).

I also had my first go at digiscoping with the Nikon V1 & 10-30mm lens attached to my Swaro 65 HD (25-50x zoom), see below.

Javan Pond Heron, digiscoped.

2nd July - odd Pond Heron

I photographed this Pond Heron at Suan Rot Fai early in the morning on 2nd July and didn't really pay much attention to it at the time (though noted that its colours were somewhat muted).  I briefly contemplated Indian Pond Heron but the lack of any maroon tones on the bird's back made me think it couldn't be. Then a couple of days ago I took another look at the images and compared them with those I have of Javan Pond Heron (the summer-time default species here in Bangkok), and it just didn't look right.  I sought a second opinion on the photos and it was suggested that it could conceivably be a Javan x Indian hybrid - the close relationship between the Asian species of Ardeola suggesting that they form a superspecies, and making hybridisation possible, especially given the expanding ranges of Indian and Javan Pond Heron.

Whether it is indeed a hybrid, or simply a muted Javan I am unsure, but other opinions welcome...

Pond Heron spp (possible hybrid?), SRF, 2nd July 2013

Indian Pond Heron, SRF, April 2012

Javan Pond Heron,  SRF, July 2012

Javan Pond Heron, SRF, July 2012

Pond Heron spp (possible hybrid?), SRF, 2nd July 2013

Pond Heron spp (possible hybrid?), SRF, 2nd July 2013

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Some new species for Thailand, and for my patch

BCST has just published the latest records round-up covering the period March-May (see link here).

Amongst the many records from around Thailand there are four new species added, including Sakhalin Leaf Warbler - Phil Round's team confirmed 15 individuals out of a total of 75 "Pale-legged" types trapped on the recently discovered migrant hotspot of Ko Man Nai island in the eastern Gulf of Thailand. All confirmed birds were ID'd as long-winged males which exceeded the known measurements of PLLW, so it can be assumed that some of the other 60 birds were Sakhalins that were within the zone of biometric overlap. Phil and co. also added Japanese Leaf Warbler (recently split from Arctic) to the Thai list on Ko Man Nai.

My personal interest was drawn to a couple of species that were seen on my local patch, Suan Rot Fai, by other birders: an Indian Cuckoo and somewhat more grippingly a Fairy Pitta. These bring the list of species (that I am aware of) being recorded in the Park to 145. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Wet season patchwork

male Black Bittern

Wet season birding isn't great in Bangkok - far better to be in the forest, looking for resident species such as babblers and pittas.  Sadly however I am stuck in Bangkok, with a thesis to write for my Masters degree and as such my birding opportunities will be very limited between now and mid October (it's OK at the moment, but September will be tough!).

This morning I decided to make a short visit to Suan Rot Fai before work and had a couple of interesting birds - firstly a male Black Bittern (my third patch record) flew over Lotus Lake a couple of times, and an unseasonal Chinese Pond Heron in scruffy summer plumage was seen a couple of times, along with four other non-breeding Pond Heron spp.  Other interesting spp included more Ardeidae in the form of two Black-crowned Night Herons, one or two Yellow Bitterns, at least five Little Herons and a lone Little Egret.

Notable passerines included a flock of six Small Minivets and a party of approximately five Red-whiskered Bulbuls.

Chinese Pond Heron