Sunday, November 1, 2015

Khao Dinsor - 23rd & 24th October

Khao Dinsor in October is now as much a part of the Thai birding calendar as Scilly/Shetland in the UK.

Located close to Chumpon in southern Thailand, on pretty much the narrowest part of the peninsular, Khao Dinso is a hill close to the sea, which through the combination of an accident of geography and favourable winds is perhaps one of the best places in Asia to witness visible migration. Raptors are the stars of the show here - in autumn 2012 almost quarter of a million raptors of at least 27 species were recorded at Khao Dinsor.

The best weekend to go, in my opinion was this one, which gives you a chance of connecting with huge flocks of Black Baza, which on peak days may number  more than 25,000.  I had volunteered to help with the offical count, so when i arrived at the lower platform I was all geared up to count exciting, spectacular raptors but was instead given the job of counting the passage of...Barn Swallows!

No matter, the task was to identify everything passing over and this is a significant challenge given that amongst the raptors are four regular accipiter species, which I considered to be one of the biggest challenges (think Skua's on a seawatch!) - you really have to "get your eye in" to stand a chance of clinching the ID for the brief period that the bird is on show, but fortunately digital photography proves to be an invaluable tool in this regard.

My two days did not disappoint, with a total of 19 species of raptors seen, as well as other diurnal migrants. Big finds for me were Khao Dinsor's second ever Steppe Eagle on 23rd (pretty good going given that the site has been watched every autumn since 2008) and Thailand's second ever pekinensis Common Swift on 24th (the first was recorded at Dinsor last autumn on almost exactly the same date!).

Over all the results were:

Black Baza  - day counts of 17,669 on 23rd and 9,933 on 24th
Jerdon's Baza  - 4 on 23rd
Chinese Sparrowhawk - 52
Japanese Sparrowhawk - 125
Eurasian Sparrowhawk - 1 female

Shikra - 300+
Besra - 1

Osprey - 2
Rufous-winged Buzzard - 2+
Grey faced Buzzard - 740 on 23rd, 2,714 on 24th
Black Kite - 3
Booted Eagle  -10
Steppe Eagle - 1
White-bellied Sea-eagle - 1
Peregrine - 1
Kestrel - 1
Black-winged Kite - 1
Eastern Buzzard  - 2
Oriental Honey Buzzard  - 100-200
Pied Harrier  - 1
Eastern Marsh Harrier - 1

Non-raptor migrants included:

Blue-tailed Bee-eater - 80+

Common Swift - 1 on 24th
Pacific Swift - 5 on 23rd and 15 on 24th
White-throated Needletail - 8 on 23rd
Red-rumped Swallow - 20
Asian Darter - 2
Dollarbird - 8
Ashy Minivet  -75+
Two-barred Greenish Warbler - 1

Black Baza

Black Bazas

Black Bazas

No comments: