Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Sitting at my desk in the study at home, just had a group of three DRONGO SPP whizz past the window. Guessing they were either Black, Crow-billed or mouhoti Ashy, but got very little one them. I saw a Crow-billed from the houe on 1st October last year...

These were rapidly followed by a small movement of BARN SWALLOWS, then a BROWN SHRIKE popped up onto the TV areial right outside the window.

cristatus me thinks...

Later, another benefit of homeworking materialised...

These three dropped in for a few hours in the late afternoon
when the cloud came down again.

Monday, September 28, 2009

27th Sept 2009

SRF this morning for a couple of hours, very productive, with god numbers of a wide range of migrants. On arrival heard my first TAIGA FLYCATCHER of the autumn (found three in the park in total), quickly followed by excellent views of EASTERN CROWNED WARBLER , with an ASIAN BROWN FLYCATCHER playing chase with a YELLOW-RUMPED FLYCATCHER. Up to 10 BLUE-TAILED BEE-EATERS sailed overhead, a couple of BLACK-NAPED ORIOLES called and one perched up giving good views, and an Arctic Warbler gave good but brief views just before I left. Other fleeting glimpses were provided by a male Common Kingfisher and a Brown Shrike.

Yellow-rumped Flycatcher - female/imm types take a bit of practice to age/sex (infact many of the birds on Oriental Bird Images are aged/sexed incorrectly). The key is the colour of the upper tail coverts (black in 1CY males) and the extent of white on the coverts/tertials. From this photo it is hard t be sure, but I think i can see some black on the upper tail coverts, making this a 1CY male.

Asian Brown Flycatcher

Eastern Crowned Warbler - easily identified (even if not very obliging in this photo) by the yellow washed undertail coverst, srong wingbar and strongly marked yellow supercilium and crown stripe, with smokey grey-green on the rest of the head contrasting with brighter green mantle.

Oriental Magpie Robin - overcome by the invaders from the north!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Backyard birding

The cloud and drizzle was down first thing this morning, and a quick five minutes attention to things avian produced these two from the house. Once the cloud cleared and the sun broke through they were gone...

1cy migrans Blue-tailed Bee-eater

Adult confusus Brown Shrike

Monday, September 21, 2009

What do you get if you cross a Hoopoe with a Waterthrush?

One of these...

Suan Rot Fai for two hours before work - loads of migrants about, in the tiny area of the park that I concentrated on. First birds I saw were a flock of SMALL MINIVETS - resident in the park but somewhat 'nomadic', these were immediately followed by a FOREST WAGTAIL (only the second one I've seen in the park). I then found myself surrounded by phylloscs and flycatcers - two YELLOW-RUMPED FLYCATCHERS and an ASIAN BROWN FLYCATCHER. The phylloscs consisted of at least four ARCTIC WARBLERS, one (perhaps two) EASTERN CROWNED WARBLER and one TWO-BARRED GREENISH WARBLER - see the (rather nasty) photos below...

supercillium seems to make it all the way to the bill base...

Bill tip looks pale on lower mandible, underparts very whitish...

Supercillium not really "tapering" behind eye,
legs look rather darker than most Arctic's.
Overall impression very "green and white"

Yellowish wash to rear flanks...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Suan Rot Fai is starting to get a few more migrants now, with 4+ ARCTIC WARBLERS in one small area dominating the passarine migrants, plus a couple of BLUE-TAILED BEE-EATERS hawking overhead.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Quick blast around the patch late afternoon produced 1 pair of YELLOW-RUMPED FLYCATCHERS, 1 ARCTIC WARBLER, 2 BARN SWALLOWS and a BROWN SHRIKE heard but not seen.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

That Accipiter...

Really quite unsure on the ID of this thing (seen in Suan Rot Fai this morning). Options are Shikra (resident, common), Chinese & Japanese Sparrowhawk (both passage migrants). Besra occurs in Thailand, but is unlikley in Bangkok.

Phil Round's "Birds of the Bangkok Area" states that Shikra is often outnumbered by the migrant secies during passge (now).

My feelingis that it looks good for Japanese - comments welcome!

EDIT: Phil Round commented - he reckons it's a Shikra!

Supercilium looks too long and well defined for Chinese Sparrowhawk, crown looks darker than upperparts, and gingery "shoulder" is perhaps better for Japanese...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Head scratching on an accipiter

Pre-work visit to Suan Rot Fai rewarded with nice views of a 1cy BROWN SHRIKE hiding in dense bamboo and impersonating a tiger (shrike), hearing an ASIAN BROWN FLYCATCHER calling whilst watching said shrike, a group of 3+ BLUE-TAILED BEE-EATERS overhead, and perched views of an Accipiter spp which hung around long enough for photos whilst it devoured some poor unfortunate. I was hoping for Chinese or Japanese Sprawk as they are both passage migrants - a quick look at Fergusson-Lees & Christie had me reeling - "they all look the blood same!" but subsequent (slightly more thorough) investigation seems to exclude Chinese, but I've not yet had time to edit/compare the pictures properly (I expect it's just a Shikra).

Hide-and-seek with a Brown Shrike

Monday, September 14, 2009

When the wind blows

Suan Rot Fai 1700-1830 hrs. I thought I was onto a small "fall" of migrants on arrival at SRF this afternoon, with the first bird I saw being another ASIAN BROWN FLYCATCHER, the second (in the same tree) being my first ARCTIC WARBLER of the autumn, and having my first migrant BLUE-TAILED BEE-EATER of the autumn fly overhead whilst watching the warbler! But then the clouds sarted to threaten and the characteristic wind got up that Bangkokians know heralds a heavy shower. The migrants all disappeared and I spent the next hour seeing nowt and wondering what the hell just happened...

Looking forward to a pre-work run around tomorrow (when wind/rain less likley) to see what's happening.

It might seem odd to talk about a "fall" in Bangkok, but I'm realising that Suan Rot Fai really is a green "island" in a sea of concrete, and certainly last autumn's birding produced pronounced peaks and troughs in numbers of migrants, often with certain species suddenly well represented and then absent a few days later.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The escapist

Spent a couple of hours at Suan Rot Fai this morning. Zero interest in the first hour (continuing on from the previous evening's inactivity), but a few migrants after that, with single female YELLOW-RUMPED FLYCATCHER, ASIAN BROWN FLYCATCHER, a COMMON KINGFISHER and the first BROWN SHRIKE of the autumn.

I also had a couple of welcome encounters in the shape of the first COLLARED KINGFISHER that I've seen on the patch in a while, and was somewhat incredulous to find this BLUE-THROATED BARBET.

There are several sub species of Blue-throated Barbet,
which ranges from Pakistan across to Vietnam. This
bird is of the race davidsoni, identified by the blue band
across the middle of the crown.

I presume that this bird is an escapee, as it is a sedentary species, and is not known from central Thailand...and Bangkok's infamous chatuchak market is very close to the park. Still, nice to see, and it's better off in the park than in a cage! I also had very bad views of a perched immature accipiter which appeared to show a greyish face - consistant with Chinese Sparrowhawk - but the views were crap and (of course) the camera was in my backpack.

Bangkok's "normal" barbet species was much in evidence this morning,
this bird calling incessantly (note inflated throat pouch)

Female common kingfisher, with attractive feather on bill...?

This ABF seemed to have a stronger malar stripe
than the bird seen on Thursday.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


A short trip to Suan Rot Fai before work produced brief views of one female Yellow-rumped Flycatcher and a very showy Asian Brown Flycatcher (first of the autumn).

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mae Sot, 6-8 Sept

Just spent a couple of days working in Mae Sot: very little time for any birding, but a petrol stop on the way up happened to be t a petrol station where there is a heron roost, so had Black-crowned Night Herons leaving, with various egrets and Chinese Pond Herons arriving, the adjacent wet field held a group of 7-8 migrating Wood Sandpipers. A pre-work wander in Mae Sot gave me nice views of a group of Pied Chats, chasing one another around the edges of a small reservoir, and a Crested Treeswift. The journey home yesterday was broken by a (very) brief stop at Thaksin Maharat NP, where I saw my first two Brown Shrikes of the autumn, and a Brown Needtail zipping over the forest at warp factor 7.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Iola Bulbul, Thaksin Maharat NP

The (bad) photo above is of an Iola spp. bulbul which I photographed at Thaksin Maharat NP on my recent visit there. It was sooo bad that I didn't bother publishing it (especially as I hope to get more shots of this spp this week), but as Peter Ericcson has asked about Iola bulbuls at TMNP, I thought I'd post this. Phil Round has previously told me that he's unclear about which species is present at TMNP - either Grey-eyed (widespread in Thailand) or Olive (restricted to the NW border close to Burma).

Personally my knowledge of these two species is very limited,and a quick search of the OBCs image database gives only one photo of Olive Bulbul, but that individual seems to have grey eyes!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Yellow-rumps are back

After a drizzly, sweaty, super-humid and mosquito-infected visit to Suan Rot Fai on Tuesday, which, despite my conviction that it being 1st September would mean "MIGRANTS", was entirely birdless, Iit was with some trepidation that I visited the patch again this morning. However the recent rains seem to have cleared, the sun was shining and a pleasant breeze was keeping things cool. The improved weather was accompanied by my hoped-for migrants, in the shape of three delicious male YELLOW-RUMPED FLYCATCHERS. There had apparently been a few seen around twon in recent weeks (Peter Ericsson's blog mentions a twitch for two birds in mid August) but I was able to enjoy these three birds all to myself, as they fed in a patch of Bamboo.

In the ornamental gardens I also found a Long-nosed Whipsnake which was very curious about me and my camera. One of the gardeners also pointed out a second, much smaller individual.

So this is it - passerine migration is truly underway :o)