Wednesday, November 4, 2009

You ROCK my world!

Back in the Big Mango and life is GOOD.  A first taste of dry season cool weather came in yesterday, with lots of cloud, a north east wind and some drizzle (ok, not so dry season, but 26 celius as a day time high bloody cold by Bangkok standards!).  These conditions made me think "migrants" so I fought the lingering jetlag and headed to Suan Rot Fai before work.

Birding was a bit slow first thing, with just a couple of ASIAN BROWN and TAIGA FLYCATCHERS, but then got more interesting wen I flushed a LITTLE CORMORANT out of a tree - patch tick!  I walked around to the area where it had appeared to land and got good views (but too far away for the camera), as I got closer I flushed a YELLOW BITTERN from beneath my feet.  I also saw a cracking BLACK-CAPPED KINGFISHER.


I made the effort to visit the Park's large lakes, which I rarely get to because they are further from the entrance I use to get into the park and this area is heavily used by joggers/cyclists etc, however today this area held a lot more birds, with at least 3 YELLOW-BROWED WARBLERS calling and another ASIAN BROWN FLYCATHER.  About 10 BARN SWALLOWS were feeding over the lake of which two appeared to be of the rufous-bellied form tytleri.  I then headed to a (relatively) large area of trees on the edge of one of the lakes (I nickname this area "The Ramble" because it reminds me of the area of the same name in NYC's Central Park), skirting its edge on the main path, but then for some  reason I decided to turn back and take a small side path into the trees - I don't know why I made that decision, but I'm very glad I did: a minute later I noticed a large passerine move in the trees ahead of me and with the naked eye, I knew it was something good, it just had that feeling about it - I got my bins on it and was astonished and overjoyed to be looking at a male WHITE-THROATED ROCK THRUSH!!!!!

The big one

Now I've seen this species on Doi Inthanon  and on Koh Samet, but they are really, really stonking birds and this one was on my local patch, in the middle of a city of ten million people, no more than 50 meters from a rather noisy construction site. WOW!  I grabbed the camera and took as many shots as I could on a variety of exposure settings (the woodlot was dark, the cloud was down), then after a couple of minutes I glanced down at the camera, and up again, but the beast had flown.

I moved through the rest of the woodlot, which seemed to have a few more birds, including a female hepatic phase PLANTIVE CUCKOO and a couple of BLACK-NAPED ORIOLES.

 hepatic phase Plaintive Cuckoo

Looking at Phil Round's Birds of the Bangkok Area it appears that there is only one previous record of White-throated Rock Thrush from the Central Plains, so it is a real local rarity.  One caveat to add however is that I have seen this species in capivity (in a small cage being carried down the street in Macau...accompanied by a male Siberian Rubythroat!), so there may be a chance that it is an escape from Chatuchak market.  However it is a migrant that winters in Thailand, and without any evidence to the contrary (eg suspicious feather wear) I am happy to consider it as a wild bird.

1 comment:

Marcus Conway said...

That is one mighty fine bird. Well found!