Monday, January 23, 2012

19th January

Went back to the Ministry of Public Relations on 19th and found that the single Spangled Drongo  had been joined by a further three individuals, all feeding in a flowering tree.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

More Spangles

An early morning walk at the Ministry of Public Relations produced a single Spangled Drongo feeding in a flowering tree, two Black-naped Monarchs, the wintering Pale-legged Leaf Warbler, two Black-naped Orioles and single Taiga and Asian Brown Flycatchers.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

hard to Swallow

First trip of the year to Suan Rot Fai this morning produced a nice selection of year ticks, with highlights being the female Chinese Blue Flycatcher (first seen in December), a Radde's Warbler and a Pale-legged Leaf Warbler all in "The Ramble".  The pale-legged surprised me as I have not seen one in mid-winter in the city before this week, but I also found one near my house yesterday.  I met a couple of local bird photographers who told me that the male Chinese Blue Fly from December is also still present.

Radde's Warbler

The other notable bird this morning was a Swallow spp that I saw for a couple of minutes in poor light soon after sunrise  - it was either a Red-rumped or a Striated (I think the latter because the rump was quite dark and I could not see any pale/reddish nape; the bird didn't quite seem to have the right proportions for red-rump and the flight seemed relatively "lazy" for a hirundine). Whilst Red-rumped is a common winterer in much of Thailand I have only seen them a few times in the city, meanwhile Round (2008) states that Striated is a short-distance migrant that might occur in the Central Plains as a non-breeding visitor. Rather annoying not to nail it as either spp!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Christmas and New Year travels

The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a blur of airports and longhaul flights and varying climates.  I flew to the UK on 23rd Dec and spent five days in shock at just how dark Britain is in winter (it was the first time in five years that I have experienced a British winter).  Fortuitously my sister lives next door to Fen Drayton RSPB reserve so during the brief periods of day light I was able to do a bit of birding - best being a short-eared owl hunting along the reserve'saccess track.

I also made a morning dash to Norfolk to see my friend Sacha, and the Western Sandpiper at Cley (old habits die hard).

On the 29th I flew to Orlando, Florida to join my wife and her parents for New Year, and to end the year with a glut of year ticks.  Florida is just amazing for birds - my in-laws have a fairly unremarkable garden but it was covered in White Ibises then a flock of 100+ Brown-headed Cowbirds followed by a flock of about 30 foraging Palm Warblers on my first morning, and a few hours later three Sandhill Cranes strolled across lawn, totally unfussed by my presence. The last bird of the year was a Great Horned Owl in a neighbour's garden at sunset on 31st was also a world tick!

Myrtle Warbler in the garden
Chipping Sparrow in the garden
Sandhill the garden!
We also made a trip to the Everglades from 2nd-4th January, which unfortunately coincided with a cold front coming from the north which introduced chilly and windy weather and this made it hard to find the wide selection of wood-warblers that I had been hoping for, however I still came away with 5+ Black-and-white Warblers, Common Yellowthroat and two Northern Parulas, whilst I had earlier picked up a Yellow-throated Warbler on the Disney Preserve just down the road from my in-law's place.  It's also a good start to the year when your first mammal of the year is a Manatee!

On the way back to Thailand I had a stop over at Newark and so made a fleeting visit to Manhattan, walking from Madison Square gardens to Central Park, scored a few birds in the Ramble and on the lake (best being a female Bufflehead and a very showy Cooper's Hawk), and then headed home.  Now the jetlag has mostly gone, and I'm ready for some Asian birding!

Cooper's Hawk in Central Park