Friday, August 31, 2012

A trickle of migrants

My morning walk at the Ministry of Public Relations produced a couple of migrants in the form of a male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher and an Eastern Crowned Warbler - unsurprising but obviously very nice.

Perhaps some time on the patch this weekend will reveal something more. Raptor passage in Chumpon has already produced some Japanese Sparrowhawk movement, so I'll be keeping my eyes on the skies...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Crouching Tiger

Early morning found me at home, musing upon the fact that passerine migration has started but it is four years since I saw my last (actually my only ever) Tiger Shrike.  Reading through Round (2008) it seems that now is the peak time for their arrival in and around Bangkok, but in recent years there have been decreasing numbers of records, and so I was thinking that the chances of running into one were diminishing.

Low and behold not an hour later I was at the Ministry of Public Relations, taking a walk with my bins (and having already logged an Eastern Crowned Warbler) when a juv Tiger Shrike popped into view, high in the canopy!  The bird dropped in closer, fanning, closing and pumping its tail in seemingly measured agitation.  During my musings upon my lack of records it crossed my mind that perhaps I'd overlooked a few in the past (ie poorly seen Brown Shrikes), but upon seeing this one in the flesh I was reminded of how very different they are from Brown Shrikes, and indeed its whole 'jizz' and unobtrusive nature was more reminiscent of a Shrike-babbler than a "true" shrike.  I went back with the camera a little while later, but alas the bird had moved on.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fecidula deluge

Excellent start to the autumn's patch-working with 8-9 Yellow-rumped Flycatchers (including 5-6 males). Other migrants came in the form of two Eastern Crowned Warblers, two Blue-tailed Bee-eaters and at least two Common Kingfishers.

Male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher

Other padders this morning included a Little Cormorant over the park, at least five Plain-backed Sparrows and an Asian Barred Owlet.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Zappey's Flycatcher

The BirdForum thread here refers to Cyanoptila cumatilis, previously recognised as part of the "Blue and White Flycatcher" group but now afforded full species status by Leader and Cary.

Back in March this year myself and Chris Collins had a "Zappey's" in Suan Rot Fai, so if I follow Leader and Cary (which I will!) this constitutes a new species for the local patch, bringing the patch list to 118, of which 12 are Muscicapa or Fedicula flycatchers.

It's always nice to get an armchair tick.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Eastern promise

Scored my first passerine migrants of the autumn this morning in the form of two Eastern Crowned Warblers at the Ministry of Pubic Relations.  Welcome back boys!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Borderland Adventures (Part II)

After yesterday's disaster with the car's eletrical system I was saved by a late night vehicle swap care of the hire car company.  This meant I had the whole day to explore the Mae Sot-Umpang road,  and despite dreary weather and regular heavy showers I managed to get a fair haul of birds.  I missed out on the hoped for Burmese Yuhina, but that wasn't too surprising as it seems to be a fairly low density species, and this area is so good that I'm happy to have an incentive to return in the near future.
view over Umphang from KM 126

Probably the best record of the day was a "heard only" - a distant Rusty-napped Pitta that called four or five times soon after I had parked the car at KM 121 at about 7.30am. 

The selection of goodies that I actually saw included single White-browed Piculet and Stripe-breasted Woodpecker, a male Red-headed Trogon, three Blue-bearded Bee-eaters, two Little Cuckoo Doves, several Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike, at least four White-crowned Forktails, two Velvet-fronted Nuthatches, a single White-throated Bulbul and a couple of Black-throated Laughingthrushes.

Babblers were well represented, with both White-browed and Coral-billed Scimitar Babblers seen early morning between Km 120 and 121, along with Buff-breasted Babbler, Golden Babbler and Grey-throated Babbler in the same area, plus Blyth's Shrike Babbler and the largest flock of Silver-eared Mesia (some 30 birds) that I have seen for a long time).  I did also see a small group of Striated Yuhina, which had me going for a bit (they showed briefly before diving for cover  as a heavy shower came in) but I got enough on them to rule out Burmese.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Borderland Adventures

female Orange-bellied Leafbird
With a Friday meeting and a Monday meeting both in Mae Sot, it seemed sensible to stay for the weekend and use the opportunity to explore the forested mountain road to Umphang. Dave Sargeant's recent success with finding Burmese Yuhina was obviously high in my thoughts, along with the outside chance of connecting with Rufous-necked Hornbill.

I left Mae Sot at 9am, having taken delivery of a hire car, and following DS's trip report reached the first patch of good forest at KM 115 by 11.30am. I spent an hour birding the road here, but upon returning to the car found that the battery had died! To cut a long story short I got help from a couple of passing drivers and ended up driving directly to Umphang to get the battery replaced, but I'm now in Umphang with a car with major eletrical problems - the car starts but I have no working ABS,  indicators, windscreen wipers or electric windows...the windows in the car are wound down and it's the middle of the wet the drive back tomorrow will be "interesting" to say the least, and seems likley that birding will be very limited or else totally aborted.

This is particularly frustrating because after four weeks of rain in this part of Thailand today was mostly dry, and the hour's birding that I did get indicated that this area is very promising. Highlights included two separate White-crowned Forktails, several Streaked Spiderhunters, three Davison's Warblers, a female Orange-bellied Leafbird, a pair of Grey-chinned Minivets and best of all a pair of Rufous-bellied Eagles (adult and juvenile dive-bombing one another over the forest).

Let's see what happens tomorrow...