Monday, October 29, 2012

Raptors on the patch

Did Suan Rot Fai after work. On my way from Mo Chit skytrain station to the park entrance I was pleasantly shocked to see a low-flying Oriental Honey Buzzard heading south west! Needless to say the camera was ripped from my back pack and the image below is the best I could get.  About 30 minutes later I picked up a second bird at much greater height.


Given that it seemed raptor movement was on (or rather I should say "visible", because raptors do go over Bangkok during passage but usually at significant height) I guessed that some migrating birds would probably drop into the park to roost, so I kept my gaze skyward and headed to an area along the "Canal Zone" which has some dense cover and large trees where I have occasionally disturbed raptors in the past.  Sure enough I had one raptor spp drop in - a weird looking thing that initially looked falcon-like, then accipiter-like, then almost harrier-like as it flew around a couple of times prospecting for a suitable roosting site.  I digi-blasted it in the hope that I could sort out the silhouette once the bird had gone to roost. My thinking is that it is a Grey-faced Buzzard, based on structure (longish tail, narrow wings) and the whitish fringing on the rump, but I'm keen to get others thoughts on this bird (see below). EDIT: feedback from Dave Sargeant and Phil Round confirms the ID as Grey-faced Buzzard - a new bird for the site.

Grey-faced Buzzard

By this time the light was really going, but I decided to hang around just in case I could pick up a migrant Grey Nightjar (something that others have seen in Suan Rot Fai but I have not), and sure enough, after 15 minutes of seeing nothing but a couple of Night Herons and lots of mosquitoes  a Nightjar spp appeared out of the gloom.  I could see white in the primaries, indicating that it was a male, but could not get good enough views of the tail to clinch the ID as Grey Nightjar.  Structurally the bird was not a Large-tailed (the species I'm most familiar with) but I'm not happy to claim it as a definite Grey Nightjar based on the views I had - Indian and Savannah Nightjars both occur in Thailand and whilst they are unlikely to occur in the centre of Bangkok the same could be said of Large-tailed, which I have in fact seen in the park.  Guess I'm trying again tomorrow...

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