Thursday, November 29, 2012

Eye-browed Thrush

A stomp around the patch before work this morning found me looking into a number of trees heavy with fruit and being visited by a plethora of Coppersmith Barbets, Streaked-eared Bulbuls and various common Sturnidae species.  Amongst that lot I picked up an unexpected Eye-browed Thrush (I've only seem this spp in Bangkok twice before, and both occasions were during northward migration in April).

Other passerine migrants/winterers were a bit thin on the ground with just a single Ashy Drongo, two Asian Brown Flys, four Taiga Flys and a couple of Yellow-browed Warblers.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thaksin Maharat National Park, Tak province

I drove back from Mae Sot to Bangkok this morning, breaking the journey with a dawn visit to Thaksin Maharat NP.

Birds were not seen in particularly large numbers, but I  heard a Bamboo Woodpecker drumming on the other side of the valley (so totally inaccessible) - the drumming was loud and relatively short, slowing at the end (but not to the same extent as Rufous Woodpecker's "motorbike"). I have listened to Xeno-Canto recordings of the drumming of all woodpeckers that occur in this area and am certain of the ID, which is not that surprising as Bamboo 'pecker been recorded here previously, but personally I have never seen or heard one anywhere.

I also picked up four Olive Bulbuls (pretty range-restricted in Thailand) and several groups of White-throated Bulbuls. Other species included many Spangled Drongos, two Marten's Warblers, two Yellow-browed Warblers, a couple of Two-barred Greenish Warblers (heard only) and several Red-rumped Swallows feeding over the canopy.

The other interesting bird was this japonicus Buzzard which gave excellent views after it came out of the forest (presumably from a roosting site).

japonicus Buzzard

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Umphang Road again...

After a very early start, having been woken up at 4.20am by the other guests in my cheap and cheerful resort in Umphang, I headed to the main area of birding interest for dawn, starting at the Shrine Viewpoint and finishing mid afternoon at KM 116 (see Dave Sargeant's site description here).

There was quite a lot of activity again today, with birds making the most of the abundant supply of fruit currently available throughout the forest. Species not seen yesterday but picked up today included Great and Blue-throated Barbets, a single male Grey-chinned Minivet in a mixed flock which also included a Bar-winged flycatcher-shrike and a Speckled PiculateRufous-browed and Little Pied Flycatchers were added to the trip list and Phylloscs were again well-represented and included two additional species in the form of Yellow-vented and Two-barred Greenish Warblers.

EDIT, 22nd Nov:  I had not realised, until Dave Sargeant pointed out to me, that Yellow-vented warbler is a very good record for Thailand.  The species is rare here and seemingly a much wanted bird by Thai listers (I don't keep a Thai list).  Apparently the Umphang Road has been mooted a a potential site for the species, so I'm pleased to have confirmed that it is indeed found there. 

Great Barbet

I found a mixed group of Black-throated and White-necked Laughingthrushes (the former not seen yesterday), a mobile a mobile group of six Eye-browed Thrushes were my first of the winter, as were two Grey-backed Shrikes. Other notables were a small flock of Black Bulbuls, a single White-throated Bulbul and a very skulking Slaty-bellied Tesia.  On the way back towards Mae Sot I stopped at about KM 108 (?) where the road runs along a ridge-top offering views over the forest-clad mountains to the north west - I spent about 45 minutes scanning this area in the hope of connecting with some hornbills but only managed to add a male Pale-blue Flycatcher.

Perhaps the highlight of the day was the fact that I had two Yellow-throated Marten encounters, involving three animals - the first, early in the morning was very brief but very close (six metres), whilst the second involved a single Marten crossing the road at 2.30pm whilst I was parked up photographing a Striated Yuhina flock.

Striated Yuhina

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Umphang Road

With work taking me to the Thai-Myanmar border for a few days I decided to spend the weekend birding the road between Mae Sot and Umphang, which passes through Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary.  This is in effect a repeat of my trip in August.

After leaving Mae Sot at 5.45am for the slow journey to the key birding areas, my first notable bird was an Eastern Buzzard (ssp japonicus)  hunting on the ridge at approximately KM 105. From there I drove on and parked just before KM 116 and worked my way to KM 118 without too much avian interest - the best being a couple of parties of White-necked Laughingthrushes.

Further on around the Park HQ there was a lot of activity, but mainly from a few common species - Oriental White-eye, Striated Yuhina (no sign of Burmese Yuhina!) and Mountain Bulbul.  There are currently large amounts of fruit all over the forest so birds are feeding actively but are not concentrated in particular areas.  Notable species today included Golden-throated Barbet a couple of times, a group of six Brown Needletails, Collared Owlet (2 heard), a single Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon and two other Green Pig spp, a worn female Oriental Honey Buzzard (there's a lesson for me on this birds ID here), a male Orange-bellied Leafbird, single Brown Shrike, several Bronzed Drongos and a couple of large flocks of Spangled Drongos, both Grey Treepie and Maroon Oriole heard only, and a single White-browed Fantail seen. Flycatchers included several Hill Blue, a single male Hainan Blue , a couple of Verditers. Compared with my visit in August, Forktails were very thin on the ground with only one White-crowned Forktail heard and none seen.

Phylloscs included Radde's, Claudia's, Davison's and Yellow-browed, whilst I watched and listened to one Seicerus warbler for a prolonged period and have concluded that it was a Marten's. I also picked up several Silver-eared Mesias and Laughingthrushes along the way.

Golden-throated Barbet

Mountain Bulbul

Monday, November 12, 2012

Black Bittern

Did Suan Rot Fai before work and managed quite a nice haul.  Pride of place must go to a juvenile Black Bittern which was flying around Lilly Lake and perching in adjacent trees. I also picked up a White Wagtail flying over and calling - both of these species are new for the patch.

Remarkably, a new Ferruginous Flycatcher was present in the same stand of trees where I had seen one just two weeks ago (the photos below show it is much more heavily worn than the previous bird), whilst perhaps the strangest encounter of the morning was a Brown Shrike in sub-song! Other notables included single Pale-legged Leaf and Dusky Warblers in the Ramble, an adult Night Heron, at least four Cattle Egrets on the deck, two Great White Egrets overhead, and at least five Ashy Drongos.

more fudge

A couple of shots of some more run-of -the-mill patch birds from this morning....

Black-naped Oriole

Indian Roller

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bang Poo

I made a lunchtime visit to Bang Poo, which this weekend has been hosting the 3rd Asian Bird Fair.  After chatting to a few local birders I headed out onto the Pier and checked the roosting pools to seek out some Larid action...

adult winter Brown-headed Gull

1st calendar year Brown-headed Gull

2nd (?) calendar year Brown-headed Gull

1st calendar year Brown-headed Gull

1st Calendar year Brown-headed Gull (female? note the narrower bill)

1st calendar year Black-headed Gull

1st calendar year Heuglin's Gull

1st calendar year Heuglin's Gull

Apart from the gulls (hundreds of Brown-headed, a few Black-headed and one, possibly two Heuglin's) there was also a big roost of perhaps 1,000 or more Black-tailed Godwits, with a few Marsh Sandpipers, Common Redshank, Pacific Golden Plover and a single Greater Sandplover thrown in for good measure.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


This morning's early morning visit to the Ministry of Public Relations produced two Black-naped Monarchs (classic early November migrants), a couple of Black-naped Orioles, two Brown Shrikes, Taiga and Asian Brown Flycatchers. The air was ringing with the calls of many Yellow-browed Warblers, which seem to hit a peak around Bangkok at this time of the year.