Sunday, January 20, 2013

Small Minivets

This morning was a bit of a re-run of Friday on the patch, with a single (different) Pale-legged Leaf Warbler and a Thick-billed Warbler noted.  Perhaps the highlight was a rather confiding flock of Small Minivets (resident on the patch and often heard, but not so often seen very well).

Other winterers included a single leucogenis Ashy Drongo,  a few Taiga and Asian Brown Flys and several Black-naped Orioles.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Thick-billed Warblers

I took today off work and spent a nice, relaxed four hours at Suan Rot Fai in the morning. Birding was enjoyable but unspectacular, the best being a Pale-legged Leaf Warbler in The Ramble and two Thick-billed Warblers (in short supply on the patch this winter).

Other goodies included about 10 Yellow-browed Warblers, the wintering Dusky Warbler, two or three Asian Brown Flycatchers four Brown Shrikes and at least seven Taiga Flycatchers.

Of the photos below, all are taken on the Nikon V1 with 300mm f4 af-s lens.  The two thick-billed warbler shots have been cropped but have had no other editing. The other images have also been cropped and have had some minor edits.

Thick-billed Warbler

Thick-billed Warbler
lucionensis Brown Shrike

cristatus Brown Shrike

Blue-tailed Bee-eater

Black-naped Oriole

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Rain in the middle of the dry season?!

Dawn this morning saw a couple of very heavy, unseasonal rain showers that disrupted my birding at Suan Rot Fai. When the rain eventually stopped I managed to find a Stork-billed Kingfisher (presumed to be the bird first seen in December), a Little Cormorant (my third or fourth record on the patch), a Radde's Warbler plus the Dusky Warbler that has been resident in the Ramble for the last month.

Brown Shrikes seemed to be present in higher numbers than I had seen late last year (four individuals seen this morning) whilst about five each of Yellow-browed Warbler, Taiga and Asian Brown Flycatchers were present.

No sign of the Claudia's Leaf Warbler, and the possible mega Cyornis seems to be history.

Radde's, shot with the Nikon V1 with 300mm f4 (equivalent 810mm, f4)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Large Blue Flycatcher?

A couple of days ago I emailed my bird records for December to Phil Round. He was interested by the record of "Chinese Blue Flycatcher" that I had seen with Richard Bonser and David Lindo at Suan Rot Fai just before Christmas, and asked to see the images I had taken.  On submitting the pictures to Phil he pinged back a short message indicating that he felt the bird might in fact be a Large Blue Flycatcher Cyornis magnirostris - a recent split from Hill Blue Flycatcher and poorly known on its wintering grounds in Malaysia and southern Thailand (known as a breeding bird from Myanmar and the eastern Himalayas), infact it is so poorly known that if this record was confirmed it would be the first confirmed field record for Thailand (see the short paper here regarding another possible seen in southern Thailand, in March 2011).  Cyornis ID and taxonomy is complex, and it seems possible to have sedentary and migrant races of the same species in the same locations at the same time!  Given that the ID is very difficult even in adult males, let alone in females and immature birds, i don't feel so devasted that I might have missed out on finding "a biggie" though I'm a bit annoyed with myself for not emailing the photos to Phil on the day that I took them, as it did cross my mind to get a second opinion (humfph!).  Phil's main reasons for suspecting the ID as  C. magnirostris comes from the rather extensive orange wash on the throat, and the fact that the bird's lower mandible is extensively pale. However without trapping the bird for taking biometrics it seems like this will not be resolved.  Today I went to the spot where I had seen the bird but unfortunately there was no sign of it - perhaps not surprising, though last winter the same area held a male Chinese Blue Flycatcher for several weeks in mid-winter. So, it seems that is is probably one that got away.  The only consolation whilst looking for it this afternoon was that I found a Claudia's Leaf Warbler, which in itself was a patch tick.
24th Dec, 2012

Large Blue Flycatcher is noted to show a throat that is paler that the breast.  The bill of Large Blue Fly is supposed to have a significantly pale lower mandible, and a pronounced hook to it's tip.  These features seem to be apparent in the bird seen at Suan Rot Fai.