Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Forest Wag

A short trip to Suan Rot Fai after work yesterday produced very little other than a Forest Wagtail (always a welcome sight) and a single Black-naped Oriole.  That's pretty much my Asian spring birding done as I will be away for the next two weeks and when I get back the patch will be all but deserted of Eastern Palearctic migrants.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sakhalin/Pale-legged Leaf Warbler

This morning at Suan Rot Fai was again rather slow, but I eventually found a Sakhalin/Pale-legged Leaf Warbler which gave good views and so I thought I'd try a little playback experiment to see if it would respond, enabling me to confirm the ID.  I tried this once or twice last spring, in the hope that a male bird might come in to the tape or even sing, but the birds I tried it with last year ignored the tape entirely. This might be because the birds were not adult males, or because the quality of the sound recording of Sakhalin available in Xeno-Canto a year ago was rather poor (there is now a better recording by Frank Lambert).

Today's bird seemed to respond (more inquisitive) better to PLLW song, however a number of different speces were drawn in by the tape, so it is hard to say if this was a species-specific response, and the bird did not sing, so it remains unidentified. Others have had more success recently, with a singing Sakhalin found in another Bangkok park in the last few days, and Dave Bakewell blogged about one he found in Malaysia recently.

Sakhalin/Pale-legged Leaf Warbler

Other migrants included two Yellow-rumped Flycatchers (one an adult male), and a few winterers/migrants in the form of three Brown Shrikes, three Asian Brown Flycatchers and two Taiga Flycatchers. There are still a good number of Chinese Pond Herons around (I saw perhaps 10), plus at least three Javan PHs, plus last year's suspected hybrid Pond Heron seems to have reappeared.

possible hybrid Pond Heron

possible hybrid Pond Heron

One salutory reminder of needing to take care when considering the origin of birds (even migrant species) in the park was a Drongo Cuckoo with a heavily abraded tail which suggests that it was an escapee.

persona non grata

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Another Ruddy Year

Today is Songkhran - Thai New Year and an excuse for the whole of Thailand to take an extended holiday and have a massive water fight!

I'll perhaps partake in the festivities later in the holiday, but this morning I hit Suan Rotfai  early for some migrant hunting.  Things started very slowly, but gradually picked up with a tally of one female Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, two Asian Brown Flycatchers, three Taigas, at least three Thick-billed Warblers, two Brown Shrikes, at least one roving flock of roughly 15 Ashy Minivets, a lovely pair of Forest Wagtails and best of all: a fleeting glimpse of a Ruddy Kingfisher - a good local rarity and the second one that I have found on the patch (the other bird being on 12th April last year, on the same stretch of khlong).

One of a pair of Forest Wagtails

Asian Brown Flycatcher

This young Indian Roller was freshly out of the nest

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


A short walk at the Ministry of Public Relations, in very hot and humid weather produced 1-2 Eye-browed Thrushes heard (and one glimpsed), one Brown Shrike, one Asian Brown Flycatcher and three Black-naped Orioles.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sunday, 6th April

Three hours (06.30-09.30am) produced some interesting, scarce passage migrants in the form of a female Blue-and-white/Zappey's Flycatcher, a Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike (my first on the patch since April last year), a female Yellow-rumped Flycatcher and a single male Ashy Minivet.  More regular migrants/winterers included three Taiga Flycatchers, three Asian Brown Flycatchers, two Yellow-browed Warblers,  and two Thick-billed Warblers. I also got brief views of what looked like an immature Cinnamon Bittern.

Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike


The ID of female Blue-and-white/Zappey's is unclear at the moment, from what I can gather.  The Oriental Bird Club website states that identification criteria have not yet been determined, but Mark Brazil's Birds of East Asia states that female Zappeys is "darker or more rufous brown, with less white on the throat" and the illustration (for what it is worth?!) indicates that Zappey's has a less well defined white throat, and paler underparts than Blue-and-white.

The images I got (below) suggest quite a well-defined dark breast band and clearly demarcated throat, so based on the little detail available in the literature I would guess that this is a female Blue-and-white. My only previous record of a confirmed Blue-and-white Flycatcher was a male in the same tree on the same date  in 2011!

Saturday, 5th April

Birding at the Ministry of Public Relations for half an hour produced the Ashy Minivet still present plus a significant number of migrant Black-naped Orioles (typical for this time if the year). The biggest surprise was a pair of Plain-backed Sparrows, which are now pretty rare in the inner city.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Ashy Minivet

No newly arrived migrants at the Ministry of Public Relations this morning, but yesterday's heard-only Ashy Minivet showed itself (a handsome male).  Looking forward to a weekend of patchwork (with the added bonus of Monday being a public holiday!).

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Mugimaki Bad Boy

A walk around the Ministry of Public Relations again this morning provided another fantastic Ficedula in the form of an adult male Mugimaki Flycatcher which gave prolonged views. There were a few other migrants around, with Ashy Minivet heard but not seen, a single Ashy Drongo and a Brown Shrike.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Silver Pheasants at Khao Yai

We had a great encounter with a group of five Silver Pheasants on Khao Yai's Radar Road, late last Thursday afternoon as the sun was sinking and doing all sorts of crazy things with the forest light...

Yellow-rumped Bad Boy

I took a walk  around the Ministry of Public Relations this morning, my first visit there in a very long time - a combination of on-and-off closures during the dry season due to the ongoing political protests, plus my heavy workload have meant that I've neglected making visits to this, the nearest patch of green to our house.

This mornings visit was a first class slap in the face for my neglectful ways, with a luminescent male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher  quite literally the first bird I saw (the yellow on the breast was so intense that I had to double check it wasn't a Narcissus Flycatcher!).

Here's to making more time for local patchwork now that spring migration is in full swing.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

29th March - spring waders

The afternoon was spent at Khok Kham where we photographed a few comon waders at very close range.  All images were taken using the Nikon 1 V1 camera with Nikon 300mm f4 and 1.4 TC.

Common Greenshank
Marsh Sandpiper (and Red-necked Stint)
Red-necked Stint

locally flagged Red-necked Stint

Red-necked Stint

Red-necked Stint

Red-necked Stint

Curlew Sandpiper
Lesser Sand Plover

Lesser Sandplover

Little Tern