Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Scarce and hard to ID migrants

1CY Dark-sided Flycatcher

A very productive morning at Suan Rotfai from 0630-0915 hrs, with one of the first birds encountered being a  Two-barred Greenish Warbler that called whilst flying from one clump of trees to another, and uttered another couple of calls once perched, hidden in the foliage.

Soon afterwards I heard an Amur Wagtail call as it went high over the park, and then was alerted by the call of a pair of Grey-headed Lapwings (only my 4th patch record) that I eventually saw twice going over the park.  Once the sun was properly up my attention turned to passerines and I soon found an Arctic Warbler (sound-recorded, ID confirmed as borealis), followed by my first Taiga Flycatcher of the autumn and a pair of Sakhalin Leaf Warblers (ID'd on call) and two Common Kingfishers.  Further on along the canal zone I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye - an apparent Asian Brown Flycatcher, but given that the bird had dropped out of a large, bare, dead tree I was suspicious that it might be a Dark-sided Flycatcher; my suspicions were confirmed from record shots of the bird in deep gloom (the power of digital photography!) before it gave slightly better views - a scarce autumn migrant and the only 1st calendar year bird that I have ever seen!  Whilst waiting for it to reappear I also picked up a female-type Yellow-rumped Flycatcher.
rather blurry Sakhalin Leaf Warbler

Heading back towards the park gates I checked another couple of areas and was rewarded with a Alstrom's Warbler -  a scarce autumn migrant here, as well as more usual fare in the shape of two Asian Brown Flycatchers, two Brown Shrikes, 1-2 Black-capped Kingfishers and a pair of Eastern Crowned Warblers one of which was poorly-marked (hardly any yellow in the vent), poorly seen and hence very confusing.

Not a bad start to the day!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Hainan dipping blues

A bit of dirty twitching after work at Suan Rotfai yesterday (21st) turned into dirty dipping when the targeted Hainan Blue Flycatcher did not materialise - it had been seen earlier in the day by other regulars but decided to depart before I could get there.  I thought that it was supposed to be a dowdy female but saw images of it on-line when I got home, it was in fact a stonking male. Ouch, that would have been a juicy patch tick.

For my troubles, I did manage to find a (silent) Sakhalin/Pale-legged Leaf Warbler, which was my first of the autumn. I also had a cunning plan to check the now floodlit areas of the park after dark in the hope of snagging myself a migrant Grey Nightjar (another much overdue patch tick) but the heavens opened after I got glimpses of a Drongo spp (probably Crow-billed) leaving myself and a dozen joggers to spend the next hour and a half sheltering from the downpour in the gents toilets!!!!

This morning (22nd) I made a return to the park for 90 minutes, with the Hainan Blue confirmed gone I sought out my own birds and managed a reasonable haul of common migrants:  two confirmed Pale-legged Leaf Warblers (both calling and one responding to playback), a single Arctic Warbler (which remained silent but came in to check out borealis play back having completely ignored Kamchatka LW payback), two female-type Yellow-rumped Flycatchers and two Asian Brown Flycatchers.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Unshrike-like Shrike

I checked Suan Rot Fai's "Secret Garden" area this morning, with a limited number of migrants found - single Eastern Crowned Warbler and Asian Brown Flycatcher, but the highlight was a juvenile Tiger Shrike seen a couple of times, but often elusive.

Whilst Tiger Shrikes look pretty much like any other Lanius their behaviour sets them apart - sticking to the understorey or within the cover of the canopy, and often flicking the tail up and down whilst also fanning and closing it. Today's bird spent a few minutes foraging inside an area of rather dense scub, acting more like an Acrocephalus warbler than a shrike!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Black-backed Kingfisher

After returning from the UK, one of my first duties was to do the school run on the morning of Thursday 14th September.  Fortunately my goddaughter's school is close to Suan Rot Fai, so it was a minor detour for me to stop by and catch up with this migrant Black-backed Kingfisher.  This absolutely stunning bird was offering point-blank views to anyone who cared to attend. 

The pictures were taken with my  Nikon V1 matched with the Nikkor 300mm f4 VR PF lens, and speak for themselves...