Monday, August 15, 2016

Fields of Petchaburi mid August

 Mid August isn't the best of months for raking up a long list of species in the field. But it is a lovely month with dramatic skies, green fields and local birds still being busy about.
The Watercock is a bird that often doesn't show well and though it was rather distant we still got good looks of a breeding bird.
 They have a booming sound and a nice contrast with their green surroundings. Still need a good image of this species.
Purple Heron

All you often see of the Purple Heron is a 'periscope' sticking out from tall rice plants. 
Streaked Weaver

There seemed to be Asian Golden Weavers just about everywhere. There breeding cycle last several months and I wonder how many sets of chicks each pair raise. Baya Weavers were also abundant but the one I enjoyed the most was Streaked Weaver. This time they seemed to 
breed mixed in with Golden. In years past I have seen them in more distinct species designated colonies but this year lots of them were mixed. Still the shape of the nests tell them apart.
Green Bee-eater

Green Bee-eater is a bird you can not miss in this area. 
Raymond Liao

I was out with Raymond Liao, a Chinese/American business man from California. Ray wanted to photograph as many birds as possible. It is always interesting to see the many approaches people have to photography, their choices of equipment, field craft, camera settings etc etc. Always something to learn and to share. 

At the King's project, Lampakbia, the Indian Cormorants were in breeding plumage.  Gone is the yellow facial skin and added is the nice white ear tuft.

I thought this Little Egret was posing quite nicely!

This pair of Lesser Whistling Tree Ducks were unusually accommodating.
Long-toed Stint

Wood Sandpiper

Long-toed Stints are now starting to show. A very nice sign that shorebirds are on their way back.

Wood Sandpipers were also common in the project.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Eared Pitta

Everyone knows Blue Pitta is difficult. Now multiply that by 5 and you are getting towards the difficult degree of Eared Pitta.

A lot of my pictures I get while birdwatching. In other words, opportunistic photography. But when it comes to Eared Pitta, the opportunity only comes when there is a stake out and a blind set up.

 I spent 6 hours with this bird and in spite of the birds coming and going only got a handful of acceptable images. The bird showed extremely well but in difficult light and always on the move. Very challenging. Well, here is the male. His colors are a bit more intense then the female.

He also did the bulk of the job of finding worms
for the chick as the female spent time in the nest.
She did come out but only a couple of times.

Here she is on her way back into the nest.

It was amazing how quickly those worms were digested. The residue had to be removed frequently!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

3 days in July

18-20th of July 2016
With Pete Mooney from New Jersey

Pete is a herpetologist but has an interest for birds and so asked me to help out for a few days before he would join a couple of friends in Bali for some herping.
We agreed to a plan as follow.

Day 1. Fields of Petchaburi  in the morning and outskirts of Kaengkrachan National Park in the afternoon.
Day 2. All day at the lower levels of Kaengkrachan.
Day 3. Lower levels till noon and some fields on the way back to Bangkok in the afternoon

Day 1. We got to the fields around 7 am. A lot less birds then in the dry season but still birdy enough to keep the interest. The 3 species of Weavers were still at it being busy in their breeding colonies.
Asian Golden seemed to be the  most common this time.
Some fields were full of Egrets and Openbills. A nice surprise was a Stork-billed Kingfisher that flew over our heads after it sang in some nearby trees for a bit. White-throated Kingfisher wasn’t far away either so both these two colorful birds showed well.
At WatKhaotakrow there were 12 Spot-billed Pelicans. These are much easier in the wet season and often missed in the dry season.
Not many wader around but atleast we got on to some Oriental Pratincoles both in flight and on the ground.
Pulling in to Baan Maka, our resort, gave us almost instantly a Blue-winged Pitta as it hopped around on the resort grounds in search of worms for its hungry chicks. 

After a delicious dinner the night fell. Almost instantly the call of Collared Scops Owl was heard.
I got on to it quickly but it flew off just to call deeper inside the vegetation.  We followed it with our headlights on. Suddenly, I spotted a Reticulated Python in front of me. Pete got very enthusiastic as this was a new snake for him. Funny how the Almighty  seem to reward people according to their individual desires.  I normally don’t look for snakes to be honest but in this case it was high on Pete's wish list. 

Day 2. We entered the park around 6:30. Thankfully we never encountered any rain during our 3 days inspite of dark skies and lingering rain. It was a lot quieter then normal to  but enough new impressions to keep Pete happy. I mean, how can you not be anything but appreciative when you are visiting a SEA tropical forest the first time?

The best birds of the day were the Broadbills with Silver-breasted, Black-red and Banded leading the way!  A pair of Great Hornbills finally showed in the late afternoon and will not be forgotten. 

After having walked a trail in the afternoon we were back on the road walking towards the car when suddenly Pete spotted another snake. This time a Monocled Cobra.  I let Pete examine it while I kept safely away.  I do appreciate these beings but have a healthy fear of getting to close. I suppose it being the wet season had something to do with seeing two species in 2 days? Either way, it was a major highlight for this snake man who has worked with snakes on a professional level for many many years. 

Day 3. Back in the park to pick up a few more things. We finally added some woodpeckers to the list but the definite highlight was an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher next to the road. 

 Pete happily shared his experiences with herping from primarily Central and South America and time seemed to go by quickly. 

Asian Golden Weaver

Streaked Weaver

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker

Blue-winged Pitta

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher

Silver-breasted Broadbill

Here is a list of birds we encountered.
Not that long, but then again, it isn’t only about a long list, is it?

1.       Little Grebe
2.       Little Cormorant
3.       Indian Shag
4.       Grey Heron
5.       Purple Heron
6.       Javan Pond Heron
7.       Black-crowned Night-Heron
8.       Cattle Egret
9.       Great Egret
10.   Yellow Bittern
11.   Black Bittern
12.   Asian Openbill
13.   Painted Stork
14.   Spot-billed Pelican – a dozen
15.   Lesser Whistling Duck
16.   Brahimy Kite
17.   Black-shouldered Kite
18.   Crested Goshawk
19.   Crested Serpent Eagle – heard
20.   Red Junglefowl
21.   Ferruginous Partridge – heard
22.   Green-legged Partridge – heard
23.   White-breasted Waterhen
24.   Bronze-winged Jacana
25.   Red-wattled Lapwing
26.   Little Ringed Plover
27.   Wood Sandpiper
28.   Oriental Pratincole
29.   Black-winged Stilt
30.   Rock Pigeon
31.   Spotted Dove
32.   Peaceful Dove
33.   Red Collared Dove
34.   Emerald Dove
35.   Drongo Cuckoo – heard
36.   Plaintive Cuckoo – heard
37.   Banded Bay Cuckoo – heard
38.   Greater Coucal
39.   Asian Koel
40.   Chestnut-breasted Malkoha – a pair
41.   Collared Scops Owl
42.   Collared Owlet – heard
43.   Orange-breasted Trogon – heard at least half a dozen but couldn’t get on to them
44.   Stork-billed Kingfisher – 1 seen well
45.   White-throated Kingfisher
46.   Collared Kingfisher
47.   Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher  (back-backed kf)
48.   Banded Kingfisher – heard
49.   Green Bee-eater
50.   Blue-throated Bee-eater
51.   Blue-bearded Bee-eater
52.   Indian Roller
53.   Asian Pied Hornbill
54.   Great Hornbill
55.   Blue-eared Barbet – heard
56.   Common Flameback
57.   Greater Yellownape
58.   Streak-breasted Woodpecker
59.   Silver-breasted Broadbill
60.   Banded Broadbill
61.   Black-red Broadbill
62.   Black-yellow Broadbill
63.   Blue-winged Pitta
64.   Blue Pitta – heard
65.   Germain’s Swiftlet
66.   Asian Palm Swift
67.   House Swift
68.   Grey-rumped Treeswift
69.   Barnswallow
70.   Rufous-winged Bushlark – very showy this time of year
71.   Grey Wagtail
72.   Scarlet Minivet – heard
73.   Common Iora
74.   Gold-fronted Leafbird
75.   Black-crested Bulbul
76.   Black-headed Bulbul
77.   Buff-vented Bulbul
78.   Ochraceous Bulbul
79.   Sooty-headed Bulbul
80.   Streak-eared Bulbul
81.   Stripe-throated Bulbul
82.   Yellow-vented Bulbul
83.   Black Drongo
84.   Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
85.   Hooded Oriole – heard
86.   Asian Fairy Bluebird
87.   Crested Jay – several heard
88.   Eastern Jungle Crow
89.   Sultan’s Tit
90.   Puff-throated Babbler - heard
91.   Striped Tit Babbler - heard
92.   Rufous-fronted Babbler
93.   Large Scimitar Babbler – heard
94.   Brown-cheeked Fulvetta – heard
95.   Chestnut-capped Babbler – a pair
96.   Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush – heard
97.   Zitting Cisticola – heard
98.   Yellow-bellied Prinia
99.   Plain Prinia
100.                        Grey-breasted Prinia – heard
101.                        Common Tailorbird
102.                        Dark-necked Tailorbird – heard
103.                        Oriental Magpie Robin
104.                        White-rumped Shama
105.                        Slaty-backed Forktail – 1 seen
106.                        Pied Fantail
107.                        Ashy Woodswallow
108.                        White-vented Myna
109.                        Common Myna
110.                        Hill Myna
111.                        Olive-backed  Sunbird
112.                        Brown-throated Sunbird
113.                        Ruby-cheeked Sunbird
114.                        Little Spiderhunter – heard
115.                        Orange-bellied  Flowerpecker
116.                        Eurasian Tree Sparrow
117.                        Asian Golden Weaver
118.                        Streaked Weaver
119.                        Baya Weaver
120.                        Scaly-breasted Munia
121.                        White-rumped Munia

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Kaengkrachan part 2

White-browed Piculet
 We also did some walkabout photography inside of Kaengkrachan National Park.

Walking with camera gear give less opportunity but produces images that are not 'look alike' as the shots from feeding stations often are.

I use Canon 7D coupled with 100-400Mark2

Ideally I should upgrade to the 7D2
Long-tailed Broadbills

Banded Kingfisher, female

Banded Kingfisher, male

Common Flameback, female

Dusky Broadbill

Silver-breasted Broadbill

Hooded Pitta

Grey Peacock Pheasant

Hair-crested Drongo

Friday, June 10, 2016

Photography trip in late April

Kevin Bartlett wanted to photograph Broadbills after some work in Bangkok.
We spent 6 lovely days together both inside of Kaengkrachan National Park as well as in the outskirts and some fields of Petchaburi province.
Kevin managed to photograph 5 species of Broadbills much to his delight. He also got his 1st Pitta species on film and just generally had a good time with the birds.

These are my own images. I didn't pursue all birds as I have photographed them previously.

It was still dry in the park after an unusually long dry season. Birds were starting to breed though and we did encounter sporadic rain.

The Pittas were active as well and we heard 4 species and saw 2.

We also saw numerous Yellow-rumped Flycatchers as well as a few Green-backed. These birds are passage migrants and otherwise not seen in the park.

Lodging and dining was at Baan Maka, the default choice of accommodation.

These images are all from a hide by a waterhole. 

 Asian Golden Weavers sparkle in the reed beds as they are busy building nests.

Oriental Pratincoles prefer dry open mud for their nesting grounds. 

Yellow-rumped Flycatchers use the waterhole as they pass through Central Thailand on their way to their breeding grounds in Northern China etc.

Crested Goshawk isn't all that dangerous at the waterhole but the little birds retreat when it shows up for a drink.

Lineated Pheasant, male, likes to join the party.

Forest Wagtail looking for grubs on the forest floor.

Green Magpie is one stunning as well as mean looking creature......loud and ferocious....

Female Asian Fairy Bluebird is not a regular visitor to the waterhole but in the dry season all birds have to seek what little water there is. 

One of my favorite birds. Racket-tailed Treepies.....resident bird with a stunning plumage.

Abbott's Babbler

Try seeing a Large Scimitar Babbler outside of the water holes. Highly skulky species.

Asian Paradise Flycatcher 

Bar-backed Partridge with a lovely patterned plumage. 

Blue-bearded Bee-eater is a bird of the more open forest. 

White-browed Scimitar Babbler just seem to love water. Kept coming every 10 minutes for hours on end. 

Large Wood Shrike is not often seen at the waterhole.