Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spoonie, late March!

 The weather is very hot now and some sporadic rains have started to fall. The Spoon-billed Sandpiper is getting ready to leave for breeding grounds in Northern Siberia.
On this morning myself and Bengt Legnell, an old friend from Sweden, were blessed with a couple of hours of viewing 3 individuals at Paktaley, Thailand.

 2 of the birds were in winter plumage but the 3rd one was pretty far into summer plumage.
I never got close enough for good images as there was a wide canal between us and the next dyke by the birds.

The birds were feeding frantically as though they couldn't get enough. 

Another season with the Spoonie has gone by. May they be blessed on their breeding grounds and come back here in Thailand again in mid October!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Chong Yen, Mae Wong, Kumpangpet

 This place is easily one of my favorite birding spots. A lot of nice birds from both the North and Central region and often there are interesting mixed flocks of song birds.

Another feature of late are the permanent hides by water holes. Here one has a good chance of seeing and photographing cryptic skulking birds of the forest.

Here is the Streaked Wren Babbler.

Buff-breasted Babbler was a photographic lifer for me. An easily overlooked bird as it also is a real skulker.

Eye-browed Wren Babbler is a tiny bird seldom seen but also readily came in to the meal worms. 

Rufous-browed Flycatcher has a soft musical song but loves it in the shade of the dark forest so seeing it like this was a treat.

Beung Borapet, Nakorn Sawan

 I spent 3 hours on a boat at Beung Borapet, Nakorn Sawan, some 240km North of Bangkok.
A boat can be hired for 500Baht/hour and with Mr Panom, the boatman, you can be assured that any present ducks will be found.

The resident Cotton Pygmy Goose is rather abundant in the area. A handsome male to the right.
 Diving ducks are always of special interest and Ferruginous Pochard is one of the more striking.
Here is a female with her dark eye. These birds are found in small numbers and are winter visitors.

3 drakes in pursuit of a lone female. The drakes have white eyes.

There were a few thousand Gargany in the lake. These are migratory dabbling ducks that are common visitor to BB.

A few Gargeny in flight.

The floating vegetation (mainly Lotus flowers) hold good numbers of Pheasant-tailed Jacanas.
Only a few were in breeding plumage. 

Purple Heron is also a common waterbird. 

Striated Grassbird/Warbler is easy to see around the lake. It has a musical and bubbly song that is heard far. 

Grey-headed Lapwing is an uncommon winter visitor to suitable habitat in Thailand.

It was nice to be on the boat as there was a gentle breeze. The weather is very hot otherwise.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

White-browed Fantail

 Just a couple of days ago I received my new yearly visa. It is always so much paper work and one just never know what will be required. I was very relieved when it all came through, meaning, Thailand has to put up with me for another year!

So, to celebrate I decided to do a 2nd try for the White-browed Fantail at Sapsadao. This is a very difficult bird in Thailand and though present in fragmented areas of dry dipterocarp forest, apparently best seen at Sapsadao.

I had dipped on my 1st attempt. Got to the site in the late afternoon after an almost 5 hour drive (traffic runs slow over the forested mountains that leads into the NorthEast). Lots of birds were showing but not the Fantail.

Spent the night in a small hotel by the main road warding off the charming little ladies frequenting the neighbourhood.

All morning in potential habitat but NO bird! Well, I decided to go for lunch and on the way out simply sat in the car while recording some bird songs and hoping for a picture or two.

I normally don't rely too much on playback though I use it. I seldom play it for long. Anyhow, this time I thought I'd leave it on play and put it on the roof of the car while I remained inside. After less then 2 minutes it had called the attention of 2 White-browed Fantails that were incredibly inquisitive! This was at 11:55 and not what I had expected.
Big smiles, camera out , sound to be recorded!

As they say: God's delays are not denials!


Rufous-bellied Woodpecker

 They say the secret to patience is to stay busy while you are waiting.
Well, I have waited for years to have an opportunity to see the Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, never having been in an area where it is found here in Thailand. So, on the 13th of Dec Nick Upton reported one at Mae Ping not too far from Chiang Mai. A number of people  quickly  went to see it but I had to wait till 2 days before the end of the year when I spent an afternoon and a morning without finding it.
So, after my fun trip with Peter Sharland​ and his wife Jenny I decided to give it another try.
This afternoon I arrived at the area for the bird at 3:45. It was dead quiet and hot. A few birds started vocalizing and I could tell Grey-headed Parakeets, Common Flameback, Lineated Barbet, Hooded Oriole were around........then I heard the strident call of the Rufous-bellied WP. Quite similar to Greater Flameback.
I moved towards the bird but must have scared it off as it quickly started calling from behind me.
This time I just stood there and waited. It didn't take long before I got brief but clear views of this little stunner! Years of waiting for an opportunity had finally arrived.
It is the only sap sucking woodpecker here and it was interesting to see the many holes in this one tree.

 A recording I did of the bird is found here:

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Brown Noddy

 I don't know how many records there are of Brown Noddy in Thai waters but there certainly are not many.
Together with 5 Expat birders here in Thailand we hired a boat in search of one that had been reported in the Paktaley area.
None of us had seen it anywhere so it turned out to be a successful and fun trip for all.
The Noddy, being a tern, was feeding alongside primarily White-winged, Whiskered and Common Terns. Schools of small fish are common in the area about 10km from the shore line.
It wasn't easy to hold the camera still in choppy waters but some frames turned out ok.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Phu Hin Rong Kla #2


 It was a normal weekday when we visited the park but an incredible amount of traffic. Apparently the area has been popularized in recent years and the Thai middle class love to go for family outings in their nice vehicle to take in the scenery, cool weather, fresh vegetables and lovely sunrise/sunset.

Pied Bushchat was common along the roadside.

While photographing the Nepal House Martins I heard a little whistle. Not knowing what it was I tried some playback of the song of Jerdon's Bushchat. Out it popped!
This is a hard bird to find in Thailand and a nice find.

   A raptor was perched in a dead tree but I didn't pay enough attention to it. It wasn't until I checked the  images that I realized it was an Amur Falcon. Another rare bird!

        Inside the park we came across some birds
        familiar from Northern Thailand. PHRK is
        part of the lower Northern Thailand and not
        really a place I bird very much. Here is the
        Blue-winged Minla with  a very dark eye.
        Perhaps a feature of the local population
        here? Normally the iris is white.

Rufous-winged Fulvettas love to forage moss laden branches in search of bugs. I didn't realize they were on this mountain so a nice surprise.
We were birding at 1200-1600m and saw these birds several times.

 A flock of White-eyes flew swiftly by!

Grey Wagtail

                         White Wagtail

Monday, November 24, 2014

Pho Hin Rong Kla

 It had been many many years since I visited Pho Hin Rong Kla in the province of Petchabun.
My good friend Bengt Legnell came with me on this trip as we both wanted to see the alleged Nepal House Martin on the mountain.
We were not to be disappointed as we came across several hundred of birds if not thousands.
One can only speculate as to the status of these birds. Is there a smaller resident population that increases dramatically in winter?
Either way, the birds were a lot of fun to photograph. Fast fliers, twisting and turning made for challenging photography.

 I used my Canon 7D with the 400F5.6. Had it on servo with 9 focal points and as high shutter speed as possible.

The last two images are my favorite. Imagine trying to do the same with an old film camera? 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Odd sighting of Spoonie!

 I went to visit Prasae, Klang, Rayong, 2 hours SouthEast of Bangkok. Here there are some mangroves and areas where waders feed on exposed sandbars during low tide.

During high tide they often perch on poles put in the water for various fishing contraptions.

It is necessary to hire a boat and so we did along with a boatman. The birds have only fairly recently arrived from their breeding grounds in Siberia and were quite skittish. It was not as easy as I had hoped to get close to them.

We counted 36 Nordmann's Greenshanks and 1 Grey-tailed Tattler besides the many Grey Plovers, Great Knots, Whimbrels, Bar-tailed Godwits, Common Redshanks and oodles of Sand Plovers.
As I got home and checked my images I was pleasantly surprised to find this Spoon-billed Sandpiper in one of the images. This is the 1st time I have come across one outside of the sites on the Western coast of the Inner Gulf of Thailand.

                              Nordmann's Greenshanks has such sweet looking demeanor!
                                                And so nice to be able to get this close.


Grey Plover

                               Bar-tailed Godwit