Monday, March 28, 2011

Siberian Thrush

I was stranded at the restaurant at Panern Thung, Kaengkrachan, due to heavy downpour.

After the rains stopped a slow drive along the road towards km 36 yielded this
magnificient Thrush. It was my very first sighting of a male bird, having only seen a female briefly some years back at Doi Pahompok.

The Siberian Thrush passes through Thailand on migration from Indonesia towards its breeding grounds in Siberia and Eastern Russia.
Being a zoothera it doesn't occur in flocks like the turdus thrushes but are mostly seen in pairs. They prefer to feed on the ground but will take to trees when disturbed.

I later saw another male in a tree.

Either way, it was very exciting to see this handsome bird and I am happy I can share some images with you.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chinese Egret

With an estimated of only 3000 birds worldwide the Chinese Egret isn't exactly numerous. Each year there are a couple of these birds to be seen in the Lampakbia area. I have seen them at the salt pans but normally I see them along the banks of the estuary or out at the sand spit.

In winter plumage the bill is smudgy looking with yellow restricted to the lower mandable.
The legs are green.
Only a couple of plumes on the neck.

In March the bird has developed its breeding plumage with an almost completely yellow bill.
The legs are dark and the plumes are now manifold.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spoon-billed Sandpiper!

The season is drawing closer towards its end. Soon this enigmatic and unique creature will head towards Eastern Siberia and its breeding grounds. How long can it hold on to the pressures of loss of suitable 'refueling' habitat during its long flight? Can it find suitable breeding habitat? Will it find a mate? Can it survive another season of villagers in Bangladesh harvesting shorebirds for staple?

Don't we all wish him sucess?

This season I have had a high count of 8 individuals at Bak Taley, Petburi. The birds have proven quite easy to spot. Or perhaps I am getting sharper in my 'spotting skills'? Either way, when one is found and I see the joy in the face of the visiting birder, I can sense the awe and almost europhic relationship that exist between birders and this very special bird.

The birds are never easy to approach very close on foot and seldom do one have a chance to use the car as a cover. This bird was pretty accommodating though and I managed a few shots laying down on the muddy levy at approximately 30m distance. (400mm F5.6)

As he turns his back on winter territory I hope with all of my heart he will be successful in Siberia and come back to Thailand next season with new additions to his flock.