Friday, November 27, 2015

Lesser Sundas

Bhutan was an epic trip for me. The next trip was one I did with Stijn de Win for birding2asia. We visited the Lesser Sundas. The trip turned out to be successful in every way and hopefully we can have another one in 2016.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

belated update

I find this webside very tedious and wish I had started a blog elsewhere. Thus I am not very motivated to keep it going. Another aspect is that I hardly get any response from the blog and so not sure if it serves any purpose. On Facebook and my pbase account I see the volume of traffic and deem it quite useful.

Anyhow, since I last posted I have been to so many places that I can't simply repost it all here.
I simply will post a link to my pbase account and if you are interested all it takes is one click and you will be there.

Here is the 1st link to a very exciting trip I made to Bhutan back in June:

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Small owls

                      I was able to get in touch with a good local guide in Sri Lanka, Amila Salgado.
                     Thanks to him I was able to see 3 small owls. First of all the Serendip Scops Owl,
                      a bird that was discovered only a few years back in the 21st Century.

                         The 2nd one and also endemic to Sri Lanka was the Chestnut-backed Owlet.
                         We had good scope views but not good light for photography.

                          Then on 2 different occasions I saw a pair of Indian Scops Owls on day roost.

Spot-winged Thrush

 During a 2 day birding adventure in Sri Lanka I was able to see no less then 17 endemic birds. I like zoothera thruhes a lot so this was a priority for me. Fortunately this handsome male was singing his heart out in the early morning hours.
The birds are skulkers and like the forest floor so to have him up on a branch in front of me was very special.

I made a recoding as well:

From Kithulgala, Sri Lanka

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: