Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bueng Boraphet

View to the north across Bueng Boraphet
Monday afternoon returning home from visiting family in Phitsanulok we decided to visit the waterbird park on the southern shore of Bueng Bhoraphet, Nakhon Sawan, the largest natural freshwater lake in Thailand. It was mid afternoon by the time we arrived and in bright sunny conditions and temperatures pushing 35 degrees Celsius I wasn't expecting to see a great deal, however over the next couple of hours I saw a fantastic selection of species.

I followed the naturetrail, which traces the path of a raised bund through areas of flooded and dry scrub, reeds, lotus, open water and has several vantage points overlooking the main lake. One of the first species I saw was a stunning male Siberian Rubythroat feeding along the side of an overgrown ditch, this was to be the first of at least eight seen over the next few hours, hearing at least another five the numbers wintering here must be high. All the while during the walk Black-browed, Oriental Reed, Pallas's Grasshopper and Dusky Warblers were everywhere, with singing Striated Grassbirds and Yellow-bellied Prinia also very much in evidence.

An area of wet and dry overgrown marsh, which was fall of warblers
Good numbers of herons,egrets and bitterns where noted in the wetter areas including an unseasonable Black Bittern, as well as a dozen Yellow and five Cinnamon Bitterns. Several groups of noisy and squabbling Purple Gallinules were also present and out on the main lake small numbers of Cotton Pygmy Geese and a lone Oriental Darter were also noted.
Great Egret
Many Blue-tailed Bee-eaters and my first returning Oriental Pratincoles of the year fed overhead and many thousands of thermalling Open-billed Storks filled the sky. Amongst the common munias I found four stunning Black-headed Munias and a restless group of nine Red Avadavat. There was a surprising number of northern wintering species which included 19 White-shouldered Starlings, 13 Ashy Minivets, five Black-naped Monarch, single Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, male Paradise Flycatcher and best off all two Forest Wagtails feeding under trees on the path in front of me. The only waders noted were 30 Black-winged Stilts, 6 Grey-headed Lapwing, two Pintail Snipe and many noisy and displaying Red-wattled Lapwing. As I returned to the car six Black Bazas were perched in trees nearby.

I couldn't leave Bung Bhoraphet without getting a photo of a couple of White-eyed River Martins resting nearby.

White-eyed River Martin were first discovered at Bueng Boraphet in 1968, all records were between November and February and they have never been anywherere else in the world. Last sighted in 1980 it is feared that this unique species is now extinct, perhaps there is some hope, that some may survive somewhere in a remote part of China, Burma or Cambodia.

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog Neil...when I read this I am tempted to drop everything and jump in the truck and head to BB!