Thursday, February 9, 2012

Painted Storks and Black Drongos

Painted Storks
by Gary Hibberd

Arrived on the patch by dawn, lots of birds were leaving various roosts around or nearby the site with Egrets and Little Cormorants flying in all directions, a flock of 30 Indian Cormorants was especially noteworthy. I made an effort to count the Black Drongos leaving their roost from a large area of scrub and within half an hour at least 475 had left. Further on 850 Open-billed Storks were feeding on a couple of flooded rice paddies and amongst these were two, much taller Painted Storks, a species recorded only half a dozen times on the site. Reasonable numbers of waders were also in the area, including 32 Grey-headed Lapwing, 450 Black-winged Stilts, 40 Marsh Sandpipers, 31 Little Ringed Plovers, 25 Pacific Golden Plovers, 11 Temminck's Stint and single Greenshank, Green Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank. Acrocephalus and loucestella warblers were especially evident today with estimates of 50 Oriental Reed and 20 Black-browed Reed Warblers, at least 15 Pallas's Grasshopper Warblers and two or three Lanceolated Warblers. Also present around the site were two over wintering Black-naped Monarchs, a Greater Racket-tailed Drongo and a couple of Fulvous-breasted Woodpeckers.

The visit was cut short when a dozen motorbikes arrived with workers to start spraying pesticides/herbicides on the emerging rice, the health and safety or lack of it was great, most were spraying in flip flops or bare feet, shorts and no face masks. As I approached home one of the city's wintering Peregrines shot past, chasing one of the many hundreds of feral pigeons.

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