Saturday, March 31, 2012


Monday morning saw the final visit to local patch before heading back to the UK for another six month stint. Star bird this morning was a single Oriental Darter flying over, a new bird for the site. Good numbers of waders remained with  totals of 300 Black-winged Stilt, 200 Marsh Sandpipers, 55 Wood Sandpipers, nine Greenshank and two Green Sandpipers. A male and female Eastern Marsh Harrier quartering the paddies flushed several Pintail and Common Snipe. Several breeding plumage Taiga Flycatchers were present as well as at least a dozen Dusky Warblers including some in song. Otherwise the site was fairly quiet, with only other birds of note three Purple Herons, two Watercock, two Siberian Rubythroat, two Bluethroat and six White-shouldered Starlings.  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Oriental Cuckoo

For the first time in a week I hit the local patch on Sunday morning, one of the first birds I saw when turning down the track was a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo which I guess was different from recent birds. Fewer Black-naped Orioles were present with just two noted. A dozen Whiskered Terns fed over the fish ponds including several nearly in full breeding plumage. In a soon to be cleared area of scrub, two migrant Oriental Cuckoo's were present along with a Two-barred Greenish Warbler, four Yellow-vented Bulbuls and a Siberian Rubythroat.

There were more waders than previously due a fresh release of water onto to several paddies, with a single Spotted Redshank, 125 Marsh Sandpipers, three Green Sandpipers, 30 Wood Sandpiper, 20 Little-ringed Plover and 150 Black-winged Stilts. Migrant warblers seemed to be much reduced in number with low totals of Dusky, Black-browed Reed and Pallas's Grasshopper Warblers. Also present were six Yellow and three Cinnamon Bittern, a Baillon's Crake, Bluethroat and 30 Blue-tailed Bee-eaters. In scrub and trees outside the house a flock of nine Ashy Minivet was a nice surprise.

Blue and White Flycatcher

Saturday morning I only had time for a short walk around the temple before starting the journey back towards Suphanburi and ultimately at the end of the month the UK. Birding along the road and the temple car park, there was a similar range of species as seen over the previous few days with a few exceptions. Star of the morning was a stunning male Blue and White Flycatcher probably of the nominate race cyanomelana this was only the second time I have seen this species, the previous one was at Doi Suthep around nine years ago. In a quiet corner of the car park an Emerald Ground Dove showed well, as did a pair of Sultan Tits high in the treetops. Along the road back a Blue-bearded Bee-eater sat out in the open on roadside wires.

Blue-bearded Bee-eater

Also seen over the morning were Rufescent Prinia, Rufous-fronted Babbler, three Pin-tailed Green Pigeons, Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush and a Radde's Warbler.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Orioles and a no show Pitta

 Black-hooded Oriole

I spent Friday morning from first light birding around the temple at Chiang Dao, many birds were in song, one of the commonest species was Paradise Flycatchers with at least nine seen and further ten or more heard. There were plenty of Orioles around with at least nine Black-hooded, three Black-naped and a single Maroon.

Maroon Oriole

A Grey-backed Shrike was at it's usual hangout in the car park and many cuckoo's were calling with DrongoBanded BayPlaintive, Indian, Violet and Large Hawk all heard. A dozen Striated Yuhinas were also present as well as a good selection of bulbuls and a few Asian Fairy Bluebirds. A small party of birds was present in the gully at the start of the steps, which included a White-throated Fantail, Buff-breasted Babbler and two Black-throated Laughingthrush. The daily pair of Streaked Wren Babblers were still present on limestone higher up the steps and two Bay Woodpeckers called noisily but failed to show. I dropped down into the gully and walked several hundred meters along it, after a few minutes a Rusty-naped Pitta called several times but after half an hour of sitting around waiting failed to show. Whilst hanging around a White-crowned Forktail flew past and a steady trickle of birds flew into drink in a tiny puddle with Siberian Blue Robin, Striped Tit Babbler and Brown-cheeked Fulvetta all noted. Returning to the temple steps I nearly stepped on the crazy Silver Pheasant which took a dislike to my tripod and spent the next ten minutes pecking the hell out of it. Back along the temple steps a Speckled Piculet was present and a Collared Owlet called from the jungle nearby. Returning to the Bungalows two Puff-throated Babblers fed along the drives verge and a pair of Striated Swallows rested on the restaurants roof.

Monday, March 26, 2012


On Thursday evening I spent a couple of hours around dusk watching nightjars and looking for owls around Wat Tham Pha Plong, Chiang Dao. Well before dusk a Brown Hawk Owl called non stop from alongside the road and as dusk approached many Asian-barred Owlets made their presence heard. At dusk at least six Large-tailed Nightjar and two Great-eared Nightjars showed reasonably well near the wildlife HQ, where a Grey Nightjar was also heard. Several Mountain and Collared Scops Owl were calling around the temple car park and nearby forest, along with at least three Blyth's Forgmouths none of which were seen. As I wandered back to Malee's the Brown Hawk Owl was on a telegraph pole just at the end of the drive and a Banded Bay Cuckoo sang loudly in the dark.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Shortly after first light on Thursday morning I was on the naturetrail which starts opposite the wildlife sanctuary HQ at Chiang Dao, the start of this trail has been a regular stakeout for Rusty-napped Pitta for at least 15 years (though seems to be much harder to see here in recent years) and for Hooded Pitta later in the year. Despite spending four hours on the trail, once again there was no sign of any pittas. Long stretches of the trail were bird free, there was just enough birds present to maintain interest. A pair of Streaked Wren Babblers were present on limestone near the start of the trail and two partridges almost certainly Scaly-breasted quickly ran away. Two Siberian Blue Robins and an Asian Stubtail were noted in a gully which runs along the side of the trail and in bamboo near the summit, several Hill Blue Flycatchers, White-rumped Shamas and an obliging Bamboo Woodpecker were present. On the walk back down towards the cave a group of Lesser-necklaced Laughinghtrush were present in bamboo along with at least three Grey-crowned Warblers. There was plenty of birds around the quieter parts of the cave area, including a Sulphur-breasted Warbler, two Asian-barred Owlets, Violet Cuckoo and two Asian Brown Flycatchers. Also recorded during the morning were Emerald Ground Dove, Linneated Barbet, Great Iora, Red Junglefowl, Buff-breasted babbler, Rufescent Prinia, Yellow-bellied Warber, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Black-throated and Ruby Cheeked Sunbird.  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Rosy Pipit

Yesterday afternoon I spent a couple of hours birding the paddies and scrub south of Chiang Dao Town, most of the paddies were pretty wet and it was only a few minutes before I located a group of five Grey-headed Lapwing, with a further 13 found a little later. Best bird of the visit was a Rosy Pipit flushed several times, this is only the second time I have seen this species in Thailand, with two birds five years ago in nearly the same spot. There were many Eastern Stonechats with at least 30 scattered over a large area, with smaller numbers of Pied Bushchats. At least two pairs of Wire-tailed Swallows were present and a splendid adult male Pied Harrier spent an age quartering the fields. In dry scrub nearby a Rufous-winged Buzzard was present along with a flock of at least 60 Baya Weaver including many breeding plumage males. Also recorded were two Bluethroats, a Ruddy-breasted Crake, two Green Sandpiper, single Common Sandpiper and Little Ringed Plover, a Richards Pipit, three Paddyfield Pipits, 15 Red-throated Pipits, Thick-billed Warbler, Siberian Rubythroat, ten Brown Shrikes, 15 Black-collared Starlings, four Plain-backed Sparrow and many Dusky Warblers, Zitting Cisticola and Plain Prinia. Perhaps as a result of the site being fairly wet I failed to find any Oriental Skylarks, perhaps for the first time ever.  

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pitta Hunt

I decided this morning that over the next few days I would revisit all the sites around Wat Tham Pha Plong, Chiang Dao were I have previously seen Blue and Rusty-naped Pitta. This morning I started birding along the recently cleared north fence trail, returning via the gully trail, despite ideal looking habitat and a good time of year I failed to hear or see any. At the start of the trail a Grey-backed Shrike was present and was presumably the same bird which has been in this area all winter, also here were two Grey-crowned Warblers and a Ruby-cheeked Sunbird. Along the fence trail were several White-rumped ShamasHill Blue FlycatchersYellow-bellied Warblers, a pair of Hainan Blue Flycatchers, Maroon Oriole and a White-browed Piculet.

As I dropped down in to the gully trail I surprised a male and three female Silver Pheasant, which in complete contrast to the tame bird at the temple quickly ran up the slope opposite and vanished. Along the gully the resident pair of White-crowned Forktails were present and two raucous Green Magpies also showed well. Whilst heading back down the temple steps a huge flock of at least 80 Spangled Drongos flew over and a pair of Streaked Wren Babblers were on their usual limestone outcrop. Also seen or heard on the morning walk were two Lesser Yellownape, Bay Woodpecker, three Violet Cuckoo, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Great Iora, Siberian Blue Robin, Buff-breasted BabblerOmei Warbler and Purple-naped Sunbird.

A good number of raptors were noted over the garden during the late morning/early afternoon with two or three Oriental Honey Buzzards, four Shikra, three Crested Serpent Eagle and single Crested Goshawk and Rufous-winged Buzzard.

Wallcreeper New for Thailand

A Wallcreeper was filmed at Phu Chee Fah Chiang Rai province on 18th March 2012 and will be a new bird for Thailand if accepted. Video of the bird is now on You Tube.

The Shama Factor

Yesterday afternoon I walked up to Wat Tham Pa Plong, normally I find late afternoons fairly poor at Chiang Dao, but upon reaching the temple car park there was a huge amount of bird song. Especially vocal were White-rumped Shamas, with four males having a singing competition which later turned into a more aggressive battle, at one point three males were fighting right in front of me. At least four Drongo Cuckoos were singing as were many Black-hooded Orioles. A busy group of Striated Yuhinas were present in trees just above the temple gates along with two Velvet-fronted Nuthatch. Three Pin-tailed Green Pigeons zipped over and three male Paradise Flycatchers were dotted around the car park all calling. A male Blue Rock Thrush was singing from temple buildings and at least ten Asian Fairy Bluebirds including six bright males fed in a tiny fruiting tree along with various bulbuls. A pair of noisy and agitated Puff-throated Bulbuls were feeding recently fledged young and at least two Grey-crowned Warblers were feeding in bamboo at the start of the temple steps.   

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Garden Birds

After a busy week of grand kids, nephews and trying to keep everyone happy, we arrived yesterday evening at Malee Nature Lovers Bungalows at Chiang Dao, though still smoky it was not as bad as the previous visit and the nights were thankfully still cool. I was up and out late this morning, so enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in the garden, I was impressed by the number of species I saw or heard just from the garden. A nearby tamarind tree saw a procession of birds in and out, including Thick-billed, Yellow-browed and Two-barred Warbler, Blue-winged Leafbird, Taiga Flycatcher, Oriental White-eye and both Olive-backed and Purple Sunbirds. As always there were plenty of bulbuls around with Sooty-headed, Streak-eared, Stripe-throated, Red-whiskered, Black-headed, Black-crested and Grey-eyed all being noted. At least one Violet Cuckoo flew over and Banded Bay, Plaintive and Drongo Cuckoo could all be heard. Though no barbets were seen Blue-eared, Blue-throated and Great were all very vocal as was an Oriental Pied Hornbill. At least four Shikra were up over the garden displaying, three Oriental Honey Buzzards headed north and an unfamiliar call was eventually traced to a pair of Black Baza in display. Also over the garden were many noisy Crested Treeswifts, several Brown-backed Needletails and half a dozen Striated Swallows. Also seen or heard were White-throated Kingfisher, Greater Coucal, Asian Barred Owlet, Spotted Dove, Crested Serpent Eagle, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Ashy and Bronzed Drongo, Black-hooded Oriole, Common Iora, Oriental Magpie Robin, Common Tailorbird, Puff-throated Babbler, Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker, Little and Streaked Spiderhunter and Scaly-breasted Munia.  A reasonable list for two hours of just sitting around in the garden.


A walk around the patch on Sunday morning, produced a new bird for the site in the shape of a male Shoveler with the Lesser Whistling Ducks, this is only the fourth species of wildfowl I have recorded on the site, with Lesser Whislting Duck, Cotton Pygmy Goose and Garganey the others. At least one of the Chestnut-winged Cuckoo's and the Hoopoe were still present and along with at least 20 Black-naped Orioles still. A cuckoo species, probably Oriental was seen very briefly and a migrant Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher. A male Bluethroat was present along one of the bunds and was the first I have seen here for sometime, nearby a Lanceolated Warbler showed well scuttling through the grass just a few feet in front of me. Other species seen included three Black-capped Kingfishers, 12 Blue-tailed Bee-eaters, six Ruddy-breasted Crakes, nine Pintail Snipe, 17 Whiskered Terns, three Purple Herons, a Long-tailed Shrike, 15 Pied Fantail, five Eastern Stonechat, four Red-rumped Swallow, eight Golden Weaver and five Plain-backed Sparrows.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Black-naped Orioles and Chestnut-winged Cuckoos

Yesterday morning on the local patch there had clearly been an increase in the number of Black-naped Orioles present, usually I note three or four on most visits this time at least twenty were present. When I was Cha-am earlier in the week there was quite a few around, including three groups totaling 14 which seemed to be moving north through beach front trees one morning. Star birds this morning were two possibly three Chestnut-winged Cuckoos, the third time I have recorded them on the patch, with both previous records also in March.

Two Hoopoes may have also been migrants as I have only recorded them once before. Good numbers of winter visitors still remain with estimates of 35 Dusky Warblers, 18 Pallas's Grasshopper Warblers, 15 Black-browed Reed Warblers, 11 Eastern Stonechats, nine Brown Shrikes and two Siberian Rubythroats. Also present were 50 Oriental Pratincoles, five Painted Snipe, eight Yellow and four Cinnamon Bittern and two Watercock.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Before heading back to Suphanburi this morning I managed a walk around a local lake and nearby water treatment works on the out skirts of Cha-am, one of the first birds I saw when getting out of the car was a Wryneck busily feeding on ants on the trunk of a nearby tree. The were relatively few birds on the lake apart from 12 Little Grebe, nine Moorhen and 20 Whiskered Terns feeding over it. The lake margins and adjacent reeds were full of birds, including three Pied Kingfishers, 18 Purple Gallinule, 13 Ruddy-breasted Crake, a Spotted Redshank, 12 Marsh Sandpipers, 3 Wood Sandpipers, 20 Black-winged Stilts, three Little Ringed Plovers, five Pacific Golden Plovers and many Dusky, Black-browed Reed and Oriental Reed Warblers. In drier scrub nearby were good numbers of Green Bee-eaters, along with a few Thick-billed Warblers, Taiga Flycatchers, Brown Shrikes, Yellow-vented Bulbuls and several pairs of Plain-backed Sparrows.

Sea Watching

Cha-am beach early morning

Late yesterday afternoon, with a strong on shore wind blowing and rough seas at Cha-am, I decided to give sea watching a try from the beach, whilst having a beer or three. After two hours and plenty of funny looks from the locals I had seen a few local birds, eventually I located an adult Pomarine Skua flying north followed a few minutes later by a Bridled Tern, full of enthusiasm I gave it another hour and half seeing bugger all. Also seen over the three and half hours 30 Whiskered Terns, c20 Common Terns, 10 Brown-headed Gulls, three Great-crested Terns, a Caspian Tern and three large bottles of Chang beer. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Early yesterday morning I managed to snatch a couple of hours birding around Cha-am, alone and away from three bickering under 11's, I headed north, along a more or less deserted beach, two Common Sandpipers fed along the waters edge and at the north end of town, at a small estuary a high tide roost held 60 Lesser Sandplovers, 28 Brown-headed Gulls, 11 Whiskered Tern, nine Common Terns and a Little Tern. Away from the beach I wandered around an area of scrub, at least seven Hoopoes were present, along with a very confiding Barred Buttonquail. Also noted during the morning were good numbers of Green Bee-eaters, a single Blue-tailed Bee-eater, a few Yellow-vented Bulbuls, Thick-billed Warblers, Brown Shrike, Green-billed Malkoha and a Wryneck.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Yesterday drove from Suphanburi to the coast at Cha-am, on route we stopped of at Makro near Petburi, whilst the gang went to stock up on food for the beach, I hung around the car park watching the many Open-billed Storks and Oriental Pratincoles spiralling overhead, along with three Bhraminy Kites. Also overhead here were a group of five Oriental Honey Buzzards and a flock of 15 Black Baza both of the which appeared to be migrating north.

Late morning checked into our beach front bungalow at Cha-am, where the worlds slowest Internet, hence short postings and a lack of photos or video. Whilst sitting and drinking on the beach small numbers of Common and Whiskered Terns fed off shore, along with a single Caspian. Early evening we enjoyed some excellent sea food the Lucky 2 restaurant on the quayside, good numbers of Brown-headed Gulls (including some in breeding plumage) and Whiskered Terns fed amongst the boats. 

Rufous-winged Buzzards and Treepies

Sunday evening I managed a short walk around some scrub and forest just outside Lampang, near Tung Kwian, best birds here were three Rufous-winged Buzzards and two Rufous Treepies. Also seen were two Black-hooded Orioles, sveral Thick-billed Warblers, three Grey-crowned Warblers, Striped Tit BabblerViolet Cuckoo, Sooty-headed and Stripe-throated Bulbuls.

Monday, March 12, 2012


Yesterday I had to drive up to Lampang to collect two of my wife's grandchildren, we left early morning arriving just after lunch, possibly as a result of low cloud and unseasonal rain keeping birds of prey low I was surprised at the number of raptors I saw on the drive up. The following were noted:

Oriental Honey Buzzard: one near Khampeang Phet and two Thoen
Black Baza: 15 which appeared to be heading north, just north of Tak
Black Kite:  three Nakon Sawan
Osprey: one over Chaopaya River Chai Nat
Eastern Marsh Harrier: one Suphanburi
Shikra: at least eight at various sites
Grey Eyed Buzzard: one near Tak
Rufous-winged Buzzard: one north of Tak and another two near Lampang
Black-shouldered Kite: several
Kestrel: one Nakhon Sawan.

By contrast the drive back this morning in bright sunny conditions only produced several Black-shouldered Kites.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Chiang Dao Butterflies - Part One

Butterflies puddling
Chiang Dao is not only an excellent area for birds, but also a great site for butterflies. Anywhere in the area is good, with Wat Tham Pha Plong and the nearby hot springs particularly good, but by far the best area is the car park at the check point along the Muang Khong road, were a fantastic range and number can be seen puddling after the park officials have damped down the car park. Many bright and spectacular looking species are usually present along with a bewildering number of blues.

The Wizard

Tailed Jay
Great Marquis


Foreground Black Rajah
Background Common Nawab
Male Common Cruiser

Friday, March 9, 2012

Yellow-eyed Babbler

A little late up, I could not face a walk around the patch in the baking heat, so decided to have a drive around locally, to see what I could find. I concentrated along the Pa Mok/Suphaburi Road, apart from a few villages, long stretches either side of the road  are dominated by huge open areas of rice paddies, marshes and scrub. Huge numbers of Open-billed Storks were present, with at least 5500 estimated, some of which were carrying nesting material. Several hundred egrets were also noted during the morning including many breeding plumage Eastern Cattle Egrets. Raptors seen included at least nine Black-shouldered Kites, six Black Kites, four Eastern Marsh Harriers, single Shikra, Black Baza, Kestrel and Bhraminy Kite.

Fish ponds along the way held at least 2000 Lesser Whistling Ducks, 20 Little Grebes, nine Purple Gallinules, several Pheasant and Bronze-winged Jacanas and a smart Yellow-eyed Babbler.

Black-winged Stils were the commonest waders with at least 500 in three flocks, additional waders included 150 Oriental Pratincoles, 13 Grey-headed Lapwings, small numbers of Wood and Marsh Sandpiper and Little Ringed Plovers. Also seen during the morning were two Pied Kingfishers, several Lesser Coucal, 30 Blue-tailed Bee-eaters and good numbers of common open country birds.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Asian Brown Flycatcher

A walk around the patch yesterday, produced a single Asian Brown Flycatcher, which was surprisingly a new bird for the site, though I suspect they are a regular passage migrant in the autumn, but over recent autumns I have not been able to get around the site due to flooding. Plenty of Oriental Pratincoles were again present and at least nine Whiskered Terns were around the site. An isolated large tree held two Fulvous-breasted Woodpeckers, which were checking out an old nesting hole. There were very few waders on site apart from good numbers of noisy Red-wattled Lapwings and a few Little Ringed Plovers which were also displaying. A single Eastern Marsh Harrier was consistently flushing the thousand or so Lesser Whistling Duck and half a dozen Cotton Pygmy Geese. Up three pairs of Yellow-vented Bulbuls were present and several Yellow-bellied Prinias were singing from the larger areas of reeds. Both Baya and Asian Golden Weavers were busy nest building, with several male Golden Weavers now in very bright plumage. Also noted were Bhraminy Kite, Shikra, Yellow and Cinnamon Bittern, Watercock, Thick-billed Warbler, Green-billed Malkoha, Black-naped Oriole and two Siberian Rubythroats.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Red Avadavat

Red Avadavat
Taken at 8am, you can hear the Thai National anthem
being played at the adjacent prison!

A quick stroll around the patch this morning revealed little new, the flock of eleven Red Avadavat were still present and showing well. Wader numbers remained at similar levels to yesterday, the only change being the reappearance of six Grey-headed Lapwing. More raptors than I have seen for a little while were present, with single Pied and Eastern Marsh Harrier, two Black-shouldered Kites and a Kestrel. Several winter visitors were noted singing including Dusky Warbler, Eastern Stonechat and several Brown Shrikes. Five Taiga Flycatchers were seen, including one with a red throat. A Bhraminy Kite was over the house when I returned and the local Plaintive Cuckoo's and Asian Koels were singing well.     

Small Pratincoles and Red-billed Blue Magpies

Yesterday I visited Kraseio Reservoir near Dan Chang, about 40 kilometers west of Suphanburi, I had been here a couple of times previously fishing and thought it was about time I visited and explored the birding opportunities in the area. The area around the reservoir is dominated by sugar cane and dry scrub, whilst along the shore large stretches of shallow margins look ideal for waders. Most of the morning was spent not far form the dam, a good numbers of Eastern Yellow WagtailsWhite Wagtails and Red-throated Pipits were present along the southern shore. A scattering of waders were also present with at least 30 Wood Sandpipers, 20 Red-wattled Lapwing and smaller numbers of Little Ringed Plovers, Common Sandpiper, Common and Pintail Snipe and best of all three Small Pratincoles. Out over the water at least a dozen Black Kites, six Bhraminy Kites and nine Brown-headed Gulls were waiting for discards from fishermen. Common, Black-capped and White-throated Kingfisher were all present and in reeds and scrub along the shore, along with good numbers of Dusky Warblers, Oriental and Black-browed Reed Warblers. In the dry scrub nearby large numbers of myna's and starlings were present including several large flocks of Chestnut-tailed Starlings and smaller numbers of Black-collared and Vinous-breasted Starling.

Also present in these drier areas was a surprise party of Red-billed Blue Magpie, many Green Bee-eaters, Red Collared Doves, Paddyfield Pipits, several Racket-tailed Treepies and Indochinese Bushlarks. After a couple of hours and with rising heat I headed home, though not seeing anything staggering the site clearly warrants more attention and definitely worth more visits, next time I will try to get to the shallow end way from the dam.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Siberian Rubythroat

After a week up north, Thursday we returned to Suphanburi, highlight on the drive south was a Rufous Treepie across the road near Mae Tang. For various reasons I wasn't able to get out onto the local patch at Suphanburi until this morning, the first time for ten days. With temperatures now reaching 37 Celsius during the day an early start was essential so I was on site by 630am, lots of birds were flying over, including a single Painted Stork and a group of nine White-shouldered Starlings. Good numbers of Oriental Pratincoles were present, with at least 120 feeding widely across the site. Waders numbers were very poor with just eight Common Snipe, six Black-winged Stilts, five Little Ringed Plovers, five Pintail Snipe and three Common Sandpipers. Several Siberian Rubythroats were noted including one which showed especially well and was heard in sub song briefly.

A dozen Red Avadavat, eight Ruddy-breasted, two Baillion's Crakes and a Watercock was also noted, otherwise there was little change in numbers or species from a couple of weeks ago.  

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Night Birds

Collared Owlet
The owl with two faces

Over recent nights, many night birds have been calling from around Malee's Nature Lovers Bungalow Chiang Dao and at the nearby temple, by far the commonest species has been Asian-Barred Owlets with many calling, several throughout the day. Bay Owl was heard calling from forest along the temple steps but was a long way off, other owls calling in the area have included Mountain and Collared Scops, Brown Hawk Owl and during the day several Collared Owlets.

Large-tailed Nightjar

Large-tailed Nightjars have been showing well most nights over the field just before the wildlife HQ and during the night one or two Great Eared Nightjars have been calling. Javan Frogmouths seem to be fairly quiet at the moment with the only record one heard calling distantly along the naturetrail.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Chiang Dao Checklist

A couple of years ago I composed a checklist of the birds of the Chiang Dao area, the list was constructed from the various log books kept at Malee Nature Lovers Bungalow Chiang Dao, Internet reports and the many hours of personnel observations. The English names for some species have since changed and several species have since been split. Any mistakes are my own, anyone with additional species are welcome to email them to me.

Chiang Dao Checklist

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Doi Cum Fa

On Wednesday we spent most of the day birding at Doi Cum Fa, around 30 kilometers north of Chiang Dao, which is part of the Pha Dang National Park. Birding is along a jeep track starting at an altitude of 1300 meters, asscending up to 1800 meters at the summit and the habitat is a mix of natural forest, planted and natural pine, scrub and some cleared areas. During the course of the day we saw around 80 species, an excellent total for forest birding. One of the first birds heard calling when we got out of the car was a Giant Nuthatch, later in the morning we saw at least four and heard two others, I have visited this site over a dozen times and have never failed to see this species. Further along the track a pair of Rufous-bellied Niltava showed well.

Rufous-bellied Niltava

It wasn't long before we encounted the first feeding party of the day which contained Chestnut-vented and Velvet-fronted NuthatchChestnut-fronted Shrike BabblerYellow-cheeked TitGrey-chinned Minivet and the first of very many Grey-cheeked Fulvettas. The first kilometer of the track follows a stream where single pairs of both White-crowned and Slaty-backed Forktails were present.

Flavescent Bulbul

A number of small fruting trees alongside the stream were full of feeding birds, including many bulbuls which included Mountain, Ashy, Flavescent and at least a hundred Black Bulbuls. Also present here were both Dark-backed and Rufous-backed Sibia, Blue-winged Minla and a large party of Silver-eared Mesia. After a couple of hours of walking the trail began to climb, a couple of Oriental Turtle Doves flew off the track, many noisy Grey Treepie were noted and what was probably a Bar-backed Partridge flew off into the forest. Over the next couple of hours an excellent selection of woodpeckers was noted, with Stripe-breasted, Grey-capped Pygmy, Greater Yellownape, Grey-headed, Bay and Rufous all being seen.

Long-tailed Broadbill

The highlight of the day was a group of at least 25 Long-tailed Broadbills a personnel favourite and one of the smartest looking birds in the world. Higher along the trail many Mountain Tailorbirds were singing and several Bianchi's Warblers were seen and more importantly heard to call. Flycatchers noted including four Little Pied and at least six Slaty-backed. At the trail summit in a large clearing around a small campsite there were at least twenty Crested Finchbills, six Spectacled Barwings, a fine male Red-flanked Bluetail and a Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush. The walk back down the mountain was quieter, but when nearly back at the car a large group of Grey-headed Parrotbills was present along with a a shy group of White-cheeked Laughingthrush's in the undergrowth.

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater

Numerous phylloscopus warblers were seen during the day, many were ignored, but White-tailed Leaf Warbler was abundant, and several Blyth's, Pallas's and Buff-barred Warblers were noted. Additional species seen during the day, included Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Slender-billed and Maroon Oriole, Long-tailed Minivet, Great and Golden-throated Barbet, Hill Prinia, Orange-bellied Leafbird, White-browed Shrike Babbler, Straited Yuhina and Golden Babbler.

Recent videos courtesy of Uthai Cheummarang of and photos from Gary Hibberd Norfolk Wildlife Trust

Chiang Dao Rice Paddies

Red-wattled Lapwing

Tuesday evening I visited the rice paddies, south of Chiang Dao Town, some of the first birds I saw here were two Wire-tailed Swallows feeding alongside the road. Though most of the area was covered with knee high rice, eventually I did find an area of wetter paddies where four Grey-headed Lapwings were feeding, also here were at least 20 White Wagtails and half a dozen Eastern Yellow Wagtails. Four singing Oriental Skylarks were in the area along with good numbers of Red-throated Pipits and several Paddyfield and Richard's Pipit.

Grey-headed Lapwing Chiang Dao

Towards dusk large numbers of Himalayan Swiftlets and smaller numbers of Striated Swallows and Asian House Martins fed over the rice paddies. Additional species noted included Common Kingfisher, Lesser Coucal, Black-shouldered Kite, Brown and Long-tailed Shrike, Pied Bushchat, Thick-billed Warbler, Dusky Warbler and Plain-backed Sparrow.