Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Grey-headed Lapwings

Black-winged Stilt

Early boxing day morning, rather than walk around the local patch and see the same Black Bazas and lonesome Watercock, I decided to jump in the car and have a drive around and see what I could find. Only 10 minutes drive from the house I found an excellent area of very wet paddies, lotus covered ponds and scrub, I spent the next three hours wandering around. The whole area was full of birds, with hundreds egrets and Open-billed Storks, good numbers of waders, a few raptors and a few smaller birds. 

Little Egrets

During the morning I found four groups of Grey-headed Lapwings amassing an amazing total of 103 birds, in groups of 13, 17, 29 and 44. Wood Sandpipers were everywhere probably totaling around 180, other waders included 350 Black-winged Stilts, 40 Little-ringed Plovers, 34 Pacific Golden Plover, 17 Temminck's Stint, 13 Marsh Sandpipers, 3 Greenshank, 2 Green Sandpiper and a single Common Sandpiper. Whilst walking along the bunds numerous snipe were flushed with at least 40 Common, 20 Pintail and a group of 11 Painted Snipe which I almost trod on. 

Bronze-winged Jacana

Good numbers of jacanas were also around with at least 50 Pheasant-tailed and 30 Bronze-winged. In addition to all the egrets and Open-billed Storks, were six Yellow and three Cinnamon Bittern, 11 Grey and three Purple Heron. Birds were regularly being flushed by at least three Eastern Marsh Harrier and single Black and Bhraminy Kite

Eastern Yellow Wagtails and Red-throated Pipits were scattered across the site with around 50 of each, other passerines included good numbers of Oriental Reed and Dusky Warblers, thousands of Eurasian Swallows, 50 Baya Weaver and four Chestnut Munia.       

Christmas Day Birding

Christmas morning spent a couple of hours around the patch the Violet Cuckoo was still around, along with five Black Baza. Three green pigeons flew over presumably Pink-necked and a single flock of 57 Indian Cormorants were also noteworthy. A reasonable number of raptors were recorded with three Bhraminy Kites (two adults and an immature), a female Eastern Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Shikra and Black-shouldered Kite. Also seen was the usual Watercock, 2 Ruddy-breasted Crake, 4 Pintail Snipe, 16 Wood Sandpiper, 6 Yellow-vented Bulbul, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Two-barred Warbler, 200 Baya Weaver and two Red Avadavat.  

Open-billed Storks and Diggers

A feature of the last week has been the continued destruction of the site, over the last week another chunk of the site has been filled in to make way for another large luxury housing estate, more scrub has been removed, many of the bunds between the paddies have been sprayed and cut and are now devoid of vegetation, one the of the fish ponds has been drained and many of the dykes and ditches have been cleared of all vegetation. Though the site still holds some interest many of the best areas for migrants and waders have gone and increasingly the site is becoming one giant rice paddy.  

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Violet Cuckoo

Earlier in the week I was sure that I had heard the distinctive chee-vit call of a Violet Cuckoo, I only heard it twice and not seeing the bird soon forgot about it, believing Violet Cuckoo would be very unlikely around Suphanburi. Yesterday morning in almost the same area I once again heard the same call and located a bird flying between tall trees around the local prison. Eventually it landed and it was a Violet Cuckoo an immature/female type bird. Looking at field guides it is perhaps not such a big surprise, maps suggesting it to be a winter visitor around Bangkok.

Paddyfield Pipit

Otherwise there was very little new on the patch yesterday, the four Black Baza remained, what was probably the same Watercock was flushed from the same rice paddy. 14 Wood Sandpiper were still present and a single Green Sandpiper was new. Other species included a Bhraminy Kite, 2 Ruddy-breasted Crake, 15 Night and 2 Purple Heron, Black-naped Oriole, 4 Yellow-vented Bulbul, 2 Richard's, 11 Paddyfield and 9 Red-throated Pipit.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Plain Prinia

Plain Prinia
This morning like the previous two one of the commonest birds on the patch was Plain Prinia, which is best described as abundant, with the whole site probably supporting several hundred birds. With a the rice being wet from a heavy dew many of Zitting Cisticola were sat sunning on the bunds between the paddies, with groups of up to a dozen all over the site.   

The daily wader count showed little change in numbers with 13 Wood and 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Common and one Pintail Snipe. A female type Eastern Marsh Harrier hunting an area of wet scrub, reed and grass which is about to be bulldozed flushed at least 20 Eastern Yellow Wagtails and a similar number of Red-throated Pipits. Also noted today 2 Watercock, 3 Ruddy-breasted Crake, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Bhraminy Kite, 4 Yellow-vented Bulbul, three Richard's Pipits and 2 Streaked Weaver.

The only new butterfly today was a single Peacock Pansy.
Peacock Pansy

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Brown-throated Sunbird

Brown-throated Sunbird
This morning I spent around four hours on the local patch from dawn, but it was not until I was nearly home when the best birds of the day appeared with two Brown-throated Sunbirds feeding in roadside trees, a new and long overdue patch tick.  

I seemed to hit it lucky with Thick-billed Warblers this morning, seeing at least four some of which showed very well. Black Baza's had increased to at least four and a stunning male Pied Harrier appeared briefly. Other species seen today but not yesterday included single Watercock, Yellow-bellied Prinia, Painted Stork, Black-naped Oriole, 2 Black-naped Monarch and a Cinnamon Bittern. Apart from Red-wattled Lapwings, the only waders present were two Pintail Snipe, 17 Wood and a single Common Sandpiper.
Bronze-winged Jacana

Also noted this morning were 4 Spreckled-breasted Woodpecker, two Black-capped Kingfisher, 3 Ruddy-breasted Crake, 13 Bronze-winged Jacana, Siberian Rubythroat, 2 Lanceolated Warbler, 15 Red-throated Pipit and two House Sparrows (a locally increasing species).

Plain Tiger 
New butterflies continue to appear, with Plain Tiger, The Confucian Dart, Pea Blue and Common Grass Yellow all new.

Confucian Dart
Pea Blue
Common Grass Yellow

Monday, December 17, 2012

Zitting Cisticola and Black Baza

Zitting Cisticola
After a very busy week, it was great to finally have chance for the first time in a week to have a good walk around the local patch. A few things had began to sing and display much more than a week ago, Zitting Cisticolas were far more in evidence then the previous week, with calling and displaying birds everywhere, with around 100-150 present. Plain Prinia were also very evident and both Plaintive Cuckoo and Asian Koel were singing much more strongly than previous.

 There were very few waders around the site with just 50 Red-wattled Lapwing, 3 Wood Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper and a Pintail Snipe present. I made a bit of an effort to count all the winter visitors around the site which included 2 Stork-billed, 3 Black-capped and 9 Common Kingfisher, 11 Brown Shrike, 21 Eastern Stonechat, Bluethroat, 3 Siberian Rubythroat, 3 Lanceolated, 7 Pallas's Grasshopper, 2 Thick-billed, 13 Black-browed, 35 Dusky and 5 Yellow-browed Warbler, 6 Taiga and one Asian Brown Flycatcher and 8 Red-throated Pipit.  

Black Baza
Raptors around this morning included a surprise Black Baza only my second local record, along with single Black-shouldered Kite, Easter Marsh Harrier and a Kestrel.

The weaver flock had increased in size with over 300 now present, mostly Baya but with at least 30 Golden also present, but no sign of any Streaked. There was also many more Red-rumped Swallows present than in previous weeks with at least 50 over one large rice paddy. Also present this morning two Speckled-breasted Woodpecker, 13 Bronze-winged and 5 Pheasant-tailed Jacana, 8 Blue-tailed Bee-eater, 5 Ruddy-breasted Crake and three Little Heron.

Spotted Pierrot

New butterflies this morning included Spotted Pierrott, Common Line Blue, Orange Emigrant and Striped Albatross.
Common Lineblue

Striped Albatross

Also present in huge numbers were many fresh Tawny Coster and thousands of a yet undientified geometrid moth.

Tawny Coster
Unidentifed geometrid moth

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Siberian Blue Robin

With a busy day yesterday and a busy week coming up, I managed early yesterday afternoon to jam in a hours walk around some scrub near the house, the main aim was to see what butterflies were around, but was surprised to find a female type Siberian Blue Robin a new bird for me locally. The same patch of scrub also held two Spotted Owlets, a Thick-billed Warbler and a Black-naped Monarch.

Common Pierrot
New butterflies included Common Pierrot, Burmese Bushbrown, Common Plain Sailor, Lemon Emigrant, Purple Leaf Blue and Painted Jezebel.

Purple Leaf Blue

Common Four Ring

Yellow Orange Tip
(Far more impressive in flight!)

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Highlights of the last couple of mornings was the presence of  three species of weaver around the patch, with a flock of 15 Streaked both mornings, a scattering of Golden and a flock of at least 120 Baya. With one of the paddies having been recently ploughed and flooded, there was a fresh batch of waders onto the site which included single Spotted Redshank, four Temminck's Stint and 23 Grey-headed Lapwing. Other commoner waders included 12 Marsh, 3 Common and 30 Wood Sandpiper, 15 Little-ringed Plover, 9 Pacific Golden Plover and 120 Black-winged Stilt.  Other species also recorded were a single Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Hoopoe and two Spreckled-breasted Woodpeckers.

Tiny Grass Blue
Additional species of butterflies locally in recent days, Common Palmfly, Great Orange Tip and Tiny Grass Blue

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Little Change

Yellow-vented Bulbul

Went around the local patch as usual Monday and Tuesday morning, though there were plenty of birds on both mornings there was very little change in variety or numbers over the previous week. Peak counts for waders over the two days 12 Pintail, 9 Common and 4 Painted Snipe, 35 Black-winged Stilts, 12 Wood Sandpiper, 20 Red-wattled Lapwing, 3 Pacific Golden Plover, 9 Little-ringed Plover and ones and twos of Common, Green and Marsh Sandpiper. A few raptors were noted with two Bhraminy Kite and single Eastern Marsh Harrier, Black-shouldered Kite and Kestrel. One of the Black-naped Monarch's remained and also noted were two Siberian Rubythroats, three Vinous-breasted Starlings, 4 Yellow-vented Bulbuls, 12 Eastern Yellow Wagtails, 6 Red-throated, four Paddyfield and six Richard's Pipits.

Common birds present that I have not mentioned for while included Lineated and Coppersmith Barbet, Plaintive Cuckoo, Green-billed Malkoha, Red-collared and Peaceful Dove, hundreds of Open-billed Stork, Night Heron, Brown and Long-tailed Shrike, Black-naped Oriole, Common Iora, Pied Fantail, Plain Prinia, Zitting Cisticola, White Wagtail and Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker.

Lemon Pansy

Plenty of butterflies locally in recent days with species identified so far Lime, Psyche, Striped Albatross, Yellow Orange Tip, Common Tiger, Leopard Lacewing, Lemon Pansy, Common Nawab and various Blues which I have still to get to grips with.    

Leopard Lacewing

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Late Migrants?

Red-collared Dove
A very common bird locally
There may have been some new migrants on the patch this morning, with 23 Ashy Minivet, two Black-naped Monarch and an Asian Brown Flycatcher. Otherwise there was very little change in variety or numbers, with the only different species over recent days three Pink-necked Green Pigeons and two Bhraminy Kites. Waders included five Painted Snipe and single Green Sandpiper and Greenshank.    

Roost Counts

Friday evening decided to do a dusk on the local patch for a change and see what came into roost. like previous evenings large numbers of Black Drongo, Myna's, Starling's and hirundines were recorded. Also noted were 17 Grey-headed Lapwing over just before dark and three Eastern Marsh Harrier clearly heading to a roost nearby.

Roost count: Black Drongo 378, Common Myna 545, White-vented Myna 1230, Vinous-breasted Starling 5, Asian Pied Starling 170, White Shouldered Starling 11, Eurasian Swallow 1100 and Sand Martin 55

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Rails and Crakes

Black-winged Stilt

Wednesday morning I seemed to hit it pretty luck with crakes and rails on the local patch, with single Slaty-breasted Rail, Baillon's Crake, Watercock, six Ruddy-breasted Crakes and three White-breasted Waterhens during a couple of hours walk around. There was still a fair scattering of waders around the site, including 50 Black-winged Stilts, 25 Pintail and 17 Common Snipe, ten Marsh Sandpiper and single Green and Common Sandpiper. Around 2500 Lesser Whistling Ducks were on one of the fishponds, along with seven Cotton Pygmy Geese and half a dozen each of Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-winged Jacanas.

Also present were at least 20 Blue-tailed Bee-eaters, a Stork-billed Kingfisher, Eastern Marsh Harrier, four Yellow Bittern and two Cinnamon Bittern, male Siberian Rubythroat and Bluethroat, good numbers of Pallas's Grasshopper, Dusky, Black-browed and Oriental Reed Warblers, eight Brown Shrikes and six Eastern Yellow Wagtails.