Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Dusky Broadbill

With two recent sightings of Banded Kingfisher from the nature trail/fence trail, a species which has so far eluded me at Chiang Dao, yesterday morning I headed back into the forest for much of the day. No Kingfisher but major surprise in the form of 3 Dusky Broadbill along the fence trail, one of only a handful of sightings from the area. Lots of other birds recorded with a similar selection of species to previous visit plus a few additions with 2 Grey-capped Pygmy, 1 Bamboo and a Rufous Woodpecker, White-browed Piculet, 5 Greater Yellownape, 2 Red-headed Trogon, 3 Green Magpie, 2 Maroon Oriole, Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, 2 Asian Stubtail, 2 Sulphur-breasted Warbler, 6 Greater Necklaced and 2 Black-throated Laughingthrush, 2 White-browed Scimiter Babbler, Eye-browed Wren Babbler and a Purple-naped Sunbird.

This morning 17 Large Woodshrike through the garden and a Violet Cuckoo over.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Black-tailed Crake

Yesterday spent the full day birding around the DYK sub station with Neil and Eunice Parks, great company and some decent birds, despite low cloud for much of the day and maximum temperatures of just 11 degrees. First bird of the day was a Large-tailed Nightjar on the track followed a little further along by a black billed Blue Whistling Thrush and soon after a White's Thrush which showed very well feeding along the track in the first glimmers of light.

Arriving at a very quite sub station where the only bird calling was a Bay Woodpecker, we headed to the pond in hope of Black-tailed Crake upon arrival one was heard calling and after a few minutes Eunice found one feeding in grass along the lake margins, after good views for a few minutes it soon disappeared. Though resident on the pond and nearby stream they are seldom seen here by visiting birders and the DYK pond is one of just a few sites in Thailand to hold this species.
Giant Nuthatch DYK
by Fred Rowe
The rest of the days was spent birding back along the track, the summit trail which was very birdy and around the campsite. Best birds of the day included 2 Giant Nuthatch, 4 Stripe-breasted Woodpecker, 3 Greater and 1 Lesser Yellownape, 4 Bay Woodpecker, Lesser Cocual, 2 Hoopoe, 4 Slender-billed Oriole, 2 Little Pied Flycatcher, Slaty-backed Flycatcher, 2 Rufous-bellied Niltava, White-bellied Redstart, 3 Japanese Tit, Aberrant Bush Warbler, 4 Grey-crowned and 2 Marten's Warbler, flock of White-necked Laughingthrush (heard), Rusty-cheeked Scimiter Babbler, Golden Babbler and 6 Mrs Gould's Sunbird. On the way out of DYK a Collared Owlet was flushed carrying prey, it gave excellent views as it perched next to the road with a not quite dead Small Niltava a potential new bird for one of the party!
Grey Bushchat
DYK by Fred Rowe

Common species included many leaf warblers with several flocks in excess of 50 birds mostly Davidson's with smaller numbers of Cluadia's and Yellow-browed, 4 Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, 3 Oriental Turtle Dove, 6 Orange-bellied Leafbird, 5 Eurasian Jay, Maroon Oriole, 8 Grey Bushchat, c30 Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Mountain Bulbul, many Chestnut-flanked White-eye, 12 Blyth's Shrike Babbler, 6 Grey-chinned and 20 Long-tailed Minivet, 6 Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, 4 Grey Treepie, several hundred Indochinese Swiftlets, Grey-backed Shrike, 4 White-browed Scimiter Babbler and 25 Striated Yuhina.

Nearly back at Chiang Dao a Grey Nightjar was seen feeding alongside the road.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Red-billed Blue Magpie and Little Grebe

A strange pair of species for a post title, but one was the best looking bird during a walk yesterday morning around ponds, scrub and dry forest just out of Chiang Dao and the other the rarest. A noisy flock of 7 very smart looking Red-billed Blue Magpie showed well in dry forest, whilst on one of the fish ponds a Little Grebe was a new Chiang Dao bird for me. Lots of Siberian Rubythroats recorded with 2 seen and a further 9 heard, also present in the area were 2 Rufous-winged Buzzard, 3 Eastern Buzzard, single Biakal Bush Warbler, 2 Grey Bushchat, 20 Green Bee-eater, 1000 Indochinese Swiftlet drinking at the ponds, single Pallas's Grasshopper, Lanceolated and Thick-billed Warbler, 10 Dusky and 2 Radde's Warbler and 15 Common Rosefinch.

In a brief walk to the nearby temple this morning 10 White-headed Bulbuls were the only birds of note. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

White-tailed Robins and Broadbills

Spent much of today birding the naturetrail and fence trail, despite a cold foggy start plenty of birds seen, best two White-tailed Robin with an immature in the dry stream bed at the start of the naturetrail and adult along the fence trail. Also a flock of 7 Silver-breasted Broadbill which showed well in bamboo at the start of the fence trail. Other noteworthy birds seen included 6 Bamboo Woodpecker with 2 seen and at least four others heard, 2 Red headed Trogon, Long-tailed Broadbill heard, 4 Green Magpie, 6 Eye-browed Thrush, White's Thrush, 2 Hainan Blue Flycatcher, Asian Stubtail, 5 Sulphur-breasted Warbler, Pygmy Wren Babbler and 3 Purple-naped Sunbird.

Commoner species recorded included a 2 Green-legged Partridge, 4 Red Junglefowl, single  White-browed and 2 Speckled Piculet, 2 Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, 8 Orange-breasted Trogon, 4 Blue-bearded Bee-eater, 6 Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, 2 Maroon Oriole, 8 Ashy Minivet, 5 Hill Blue Flycatcher, 4 Siberian Blue Robin, 4 Sultan Tit, 10 Claudia's Leaf Warbler, 6 Grey-crowned, 4 Marten's and 10 Yellow- bellied Warbler, 15 Lesser Necklaced and 6 Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush, 6 Buff-breasted Babbler, 4 White-browed Scimiter Babbler, 2 Grey-throated Babbler, 25 Striated Yuhina and 6 White-bellied Erponis.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

20th-22nd December 2013

On  Friday and Sunday morning I spent several hours birding around Wat Tham Pha Plong Chiang Dao, also walking along the first several hundred meters of the gully trail, plenty of birds around including a party of 6 Collared Babblers in the gully and in a large feeding flock a Pallas's Warbler, though not rare in Northern Thailand this is the first time that I have seen this species so low down. Other highlights over the two days included several Green-legged Partridge with a pair which showed well both mornings from the bridge over the gully, 3 Bay Woodpecker, White-browed Piculet, 2 Maroon Oriole, 3 White-throated Fantail, several Great Iora, 4 Siberian Blue Robin, pair of Northern White-crowned Forktail, 2 Sultan Tit, 3 Asian Stubtail, 10+ Claudia's Leaf Warbler, 3 Grey-Crowned Warbler, 5 Marten's Warbler, 6 Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush, 2 Streaked Wren Babbler, 4 Grey-throated Babbler, 3 Ruby-cheeked Sunbird and a single Purple-naped Sunbird.

Birds noted in a brief visit to the rice paddies yesterday included 2 Green and one Common Sandpiper, Rufous-winged Buzzard, Richard's Pipit and 5 Wire-tailed Swallow.


Due to a combination of four days of heavy rain, followed by a very short visit into Burma to renew my visa and family commitments, very little birding was done last week, but as always odd and ends were seen whilst traveling around. Both Himalayan Brown Wood Owl and Spot-bellied Eagle Owl were heard calling not far from Malee's during the wet spell and on the way to Mae Sai on the 17th two Eastern Buzzards were seen near Thaton and very close to Mae Sai a flock of at least 250 Open-billed Stork were noted soaring over the main road. On the 19th I managed a short walk around scrub just outside Lampang, recording Racket-tailed Treepie, Rufous Treepie, Rufous-winged Buzzard and a couple of Thick-billed Warbler.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Doi Lang and White-tailed Rubythroat

Early Wednesday morning myself, Kurt (my brother-in-law) and Uthai from Chiang Mai Birding headed to Doi Lang for a couple of days birding, we camped on the mountain by the army camp, the weather was mild, mostly overcast, with periodic low cloud and light patchy rain. Leaving at 5am and taking the western  route up from Fang, we were birding by 640am. An excellent list of species was noted over the two days, best bird was a very surprising Thai tick for me. Whilst scoping up a small group of Crested Buntings feeding on seed at the side of the road, a male White-tailed Rubythroat hopped into view. White-tailed Rubythroat is apparently a rare bird in Thailand, though possibly under recorded as ringing especially around Chiang Saen has recorded a few in recent years. After a minute or two the bird disappeared back into the roadside grass and despite waiting another 30 minutes never reappeared.  

Spot-breasted Parrotbill
 Most of the Doi Lang specialties were seen included 6 Rufous-throated Partridge feeding by the main army camp on Wednesday evening, with many others heard calling, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, Rusty-naped Pitta one calling just before the first army checkpoint, 2 White-gorgeted Flycatcher, Slaty-blue Flycatcher, male Sapphire FlycatcherGolden Bush Robin, White-tailed Robin, 2 Giant Nuthatch, 12 Black-throated Tit, 20 Crested Finchbill, 15 Brown-breasted Bulbul, Chestnut-headed Tesia, 6 Scarlet-faced Liocichla, Black-eared Shrike Babbler, 8 Whiskered Yuhina, 6 Long-tailed Sibia and 2 Spot-breasted Parrotbill.

Female Himilayan Bluetail
Male Himilayan Bluetail
Male Chesnut-bellied Rock Thrush
An impressive list of high altitude and other scarce species were also seen  including 4 Mountain Bamboo Partridge, 2 Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Stripe-breasted woodpecker, White-browed Piculet, 5 Speckled Piculet, 2 Lesser Yellownape, 6 Greater Yellownape, 5 Bay Woodpecker, 2 Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, Slaty-backed Flycatcher, 2 Little Pied Flycatcher, 3 Large, 2 Small and 3 Rufous-bellied Niltava, c20 Himilayan Bluetail, 4 White-bellied Redstart, 4 Chestnut-vented Nuthatch, 6 Yellow-cheeked Tit, 3 Slaty-bellied Tesia, 4 Buff-throated, 2 Buff-barred and 30 Pallas's leaf Warbler, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, 2 Bianchi's Warbler, 10 White-browed Laughingthrush, 8 White-necked Laughingthrush, 4 Rusty-cheeked Scimiter Babbler, 2 Pygmy Wren Babbler, 5 Golden Babbler,  c20 Spectacled Barwing, 4 Rufous-backed Sibia, 100 Gould's Sunbird, 60 Common Rosefinch, 30 Crested, 10 Little, 5 Chesnut and a single Yellow-breasted Bunting.
Dark-backed Sibia
Common species recorded included Golden-throated, Blue-throated and Great Barbet, Lesser Coucal, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Oriental Turtle Dove, Emerald Ground Dove, Eastern Buzzard, Mountain Hawk EaglePeregrine, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Grey-backed and Long-tailed Shrike, Eurasian Jay, Grey Treepie, Maroon Oriole, Large Cuckooshrike, Long-tailed, Short-billed and Grey-chinned Minivet, Yellow-bellied and White-throated Fantail, Northern White-crowned Forktail, Grey Bushchat, Striated, Mountain and Black Bulbul, Mountain Tailorbird, Claudia's, Hume's and Davidson's Leaf Warber, Chestnut-flanked White-eye, Marten's and Grey-crowned Warbler, Silver-eared Lughingthrush, Chestnut-capped and Yellow-eyed Babbler, Blue-winged Minla, Grey-cheeked and Rufous-winged Fulvetta and Dark-backed Sibia.   

The department of national parks have put up a number of signs in Thai and English forbidding the use of tapes, photography of nesting birds and feeding, these rules were widely ignored during our visit, with numerous feeding areas in operation and some appalling use of tapes, at a photographers stakeout for Chestnut-headed Tesia tapes were being played from dawn to dusk over the two days we were there. Elsewhere parts of the mountain echoed to the taped calls of Rusty-naped Pitta and Spot-breasted Laughingthrush

Species seen by other birders whilst we were there included several Hume's Pheasant, male Scarlet Finch and Ultramine Flycatcher.      
Doi Lang west side
View into Burma from Doi Lang east side


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Red Avadavat

This morning I decided to wander around fields, scrub and secondary growth around Chiang Dao in search of Freckled-breasted Woodpecker which has yet to be recorded in the area, no woodpeckers but plenty of other birds. One large overgrown field was very productive, where best bird was a Red Avadavat a new Chiang Dao species for me. With the grass being very wet following heavy overnight dew a number of normally skulking species showed well as they dried themselves in the sun, at least 8 Siberian Rubythroats being either heard or seen, along with 6 Thick-billed Warbler, 5 Radde's Warbler, 2 Yellow-bellied Prinia and several hundred Scaly-breasted and White-rumped Munia. A small group of half a dozen Yellow-eyed Babblers also showed well, but two Chestnut-capped Babblers took an age to get decent views of. A single male Chestnut Bunting showed briefly, but frustratingly several other unidentified buntings dropped into long grass and were not seen again. All morning the loud raucous calls of several Chinese Francolin could be heard but typically none were seen, a Barred Buttonquail showed better as it ran down a track in front of me.

Racket-tailed Treepie
by Fred Rowe
In scrub two pairs of Racket-tailed Treepies, 30 Chestnut-tailed Starling, a Violet Cuckoo and a Rufous-winged Buzzard were noted. A patch of forest and bamboo supported a low number of species, but in high densities, with at least 17 Grey-crowned Warbler, 11 Radde's Warbler, 9 Rufous-fronted Babbler and 5 White-rumped Shama. Also in the area were three Red-billed Blue Magpie, female Siberian Blue Robin, 2 Golden-fronted Leafbird and a Verditer Flycatcher.

Other species recorded during the morning included Linneated Barbet, Green Bee-eater, Plaintive Cuckoo, Indian Roller, Long-tailed Shrike, Black-hooded Oriole, Pied Bushchats, Eastern Stonechat and Olive-backed Pipit.


Yesterday morning I walked along the road to the checkpoint and a little beyond, it was a cold morning, the first of the dry season and thick fog stubbornly hung around well into the morning, as a result bird activity was subdued. A pair of Northern White-crowned Forktail and a single Slaty-backed Forktail were both present along the stream just before the checkpoint. On the same stream a Little Heron and a Common Kingfisher were also present. Little else of note was seen, with 3 Grey-crowned Warbler, 8 Black Bulbul, Violet Cuckoo, 5 Thick-billed Green Pigeon and a Purple-naped Sunbird were easily the best of the rest.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bamboo Woodpecker

Most of the morning was spent birding on the nature trail, or the mosquito trail as it should be renamed, as there were clouds of the buggers. Best bird was a Bamboo Woodpecker which was seen well but briefly in the mature bamboo at the summit of the trail, another bird drumming nearby was also presumed this species. Other birds were few and far between, but in the bamboo a male and two female Red Junglefowl showed well, along with 4 Yellow-bellied Warbler, several White-rumped Shama, Hill Blue Flycatcher, Rufescent Prinia and two Radde's Warblers. Birds elsewhere along the trail included 3 Siberian Blue Robins, 2 Buff-breasted Babblers, Black-throated Sunbird, 2 Sultan Tit and a Banded Bay Cuckoo, meagre pickings for about four and half hours birding.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Drongo Cuckoo
A scruffy looking individual which showed well this morning

Banded Bay Cuckoo
By Fred Rowe
This morning was spent birding the temple and gully trail, lots of birds around especially form the steps where several large feeding parties. Though not rare best birds were excellent views of Drongo Cuckoo and Banded Bay Cuckoo feeding in the canopy at eye level from the rest area on the steps. Green-legged Partridge were heard calling from at least four localities, and amongst the good numbers of warblers seen were at least 7 Claudia's Leaf Warbler, 5 Marten's, 3 Grey-crowned Warbler and in roadside grass single Radde's and Thick-billed Warbler. Species noted in the bird waves included single Speckled and White-browed Piculet, 2 Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, 3 Great Iora, 4 White-throated Fantail, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, 2 Purple-naped, male Ruby-cheeked and Black-throated Sunbird. At least three Bay Woodpeckers and in trees by the temple gates two Orange-breasted Trogons and a pair of Blue-bearded Bee-eaters showed well. Best birds from the highest point of the temple was a female Maroon Oriole and a stunning male Asian Emerald Cuckoo. In a quite corner of the temple car park an Asian Stubtail showed very well down to a few feet and a flock of around 10 Necklaced Laughingthrush were typically tricky to get decent views of, but did include at least one Greater.

The gully trail was very quiet, with the only birds seen the usual pair of Northern White-crowned Forktail, 2 Marten's Warbler and a pair of Buff-breasted Babbler

Other common species noted this morning included Great, Blue-throated and Blue-eared Barbet, Green-billed Malkoha, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Emerald Ground Dove, Crested Goshawk, Spangled Drongo, Verditer Flycatcher, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Brown-cheeked Fulvetta, Yellow-vented Flowerpecker and Olive-backed Pipit.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Streaked Wren Babbler

After a three day non birding break in Chiang Mai, yesterday we returned to Chiang Dao and this morning I was back birding at the temple. On limestone along the temple steps a pair of Streaked Wren Babbler showed well by the rest area. A pair is often present in this area but had been absent for sometime. Bay Woodpeckers were much more vocal than recently with at least three calling around the temple, with one seen briefly as it flashed across the temple steps.

Two good feeding parties were bumped into which included 2 Speckled Piculet, 2-3 Sulphur-breasted Warbler, several Great Iora, Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, 2 White-throated Fantail and 3 Claudia's Leaf Warbler. Despite inappropriate footwear, I walked up the first couple of hundred metres of the gully trail, it was fairly quite but I did mange good views of an Asian Stubbtail, male and female Siberian Blue Robin, a pair of very noisy White-crowned Forktail and the arse end of a pair of Green-legged Partridge.

Other species recorded included several Great Barbet, 2 Orange-breasted Trogon, 2 Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Drongo Cuckoo, 15 Thick-billed Green Pigeon, Crested Goshawk, Maroon Oriole, 6 Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, 4 Grey-crowned Warbler, 20 Striated Yuhina, 2 Purple-naped and a Ruby-checked Sunbird.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Rosy Pipit

The last couple of hours yesterday was spent wandering around the rice paddies south of Chiang Dao Town, where best birds were three Rosy Pipit which flew over calling just before dusk. The standard local species were all recorded with 21 Grey-headed Lapwing, 6 Wire-tailed Swallow and 4 Oriental Skylark. Just before dusk many birds were heading to roost including a total of 125 Chestnut-tailed Starling in three flocks, 18 Green Bee-eater, 40 Red-throated Pipit and at least 100 White Wagtail.

Black-collared Starling
by Fred Rowe

Other species also recorded included a Wryneck, Eastern Marsh Harrier, Rufous-winged Buzzard, 9 Pintail, 7 Common and a single female Painted Snipe, 2 Green Sandpiper, Bluethroat, 2 Siberian Rubythroat, 3 Black-collared Starling, 6 Richard's Pipit and a single Citrine Wagtail.   

Recent sightings by other birders around DYK included male and 2 female Hume's Pheasant, male Daurian Redstart by the toilet block, but unusually no Giant Nuthatch despite three separate lots of birders looking.        

Friday, November 22, 2013

Out and about at last!

Beginning to feel better, yesterday morning I wandered up to the temple, I spent around an hour watching a fruiting tree by the temple gates, though only a relatively small tree a huge number and variety of birds were noted feeding in it, most giving incredibly close views. Four species of barbets were noted with at least 6 Blue-eared, 3 Blue-throated, 2 Coppersmith and a brief Linneated. It was hard to work out how many Asian Fairy Bluebirds were using the tree but at one point 3 males and 2 females were present, with others calling from nearby trees. Large numbers of bulbuls were always present including Grey-eyed, Puff-throated and Black-headed. Other species also noted in the tree included Yellow-vented and Thick-billed Flowerpecker, a fast moving flock of 25 Striated Yuhina and a Verditer Flycatcher.

Other birds around the temple car park included 2 Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Violet Cuckoo, 2 Buff-breasted Babbler and 20 Brown-checked Fulvetta.

Spent this morning catching up on a few jobs, but did record two Crested Serpant Eagle displaying over the garden and at least two Violet Cuckoo. Later afternoon I took a walk along the checkpoint road it was fairly slow birding, but a pair of Northern White-crowned Forktail were present on the stream, a male Grey Bushchat was present along the road and has now been present for nearly two months and at around 5pm three Oriental Pied Hornbill flew towards the temple.

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Rubbish Week

Ten days ago I developed a sore leg, which at the time I though was pulled muscle, during last Tuesday evening my leg began to swell and within an hour became red, hot and inflamed, followed by me feeling increasingly unwell, after a quick dash to hospital in Chiang Mai where within ten minutes of arriving I was diagnosed with cellulitis probably from a mosquito bite on my ankle which I had scratched. A few minutes later I  was hooked up to a huge dose of IV antibiotics with another course the next day after which I was sent home with a shopping bag full of medication including another ten days of heavy duty antibiotics. The infection soon cleared but the side effects of the medication left me feeling really rubbish, all apart from the antibiotics were finished yesterday and today is the first day in a week that I feel like I am not dying! I dusted down the bins for the first time in over a week and sat in the garden, seeing a couple of Crested Serpant Eagles and a Violet Cuckoo. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to walk up to the temple.

I am not the first birder in Thailand to be hit with this and it is worth trying not to scratch any bites and keeping any open wounds especially on your legs clean and covered

Monday, November 11, 2013

Night Herons

It has been a busy few days, with Malee's full daily, due to combination of a nearby wedding, birthdays celebrations and visits by two different hiking groups, as a result birding has been pretty minimal over the last few days. In the previous post I forgot to mention that on the way  back down the DYK road, we saw a flock of at least 25 Night Herons these were a new bird for me at Chiang Dao and may be an addition to the areas list.

Yesterday over the garden a group of 5 Oriental Honey Buzzards were noted presumably late migrants along with a wintering Eastern Buzzard and a local Crested Serpant Eagle. Also present around the garden most days have been at least three Grey-crowned Warbler, at least one flock of Striated Yuhina and the Spot-bellied Eagle Owl most evenings.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Blue Pitta 2

Today I was joined by Uthai from Chiang Mai Birding (http://www.chiangmaibirding.com/), we decided  that we would try birding along the lower levels of the DYK road, parking at the first checkpoint and walking up hill for several kilometers. One of the first birds we heard and saw briefly was a Blue Pitta my second in two days. The habitat along at least the first five kilometers of the track all looked suitable for Blue Pitta and may be worth, visiting birders putting a bit of effort in to see this species here, this is the third time I have seen them along here, the other two times were birds in the road when returning from the DYK sub-station.

A bird which I seldom if ever see or hear around the temple is White-crested Laughingthrush, whilst walking along the track we heard or saw at least three different groups. Several other species were also relatively common throughout the morning with at least 15 Yellow-bellied Warbler, 13 Grey-crowned Warbler (including several in song), 9 Rufous-fronted Babbler,7 Puff-throated Babbler and numerous Hill Blue Flycatchers. The only raptors seen was a displaying male Crested Goshawk and what was probably a distant Changeable Hawk-eagle. Other species present included Maroon Oriole, 2 Linneated and 2 Blue-throated Barbet, Large Cuckooshirke, 2 Lesser-racket Tailed Drongo, 3 Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, 6 Ashy Minivet, White-browed Piculet, 3 Great Iora, 2 Claudia's Leaf Warbler, 12 Brown-cheeked Fulvetta and several Plain Flowerpecker.  

Blue Pitta

Monday to Wednesday has been very busy at Malee's and I was needed to help, I did manage to squeeze in a couple of short walks to the temple. Best bird by far was a Blue Pitta which hopped cross the temple steps between the limestone outcrops yesterday morning. Also new was a Large Hawk Cuckoo and two Green Magpies. Usual species present included Orange-breasted Trogon, 2 Sultan Tit, 25 Striated Yuhina, Violet Cuckoo and 2 Blue-bearded Bee-eater. Tuesday a Grey-headed Parakeet flew over the garden and on both Monday and Tuesday, the Spot-bellied Eagle Owl flew over the garden just before dusk, a Large-tailed Nightjar was also heard yesterday evening.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Doi Ang Khang

Most of Saturday was spent at Doi Ang Khang with Kurt, my brother-in-law, Peter my nephew and Me one of the family dogs. It was not really a birding trip, the idea was to do some hiking and show Kurt some of the trails in the area, despite this I did manage to see plenty of birds including some of the Ang Khang specialities.

Flavescent Bulbuls
by Fred Rowe

We started on the trail which begins at kilometre 21, carried on along the firebreak trail and then onto the Mae Phur Valley trail and back along the road to the car, the hike included a very steep downhill section were I ended up on my backside a dozen times, followed by a paddle across a stream and then a section were I had to crawl on my hands and knees through bamboo! Birds on this section of the hike included remains of a male Silver Pheasant,3 Bay  and 2 Stripe-breasted Woodpecker, Golden-throated Barbet, 2 Oriental Turtle Dove, Grey-backed Shrike, 4 Grey Treepie, 15 Long-tailed Minivet, male Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush, White-gorgeted Flycatcher, 4 White-bellied Redstart, 2 Chestnut-vented Nuthatch, Yellow-browed Tit, 7 Crested Finchbill, 15 Brown-breasted Bulbul, 4 Aberrant Bush Warbler, 5 Silver-eared Laughingthrush, 9 Blue-winged Minla and 35 Striated Yuhina.

Swallowtail Moth Lyssa macleayi
flushed from roadside trees Doi Ang Khang

After lunch we drove to the Ang Khang Pagoda and spent sometime exploring  the trails and firebreaks in the area, best birds were a male and 3 female Silver Pheasant flushed by the dog. Also seen in the area were 2 Rufous-backed Sibia, Mountain Hawk-eagle, 25 Cook's Swift and 50 Asian House Martin.

The Thai Burma Boarder Doi Ang Khang
Burmese Encampment
After a brief sightseeing visit to the Thai/Burma boarder we then walked the first part of the trail up to the Ang Khang summit (1900m) near the army camp, birds were few here but did include 5 very obliging Crimson-faced Liocichla and a big party of at least 35 Silver-eared Media.

View from main army camp
Also seen during the day was a Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Hopooe, Eastern Buzzard, Blue Whistling Thrush, many Ashy, Flavescet, Mountain and Black Bulbul, several Mountain Tailorbird, 2 Rusty-checked Scimiter Babblers, hundreds of Chestnut-flanked and Japanese White-eye, 8 Gould's Sunbird, plenty of Fire-breasted Flowerpecker and numerous Davidson's Leaf Warblers.

Friday Nov 1st

On Friday I was joined by a couple of birders from Sweeden, we spent the morning around the temple and mid afternoon till dusk at the rice paddies, as it was their first time birding in Thailand and Asia virtually everything we saw was new for them, and despite the temple being much quieter than the previous day we eventually saw around 80 species.

Best birds at the temple were a flock of 16 Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, a perched Crested Goshawk  which allowed extended scope views, a pair of Orange-breasted Trogon, excellent views of Banded Bay Cuckoo, Bay Woodpecker and 2 Sultan Tit. Also present were Blue-throated Barbet, 3 Mountain Imperial Pigeon, 2 White-throated Fantail, Violet Cuckoo, 2 Grey-crowned Warbler and a dozen Brown-checked Fulvetta.

Brown-tailed Rat Snake
Whilst watching Crested Treeswifts and Brown-backed Needletails from the restaurant back at Malee's, a 2.5 meter Brown-tailed Rat Snake jumped out of a nearby tamarind tree and nearly into the restaurant causing quite a stir!

Wire-tailed Swallows
Chiang Dao by Fred Rowe

Despite the rice paddies being completely covered with waist heigh rice, we did manage to see most of the local specialties including 11 Grey-headed Lapwing and 6 Wire-tailed Swallow. As we walked along a track two Barred Buttonquail flushed in front of us and workers flushed several Pin-tailed Snipe and single Green and Common Sandpiper. Raptors included Rufous-winged Buzzard, Grey-eyed Buzzard and as we headed back to the car two Eastern Marsh Harrier. Towards dusk lots of birds were noted heading to roost including 29 Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters, 15 Little Green Bee-eater and 25 Chestnut-tailed Starling. Other species recorded included a Wryneck, Linneated Barbet, 5 Red-collared Dove, Long-tailed Shrike, Sand Martin, 3 Siberian Rubythroats heard, 4 Pied Bushchats, 8 Eastern Stonechat, 6 Black-collared Starling, 3 Dusky Warbler, 5 Richard's, 2 Paddyfield and 30 Red-throated Pipit.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mr Blue Sky

The Temple Steps Chiang Dao
At last the cloud has lifted the sky is blue and the sun is out for the first time in ten days, it could be the last of the rain for the next five months as hopefully the dry season begins. Making the most of the good weather I headed to the temple at dawn, lots of birds around, including several big feeding flocks. Lots of additions to the list which included two superb Red-headed Trogons and three Sultan Tit. Also new for the list were 2 Bay Woodpecker, 2 Brown-rumped Minivet, 4 White-throated Fantail, 2 Great Iora, Thick-billed Warbler, 4 Buff-breasted Babbler, 4 Rufous-fronted Babbler, 2 Grey-throated Babbler, 2 White-bellied Erponis and 2 Ruby-cheeked Sunbird.

A very distant Maroon Oriole
Also present were several calling Green-legged Partridge, 2 Orange-breasted Trogon, 4 Blue-bearded Bee-eater, 2 Banded Bay Cuckoo, Violet Cuckoo, 5 Collared Owlet, 4 Mountain Imperial Pigeon, 10 Thick-billed Green Pigeon, 2 Grey-backed Shrike, Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, Maroon Oriole, 14 Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike, 3 Asian Paradise Flycatcher, 20 Large Woodshrike, 12 Oriental White-eye, 4 Grey-crowned Warbler, 3 Marten's Warbler, 6 Puff-throated Babbler, 30 Striated Yuhina, 15 Brown-cheeked Fulvetta, 2 Purple-naped Sunbird and 2 Black-throated Sunbird.

A record shot of one of this mornings Sultan Tits
Lots of bulbuls around including a flock of 28 Black Bulbul which contained six white-headed birds, probably of the race stresemanni, with the white not extending onto the breast. A few raptors south this morning with 8 Black Baza, 3 Grey-faced Buzzard and an adult male Pied Harrier.

Odd records in the last few days included 2 Dollarbirds ( a species I have seen only once before at Chiang Dao) and the first Marten's Warbler at the temple on the 29th, a flock of 18 Large Woodshrike in the garden and 3 Kestrels overhead 30th. Spot-bellied Eagle Owl calling most nights from tall trees around the garden most nights and last night a Collared Scops Owl showed well in trees around the swimming pool.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October moths

Attacus atlas
probably a female with a wingspan of  25cm!

Though it has been wet day after day recently, there has been good numbers of moths attracted to light around the resort and along the road. The wet days have also given me a chance to try and identify some of the moths photographed over the last couple of weeks.

Attacus atlas
freshly emerged probably a male as only has a wingspan of 20cm!
Samia canningii
currently very common
Loepa diversiocella
Circula jordani 
Ambulyx canescens
Ambulyx tattina
Comostolodes dialitha
Bocula divergens
Kunugia placida
Phalera parivala
Parasa darama
Parapoynx fluctuosalis
And some yet to name:-

Monday, October 28, 2013

More Amurs

Despite overcast conditions and low cloud yesterday, there was an initial early burst of Amur Falcons moving north with 63 through by 930am and then nothing. Little else on the move apart from a steady passage of Indochinese Swiftlets south, with 3750 by mid day.

The temple was busy and noisy yesterday morning and perhaps as a result birds kept a low profile, however in scrub and trees between the temple and Malee's a flock of 18 Rosy Minivet was noteworthy, around the temple car park an Orange-breasted Trogon showed briefly and two Speckled Piculet were also present. Species that seemed to have increased in recent days include Grey-crowned Warbler with two around the temple and a further two in scrub at the back of the garden and Spangled Drongo with at least 50 in three flocks in tall trees around the temple and Malee's.  

Not much chance of any passage today, rain, low cloud and visibility of just a few hundred meters.

Have attached a link to a short talk on the amazing migration of globe skimmer dragonflies across the Indian Ocean, timings and route mirror that of Amur Flacons and no doubt explain the incredible migration of this bird of prey.  


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater

Lots of Chestnut-headed Bee-eater on the move yesterday morning with a total of 178 south between 0830-1100hrs, with several other high flocks heard but not seen the total was probably over two hundred. Each year when at Chiang Dao I record a southward passage of the species during October and early Nov, with the species being largely absent in the area during Nov to Feb, birds beginning to reappear during the second half of February. Very little else moving yesterday with a single Amur Falcon north, 3 Oriental Honey Buzzard and 2 Grey-faced Buzzard south. The local Oriental Hobby was seen several times during the morning as well as 20 Brown-backed Needletails.

Usual species present around the temple car park, with five White-headed Bulbul the only new species.

This morning cloudy and grey, but it did not stop Amur Falcons heading north with 52 through by 1200hrs. Little else of note apart from 470 Indonchinese Swiftlet south and a fast moving flock of 35 Striated Yuhina through the garden.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thick-billed Pigeons

Thick-billed Green Pigeon
by Fred Rowe
For the first four hours of today it was dry so took the opportunity to get out and headed to the nearby temple, lots of birds around many drying themselves off in the sun. Around the temple car park a large flock of at least 35 Thick-billed Green Pigeons were present in dead trees. Lots of birds were coming in and out of the same tree including Maroon Oriole, four Greater Racket-tailed Drongo and an Oriental Hobby which scattered all the pigeons.

A fast moving feeding party along the temple steps, included at least two Sulphur-breasted Warbler, 3 Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Lesser Racket-tailed Dronge, 3 Yellow-bellied Warbler and at least a dozen Striped Tit Babbler. From the lookout at the highest point of the temple two Amur Falcons headed north, six Mountian Imperial Pigeons flew over and a distant Great Barbet was scoped up. Also present around the temple were calling Drongo and Banded Bay Cuckoo, two Blue-bearded Bee-eater, 4 Violet Cuckoo, Grey-crowned Warbler and four Grey-backed Shrike.

Very little on the move yesterday with 8 Amur Falcon north, 5 Black Baza, 3 Grey-faced Buzzard and an Oriental Honey Buzzard south. Nothing on the move this morning with heavy rain again starting by 1030am.