Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Tail of Two Pheasants

On 29th and 30th I spent both days birding with David and Michael Bruce at the DYK sub station at Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary and along the track near the second checkpoint. On the first day we were also joined by Dave Lindo (

Happy Birders
David Bruce, Dave Lindo and Michael Bruce

Day One
We left Malee's at around 530am, the first bird we saw was a Large-tailed Nightjar flushed off the track, followed a little later by two Blue Whistling Thrush and several Olive-backed Pipits. Dave had a brief  Hume's Pheasant in the forest as we drove along, but as we approached the campsite all four of us had excellent views of a stunning male running down the track in front of the truck. We all jumped out of the truck and almost immediately had saw of at least two Giant Nuthatch which was also joined by a Chestnut-vented Nuthatch to be followed a few minutes later by several Velvet-fronted. We spent the next few hours birding along the track and around the campsite, before the hoards of new year visitors arrived, though the area was generally quite, we did manage a good selection of species. Along the track we had good views of Maroon and two Slender-billed Oriole, several Grey-capped Pygmy, Stripe-breasted and Lesser Yellownape Woodpeckers, Black-winged Cuckooshrike, c50 Cook's Swifts, Eurasian JaysCrested Serpant Eagle, Hill Prinia, White-browed Scimiter Babbler, Blyth's Shrike Babbler, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker and a dozen Grey Treepie. We also heard a White-bellied Redstart and Rusty-cheeked Scimiter Babbler. Birds around the campsite included a noisy party of Mountain Bamboo Partridge several of which showed very well, Oriental Turtle Doves, Gould's Sunbird, Grey Bushchats, Grey Tit, Black Bulbuls, Grey-backed Shrike, Greenish's, Pallas's and Humes Warbler and Grey-crowned Warbler.

Collared Owlet
Chiang Dao
Day Two  
We spent most of the day birding along the track beyond and before the second checkpoint, first bird of the day was a very obliging Collared Owlet. Though there was a lot of traffic beyond the checkpoint there was still plenty of birds including a stunning male Silver Pheasant seen by one of the group. New birds along this section of the track included Bay Woodpecker, Green-billed Malkoha, Lesser-racket Tailed Drongo, Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike, at least a dozen Claudia's Leaf Warblers, good numbers of Davidson's Leaf Warbler, two Omei Warbler, Grey-cheeked Fulvetta's, two Speckled Piculets and best of all a group of at least eight Silver-breasted Broadbills which we all watched down to a few feet for at least 20 minutes. There were numerous birds feeding in flowering trees around one of the hill tribe villages, with at least 50 Chestnut-tailed Starlings, many Chestnut-flanked and Japanese White-eyes, 10 Large Woodshrike, 15 White-headed Bulbul, 50 Black Bulbuls (half of which were white-headed birds) and a male Black-throated Sunbird.

Purple Sapphire
Chiang Dao

In rice fields at the start of the DYK track there was a single Chestnut Bunting, along with several Pied Bushchat, Eastern Stonechats and Plain Prinia. A breif walk to Wat Tham Pha Plong produced a Violet Cuckoo, a group of Rufescent Prinia and numerous Grey-eyed Bulbuls feeding in a fruiting tree.

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