Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Crested and Chestnut Buntings

Today was the final full day at Chiang Dao before heading back to Suphanburi and ultimately in tens days time the UK and back to work! In a very pleasant eight degrees Celsius at dawn I head back along the checkpoint road and up to kilometer 16, spending several hours birding along the road and trails between kilometer 15 and 19. In one of the scrubby fields off the road a small group of six Crested Buntings were feeding in tall grass and nearby two male Chestnut Buntings were also present. These days it always a bonus to see any buntings in Thailand with most species especially Yellow-breasted having undergone huge declines in Thailand. In other fields there were single Burmese and Grey-backed Shrike and at least six Oriental Turtle Dove.  

The forest and scrub along the roadsides were pretty quiet, with best birds two pairs of Grey-chinned Minivet, pair of Little Pied Flycatcher, Asian Emerald Cuckoo, two Grey Bushchat, seven Japanese Tit, 3 Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpeckers, Rufous-winged Buzzard and Blue-eared, Blue-throated and Great Barbet.

Mid morning I headed down to the checkpoint and up the gully behind the checkpoint, at the start of the trail a pair of Black-backed Forktails fed quietly until chased off by the much larger and aggressive Northern White Crowned Forktail. A little further along a pair of Scaly-breasted Partridge scurried of into the forest and a few meters further an Orange-headed Ground Thrush showed briefly. Also along the gully were two Red Junglefowl, Speckled Piculet, Lesser Yellownape, Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush, two Hainan Blue Flycatcher, Sulphar-breasted Warbler and two Purple-naped Sunbird.

Whilst photographing butterflies at the checkpoint car park a pair of very noisy Sultan Tit showed well and a single Oriental Pied Hornbill flew over.    

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