Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Pitta and Forktail

Rusty-naped Pitta
(hopefully Fred has some much better photos)
For the final few days of Fed and Marian's trip to Thailand we visited Mae Wong National Park, between November 20th and 23rd. Despite our visit co-coinciding with a weekend, which saw the Chong Yen Campsite packed to overflowing with campers and resurfacing and widening of the road up to Chong Yen, we saw some excellent birds. We arranged through one of the park rangers to visit two of the feeding stations/blinds, near the Chong Yen Campsite. Initially on our first visit it was very quite, but before long a few birds started to appeared with Buff-breasted Babbler and White-tailed Robin being the first, followed a little while later by a Rusty-naped Pitta which spent the next forty minutes feeding in the open down to a few feet, giving amazing views and allowing Fred to take very many photos. This was followed a few minutes later by a Northern White-crowned Forktail which also fed right in front of the blind, though we had seen Northern White-crowned Forktail on previous trips, views had always been brief and fleeting. Other birds to appear included a Blue-whistling Thrush, two Spot-necked Babbler, two Streaked Wren Babbler, several Silver-eared Laughingthush and Hill Blue Flycatcher.
Spot-necked Babbler

Male and female White-tailed Robin
We also visited another blind near the campsite, were Rufous-throated Partridge were seen, along with Rufous-bellied Niltava, White-tailed Robin and a Rufous-browed Flycatcher. When not busy, time was also spent birding around the campsite, along the Umphang trail and back along the road. Along the Umphang trail we found a very large mixed species feeding flock, which included good numbers of Silver-eared Mesia, several Blue-winged Minla and in the undergrowth additional pairs of Spot-necked Babbler and Streaked Wren Babbler. Birds around the campsite included a pair of Yellow-cheeked Tit and several very obliging Grey-chinned Minivet.
White-necked Laughingthrush
Numerous Bay Woodpeckers were heard back along the road, but only one was seen briefly, whilst a Green Cochoa called repeatedly from road side trees but frustratingly failed to show. Among the numerous Ashy, Mountain and Flasvecent Bulbul, three Olive Bulbul were seen, a dull but fairly localized Thai species. Several large and very noisy groups of White-necked Laughingthrush were noted, along with several Black-throated.  

White-browed Scimiter Babbler
Very few raptors were seen, but these did include nice views of a Mountain Hawk-eagle, an Eastern Buzzard and a pair of Oriental Hobby which showed well in a roadside tree two consecutive mornings. Whilst heading down the mountain late one afternoon a group of nine Kalij Pheasant crossed the road, in front of the van and a stop at an area of scrub and bamboo produced a couple of White-browed Scimiter Babbler, two Bamboo Woodpecker, two pairs of Great Hornbill and a group of Collared Babbler
Golden-throated Babbler
Additional species recorded during our visit included: Barred and Little Cuckoo-dove, Lesser Coucal, Red-headed Trogon, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Golden-throated Barbet, Speckled and White-browed Piculet, Short-billed Minivet, Maroon Oriole, Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, Grey Treepie, Chinese Leaf Warbler, hundreds of Oriental and Chestnut-flanked White-eye, Marten's Warbler, Rufous-fronted and Golden Babbler, Blue-winged Minla, Straited Yuhina, Golden-crested and Common Hill Myna and Mrs Gould's Sunbird.  

Once again thanks to Fred Rowe for the use of his photos. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Knob-billed Duck and Glossy Ibis

We spent the 18th and 19th November birding at Beung Bhoraphet Lake near Nakhon Sawan, we took two three hour boat trips out onto the lake  on the 18th, one in the morning and another in the afternoon, with our final morning birding around the Waterbird Park. As usual many thousands of Lesser Whistling Duck were present, along with at least 3500 Garganey and smaller numbers of Northern Pintail, Eurasian Teal, Cotton Pygmy Geese and two possibly five Knob-billed Duck, with two seen in the morning and three over just before dusk in the evening.

Cotton Pygmy Goose
In the evening we spent some time around a small island towards the northern shore of the lake, watching birds come into roost. The star birds here were Glossy Ibis, the first few birds came into roost at around 5pm, followed by a succession of groups till dusk, with the biggest of around 450 and an  impressive total of 1160 by the time we left. The numbers and range of Glossy Ibis has increased significantly in Thailand in recent years and our roost count may have been a new national record count. Others birds entering the roost included around 85 Oriental Darter, good numbers of Indian and Little Cormorant, large numbers of Egrets especially Intermediate Egret with at least 250 noted, smaller numbers of Purple and Grey Heron, with many Black-crowned Night Heron leaving their daytime roost from the island.   

Yellow Bittern
Raptors noted over and around the lake ,including several Eastern Marsh Harrier, a Black-eared Kite and two very photogenic Western Osprey. Two Brown-headed Gulls were noted in the evening, along with around 20 Wiskered Tern and surprisingly 5 Caspian Tern which must be a fairly scarce inland bird in Thailand. Other birds seen from the boat included, 4 Pied Kingfisher, numerous Yellow Bittern, 5 White-browed Crake, many Purple Gallinule, Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-winged Jacana, 50 Eurasian Coot, Straited Grassbird, 5 Asian Golden Weaver and 200 other weavers probably Baya.

Purple Gallinule
Birds around the waterbird park included  a Wryneck, 2 Pink-necked Green Pigeon, Cinnamon Bittern, Ruddy-breasted Crake, Lesser Coucal, Blue-tailed and Green Bee-eater, 2 Ashy Minivet, Black-naped Oriole, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Oriental and Black-browed Reed Warbler, 50 White-shouldered and 25 Chestnut-tailed Starling, 2 Red Avadavat and a Forest Wagtail.  

Ruddy-breasted Crake

25 Oriental Partincole were noted feeding over fields along the road to the waterbird park and a Burmese Shrike was on roadside wires. 

Burmese Shrike

All photos by Fred Rowe