Saturday 16th January was spent birding at Beung Bhoraphet, with six hours on a boat around the lake and several hours at the Waterbird Park. The highlight of the visit was seeing three Baer' s Phochard, a species which is rapidly heading towards extinction due hunting and habitat destruction and may well become extinct in the wild within a few years.
Garganey and Pnitail by Fred Rowe
Other wildfowl/waterbirds recorded on the lake included 850 Garganey, 800 Cotton Pygmy Geese, 420 Pintail, 290 Coot, 15 Ferruginous Duck, 5 Tufted Duck and 3 Pochard. As usual there were lots of egrets, herons and Open-billed Stork as well as 30 Glossy Ibis, 6 Painted Stork and one Black-headed Ibis. Raptors included several Black-eared Kite and Eastern Marsh Harrier. A single Chestnut-winged Cuckoo was unexpected for what is normally a wet season visit and passage migrant and we also enjoyed good views of at least 25 Chestnut Munia, as well as several singing Striated Grassbird and Streaked, Golden and Baya Weavers. On the way back towards dusk, huge numbers of Swallows and Sand Martin gathered over the lake, with two Pied Kingfisher and two Lesser Coucal also seen.
Coot by Fred Rowe
In roadside trees at the waterbird park two Freckled-breasted Woodpecker were watched down to a few feet, as were a pair of Plain-backed Sparrow and a small flock of White-shouldered Starling. Elsewhere around the park a Wryneck was seen briefly, with a single Pink-necked Green Pigeon and several Yellow-vented Bulbul showing much better.
Purple Swamphen by Fred Rowe
Whilst out on the boat, we were surprised to see a Greater Flamingo, past examples have automatically been assumed to have been escapes from bird parks, but with a range which includes much of the Indian sub-continent, a vagrant could occur, but........