Saturday 17 November 2012

More Thai birds.

Thailand has so much more to offer from a birders point of view than waders of course, but on this occasion we would have to content ourselves with whatever we bumped into on our quest for the shorebirds. Fortunately stunning birds are easily found like these first three...

Indian Roller.

Green Bee-eater

Blue-tailed Bee-eater
Early morning setting off for the salt pans it was always worth keeping your eyes peeled, these Greater Coucals were sunning themselves as though they were trying to rid themselves of the night's chill, the strange thing is the night's chill was probably about 25°C!

Greater Coucal.
A rather common and very vocal bird is the Asian Koel, every day and for most of the day it was possible to hear these birds calling somewhere, their voice is not difficult to identify, they simply cal " Ko-el!"

Asian Koel.

Naturally searching for waders in wetland habitats it is inevitable that we came across some other water birds. At the site for the Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-winged Jacanas we found this Cotton Pygmy Goose or Teal or whatever it is called these days!

Cotton Pygmy Goose.
Crakes and rails are notoriously skulking birds, so to come across this White-browed Crake preening itself in the open was a bit of a bonus.

White-browed Rail.
Gulls were thin on the ground as far as variety of species were concerned, we only came across Brown-headed Gull, but then again we didn't make a huge effort to pick anything out among them to be honest. I just love those angry looking eyes.

Brown-headed Gull.

Now those of you who know me well will know I am not much of a fan of nocturnal birding, night time is reserved for eating drinking and other interesting activities but as we ended the day at a place where these birds were supposedly easy to see I made the effort, and we were rewarded by this Indian Nightjar that allowed us to approach really closely. I think we could have got even closer if the security guard had not nearly run it over in his zeal to tell us to push off!

Indian Nighjar.
Common it may be, but it is still stunning. The Asian Pied Starling never became boring for me during our stay, I would happily stop and look at any we came across, and we came across many that's for sure, stunning bird and probably under-appreciated like our Eurasian Starling due to being very common.

Asian Pied Starling
Another common bird in Thailand, the Common Myna which, along with its congener the White-vented Myna is also easy to see and pretty stunning to look at.

Common Myna.
White-vented Myna.

I am very drawn to black-and-white birds, don't really know why (note Asian Pied Satrling above), maybe they just look neat and tidy, who knows? The Asian Magpie Robin is perhaps one of the neatest of these pied birds and the Pied Fantail one of the most amusing to watch as it flits about the forest flicking its tail.

Asian Magpie Robin
Pied Fantail.

Check out those eyes! Amazing colour. Couldn't believe it when this Racquet-tailed Magpie came skulking out of the mangrove responding to playback.

Racquet-tailed Magpie.

 Another all black bird but far less skulking is the Black Drongo, these were very common and most distracting when looking for other birds as there always seemed to be one flying across your field of view.

Black Drongo.

Streak-eared Bulbul, a nondescript bird and fairly common, took us some time to get a decent photo though showing those streaked ear coverts.

Streak-eared Bulbul.
What can you say about Plain Prinia, the bird that always appears when you are looking for something else. You may be waiting for the Oriental Reed Warbler to show itself, you see a movement and swing the bins into action, and what do you find, another b***** Plain Prinia... bless them.

Plain Prinia.
This trio were a treat, we stopped to get a record shot of them and noticed that they seemed to be joined as one, they turned their heads in unison, even watching a fly tumble around in front of them at one time, most amusing to watch their little heads rotating in unison.

Ash-throated Wood-Swallows
Sunbirds are always a favourite; by the temple that was featured in the last blog we came across some sweet smelling trees in flower, and in among them were a pair of Olive-backed Sunbirds lovely!

Male Olive-backed Sunbird.

Female Olive-backed Sunbird.
Perhaps not truly inspiring but nevertheless an interesting bird is the Oriental Skylark, interesting I suppose, except for lark buffs that is, purely in the fact that it is called rather exotically Oriental and not, less excitingly, Eurasian.

Oriental Skylark.
Don't get me started on chats. I imagined that they were all stonechats, but this one looked slightly different and just could be a Grey Bushchat although it doesn't seen very rufous, but then again the photo was taken in bright sun and the bird looks rather washed out. Can anyone shed any light?

Shrikes are great birds, no matter what or where they are, there is no such thing as a boring shrike. They look great and have such interesting habits (unless you happen to be a large insect or small rodent of course).

Brown Shrike.
Small passerines like this Scaly breasted Munia can easily be overlooked when wader watching, the Zitting Cisticola can also be hard to catch up with if it is not in display flight and all the time you are looking for them, what do you find? You guessed it another Plain Prinia! I told you they get everywhere.

Scaly-breasted Munia.

Zitting Cisticola.

Plain Prinia.
I still don't really understand why Tree Sparrows are so rare and hard to find in the UK, confining themselves as they do, to rural locations and yet abroad they are common city dwellers... beats me. Pretty bird though.

Tree Sparrow.
Here's an interesting thing. This building I am reliably informed is a swiflet nest farm, the Germain Swiflets (formerly Edible nest Swiftlet) are encouraged to nest in this building, and their nests are then harvested. Not sure I really understand the desire to eat bird spit, but seems to be a lucrative business,who'd have thought?

Bird's nest soup sir?