Jump to content
Thai Visa Forum

Birdwatching In Isan


isanbirder

Recommended Posts

One of the pleasures of birding is the unexpectedness of some sightings.

Way back in 1962, I ringed over 500 Yellow-vented Bulbuls in Kuala Lumpur. I left Malaya/Singapore a couple of years later, and apart from occasional trips to Singapore, never saw any more Yellow-vented until a few years back, when AjarnNorth showed me a small colony at Huai Saneng, Surin. Apparently they are moving into Thailand, and we're at the northern edge of their range. I saw one myself a couple of years back just a couple of miles from my home. This was not repeated, and I was beginning to doubt my own record.

A couple of days ago, I had a brief glimpse of a bird which looked very like a Yellow-vented, just a few hundred yards down the track. I couldn't find it again, though. Today, just after lunch, I was in my bedroom, thinking of having a nice wee nap, when I looked out of the window, and there was a fine adult Yellow=vented perched on a pole about 20 feet away!

The second 'invader', after the House Sparrow, to hit my garden!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 752
  • Created
  • Last Reply

One of the pleasures of birding is the unexpectedness of some sightings.

Way back in 1962, I ringed over 500 Yellow-vented Bulbuls in Kuala Lumpur. I left Malaya/Singapore a couple of years later, and apart from occasional trips to Singapore, never saw any more Yellow-vented until a few years back, when AjarnNorth showed me a small colony at Huai Saneng, Surin. Apparently they are moving into Thailand, and we're at the northern edge of their range. I saw one myself a couple of years back just a couple of miles from my home. This was not repeated, and I was beginning to doubt my own record.

A couple of days ago, I had a brief glimpse of a bird which looked very like a Yellow-vented, just a few hundred yards down the track. I couldn't find it again, though. Today, just after lunch, I was in my bedroom, thinking of having a nice wee nap, when I looked out of the window, and there was a fine adult Yellow=vented perched on a pole about 20 feet away!

The second 'invader', after the House Sparrow, to hit my garden!

That's going back a long while, I was then a naughty school boy killing birds with a sling shot and I remember from experience Yellow-vented Bulbuls can give quite a painful nip with their beaks.

They too are very regular at my patch now and numbers are definitely on the rise. I lay out bananas in my backyard and very often all 3 bulbul species (Streak-eared, Ashy-headed and yellow-vented) would come around to feed. It's interesting to note normally one single bird would be feeding while the others perch close by awaiting its turn but squabbles do break out occasionally.

Going by the reports from you folks I'd say you have greater diversity in bird species. You have nesting raptors, pratincole, waders... etc etc while I'd have to go across my reservoir to secondary growth to find some less common birds. To date, the Asian Openbill, Darter and Whistling ducks are still absent around the reservoir. I wonder where they have gone to.

Sorry I meant Sooty-headed instead of ashy.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Martin who?

All my local lakes in Lower Isaan (Sisaket) have small colonies of martins/swallows flying around in moderate numbers (usually 5-10 in sight at any one time. I thought they were the apparently common sand martins, but closer inspection today makes me realise they have a black head, but no dark collar. Whitish underparts, uniformly dark brown head and back, no whitish rump ring and no red in the bird (that I can discern in flight or perching).

I'm re-ID-ing them as Plain Martins .... but

  • my book has them nowhere near Isaan and not particularly common
  • the bird looks generally darker than the internet pictures of Plain Martins - looks as dark as a Common House-Martin (but with the whole head dark brown - getting towards almost reminiscent in clarity to a black-headed gull and as previously said definitely no white rump).

Any thoughts?

Link to post
Share on other sites

The only species I can think of which is near that, and which is reasonably common, is the juvenile Barn Swallow. You don't mention whether the tail is forked or not.

Plain Martins and Crag-Martins are both restricted to the North of Thailand, and while you may always get the odd bird out of range, you wouldn't get small parties of them in all the small lakes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nope - definitely no forked tail. Unlikely that they are all juveniles and the Barn Swallow kid has a light coloured under-tail per my book.

The plot thickens. I'm going to have to get the camera out. Have been leaving that part of birding out until I can get comfortable with straight observation (newish to birding). I'll be out all day and every day once I get hooked on photography again. I'm one of those shallow types that has to go and buy good kit when I take up a hobby and I'm dreading how much a really good long lens will cost if my 200mm IS Canon lens + 2X converter on a stick isn't up to snuff for the jobs in hand!

Hope they are still around when I get back from Bangkok later next week.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nope - definitely no forked tail. Unlikely that they are all juveniles and the Barn Swallow kid has a light coloured under-tail per my book.

The plot thickens. I'm going to have to get the camera out. Have been leaving that part of birding out until I can get comfortable with straight observation (newish to birding). I'll be out all day and every day once I get hooked on photography again. I'm one of those shallow types that has to go and buy good kit when I take up a hobby and I'm dreading how much a really good long lens will cost if my 200mm IS Canon lens + 2X converter on a stick isn't up to snuff for the jobs in hand!

Hope they are still around when I get back from Bangkok later next week.

Maybe somebody else has some ideas!

I'll look forward to some photos.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Been to the Phu Kae Botanical Gardens north of Saraburi for the last couple of days, stayed in their guest house for 2 nights and got photos of 2 new birds for me.

First was a white throated Rock Thrush, not a good photo but enough for a positive ID.

Other I think is a Large Cuckooshrike ?

Possibly someone could confirm or deny.

post-12069-0-96502300-1392381062_thumb.j

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just found out how to improve the photos I have put on here, well make them look better anyway.

I suppose I am the last to realize but........

A lot of the photos I get are at a distance and max zoom so not great.

When I post the site blows the photos up even larger than the preview causing graininess now I find by using the page button at the top of my screen I can drop the size down 75 or 50% giving a better look to the photo and easier to ID.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, Stonechat. They vary quite a bit as they're moulting into full adult plumage.

My Brahminy nest.... first sighting of a chick this morning. Always a red-letter day for me, after watching the nest for six weeks or so. Rufous-winged Buzzard also was bringing in food (large insect or small lizard), so presumably has chicks, though it's early yet for them.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In my travels this morning I came across a mist net hanging between two poles on a bit of waste ground, it had plain prinia and a zebra dove in it.

Managed to untangle them both and they ran off rather than flying so must be pretty sore from the experience.

The net now has a good size knot in the middle so hopefully the birds will be able to see it, wont be going back that way again in case someone works out the farang did it. Whether I should have interfered or not is another thing, but well.............................

First of these I have seen in Thailand, saw one in Lao in the 4000 islands where there were a few sparrows.

Anyway on to better things. There have been a few stilts around large ponds over the last couple of months, have seen them in twos and threes.

Went back there last week and they were getting together in a flock, about 20 or so I suppose, ready for heading back north I would think.

Weavers have also come back after being absent over winter, males chasing the females around so shouldn't be long before they start nest building again.

Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was in Surin, there were plenty of mist nets about. Often nead paddy. Farmers I spoke with identified Munia as their main target, as they were seen to be pests to rice crops. Of course, all manner of birds would get caught up in them.

Here in Chonburi, also see them often. Immigrant laborers set them up in inland mangrove areas. Fish farmers have them strung across their ponds.

Also not uncommon, in Surin and here in Chonburi, for me to come across areas where Egret have been plcuked and cooked over open fires.

Future is not bright for wildlife on the whole.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I see mist nets from time to time. They tend to catch as many bats as birds. Curiously, the farmers don't take the birds (or bats) out, so after the first two or three catches, the mist net is useless. An expensive way to catch two or three birds.

My best (or worst, if you look at it my way) catch in a mist net was a Barn Owl, minus head! Presumably it had one once, but its absence caused me some problems of identification.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Seem to be doing very well with cuckoo's.

Saw this one this morning, picking it to be a juvenile Rusty Breasted Cuckoo.

If it is, possibly a bit out of its range, book I have shows it only in the south.

post-12069-0-06505300-1393668948_thumb.j

post-12069-0-31094300-1393668828_thumb.j

As usual a bit far and vegetation in the way.

Link to post
Share on other sites

For some reason, I can't get these pics to enlarge, but nothing I can see persuades me to differ from Hanno's identification (I seem to remember we had this one before, but maybe it wasn't you, Robby).

On the subject of predation, my Brahminy nest was wrecked by some predator (must be human); not only had the young gone, but the nest was ruined. A friend has seen a Brahminy in a cage in Surin, and I presume this is what the young were taken for... a very glamorous but totally unsuitable cagebird. I feel proprietorial about this nest, because I've watched the same pair raise young for the past two years, and was hoping for a third.

Life's not all bad.... a couple of Black Bazas this morning.... quite common, but also very glamorous!

Link to post
Share on other sites

A friend has seen a Brahminy in a cage in Surin, and I presume this is what the young were taken for... a very glamorous but totally unsuitable cagebird.

I have seen caged Brahminys in Thailand before and really do not understand why anyone would keep these birds as a "pet".

Link to post
Share on other sites

Tried to enlarge the pics again, and they came up immediately! Yes, I agree with you now, Robby, on the basis of the yellow eyering. I couldn't see this before. Robson does say that the hepatic morph (which this is) is rare in Rusty-breasted, and probably only occurs among females. It is common (in fact probably normal) for Plaintive females.

Link to post
Share on other sites

There was not a lot that it could be with the barred breast and when I hunted through the OBC photos the first thing I saw was :

I am indebted to my bird watching colleague and friend, Connie Khoo, who spotted this bird and alerted me. It is a hard bird to spot as it will sit silently in a tangled part of a tree or bush and remain silent. But once spotted it is not terribly afraid of man and will allow a decent approach. The important distinguishing feature is the yellow eye-ring. - Amar

Yes the yellow eye ring.

Then number 31 on the rusty breasted page showed an almost identical bird calling it : Hepatic Morph female or juvenile. CF Mann

As you say Hanno, way out of range, according to the book I have has only been recorded from way down south.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Saw a yellow bird being hassled by a couple of mynas yesterday, it flew across a klong and landed in a tree and I managed to get a couple of photos, at long range as usual, before it disappeared.

Good enough to ID it as a Black-naped Oriole the first I have ever seen here (Singburi).

The only others I had seen were in Kanchanaburi.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We should be getting the early migrants now....and Black-naped Orioles are one of the more visible species. I had a couple a few days ago. I get them mainly in spring and autumn, but they don't stay around for long.

My first Grey Wagtail here last week.... in five years!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...