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Birdwatching In Isan


isanbirder

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Just trying to fool myself on that one hoping it was something new.

I see many Koel and have photos of Juveniles.

Must try not to do it again.

Same thing happened to me a few days ago as the starlings were so upset. Also thought it was a hawk they were agitated about but after walking almost right up to it, it was a Koel.

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Grand theft caterpillar.

An eye witness account.

I was sitting eating my lunch in a fairly remote spot today when A bird which I think was a pipit landed on the road less than 20 meters from me.

It had in its beak a large caterpillar which it proceeded to bash on the ground..as they do.

A Greater Racket tailed Drongo flew down and landed on the pipit causing it to drop the caterpillar, it then grabbed the caterpillar and flew off leaving a slightly ruffled victim.

While this happened I was trying to wipe my greasy hands and get the camera into action, too late.

Both the victim and the attacker had fled the scene before I was ready.

I can give no helpful description of the robber as it was dressed the same as all the other Greater Racket tailed Drongos I saw that day.

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There is much mayhem in the bird world!

I remember Streak-eared Bulbuls pulling a Purple Sunbird's nest to pieces with the poor owner fluttering about nearby; actually I've seen that twice. I don't think it was to get the eggs... just for nesting material.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Most of the winter birds have left here now but there are still a few Stilts around and the odd Barn Swallow but they have mostly been replaced with Swifts which are ... em to swift for me to work out what they are, although probably the Asian Palm Swift as there is no color on them except a little reddish on the underside.

However I am still managing to get some new birds, for me, last week it was a Purple Swamp-hen, only seen 2 before and both were flying away. These have the same scientific name as a very common bird we call Pukeko in NZ which looks a lot slimmer :

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This morning I came across a small flock of about 6 or 8 Cotton Pygmy-goose in a paddy, to busy trying to get photos to count them :

post-12069-0-87146100-1402912961_thumb.j

Both of these as usual were to far away for really good shots with the gear I have but it will have to do as a long lens is both to expensive and to hard to lug around.

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Good birds, Robby. When I lived on Huai Saneng reservoir in Surin both Purple Swamphen and CPGs were pretty common sights. I've not seen any down here in Chonburi, even when I've visited habitats where one might expect them. Not yet, anyway.

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I asked Dave Sargent of North Thailand Birding and he believes it is a female Pale Blue Flycatcher.

Looking at the book I use (Nawk Muang Thai) it looks pretty good, there are some photos on his site.

Looked at OBC and there are only 2 photos of the female P B F one of which looks right.

Range looks to be pretty scattered.

OK, but I would be curious to know what rules out Chinese Blue for him. I don't have field experience with either, but one of your pics clearly shows some orange in the throat area. I don't have my Robson with me right now, but Round's "Birds of Thailand" makes no mention of any orange on throat or breast of female Pale Blue (and i don't see any in photos on OBC) but his description of Chinese Blue in "Birds of BKK Area" says "whitish-buffy to pale orange throat..." and pics of female Chinese Blue on OBC show same.

Could it be a Hill Blue?

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I asked Dave Sargent of North Thailand Birding and he believes it is a female Pale Blue Flycatcher.

Looking at the book I use (Nawk Muang Thai) it looks pretty good, there are some photos on his site.

Looked at OBC and there are only 2 photos of the female P B F one of which looks right.

Range looks to be pretty scattered.

OK, but I would be curious to know what rules out Chinese Blue for him. I don't have field experience with either, but one of your pics clearly shows some orange in the throat area. I don't have my Robson with me right now, but Round's "Birds of Thailand" makes no mention of any orange on throat or breast of female Pale Blue (and i don't see any in photos on OBC) but his description of Chinese Blue in "Birds of BKK Area" says "whitish-buffy to pale orange throat..." and pics of female Chinese Blue on OBC show same.

Could it be a Hill Blue?

It could be, and it could be one of several others. Blue flycatchers in general can be very tricky unless you get the call/song, or they're in perfect adult plumage.

A case in point.... I just received the Hong Kong Bird Report for 2012. Among the old records 'validated' was a Hill Blue Flycatcher which I saw in 1968 (and couldn't identify then).

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I was hoping somebody else would answer this! I see very few Phylloscopus warblers these days, and don't trust my identification of them.

But I would have thought you'd need to see more of the wing pattern to be sure of an Arctic.

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Fair comment about lack of wing detail. In fact the size of bill and although not definitive the lower beak colour is an indicator. I got much better views and am 95% confident it is an Arctic. I have had one in the hand (I got it on the North Rankin oil rig off the NW cape of Western Australia - where it expired) and identified it after much deliberation as an Arctic. I gave the body to the WA Museum here in Australia and they confirmed it as an Arctic. As a result I was really keen to see one live and found this one in the CM Uni grounds.

They are a nightmare I agree. I used to think the waders were tough until I started seeing these guys.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Said a while back that I would write something on a area of swamp I had been hanging around where I had see quite a range of birds.

There is swamp with lotus and other vegetation and open water ponds surrounded by paddy.

Saw and got photos of several species there including Pheasant tailed Jacana, Bronze winged Jacana, Little Grebe, Stilt, 3 different waders, Greater painted Snipe, 3 different weavers nesting, Black Shouldered Kite, Chestnut tailed Starling nesting, Spot breasted Woodpecker booted out of nest hole by starlings and a first for me a Watercock (unfortunate name) as well as all the more common birds.

Saw but missed a photo of one Ruddy breasted Crake and a Purple Swamphen.

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Female Watercock

Went back last week and the whole place has changed now with some of it being dug out, tracks cut through another part and cut and burnt around the outside, the paddy has all been planted and the ponds pumped down but still with water.

Most of the birds have left, only saw a couple of bronze winged Jacana flying off and a couple of White fronted Waterhen.

Nature has a great way of reclaiming its own so I would expect things to change again in a month or so, will keep visiting.

Off to Nam Sam Lan NP for a few days tomorrow so hope to see a few new birds there.

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The area should become active again in September, Robby, when the migrants start coming through.

It's been very dead round here for the past couple of months. This morning I got a good view (at last; I've glimpsed them several times) of a pair of Racket-tailed Treepies. I'd seen them before at Huai Saneng, but this was a first for my area.... indeed, for my garden!

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Did 3 nights a Nam San Lam NP at the beginning of the week, first a bit about the park (200 B to get in) :

The place appears to be fairly neglected with the only visitors they get being Thai who go to play in the water, however there is virtually no water there at the moment as the staff tell us they have had no significant rain for the last 2 years.

The main attraction was a man made lake the dam of which, we were told, washed out in the 2011 floods, they were given money to fix it but the contractor did a poor job and the repairs washed out in the next decent rain. Of course the contractor wasn't held responsible and now they wait for more money.

The accommodation (600 per night) is basic with 2 double and 1 single bed a small set of shelves in each of the 4 rent houses and that's it, there is a table and seats outside. The beds and pillows are the same consistency as the floor, sheets and bedspreads provided.

Contrary to the website there is no food or drinking water available, we were able to borrow the motorcy from one of the staff to go about 4km down the Rd to a 7/11, Tesco and a market to stock up

The tracks other than those up to the waterfalls are virtually unused, not a footprint on them, good as far as I am concerned after Erawan NP where the main animal is Homo Turista.

I was a bit disappointed in the birds I saw although I probably shouldn't be, the forest is very thick and its quite frustrating to hear 6 or 8 different bird calls around without being able to see a movement.

Got 3 or 4 new birds for me, Grey headed woodpecker, Greater Flameback, Emerald Dove and what I am picking as a Babbler, possibly Puff Throated.

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Other birds seen were Stripe throated Bulbul, Crested Bulbul, Ashy wood Swallow, Greater racket tailed Drongo as well as the more common and the unidentified birds.

In spite of the hard beds I will go back, there are more birds for me to see and I now have a better idea of where to look.

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Nice report Robby.

Tried googling Nam San Lam NP but got no hits. Whereabouts is this?

That looks a little too big for a Puff-throated to me. Hope someone will come along and ID it correctly.

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Sorry Jack and others got my M's and N's mixed up (spatulated finger).

The place is Nam (Tok) Sam Lan NP http://dnp.go.th/parkreserve/asp/style1/default.asp?npid=112&lg=2.

14 KM from Saraburi to the HQ on the road, Google earth gives a good idea of the area.

Also been through the photos again and see the Flameback is the Common not Greater.

As for the small bird I can PM you a photo I B, if that will help.

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Sorry Jack and others got my M's and N's mixed up (spatulated finger).

The place is Nam (Tok) Sam Lan NP http://dnp.go.th/parkreserve/asp/style1/default.asp?npid=112&lg=2.

14 KM from Saraburi to the HQ on the road, Google earth gives a good idea of the area.

Also been through the photos again and see the Flameback is the Common not Greater.

As for the small bird I can PM you a photo I B, if that will help.

Thanks -found it on google earth with the amended spelling.

Might drop in if I am ever around that area.

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Robby,

Might this be a Striped Tit Babbler? Note that the iris is very light of color. I don't have books with me but don't Puff-throated always have a dark red iris whereas as Striped Tit can have a light/yellow iris?

Anyone? Will check again when I get home to books.

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Robby,

Might this be a Striped Tit Babbler? Note that the iris is very light of color. I don't have books with me but don't Puff-throated always have a dark red iris whereas as Striped Tit can have a light/yellow iris?

Anyone? Will check again when I get home to books.

I thought so too on your initial post but Striped-tit would be smaller physically but it's a hard call for me at least and they are also more common compared to Puff-throated. If you heard its call then it would be unmistakable.

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Robby,

Might this be a Striped Tit Babbler? Note that the iris is very light of color. I don't have books with me but don't Puff-throated always have a dark red iris whereas as Striped Tit can have a light/yellow iris?

Anyone? Will check again when I get home to books.

I thought so too on your initial post but Striped-tit would be smaller physically but it's a hard call for me at least and they are also more common compared to Puff-throated. If you heard its call then it would be unmistakable.

Both Lekagul-Round and Robson have Striped Tit as light of iris in their illustrations but make no mention of same in text. And yes, their call is distinctive and the bird would have almost certainly been in a group.

One of my first guesses was Chestnut-capped, but face pattern not distinctive enough and again they are depicted as having red irises in both books. However, in Round's "Birds of Bangkok Area" he notes of Chestnut-capped: "First year birds that have attained adult plumage may still show some paler, dark blue-grey at the base of the lower mandible and frequently a pale gape flange. The iris is grey to dark brown."

Just to further complicate the issue...

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Was fishing in the river this morning when this bird started flying round quite a distance downstream, it went back to the same spot 3 times and appeared to be doing something .

I got the camera out and had a go at getting some shots, a long distance away and cloudy morning.

Got these 3 shots before it left, these are not good photos and are cropped heavily, sharpened a little and had the contrast increased.

Any ideas ?

post-12069-0-41951000-1407303588_thumb.j

It appears to be trying to lift something out of the water possibly a bird of the same species.

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post-12069-0-28774000-1407303725_thumb.j

Not something simple like a rock pigeon surely ?

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I think you were right Rob.

You have witnessed a valiant attempt by this bird to save his/her mate.

Perhaps its mate was mortally injured by a raptor?

Speaking of which I have this very poor shot of one taken from beyond 100m in farmland near my village.

Cropped at over 200%.

I think it is a Rufous-winged Buzzard which I haven't seen around my patch in over a year.

post-128422-0-84686200-1407311019_thumb.

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Robby, I'm pretty sure I agree with Isanbirder on the Brown-headed Gull. That second pic looked to me a bit long of neck and short of bill to be a Brown-headed Gull and does look like a pigeon but the behavior rules out pigeon, I think. The interesting thing is that if it is then this is a very early arrival. Round's "Birds of BKK Area" has very detailed descriptions of juvenile that seem a match but on "seasonality" he has: "A few birds may arrive in late September (25 September, BCSTB 19, No. 12)..." So this may be something worth sending in to BCST for the record. I get them here in Chonburi so will keep my eyes open for early arrivals this week and on.

And definitely agree on the Rufous-winged Buzzard.

Great time of year for birding from now through winter! Looking forward too the next many months as other than two Christmas Frigatebirds here in July - not usually seen this far north but my third sighting in 2.5 years here - is pretty much the only excitement I have had here bird-wise in a long time.

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