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Post Info TOPIC: Thailand Diary


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RE: Thailand Diary


05/05/2022 - Koh Samui Island - Surat Thani Province.

Between business meetings Paul has been walking the beaches here early mornings and some evenings keen to add some more species to his 2006 token list for this province. Additional species not seen earlier during our travels throughout Isaan so far have been:-

 May 5th - 6 Black-naped Orioles

May 6th - 2 Malaysian Plovers, 1 Dark-sided Flycatcher

May 7th - 12 Black-naped Terns, 2 Pacific Reef Herons 1 White-bellied Sea Eagle, 4 Christmas Island Frigatebirds. These latter birds must have been an exciting find - flying south over the beach apparently 2 adult males and two less determinate female/immature birds. Almost certainly world lifers for him as they would have been for me also. 

Regards,

Mike P.

 

 

 

 

 



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07/05/2022 - Kut Chum - Yasothon.

With Paul and Pen away on business since Wednesday, Barb and I have been birding only the local patch on a rather spasmodic basis between carrying out our share of chores - feeding the Coi Carp and staying on top of the grass mowing in the garden compound.

I have never driven in Thailand. While the roads are pretty good with some excellent dual carriageways the lane discipline which we are used to in Europe is absent here with undertaking quite normal and scooters and motorbikes driven by youngsters likely to dart out from side roads quite unexpectedly. At night many scooters have no lights and many drivers wear no helmets.

It is rather strange not to see the usual winter visitors around the fields - because we have never been here in May and they have all departed apart from a Raddes Warbler still present on May 6th, - quite a late bird.

On May 4th I added two new species to my local patch list - a Cinnamon Bittern giving excellent fly past views and repeat sightings of Grey-breasted Prinias (which on a poor view look very similar to Lesser Whitethroat). Two frustrations (potential province ticks) have been Freckle-breasted Woodpecker and Dark-necked Tailorbirds both of which I have heard calling but failed to see so far.

Regards,

Mike P.



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02/05/2022 - Huai Aeng Roí Et.

In search of waders!
Paul drove Barb and me to this new site on the far west boundary of Roí Et on the border with Maha Sarakam. It was the only area likely to be free of the persisting rain emanating out of China, Vietnam and Laos. Although we had some rain en route it was dry at 10.05 when we reached our destination - an extensive area of short turf and partly flooded fields. Here we were pleased to find:-

35 Pacific Golden Plovers (most in full summer plumage).

2 Greenshanks

40 Black-winged Stilts

2 Common Sandpipers

2 Little Ringed Plovers

20 Oriental Pratincoles

Also present were singing Oriental Skylarks and 3 Eastern Yellow Wagtails (again of the form macronyx) with the usual support cast of commoner passerines and heron species.

En route home back in Yasothon while driving Paul noted something of interest in a ploughed field. We paused to scan and there were 3 more Pratincoles which we enjoyed for a few minutes as they hawked over the fields, circled and landing again several times.

Pratincoles in a ploughed field - memories of 1974.

Regards,

Mike P.

 

 

 

 

 



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Tuesday 3rd of May 2022 09:45:34 AM

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01/05/2022 - 08.30 - Birding along both banks of the Chi River (the Yasothon/Roí Et boundary).

Barb Paul and I made a leisurely start checking out if any more Bllue-winged Pittas had arrived back on last years territories in both provinces. One of the Yasothon birds was in song as we drove by but across the river later we detected no signs yet of any birds there Yet.

We logged 36 species on the Yasothon side including Oriental Reed Warbler, Black-browed Reed Warbler and Golden-headed Cisticolas (readily located by their characteristic plick calls). A Grey-breasted Prinia showed well and was a new province tick for me.

Crossing the bridge into Roí Et we noted virtually the same species but several of these were much appreciated by Barb and me as three were new province species for us (having done very little birding in Roí Et in the past).

Birding has been both fragmented and opportunistic over the last week due to very unsettled weather coming on strong north-easterly downpours.

Regards,

Mike P.

 

 



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Thursday evening in Kutchum heralded a quite spectacular thunder storm with torrential rain from about 17.00 onwards quite soon after we had all enjoyed swimming in the pool. Paul spent some time reassuring the dogs. Power cuts followed so we turned in to bed at around 18.30 after consuming our evening meal in the dark. At 7 minutes after midnight (some time after the storm had seemingly abated) the most alarming thunderclap sounded right overhead shaking the building and causing me to check my pulse - just to make sure that I still had one! 
Friday morning dawned dry and calm and after conferring it seemed to be worthwhile to head off to Khok Yai Reservoir to see if any storm driven birds might have turned up. We were thinking in terms of terns - or even perhaps gulls (of which there is no record for Yasothon).

29/04/2022 - Khok Yai Reservoir Yasothon.

We arrived at 08.15 with things looking a bit quiet- 4 Oriental Darters and a Brahminy Kite were perched up on the dead tree stumps towards the far end of the lake with a singing Plain Prinia and a Golden-headed Cisticola closer to hand with Barn Swallows flying along the revetment slope of the dam. Tree Sparrows Feral pigeons and both mynas failed to enthuse.

We drove on parallel to the grassy shoreline noting a large-billed Crow and a Black-winged Kite perched in a roadside tree. Scanning the lakeside we admired a rather smart Chinese Pond Heron in full summer attire and distant Little and Great White Egrets then I saw some encouragement in the shape of a Greenshank. We stopped to check out Barbs Little Ringed Plover while I checked out the Barn Swallows - about 20 lined up along the telegraph wires- the 4th from the right was in fact a Sand Martin and a Yasothon tick for me. Paul then found his bird of the day - perched on a stick was his long overdue first record for the province- an Eastern Yellow Wagtail which we quickly scoped up and which Paul was eager to photograph. This turned out to be of the form macronyx that very closely resembles thunbergi (Grey-headed Wagtail).

Much encouraged we drove further to scan some distant arms of the water not visible from the dam when Paul exclaimed that he could see distant terns - these appeared to be White-winged Blacks  one of our prime targets.

We drove on anxious not to lose the birds and within minutes parked up less than 100 yards from the birds.

Exiting the vehicle we stood on the shoreline admiring full plumage Whiskered and White-winged Terns (these latter a new Thailand species for Barb and me).

In summary a great morning for the three of us. Pen had been in Bangkok on business and sadly missed this particular show. The marsh terns had previous shown here for Paul on May 9th, so this date also sets a marker for future recording. Were these birds storm driven or not - who knows?  so little has been studied before in these eastern provinces.

Regards,

Mike P.

 



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28/04/2022 - Huai Khee Lek - Mukdahan Province.

After a rest day on 27th Paul and I were joined by Barb for a run over to this extensive lake site close to Phu Mu Forest Park (the place I vowed never to return to some years ago when I had found it to be the best looking bit of forest with the least number of species- an odd conundrum of a place).

We arrived relatively late at 9.15 and concentrated on the lake itself and shoreline margins which proved quite rewarding with:-

2 Cotton Pygmy Geese

2 Little Grebes

2 Greater Coucals

1 Lesser Coucal

1 Asian Koel

1 Little Ringed Plover

12 Whiskered Terns (the first ever records for this province)

2 Cinnamon Bitterns

1 Little Egret

1 Cattle Egret

1 Chinese Pond Heron

2 Brahminy Kites

6 Green Bee-eaters

1 Coppersith Barbet (heard)

1 Green-eared Barbet (heard)

1 Brown Shrike

6 Oriental Skylarks (first record for province)

1 Common Tailorbird

2 Plain Prinias

6 Zitting Cisticolas 

3 Golden-headed Cisticolas

1 Black-crested Bulbul

2 Streak-eared Bulbuls

2 Black-collared Starlings

3 Great Mynas

3 Pied Bushchats

1 Purple Sunbird

1 Olive-backed Sunbird

1 Paddyfield Pipit

Paul added two new species to his own leading list for Mukdahan (these aso new for the province itself) and my list increased from a very modest 26 species to a sightly more respectable 49.

Regards,

Mike P.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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26/04/2022 - 6.45 am Phu Chong Na Yoi Nat. Pk. Ubon Ratchathani

Having packed up our gear Paul and I worked the lower part of the main trail, hearing Abbotts Babbler (again in the same area as the previous morning) with Paul also briefly glimpsing this and a calling Pin-striped Tit-Babbler. Dennis was set upon searching the waterfall area in his dragonfly quest while his brother had made an early start working the far reaches of the main trail. This trail exists for use by the army and the park rangers who move along on motorbikes  but in birding terms it is virtually unexplored.

The best find by us two was a close pair of fighting Black and Buff Woodpeckers - this tiny species rather uncommon here. They sport virtually the reverse head pattern of the similar Heart-spotted Woodpecker. This squabbling lasted several minutes and it was difficult to keep them in focus as they darted through the nearest foliage at close quarters calling incessantly. A Black-naped Monarch 3 Scarlet-backed Flowerpeckers 3 more Van Hasselts Sunbirds and a calling (wild here!) Red Junglefowl and a calling Lineated Barbet were added before we decided that there were more potential species to be added by exiting the park, so we checked out and headed off north.

10.30 -Huai San Reservoir:-

70 Lesser Whistling Ducks

3 Red Collared Doves

Feral Pigeons

1 White-browed Crake (flushed ahead of Paul)

2 Asian Palm Swifts

1 Brown Shrike

2 Plain Prinias 

1 Black-collared Starling

a few Common Mynas

Heading for home now the last species logged was a roadside Green-billed Malkoha which took my province list for Ubon to 96 species - (an increase from 54 at the outset of our little expedition with Paul now up to 186).

Cheers,

Mike P.

 

 

 



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Thursday 28th of April 2022 07:41:53 AM

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25/04/2022 - Phu Chong Na Yoi Nat.Pk. Ubon Ratchathani

A later start than usual after a very hot sticky night. We all hit the forest trail with Dennis going off to do dragonflies, Paul Farrell undertaking an exploratory 20 km. route along one of the main trails and Paul and I doing various sections of the site in an effort to boost my modest province list and for he to boost his own list if possible (as he already shares the top list for this province with Paul Farrell). It was soon apparent that things were much quieter than in January, with all the wintering warblers and flycatchers seemingly absent now. 
We heard Abbotts Babbler and Rufous Woodpecker en route and managed a Rufous-winged Buzzard, and singles of Black-naped Monarch, Grey-eyed Bulbul, Puff-throated Babbler, Golden-fronted Leafbird, and 3 Van Hasselts Sunbirds, but little else of note.
At noon we went down to the reservoir and logged a few more common species followed by a lunch break back at the lodgings.

Mid afternoon saw us at the car park by HQ where we saw and managed record shots of an obliging Orange-breasted Trogon (a nice one for me as I had not seen one for perhaps 21 years- and who among us doesnt like trogons?). Other added species here were both Yellow-vented and Thick-billed Flowerpeckers, with a support cast of assorted common bulbuls and sunbirds. A useful tip from Paul Farrell as to how to identify Grey- eyed Bulbul on call was that it has a scouse accent! An apt and fitting description which makes me smile as I type this. -(No offence intended to Liverpudlians here- I myself am a Liverpool fan).
The day had not quite lived up to expectations but we had chipped away doggedly and resolved to be up early for the next morning.

Regards,

Mike and Paul P.

 

 



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Wednesday 27th of April 2022 11:45:47 AM

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24/04/2022 - Sunday - Ubon Ratchathani Province.

Paul and I left Kut Chum at 04.45 for the 3 1/2 hour drive south east to meet up with the Farrell brothers (Paul and Dennis) intending to spend two nights in the Phu Chong Na Yoi Nat.Pk. The area is seldom visited by birders; the last reports coming in January when the two Pauls teamed up with Ben Weil, previously mentioned on this thread. Until about 6 years ago the state of the access road made exploration here virtually impossible without four wheel drive.

This park is situated in the border region where Laos and Cambodia meet SE Thailand and any close approach to the actual border is discouraged both by the army and the presence of landmines.

Our early start facilitated some stops en route - the best being at the Bueng Búa Park and Chang reservoir at 6.00 am : -

50 Lesser Whistling Ducks

15 Cotton Pygmy Geese

1 Little Grebe

1 Feral Pigeon

2 Spotted Doves

1 Greater Coucal

1 Asian Koel

3 Grey-headed Swamphens

1 Watercock

2 Bronze-winged Jacanas

2 Pheasant-tailed Jacanas

2 Cinnamon Bitterns

1 Purple Heron

1 Black-winged Kite

2 Eastern Marsh Harriers

2 Indochinese Rollers

4 Large-billed Crows

1 Common Tailorbird

1 Plain Prinia

1 Lanceolated Warbler

12 Barn Swallows

7 Great Mynas

2 Oriental Magpie Robins

1 Paddyfield Pipit

Additionally Paul noted several Green Bee Eaters 2 Black Drongos 2 Green-billed Malkohas and a little flock of Scaly- breasted Munias.

Our next stop at 10.00 was at Phlan Suea Ton Lang reservoir where we logged a few more list padders:-

1 Little Cormorant

1 Oriental Darter

1 Great White Egret

1 Green Bee Eater

6 Ashy Woodswallows

2 Black-collared Starlings

A scatter of Common and Great Mynas and some Feral Pigeons.

We met up with the Farrells at 11.30 sharp as planned and after unpacking and sorting out the accommodation arrangements we drove to the spectacular waterfall overlook to start some forest birding (mindful that the time of day was far from ideal and the searing heat by now was oppressive). 

Green-eared Barbets seemed to be calling from all quarters and were the commonest of their tribe here. I managed to just miss a Striated Heron flushed from a rocky pool below our vantage point but did see a sunbird spotted first by Paul that I quickly nailed as a male (and female) of Van Hasselts Sunbird a species that Paul has discovered as far north as Yasothon during his explorations extending the range of this supposed rarity considerably. This species has been split from Maroon- bellied Sunbird which I had seen elsewhere previously and so was a welcome list addition for me. (Over the next few days we were to find it as common along forest edges and by the main car park).

A few other common species noted were 2 White-rumped Shamas, 4 Black-crested and 2 Puff-throated Bulbuls, a couple of Hill Mynas, along with Barn Swallows and Large- billed Crows.

Later at 14.30 onwards along the road and main forest trail we found things to be very quiet, though Paul and I did find a very vocal group of Greater Flamebacks about 60 yards into the forest. On the forest trail itself we found a White-bellied Erpornis 3 Stripe-throated Bulbuls and a single Greater-Racquet-tailed Drongo. Down at the river crossing the main attraction was provided by the assorted spectacular butterflies descending in clouds to take salts from the riverside sandstone. Dennis Farrell is first and foremost a dragonfly specialist and has found many new species for various provinces and has one species new to science named after him (I think it is Microgomphus Farrelli).

Later we all enjoyed dinner together (having set up the slow cooker upon arrival) and dealt with more than a few beers prior to a deserved early night.

Regards,

Mike P.

 

 

 

 

 

 



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Wednesday 27th of April 2022 05:13:32 AM



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Wednesday 27th of April 2022 05:24:11 AM



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Wednesday 27th of April 2022 05:26:37 AM

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22/04/2022 - Friday. After a lazy day off on Thursday (resting from our travels) Paul felt that it might be worthwhile checking along the Chi river to see if any of the Blue-winged Pittas may be back on the breeding territories where he discovered the first of them on May 1st last year. The first site we checked (mid morning on the Yasothon shore) proved an instant success with a confident male showing well much to Barbs delight - her first ever. Indeed for me only my second since my first down south in Krabi in April of 2001. A second territory check drew a blank but the third one also produced stunning views of another bird. Both sightings were within a few metres of where Paul had found them last year. This years birds set a marker in terms of establishing a pattern for return dates for future study.

We crossed the river bridge over into Roí Et to another of last years sites but found no Pittas there presently. In spite of the time approaching midday by now we did find some active common species with Paul finding a little prize for us in the form of a tiny obliging White-browed Piculet preening on a horizontal branch just above the forest path which we enjoyed for some minutes.

Regards,

Mike P.



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20/04/2022 - 06.20 - Chulabhorn Dam - We checked out of our good lodgings then moved off to throw some rice out of the car windows in a slow pass along 2 Kms. of road and then reversing the route in a last ditch effort to see a Ground Cuckoo, at the same time we packed away Pauls blind which had served us well but to no avail. As usual we saw both Junglefowl and Firebacks with several sightings of the handsome brown and white squirrels and unusually a fully mature Wild Boar which quickly snorted and trotted into the forest stage left.

Having just about given up on the Ground Cuckoo we met up with Paul Farrell to discuss what next when he announced that he had just heard a calling Blue Pitta some 50 metres down the road. With hope renewed we organised ourselves and tried a gentle playback, and though the bird responded vocally it made no closer approach and we certainly were not willing to go crashing into its pathless habitat.

We added a Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike to the list, whilst the two Pauls logged a departing Blue-bearded Bee Eater, then we moved off to work the Wildlife Sanctuary until noon when we planned to depart for the long drive home.

Entering the sanctuary at about 07.00 we quickly added-

1 Greater Racket-tailed Drongo

1 White- bellied Erpornis

1 Speckled Piculet

Another Blue-bearded Bee Eater

1 Crested Serpent Eagle

A pair of Black and Buff Woodpeckers

A Coppersmith Barbet ( Here heavily outnumbered by calling Green-eared Barbets though strangely not one of these was actually seen by any of us).

A pair of Red-headed Trogons gave only fleeting views, and Paul Farrell noted a fair number of additional species by call. This is his regular stamping ground and he rates the whole area as better than Khao Yai as it is far less visited/ disturbed. There is much evidence ( dung) that Elephants use the roads at night and the area is reckoned to be home to about 14+ Tigers. 
On leaving we scanned from a high vantage point overlooking a vast expanse of undisturbed rolling pristine forest with mountains and limestone hills never explored by birders. The highest point in Chaiyaphum is a large wooded table top mountain to the north. Twenty- five years ago it might have been on my radar?

Cheers,

Mike P.

 

 

 

 



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18/04/2022 - Monday saw the four of us driving west through Roí Et and Kalasin Provinces to meet up with Paul Farrell in Khon Kaen from whence we headed off in two vehicles into Isaans westernmost province Chaiyaphum where we were booked in for two nights in the Chulabhorn Dam area.
Upon arrival in mid afternoon we visited the temple with food offerings and provisions for the monks. Here the head monk granted us an audience. Pen obviously understood everything said though Paul Farrell is also fluent in Thai and both passed on the monks blessings. In turn we were all individually gifted safety tokens with good luck wishes for our quest of the following morning.

Our plans for an evening owling session were quickly dashed as the skies opened with an uncompromising deluge which washed out any plans, the only birds seen being a couple of Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrushes which I begrudgingly accepted to launch my list in what for me were first steps in a new province.

Tuesday at least dawned dry and we started off early to take up position behind the black canvas blind erected the previous night by the two Pauls in the pouring rain. As we drove on the approach road ahead of us were both Red Junglefowl and better still a scatter of perhaps 8/9 Siamese Firebacks, several males flashing their mustard coloured upper rumps as they spread their wings.

The monks scatter unwanted rice from their vehicle each morning en route to their devotions at the temple. This in turn is why birds are out feeding along the road and among these from time to time are Coral-billed Ground Cuckoos - these of course the main target for us here in what is arguably the best place in Thailand at present to have a chance to see this shy species.
Paul Farrell has managed to see and photograph two birds along this road in the past but only after about ten attempts to do so. Needless to say we managed no sighting though later in the adjacent Phu Khieo Wildlife sanctuary on Wednesday morning we heard loud and ongoing vocalisations from a bird barely 60 metres off the road in dense forest - progress of sorts!

Still- back to Tuesday we moved on doing some general roadside birding still in the area of Chulabhorn Dam finding new trip species with: - 

2 Red-wattled Lapwings

6 Oriental Pied Hornbills

1 Grey-headed Woodpecker

2 Vernal Hanging Parrots

3/4 Bronzed Drongos

5 Red-billed Blue Magpies

3 White-crested Laughingthrushes

At about 11.00 am we moved on into the nearby extensive Phu khieo Wildlife Sanctuary where we had booked a hide to try for Blue Pitta which is regularly seen coming to drink along with other species at the little pool in front. This plan quickly backfired. Barely 20 metres in along the forest trail both Barb and Pen started leaping around and did a hasty about turn back to the road. The earlier downpour had brought out a profusion of leeches crawling on to our shoes quicker than we could pull them off. We three guys carried on the extra 100 metres to the hide, increasingly covered with leeches with the small uncomfortable hide offering no respite. Inside we quickly realised that there would be no reason for any birds to visit the tiny pond as there were plenty of wet puddles and mud all around us. Accordingly with no sign of a single bird we beat a retreat to join the shoeless girls on the road, - Pen refusing to wear her shoes in case any evil leech might be inside waiting to get her, despite my assurances that both shoes were now vacated.

I did mention on this thread some time ago that this location is the prime site for the very rare and endangered White-winged Duck. While there does exist a small wild population here deep within the sanctuary, most sightings involve released individuals from the reintroduction program, and Paul (Passant) obtained some shots of a fairly tame bird from the car - nice to actually see one but sadly - untickable.

With plans A and B both buggered up we moved to plan C (albeit rather belatedly) - general birding in one of the wildest and best (and least visited) locations in Thailand, new additions being: - 

Ashy and Hair-crested Drongos,

1 Crested Goshawk

6/7 Striated Swallows (coming down to muddy puddles collecting mud)

Best of all at our first meal stop (15.00 - yes Mr. Rayner breakfast truly is for wimps) we set up by a roadside table in an open area overlooking two pools on Paul Farrells recommendation.

Within a short space of time (as predicted) we were treated to the spectacle of not only a small number of Cooks Swifts swooping down skimming the surface of the water, but two species of Needletails- both Brown-backed and Silver-backed rocketing about giving superb opportunities to compare the differences. These seemed to reappear at 4/5 minute intervals and were most likely the same few individuals on a circuit. I also picked out a single House Swift, squarer tailed and with its squarer rump contrasting with the slimmer wrap around rumps of the Cooks. We almost certainly overlooked swiftlets (Himalayan or Germains) in the excitement over the Needletails.

Later, an owling effort at dusk produced no Great-eared Nightjar but we did hear repeated calling from a Collared Owlet.

Regards,

Mike P.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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16/04/2022  07.00 Chi River - Roí Et/Yasothon border.

Three of us indulged in a little casual province padding expedition with no great expectations other than to boost my modest Roí Et list with some common species which so far had eluded me. We parked just past the immigration post and took up a position on the bridge over the Chi River, here perhaps 80 metres wide. The river ultimately flows into the Mun River which in turn flows into the mighty Mekong.

We were soon hearing the rather frantic songs and then seeing several Yellow-bellied Prinias, attractive Chestnut Munias when Paul picked up a couple of terns heading south along the river- the first Whiskered Terns of the year for these parts and Roí Et ticks for both of us.

Better was to come however. I caught a fleeting glimpse of a passerines some 50 yards away in the base of some reed stems and said that it possibly could have been a Chestnut-capped Babbler. Paul tried the tape and sure enough within minutes we were treated to excellent views of a pair - the first records for the species in Roí Et.

Looking to the far bank on the Yasothon side the habitat looked similar, so we crossed over to try our luck there.

Here we found both Yellow and Cinnamon Bitterns, Paul noted a departing Hoopoe and we had a Coppersmith Barbet unusually perched atop grass stems. Again we discovered a very obliging pair of Chestnut-capped Babblers- the first ever recorded for Yasothon.

All in all a satisfying and productive outing with new records for these relative birding backwaters.

Cheers,

Mike P.

 



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1&4/04/2022 Thursday morning - Kutchum

No bird updates today - just another snake incident. We noticed that the eyes of one of the two young dogs were almost closed and on closer examination very bloodshot and weepy. The dog was suffering extreme discomfort so Pauls mother in law bathed the dogs eyes after which it sheltered in the shade for the rest of the day.

Within a half hour it became evident that there had been a snake encounter as three sections of a Spitting Cobra were found on the driveway. The dogs had managed to tear it to shreds but obviously not before the young dog had received a jet of venom full In the face/eyes. It should fully recover in a day or two based on previous similar occurrences.

Cheers,

Mike P.

 



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We are presently into the third day of Sonkran - the Thai New Year. By their measure its is now 2565, and a time when families get together - much as we do at Christmas, but with we old codgers much revered by all the younger generations re-affirming their devotion to us.

My day started yesterday with a skin cancer excision at a regional private hospital - No messing about no local anaesthetic just hand manipulation to deaden the nerve in some way. All this in stark contrast to the NHS who (in spite of my history) have been palming me off since January. Its also a break from birding for a few days.

During the early evening partying last night someone noticed that the power lines were on fire (see photo) possibly caused by a snake climbing up and causing a short circuit. Within forty minutes a crew had come out and fixed the problem - imagine such a speedy response in UK in the middle of a public holiday.

Birding to be resumed probably tomorrow, amid reports that summer visiting  Blue-winged Pittas are increasingly being recorded in nearby provinces. 
Enough for now as Tiger the cat is insisting on sitting on the IPad as I type.

Regards,

Mike P.



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12/04/2022 Pha Nam Yoi Forest Park -Roí Et

Barb and I went back with Paul into Roí Et this morning for a mooch around this no-hunting forest area in the middle of which stands an enormous temple which so impressed when we first visited in 2017.

Many of the wintering passerines have already moved north but we were fortunate to locate a perched passage migrant in the shape of a Dollarbird - another species new to the Roí Et list. The common barbet here is Green-eared readily identified by its call (which sounds to my ear like gobble obble ook) outnumbers the ubiquitous Coppersmith here.

En route back Paul noted a perched raptor high in a bare tree which took wing at the mention of camera but which then circled overhead obligingly- a male Crested Honey Buzzard in wing moult.

Our final find before leaving the forest was a juv. Blue Rock Thrush which was marginally just in Mukdahan Province.

Regards,

Mike P.



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Tuesday 12th of April 2022 10:55:29 AM

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10/04/2022 Roí Et province - various wetland sites.

As Barb and I previously only had a few incidental sightings in Roí Et and just a token 13 species from a 10 minute roadside stop 3/4 years ago, Paul kindly took us off on a tour of selected wetland sites to boost our lists.

We chalked up 63 species in total across 4/5 new sites over a 4 hour period with a pleasant lunch break to recharge our batteries.

Highlight birds included 7 heron species with Purple Heron (always a nice species to encounter) new for our visit.

Glassing through the packed hundreds of Lesser Whistling Ducks I was pleased to find a single but fine drake Garganey. Both Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-winged Jacanas were foraging at several sites mainly on the edge of the generous cover of floating mats of vegetation while bigger bolder ponderous looking Grey-headed Swamphens were easily picked out even at great distance. One feature was the lack of a single wader species other than a few Black- winged Stilts on a few muddy paddies, otherwise our total count for the day should have hit the upper 70s for sure.

As we alighted from the car at one stop I thought that I heard a kik call and straight away thought woodpecker, sure enough the call was repeated, (not quite as emphatic as that of our Great Spotted) and I checked out the nearest big tree at the edge of the pool in time to see a Freckle-breasted Woodpecker edging up the central trunk, - a world lifer no less following Its rather recent split from Fulvous- breasted Woodpecker. We all subsequently saw the bird again in the same spot with calls indicating two birds interacting.

A full list again for this day would involve much repetition of species mostly already noted this last week and mentioned on this thread, so that is all for today with my Roí Et list boosted to 75 species.

Later this last evening we all stayed up until after midnight watching the Man. City v Liverpool game with WhatsApp connection to Warren and Anne in Madrid (this pair gloating unashamedly when City went ahead).

Consequently today (Monday) we are enjoying a lazy day, though Paul and I had a plod through the fields before breakfast on the north side across the road where we flushed another bird new for me in Thailand - a Barred Buttonquail.

Cheers,

Mike P.

 



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09/04/2022 Kut Kong wetlands along Khwang Canal, Yasothon

This morning we made a 7.30 start at what was for Barb and me a new site though close to our familiar Yasothon Pools haunts from previous years. We were hopeful that some summer visitors might be possible now. - We were not to be disappointed with a session of 2 hours 20 mins yielding 49 species between us.

40 Lesser Whistling Ducks

32 Cotton Pygmy Geese

4 assorted common dove species

1 Greater Coucal

1 Green-billed Malkoha

3 Asian Koels 

2 Germains Swiftlets

2 Asian Palm Swifts

2 Moorhens

6 Grey-headed Swamphens

1 White-breasted Waterhen

1 Bronze-winged Jacana

130 Asian Openbill Storks

5 Yellow Bitterns

2 Cinnamon Bitterns

1 Black Bittern

2 Grey Herons

2 Little Egrets

8 Chinese Pond Herons

3 Black- winged Kites

1 Eastern Marsh Harrier

3 Brahminy Kites

1 Hoopoe

1 Common Kingfisher

5 Green Bee Eaters

2 Coppersmith Barbets

8 Pied Fantails

2 Black Drongos

4 Brown Shrikes

3 Large-billed Crows

4 Yellow-bellied Prinias

5 Plain Prinias

3 Black-browed Reed Warblers

5 Barn Swallows

2 Yellow-vented Bulbuls

4 Streak-eared Bulbuls

8 Dusky Warblers (probably 12-15 more heard)

2 Black-collared Starlings

3 Common Mynas 

14 Great Mynas

1 Amur (=Eastern) Stonechat

1 Olive-backed Sunbird

6 Asian Golden Weavers (+nests)

12 Chestnut Munias

3 House Sparrows

2 Plain-backed Sparrows

12 Tree Sparrows

Both the Cinnamon and Black Bitterns were the first arrivals for Paul this year and for Barb and me new species for Thailand as we have never been here before this late in the season.

Regards,

Mike P.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Saturday 9th of April 2022 02:11:49 PM

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08/04/2022 Kut Chum local patch - Yasothon

Basically a non birding day and a break from driving for Paul and Pen so I had a morning stroll along the riverside preceded by a scout across the main road to to the north side where I have never tried before. Paul has previously had Barred Buttonquail here so this was a good reason to explore the fields which presently are lying fallow.

- No luck with Buttonquail but I did hear a calling Asian Barred Owlet for the trip list among 18 of the usual species.

I count heard birds for recording purposes only if I have actually seen them before in the same location. Paul and Paul Farrell have a long term project to record over 200 species in each of Isaans provinces - a considerable undertaking which will take years.

Cheers,

Mike P.



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06/04/02022 and 07/04/2022 

The four of us undertook a two day clockwise sweep out of Yasothon, through the south of Mukdahan, into Amnat Charoen, and into Ubon Ratchathani. The main focus was to arise early (04.55) on Thursday to be in position by the Mekong shoreline to have a chance of seeing Great Thick-Knee and more importantly the River Tern in the place where Paul and Paul Farrell had them both at the end of March. In a four hour stakeout we failed to find either species.

Despite this we still had some highlights with good views of River Lapwings, many Small Pratincoles and a female Mekong Wagtail quite close to hand.

I was able to boost my province lists for Ubon, Mukdahan and Amnat considerably, while Paul added one species to reach 180 for Ubon with a Green Sandpiper (a much harder bird to see in the Isaan region than it is in the UK).

Cheers,

Mike P.



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06/04/2022 Nong Bon Forest Tambon Kutchum

07.19

An hours pre breakfast outing with Paul to this local patch of good forest produced just a few species:

1 Greater Coucal

1 Large-billed Crow

1 Coppersmith Barbet (h)

1 Common Tailorbird

1 Brown Shrike

1 Plain Prinia

1 Paddyfield Pipit

A mixed flock of 12 White-rumped  and Scaly-breasted Munias

1 White-rumped Shama (h)

Streak-eared Bulbuls (h)

1 Hainan Blue Flycatcher (female)

1 Indochinese Blue Flycatcher (male)

These latter two both new for my own Yasothon list.

Cheers,

Mike P.

 

 

 

 



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Correction! (Plus a dollop of humble pie!)

Ayuwat Jearwatanakanok has pointed out that our photo of one of the airfield Richards Pipits is in fact another of the Oriental Skylarks! On reassessing it we have to agree with him as it lacks any hint of a sub moustachial streak and the culmen looks too arched for a pipit! What threw us was the haughty carriage of these two birds and full breasted posture similar to that of our Mistle Thrush whereas the other Oriental Skylarks on this site were creeping around more furtively and in more horizontal postures, many with crests erect.

Regards to all,

Mike P.

 



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05/04/2022  Phu Mak Yang Yasothon.

We decided that a lazy day was in order for today, but Paul suggested a short trip towards midday to a wooded sandstone escarpment with a view to seeing if any raptors might be passing northwards overhead.

we found a spot offering some shade but which allowed an extensive view to the east and north east and began scanning. Several small raptors (likely accipiters) quickly appeared only to be lost to view and left unidentified, along with late views of a couple of largish raptors - these all vanishing before we really got onto them.

We then picked up 4 circling raptors high to the north east and Pauls photos later confirmed them as Black Bazas.

Within minutes 3 Brown-backed Needletails rocketed past us northbound (not much above eye level) which we followed out of sight. These were not only new for our province list, but actually another new species for Yasothon itself.

All in all a worthwhile outing, and we shall repeat this again soon but with an earlier start.

Best Wishes,

Mike P.



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04/04/2022 An early 1 hour walk by the river produced 17 of the usual species. I was struck by how dry everything was with the water level lower than I can ever recall. There were still a few Dusky Warblers about as well as a Brown Shrike along the fence line, otherwise the bushes along the river bank were unusually quiet. No new crops here at all and a scatter of 3/4 cattle had passengers intermittently on their backs- Great Mynas doing their own version of playing oxpecker.

Later three of us set off to search for Red-throated Pipits on an old airport site en route to Pauls favourite forest site where he earlier this year found the Fujian Niltava.

No Red-throated Pipits could be found at the airfield though we did hit lucky with excellent views of Oriental Skylarks and a couple of haughty Richards Pipits.

It was noon when we finally arrived at Boong Khla Community Forest - a superb area of unique forest in Isaan terms well respected by the local villagers for the treasure that it is. Paul warned us that this was really an introduction and in view of our late arrival not to expect to see much. Indeed we only saw 8 species though 5 of these were new for my Yasothon list  - best being my own find of a pair of Great Ioras.

The days highlight for me was a chance encounter on the drive home. I was nodding off in the passenger seat when Paul screeching to a halt bellowed for us all to get out. We all dived out in time to enjoy the views of a stunning male Pied Harrier which had crossed the highway ahead and which was flapping along quartering the roadside fields - magic moments!

Regards,

Mike P.



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03/04/2022 Yasothon sites - Dong Por and Dong Bang Ee Community Forest Kok Yai reservoir.

With Pen called away on prearranged business duties the three of us spent the best part of Sunday catching up with a couple of Pauls many new birding sites starting with the reservoir. Here among 31 species we enjoyed a pair of perched Ospreys, 4 Oriental Darters, several Zitting Cisticolas 4 Greenshanks a single Little Ringed Plover and 12 Black-winged Stilts. All these welcome and easy additions to my Yasothon list which simply are not generally available at my old Yasothon Pools site sadly disturbed by hunters netting birds for the pot.

After a brief coffee break we moved on to Pauls rice paddy site at Khueang Kham Nong Hoi in search of waders. A pleasant session followed and yielded some 40 species in cooler overcast skies, though a steady breeze made long distance scoping difficult.Highlights for me included:-

2 Marsh Sandpipers

1 Wood Sandpiper

1 Pin-tailed Snipe

100 Openbill Storks

4 Little Cormorants

1 Black-browed Reed Warbler

Later back at base with Pen and our Thai family all finally together after three years we enjoyed good food and just a few beers.

Regards,

Mike P.

 

 

 

 



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Monday 4th of April 2022 03:00:14 AM

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02/04/2022 - Road trip north to Kutchum.

After our return from the park outing a non birding day ensued and at about 08.45 the four of us left the Bangkok house for the 630 km. drive north east to Kutchum with the driving shared by our two hosts. The roads are generally excellent though our usual U.K. norms regarding lane discipline do not apply and undertaking on three lane motorways is normal here. After about two hours into the eight hour journey unseasonal and increasingly heavy rain set in, which eased gradually again by the time we were in the Isaan tableland, with much less traffic and early planted rice much in evidence. Many of the farms hereabouts take a double crop annually.
The landscape here is broken by scattered trees and typical birds are Black-winged Kites, Eastern Marsh Harriers and with Black Drongos and Indochinese Rollers perched up often along the telegraph wires.

We arrived home comfortably before dusk in time to inspect the gardens and new swimming pool and accommodations and there followed an overdue reunion with Pens mum and aunt along with the dogs, - five Thai Ridgebacks with the two males both strong and very protective.

It became apparent after several minutes that the three older dogs did recognise us and there followed much enthusiastic and boisterous hand licking with the two younger bitches remaining bemused and wary. This pack roam the garden compound (the size of two football pitches) freely each night and from time to time an outpouring of snarling signals the discovery of an intruding snake or alien cat.

Regards,

Mike P.



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02/04/2022 Suan Luang Park, Bangkok.

Paul and I drove into the nearby park at the crack of dawn eager to add new species to our respective park lists.

The whole area was already thronged with people in celebratory mood and it became apparent that some important graduation function was in progress. Nevertheless despite the boardwalk being temporarily closed we enjoyed a decent session in 1 hour and 40 mins. with a Paddyfield Pipit a new site species for me despite it being surrounded by the crowds nearby, - quite a cool customer all told.

I was really delighted just to be birding with Paul again and building my Thai trip list with some common species to get things started.

Best Wishes,

Mike P.



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01/03/2022

Bang Pu Recreation Centre - Samut Prakan Province

Paul drove us some 40 minutes south from Bangkok into new territory for us. Samut Prakan lies on the coast right at the head of the gulf of Thailand and turns up good birds regularly. We arrived at midday (lunacy really in the heat!) and after walking the pier area dived into the first hides nearby.

Birds noted in a 2 hour session were:-

Feral pigeons

5 Zebra Doves

1 Germains Swiftlet

10 Black-winged Stilts

25 Pacific Golden Plovers

25 Lesser Sandplovers

1 Great Sandplover

60 Black-tailed Godwits

2 Greenshanks

4 Marsh Sandpipers

26 Redshanks

200 Brown-headed Gulls

1 Lesser Black-backed Gull (heuglini)

8 Whiskered Terns

7 Painted Storks

7 Little Cormorants

3 Grey Herons

2 Great Egrets

5 Little Egrets

3 Chinese Pond Herons

2 Javan Pond Herons

3 Collared Kingfishers

1 Blue-tailed Bee Eater

2 Pied Fantails

4 Pacific Swallows

2 Chestnut-tailed Starlings

2 Great Mynas

1 Oriental Magpie Robin

Regards,

Mike P.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Sunday 3rd of April 2022 05:02:42 AM

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Bangkok 31/03/2022

Barb and I finally arrived back in Thailand this evening at 23.00 and were spirited away to hospital by prior arrangement to take yet more PCR tests and then we had to spend the first quarantine night at a government approved hotel (The Summer Tree) just a 10 minute drive from Paul and Pens Bangkok home. Our test results available early next morning showed negative and we were picked up by P and P - thereby free at last!
It was brilliant to finally be with our son and daughter in law after an enforced three year separation due to covid restrictions. Some two hours of midday birding in the searing heat then followed- quite a drastic contrast in 36 hours from our leaving snowy Newcastle airport!

Birding updates to follow later.

Best Wishes,

Mike P.

 



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March 27- 29th Ubon Ratchathani Province - various riverside sites.

Paul teamed up again with Paul Farrell for a three day exploratory outing in the far south east along the Thai shores of the Mekong River. They now rank as the two top listers in this province (as it is relatively underwatched and which still rewards patience and perseverance with a few genuine surprises. 
An early start at 04.43 yielded a Collared Scops Owl (though presently I do not know if they saw it or merely heard it). This was at Wat Pa Suttawat.

Moving on, they noted a House Swift over the Rim Mun road in Tambon Khon Chiam, which surprisingly was a first record for the province.

Later at Ban Ta Mui, birding the Mekong Rapids, they logged a further 35 species, notable among these were:-

1 Great Thick-knee (a really good species in Thailand, which does favour this general stretch of river, though often only seen on the far Laos shoreline).

6 River Lapwings

5 Little Ringed Plovers

1 Pin-tailed Snipe

1 Oriental Pratincole

35 Small Pratincoles

3 Mekong Wagtails.

March 29th Found them early at 06.45 birding various island along a three km. section of the river near the Chang Mob Rapids:- 

4 Great Thick-knees

6 River Lapwings

9 Little Ringed Plovers

3 Common Sandpipers

2 Greenshanks

100 Small Pratincoles

2 River Terns ( - a real find! two were seen at 08.01 and again one at 08.50). A very few do breed in the area, but records are few and far between apparently, -record shot attached below, of one, and shots of flying Great Thick-knee, flying River Lapwing and record shot of a Mekong Wagtail. Photos courtesy of Paul Farrell and some by Paul Passant.

40 Wire-tailed Swallows.

Regards,

Mike P.

 

 



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22 & 23/03/2022 -Sakhon Nakhon Province

5.45 am -Mekong Sandbars

Paul and Pen spent two days in this province (which is the next one north from Mukdahan) on a trip with friends, with Paul up and out early checking out the birding potential. Apart from a selection of the commoner passerines along the Mekong shoreline in the reed and scrub habitat he found impressive numbers of roosting waders in the first hour after sunrise and managed some nice portrait shots of Oriental Pratincole:-

30 Kentish Plovers

80 Little Ringed Plovers

4 Temmincks Stints

6 Greenshanks

1 Spotted Redshank

2 Common Sandpipers

80 Oriental Pratincoles

240 Small Pratincoles

Regards to all,

Mike P.



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14/03/2022 - Chaeng Sanit road- Tambon Niwet, Roí Et Province.

- A 20 minute stop on this road. Paul was checking out some activity in a stand of tall trees and amid an assortment of quite common species found 8 Brown-rumped Minivets (aka Swainsons Minivets) which surprisingly turned out to be new for Roí Et Province.

17/03/2022 - Khueang Kham, Nong Hoi Paddies- Yasothon.

Back on home territory, this morning (8.30 am) a half hour stop turned up early signs of spring migration with a nice selection of waders on site:-

35 Black-winged Stilts

3 Kentish Plovers (new species for Yasothon)

5 Little ringed Plovers

6 Temmincks Stints

8 Long-toed Stints

3 Common Sandpipers

Cheers,

Mike P

 



-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Thursday 17th of March 2022 04:24:36 PM

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26/02/2021 Yasothon.

Paul is now back home in Kut Chum (and no doubt earning a few brownie points) after his successful 4 day trip up in Loei. He took few photos other than those of one of the male Silver Pheasants attached below.

Cheers,

Mike P.



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21st to 24/02/2022 - Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary - Loei Province

Paul again teamed up with Paul Farrell on a 4 day trip into Loei Province in the N W corner of the Isaan region, with virtually the whole trip focused on the above site.

Rather than try to detail all of their hundreds of sightings I have summarised the pick of the species below. (As this was only PPs second visit he added over a hundred species to his personal list for Loei Province).

2 Silver Pheasants

1 Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon

4 Cooks Swifts

2 Blue-bearded Bee-eaters

1 Grey Nightjar (heard only)

3 Speckled Piculets

2 Silver-breasted Broadbills

2 Grey Treepies

2 Black-throated Parrotbills

12 Nepal House Martins

1 Red-billed Scimitar-Babbler

1 White-browed Scimitar-Babbler

1 Collared Babbler

7 Golden Babblers

4 Long-tailed Minivets

3 Maroon Orioles

9 Blue-winged Minlas

11 Silver-eared Mesias

16 Yunnan Fulvettas

1 White-throated Fantail

1 Mountain Tailorbird

7 Mountain Bulbuls

2 Little Pied Flycatchers

Cheers,

Mike P.

 

 

 

 

 



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18/02/2022 Huay Kok Lake - Mukdahan Province

Continuing his sweep through the eastern provinces, amongst 13 common species logged here Paul found an addition to the province list in the form of a Chestnut-capped Babbler. This is a generally common species across Thailand and finding one here simply reflects the general neglect on the part of the birding community for these eastern provinces and every such addition is useful in completing a more accurate picture of Isaans avifauna.

Cheers,

Mike P.



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Sunday 20th of February 2022 10:04:34 AM

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17/02/2022 - Thambon Tha Chang - Ubon Ratchathani

After dropping Pen off at the small airport here for the 45 minute flight down to Bangkok Paul took the opportunity for  a two day sweep through these eastern provinces. His first port of call at 08.40 was as headed above where he logged  40 species with nothing remarkable (though surprisingly 4 Indian Spot-billed Ducks were the first ever recorded in Ubon). He noted 150 Lesser Whistling Ducks here and a further 200 at 11.20 at his next stop (Bueng Bua Park and Chang reservoir) along with 80 Cotton Pygmy Geese. While these are common species overall it does pay to check carefully through the waterfowl rafts especially as Ben Weil and Paul Farrell missed a lurking Ferruginous Duck recently hidden amongst a throng of Lesser Whistling Ducks.

Regards,

Mike P.



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13/02/2022 - Khong Sam Kha reservoir, Amnat Charoen

An 8.25 start in this next province to the east of Yasothon saw Paul checking through the duck species hoping for something different. Among 35 species in all he chalked up 100 Lesser Whistling Ducks, 5 Cotton Pygmy Geese and 2 Indian spot-billed Ducks but nothing unusual. Moving on to another site at 10.25 in the Nong Han area he logged a total of 29 species - the best being something new for the province in the shape of a fine perched Asian Emerald Cuckoo but with his camera back in the car. Overall - a good morning with a further 8 species added to his own list for the province.

Cheers,

Mike P.



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Still 01/02/2022 - 14.25 Phanom Dong Rak Wildlife Sanctuary Si Sa Ket - Huai Wang Yai waterfall vicinity.

The guys recorded 13 species here notably:-

5 Oriental Honey Buzzards

1 Crested Serpent Eagle

5 Green Bee-eaters

1 Chestnut- headed Bee-eater

1 Grey Wagtail

After this PP left heading north for home leaving Paul Farrell and Ben Weil to carry on birding Si Sa Ket for a further two days. Soon after PP departed they discovered and photographed a new species for each of them - a single Knob- billed Duck consorting with a party of Lesser Whistling Ducks on the Nong Si Reservoir. They submitted the photo to the rarity adjudicators who confirmed the record whilst also pointing out a Ferruginous Duck in the same photo which neither Paul nor Ben had noticed in their excitement of their finding of the Knob-billed Duck! They thus ended up having photographed a potential lifer for both of them but didnt actually see it - the trials and tribulations of birding!!
In summary a successful outing for the guys. Ben had hoped for three life birds but ended on five - a good score for someone with a Thai list already well in excess of 700.

It remains a constant frustration that Barb and I still see no short term prospect of getting over to Thailand due to the onerous and costly COVID restrictions on European visitors still in force.

Regards,

Mike P.

 

 

 

 

 



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01/02/2022 - (11.30 am) Khao Phra Wigan Nat.Park - Si Sa Ket Province

Paul and his two companions arrived here late morning logging 22 species the pick of which were:-

1 Shikra

1 Orange-breasted Trogon - (heard only from below their cliff top vantage point so strictly speaking this bird was actually in Cambodia).

2 Peregrines (display and courtship behaviour)

16 Dusky Crag Martins

1 Two-barred Warbler

Cheers,

Mike P.

 



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31/01/2022 Phu Chong Na Yoi Nat.Pk. - Ubon Ratchathani

A 6.30 start with ten hours in the field and 12 Kms. of forest birding yielded a good tally of sixty species and a good mix of province ticks, (especially for Ben of course exploring Isaan for the first time, with the help of the two Pauls).

A selection of their sightings: - 

2 Scaly-breasted Partridges

1 Banded Bay Cuckoo

1 Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo

1 Oriental Honey Buzzard

2 Crested Serpent Eagles

1 Asian Barred Owlet

2 Orange-breasted Trogons

1 Grey-headed Woodpecker

3 Vernal Hanging-Parrots

2 Black-winged Cuckooshrikes

3 White-bellied Erpornises

1 Great Iora

8 Pale-legged Leaf Warblers

1 Sulphur-breasted Warbler

2 Claudias Leaf Warblers

10 Pin-striped Tit-Babblers

6 Scaly-crowned Babblers

2 Abbotts Babblers

5 White-crowned Laughingthrushes

1 Blue Whistling Thrush (yellow-billed form).

Tantalisingly a Coral-billed Ground-Cuckoo was heard though not seen.

01/02/2022

After overnight/early morning rain still in Na Yoi Nat Park they logged 40 species in a shorter session before moving on into Si Sa Ket (the next province west).

Of course most of the 40 species were repeats of the previous day but outstanding was a find of 4 White-bellied Green Pigeons which PF photographed. Other species included two more Orange-breasted Trogons, three Black-naped Orioles three Blue-winged Leafbirds and 4 Thick-billed Flowerpeckers an a single Yellow-vented Flowerpecker.

Cheers,

Mike P.



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30/01/2022 - Phu Chong Na Yoi Nat.Pk. Ubon Ratchathani Province 

Having journeyed south into Ubon Paul Ben and Paul logged 31 species in this south-easternmost part of Isaan close to the Cambodian border. The pick of which was:-

1 Scaly-breasted Partidge

2 Orange-breasted Trogons

2 Blue-eared Barbets

2 Common Flamebacks

1 Greater Yellownape

1 Banded Broadbill

3 Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrikes

3 Pale-legged Leaf Warblers

3 Scaly-crowned Babblers

1 White-throated Rock-Thrush.

In the evening as they were leaving by the park entrance they found a Brown Boobook to round off a good session of forest birding.

Cheers,

Mike P.

 

 



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Thursday 3rd of February 2022 03:33:44 PM

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29/01/2022 - Kaeng Song Yai - Amnat Charoen Province

The two Pauls played host to visiting birder Ben Weil on the latters first visit to the Isaan region. The trio met up on site where Ben added the Fujian Niltava to his life list before they all travelled on east into Amnat Charoen with a stop by the Mekong River at Kaeng Song Yai where the pick of 17 species was as follows:-

4 Kentish Plovers

4 Small Pratincoles

4 Wire-tailed Swallows

1 Eastern Yellow Wagtail (Manchurian)

2 Mekong Wagtails (main target species for Ben)

1 White Wagtail (ocularis).

Later at Huai Hin Kong en route home a brief stop produced 4 White-browed Crakes. (This is perhaps the easiest and most readily identifiable of the crakes to be seen in Thailand- photo attached).

Best Wishes,

Mike P.

 

 

 

 



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Thursday 3rd of February 2022 02:29:31 PM



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Thursday 3rd of February 2022 02:30:46 PM

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Date:

22/01/2022 Nam Nao Nat.Pk. Phetchabun Province.

Paul belatedly included a photo of a further new species for both him and Pen - a female Blossom-headed Parakeet which he found in the same general habitat as the Great Slaty Woodpeckers.

Cheers,

Mike P.

 



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21/01/2022 (still) Talking to Paul this morning. I realised that he had not just gone to Roí Et to twitch the Shovelers but that Pen had been with him and that they had carried on north and west into Phetchabun province for a few nights camping in Nam Nao Nat Pk.

Around the campsite area they logged 22 species they best of which were:-

1 Crested Serpent Eagle

1 Orange-breasted Trogon

1 Greater Flameback

1 Greater Yellownape

8 Red-billed Blue Magpies

2 Sultan Tits 

5 Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrushes

16 White-crested Laughingthrushes

1 Blue Rock-Thrush (photo)

1 Collared Scops Owl (heard only)

22/01/2021 - An early start and Pen scored with an excellent find in the form of a juvenile Changeable Hawk-Eagle perched up in a tree tearing apart a prey item and which allowed a quite close approach and some decent photo opportunities.

23 species were seen before the two hour session came to an end with the onset of heavy rain:-

1 Red-headed Trogon

2 Oriental Pied Hornbills

1 Blue-throated Barbet

4 Greater Flamebacks

1 Common Green Magpie

3 Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrushes (photos)

15 White-Crested Laughingthrushes (photos)

1 Black-throated Sunbird

Later the rain having abated at 10.30 another hour long session added:-

1 Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker

4 Great Slaty Woodpeckers (a distant record shot of a male)

1 Grey-headed Woodpecker (heard only)

2 Black-hooded Orioles.

Later (prior to leaving) they logged 2 Grey Treepies and Paul wandering on a quiet trail close to the park HQ found a major prize scratching on the forest floor - a Dark-sided Thrush which he studied for quite a while and obtained some decent photos. This is classed as an uncommon resident in Thailand and is a species which I have yet to see anywhere. The Great Slaty Woodpeckers were also a very nice find though we knew beforehand that they were in the area.
Great Slaty is of course by a small margin generally regarded as the largest living woodpecker species and is one of only three species in the Mulleripicus genus along with the smaller Sooty Woodpecker and Ashy Woodpecker each of which can be readily seen on Luzon (Philippines) and on Sulawesi (Indonesia) respectively.

In summary a successful though short trip with 8/9 additions to Pauls Thai list With a selection of photos attached.

Cheers,

Mike P.

 

 

 

 



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21/01/2022 Friday - Khlong Pla Kuhn Roí Et province.

A phone call from Paul Farrell on Thursday saw PP over here to twitch a small party of uncommon winter visitors and first records for Roí Et. Whilst travelling westward home from Kut Chum PF checked out this lake site and discovered three Northern Shovelers keeping company with an assortment of commoner waterfowl.

PP refound two of the Shovelers along with:

10 Cotton Pygmy Geese

30 Indian Spot-billed Ducks

10 Northern Pintails,

6 Little Grebes.

Cheers,

Mike P.

 



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Sunday 23rd of January 2022 12:07:01 PM

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20/01/2022 - Attached are two more shots of the male Fujian Niltava taken this morning by Paul Farrell.

These both show the intensity of the breast colouration fading towards the lower breast and belly and one at a better angle to show the lack of rich blue on the lesser coverts/shoulder (this not to be confused of course with the blue flash at the base of the side neck generally shown by virtually all niltavas).

Cheers,

Mike P.



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19/01/2022 - 20/01/2022 - Ban Nom Klao/Boong Khla Community Forest - Yasothon

Back in the NE Paul teamed up again with Paul Farrell for further attempts for the latter to see the Fujian Niltava as well as to see what other new site and province additions might be found here at Boong Khla.

On 19th they managed 25 species and pleasingly refound and photographed the Niltava. The pick of the rest being:-

2 Grey-eyed Bulbuls

1 Claudias Leaf Warbler (new species for Yasothon)

1 White-throated Rock-Thrush

4 Van Hasselts Sunbirds (new species for Yasothon photographed)

1 Little Spiderhunter (new species for Yasothon)

1 Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker

On 20th they recorded 31 species taking the site list to 82 and the province list now to 207:-

1 Black-winged Cuckoo-Shrike

1 Great Iora

4 Grey-eyed Bulbuls

4 Abbotts Babblers

1 Fujian Niltava (same male bird - photographed again)

8 (!) Siberian Blue Robins

9 (!) Van Hasselts Sunbirds

According to Paul Farrell these resident Van Hasselts Sunbirds are the northernmost recorded in Thailand. My old Thai fieldguide had these as Purple-throated Sunbird. The   new fieldguide gives an alternative name for them of Maroon-bellied Sunbird (Leptocoma brasiliana) or Purple-throated Sunbird when lumped with Leptocoma sperata of the Philippines, where there exist 4 subspecies of Purple-throated on various islands (which may or may not be split further!).
All this partly explains why I really have no clear idea how many species I have ever seen and why in my old age I have insufficient interest (or time left) to be fussing over numbers. I hope sometime to catch up with these for my Thai list as for sure I have never seen either form before in Thailand.

Best Wishes,

Mike P.

 

 

 

 



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18/01/2021 - Suan Luang Rama 1X. Park (Bangkok).

With Paul and Pen spending a couple of days in Bangkok this morning Paul took the opportunity before the long drive back up to Kut Chum to check out the local park which is just a twenty minute walk from their home. The park (which is named in honour of King Rama 1X) is surprisingly birdy with a total list of 166 species including some excellent species recorded mainly on passage in April and September/October.
A favourite section for me is the extensive reed fringed pool normally patrolled by cruising rather large fearsome Monitor Lizards and pleasingly with a winding boardwalk through the centre ideal for scrutinising assorted Egrets Night Herons and Yellow Bitterns always hoping in particular for scarcer Crakes or Malaysian Night Heron (which has occurred here but which would be a new species for me).

I have birded this park on three brief visits previously and never during the main migration periods and so have a quite modest list for the site of only 39 species mainly comprising the usual culprits which are seemingly always present but it does rather act as a nice starting point for my ultimate trip list and I still feel a buzz of expectation upon entering the park in the hope of finding something new.

This morning Paul logged 34 species the best being:-

1 Black-capped Kingfisher

3 Blue-tailed Bee-eaters

1 Indochinese Roller

4 Small Minivets

4 Black-naped Orioles

Regards,

Mike P.

 

 



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Tuesday 18th of January 2022 07:06:50 PM

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12/01/2022 - Boong Khla Community Forest, Yasothon.

Paul was back here on site again in what seems to be arguably the best forest area he has so far discovered in the province. I suspect part of the attraction is a wish to see if the Fujian Niltava is actually overwintering here so that others might get to see it.

Among 30 species the pick comprised the following:-

1 Black Baza (a province first - record shot obtained)

1 Crested Serpent Eagle

several Lineated Barbets with more heard

2 Coppersmith Barbets

1 Indochinese Roller

 3 Green Bee-eaters

6 Puff-throated Babblers

4 Abbotts Babblers

4 Pin-striped Tit Babblers

4 Hainan Blue Flycatchers

1 Indochinese Blue Flycatcher

6 Siberian Blue Robins (4 seen 2 heard- record shot attached)

1 White-throated Rock-Thrush

I dont know the extent of the forest here but the number of Sib. Blue Robins seemingly wintering here is quite impressive and Paul is now picking them up on their distinctive clicking calls (with which I myself am not at all familiar).

The bird depicted appears to me to be a first winter male in view of the extent of blue showing in the plumage.

Cheers,

Mike P.

 

 

 



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10/01/2022 - Ban Nom Khao - Boong Khla Community Forest  (Yasothon)

A morning start saw Paul back birding this ever productive new site (effectively his site as no other birder has ever visited here before). Among a fair selection of the usual species he found four Puff-throated Bulbuls, a single Abbotts Babbler and three Siberian Blue Robins before being stopped in his tracks at 11.20 by a Niltava species.
This bird tended to hug the shade of the forest trees and foliage but he did manage very good views before obtaining some supporting record shots after a further twenty five minutes. The bird was obviously either Rufous-bellied Niltava or the rarer Fujian Niltava, and his thoughts gradually turned to the latter option as he could detect no blue shoulder flash on the lesser coverts, also the breast colouration faded paler towards the belly and vent. Apparently in Rufous-bellied Niltava (of which I have no personal experience) the breast colour is of the same intensity through to the vent and the blue flash on the lesser covert/shoulder is prominent and complements the blue lateral flash that both species show on the lower neck sides.

Paul Farrell drove over from Khon Kaen to assist in the i/d and although he didnt arrive until late afternoon managed to obtain vocal response to playback but didnt manage to actually see the bird himself.

PF stayed over at Pauls and an attempt to see the bird on the next morning (yesterday) failed to produce a sighting due to the windy conditions though calls were heard and a sonogram was made in order to support Pauls initial identification.

The rarity reviewers confirmed the record this morning which is gratifying as apparently only twelve people have ever seen Fujian Niltava in Thailand and it amounts to Pauls best find to date in the country.

Almost overlooked in the excitement was another first for Yasothon Province - a juvenile Crested Serpent Eagle (also on 10/01/2022) at the same location, - photo attached.

The photo of the Fujian Niltava shows the bird front on so unfortunately the presence/absence of a shoulder patch cannot be assessed from this though the fading of the underparts towards the vent is apparent (though this could be interpreted as an effect of the light). What is obvious is the solid blue of the throat (which eliminates Vivid Niltava) and the thin blue streaks on both sides of the neck. The sonogram evidence and Pauls visual description thus carried the day.

Regards,

Mike P.



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