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Thailand Diary


07/01/2022 - Nong Khai Wild Plant Conservation Centre.

An early session here on their last morning produced 29 species, the pick of the bunch being:-

1 Claudias Leaf Warbler

2 White-browed Scimitar-Babblers (heard)

4 Rufous-fronted Babblers

2 Buff-breasted Babblers

1 Siberian Blue Robin

Additionally PF had 2 Purple-naped Sunbirds and a view of a Bamboo Woodpecker.

This latter species is closely related to Pale-headed Woodpecker which is found just to the north in Laos but not for certain in Thailand which has a record of a likely hybrid in the north west, so all sightings of either species in this area warrant close scrutiny.

PP recorded 113 species in new territory for him in Nong Khai Province and a few further additions among his 38 in Loei, so perhaps was close to 115/120 for the road trip as a whole with a scatter of lifers - the best of which were surely the Jerdons Bushchats.

We should dearly love to get back over there to do some serious catching up.

Best Wishes,

Mike P.

 

 

 



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Monday 10th of January 2022 10:02:32 AM



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Monday 10th of January 2022 10:02:53 AM



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Monday 10th of January 2022 10:04:14 AM

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06/01/2022 - Nong Khai wild plant conservation centre - Nong Khai Province.

An early start at this site produced 36 species, the best being:-

1 Oriental Honey Buzzard

1 Crested Serpent Eagle

2 White-browed Piculets

1 Blyths Paradise Flycatcher

1 (provisionally) silent Alstroms Warbler

2 Claudias Leaf Warblers

3 Yellow-bellied Warblers

2 Rufous-fronted Babblers

Additionally PF heard 3 Bamboo type Woodpeckers, 2 Purple-napped Sunbirds and 1 Martens/Alstroms/ Bianchis Warbler.

This latter merits some explanation:-

In former (easier!) times my old fieldguide shows Golden-spectacled Warbler (Seicercus burkii) two subspecies of which I saw in China some twenty years ago.

Now in Thailands new guide not only has this been split into four species (Alstroms, Bianchis, Martens and Grey-crowned) but the lot have been shifted into the Phylloscopus genus (God knows why as they look nothing like!)

The only constant reliable physical feature being that while all four have conspicuous eye-rings, in Grey-crowned there is a tiny break in the rear of the eye-ring, otherwise extent of lateral crown strips and strength of wing bars is subject to overlap. Needless to say there is some difference in vocals, but I do not really relish ever bumping into one on my own.

Later at the same site the guys had 3 Blue-bearded Bee-eater, 2 White-browed Piculets and 3 Buff- breasted Babblers.

Regards,

Mike P.

 

 

 

 



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05/01/2022 - Mekong Channel near Pakchom Nam Chom sandbars, Loei Province.

A total of 30 species were eventually logged here after initially failing to find Jerdons Bushchat at the expected locations. However a later search today yielded 5 male and 2 female Jerdons Bushchats along with the pick of the rest- these being a River Lapwing and a Thick-billed Warbler.

Moving on east at mid day into Nong Khai to the Nong I Laeng wetlands they logged 75 species - notable amongst these were 10 wader species (including 50 Grey-headed Wagtails) and 9 Heron species and a roost of 500 Large-billed Crows, 4 Chestnut-capped Babblers, a pre-roost gathering of 2000 Great Mynas, a single Indochinese Blue Flycatcher ( previously treated as a form of Tickells Blue Flycatcher) 1 Siberian Rubythroat, and 6 Red Avadavats.

Photos attached of Jerdons Bushchat (male & female- record shots), Indochinese Blue Flycatcher, and Chestnut- capped Babbler.

Regards,

Mike P.



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03/01/2022  Kang Lawa - Khon Kaen Province

Attached is a photo of one of the Yellow-breasted Buntings photographed by Paul together with an Eastern Yellow Wagtail supposedly of the form macronyx (aka Mongolian Wagtail in the Thai fieldguide). I have seen this form in Thailand and mentioned previously on this thread that I could see no difference between macronyx and the thunbergi form of Grey-headed Wagtail, both having darker grey ear coverts and cheeks than the rest of the head and all yellow throats;- again any opinions please would be welcomed.

Regards,

Mike P.



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03/01/2022 - Kaeng Lawa (Khon Kaen Province) 06.10

A 3 am start saw Paul arrive to meet up with Paul Farrell in the latters home province where they chalked up a respectable total of 54 species at this prime (but very extensive) site as an appetiser for their road trip north.

The range of species mirrored what is available in Yasothon but in greater numbers throughout with the exception of one additional species which was a lifer for PP - 30 Yellow-breasted Buntings.

They then headed off north into a new province for PP - Loei (which is bounded on the north side by the Mekong River) and a quick reconnaissance of the river channel near Pakchom overlooking the Huai Khon sandbars turned up 19 common species the main feature being big numbers of Red-throated Pipits and more Yellow-breasted Buntings.

The last available daylight was spent quickly logging 15 common species scanning the Sai Thong sandbars still near Pakchon but now within Nong Khai Province. The best of these being 6 Kentish Plovers 12 Little Ringed Plovers 1 Common Sandpiper and a single Grey Bushchat (this latter almost certainly for PP his first in the Isaan region).

Regards,

Mike P.

 

 



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Tuesday 4th of January 2022 07:22:26 PM

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01/01/2022 Saturday Kut Chum Yasothon

Late morning saw Paul taking fish out of the lower rice field pond when an Eastern Marsh Harrier appeared quartering the rice fields before drifting off over the trees - a nice addition to the garden/farm list to start the new year

02/01/2022 Sunday morning - Way Pa Ban Na Mon Tambon Kut Chum, Yasothon.

Paul logged 12 common species at this local site - 1 each of Spotted Dove Greater Coucal Ashy Drongo Yellow-browed Warbler Asian Brown Flycatcher White-rumped Shama, 2 of Black-naped Monarchs Large-billed Crows Puff-throated Babblers Hainan Blue Flycatchers (photo attached) 3 Pin-striped Tit-Babblers, and 4 Grey-headed Canary Flycatchers.

Tomorrow he is set for an early start on a four day outing with Paul Farrell heading to Isaans northernmost province Nong Khai which is entirely new ground for him. This province straddles the Mekong river for hundreds of kilometres (east to west) - the river forming the northern border of Thailand with Laos as of course it does in the east of Isaan where the river cuts due south. I dont know if the guys are just exploring and year listing or if they have any specific targets in mind, but there is within Nong Khai a site for the scarce Jerdons Bushchat

Regards,

Mike P.

 

 



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27/12/2021 Monday - Kham Toei paddies- Tambon Kham Toei, Yasothon.

A ten minute stop here yielded 9 species. Pauls prime purpose was to more precisely locate an egret roost in the hope of picking out a Night Heron which would be a new species for the province. Instead he noted a distant perched shrike which fortuitously turned out to be a fine Burmese Shrike - a species which he has recorded in several adjacent provinces but not previously in Yasothon thereby bringing up the Yasothon list to 200 rather sooner than we might have expected.

Other species comprised:-

100 Little Egrets

4 Green Bee-eaters

 30 Ashy Woodswallows

15 Barn Swallows

2 Pied Bushchats

5 House Sparrows

40 Plain-backed Sparrows

15 Tree Sparrows

Cheers,

Mike P.

 



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Yesterdays Oriental Honey Buzzard was species no.199 for the Yasothon Province list, of which Paul has now seen 191, - I myself for comparison - a mere 92.
It would be perhaps a fitting reward for his recording efforts if he could crack 200 for the year end?

Attached is a record shot of of this latest raptor addition.

Regards,

Mike P.



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25/12/2021 Christmas Day - Phon Ngam & Dong Por Community Forests - Loob Nong Nor reservoir Yasothon

Paul returned to this site this morning in an attempt to relocate yesterdays Little Buntings but it was a no show from them.

In addition to 29 regular common species he found a perched Oriental Honey Buzzard and at last one of his overdue target birds - a Ruddy-breasted Crake which flushed almost from his feet in the rank waterside grass.

Cheers,

Mike P.



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24/12/2021 Christmas Eve!

Phon Ngam & Dong Por Community Forests - Loob Nong Nor Reservoir - Yasothon.

Out this morning Paul birded only the lake shore section and the forest edge. The site is not far from Kut Chum where he lives and this was roughly his fourth visit. Within a total of 26 species (mainly the usual suspects) he found his Christmas present in the shape of four Little Buntings - not just a new species for the province but for the whole of Isaan region.  I myself and Paul Farrell independently confirmed his identification as did (more importantly) Ayuwat Jearwattananakok the Thai regional reviewer. Apparently this has triggered wider interest and he may have a twitch on his hands!

Very Best Wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy 2022 to all in the GM birding community, - (and if that Kingfisher moves say 15 miles S/E that really would be something).

Mike & Barbara 

 



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21/12/2021 - Phu Si Than Wildlife Sanctuary - Mukdahan Province.

Paul Farrell drove over from Khon Kaen to team up with our Paul for some birding at a site new to the latter and they got under way at Ranger station 9 with an initial 15 species:-

1 Oriental Honey Buzzard

4 Green Bee-eaters

4 Common Flamebacks

7 Black-headed Woodpeckers

5 Greater Racket-tailed Drongos

5 Eurasian Jays (white-headed form)

3 Large-billed Crows

4 Grey-headed Canary Flycatchers

5 Rufescent Prinias

2 Raddes Warblers

3 Pin-striped Tit-Babblers

2 Puff-throated Babblers

2 Velvet-fronted Nuthatches

2 Asian Brown Flycatchers

2 Taiga Flycatchers

Still within the sanctuary they moved on to Ta Poe:-

2 Brahminy Kites

50 Barn Swallows

2 Red-rumped Swallows

5 Common House Martins (these eastern birds were of the race lagopodum and were the first records ever for the Isaan region and the find of the day and the photos by Paul Farrell have already been scrutinised by the rarity panel and accepted thereby causing quite a stir).

Final site at Poom Nam Kham:-

1 Oriental Honey Buzzard

1 Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher

1 Eastern Crowned Warbler

2 Asian Brown Flycatchers

1 Taiga Flycatcher

2 Ruby-cheeked Sunbirds

1 Olive-backed Sunbird

Cheers,

Mike P.

 

 

 

 

 



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19/12/2021 Sunday morning - Phon Ngam & Dong Por Community Forest - Wat Phu Mak Prik Yasothon.

Back on home ground Paul recorded 9 species here the best of which was a female Siberian Blue Robin with two others heard in close proximity.

Moving on to Dong Por & Dong Bang Ee Community Forest and the Khok Yai Reservoir the best additional species were 10 Indian Spot-billed Ducks and for him a record high count of 42 Little Grebes keeping close order. In addition were a single Lesser Coucal an Oriental Darter 8 Amur Stonechats and a perched Osprey amid a support cast of the usual more common species.

20/12/2021 Monday - Chaeng Sanit Road plus an unknown road at Tambon Doet. Also still in Yasothon.

35 species - the best of which were:-

9 Grey-headed Lapwings 

8 Wood Sandpipers

1 Green Sandpiper (1st record and 20th wader species for Yasothon Province)

2 Great Egrets

15 Little Egrets

4 Chinese Pond-Herons

Most of these were flushed shortly after by the arrival of the farmer. One is left to wonder just what does go under the radar in some of these good paddyfield habitats during peak wader migration times? Quite a few common waders remain yet to be found in Yasothon (such as Redshank, Red-necked Stint, Ruff, Curlew Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Bar-tailed Godwit Grey Plover Sanderling and Broad-billed Sandpiper to name but a few).

Regards,

Mike P.



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18/12/2021 - Saturday - Kaeng Lawa ( general area) Khon Kaen.

After an overnight stay Paul and Pen enjoyed an hour and a half birding part of this huge lake area before leaving on the 3 hour drive back home to Yasothon, logging 45 species of which 5 were additions to their personal lists for this province. Though they saw very little which they had not previously recorded in Yasothon the numbers here were in greater concentrations than normally the case on their home patches apart from a couple of Red Avadavats and 2 Asian Pied Starlings which are oddly scarce in Yasothon.

Kaeng Lawa in winter plays host to large numbers of Yellow-breasted Buntings of which they saw not a sign (mainly due to time constraints lack of detailed knowledge and the size of the area) though doubtless with some advice from the resident birders here tracking down these birds as well as Black-faced Buntings should not be too difficult for a future return trip.

Regards,

Mike P.



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Sunday 19th of December 2021 02:15:00 PM

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Friday 17/12/2021 - Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen Province.

Paul and Pen drove 3 hours west to rendezvous with Paul Farrell on his home turf. We first met Paul up in Chiang Mai on our last visit and quite apart from being impressed by his fluency in Thai we found it noteworthy that we were all (apart of course from Pen) displaced Mancunians. 
A session around the site with Paul Farrell yielded 34 species including the usual assorted common pigeons doves sparrows and munías :-

6 Lesser Whistling Duck

40 Little Grebe

3 Germains Swiftlets

7 Moorhen

2 White-breasted Waterhen

2 Pin-tailed Snipe

4 Common Sandpipers

4 Little Egret

5 Cattle Egret

9 Chinese Pond Heron

1 Black-winged Kite

2 Common Kingfisher

7 Green- Bee-eater

1 Indochinese Roller

6 Ashy Woodswallow

2 Malaysian Pied Fantail

6 Black Drongo

2 Brown Shrike

1 Large-billed Crow

2 Plain Prinia

1 Oriental Reed Warbler

200+ Barn Swallow

1 Streak-eared Bulbul

4 Common Myna

5 Amur Stonechat

18 Amur Wagtail

1 Citrine Wagtail (= lifer for Paul and Pen).

5 Paddyfield Pipits

Moving on to another part of the campus complex (Rom Khao Kallapaphruek Park)

They logged a few more species:-

1 Ashy Drongo

1 Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher

1 Rufous-tailed Robin (lifer)

This latter was one of the main reasons for their visit. A small blind had been set up close by the forest edge with a small receptacle full of water provided and the Robin was making periodic visits to both bathe and drink so an approx. half hour stay provided several close views and photos which may be forthcoming soon.

The male Japanese Thrush had not been seen for about a week or so.

Regards,

Mike P.

 

 

 

 



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16/12/2021 Thursday - Nong Lom Noi area Mukdahan Province

This morning Paul headed east into this adjacent rather neglected province for some birding along the Mekong shoreline.

He found the river level rather lower than usual revealing more sandbars. Among 26 common species he found surprisingly few waders - just 1 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Common Sandpipers and 2 Green Sandpipers (these latter were however first records for Mukdahan province). Other species of note were 300 Barn Swallows evenly perched along overhead telegraph wires and 8 Wire-tailed Swallows.

The best of the rest were 5 Olive-backed Pipits - one of which offered a decent photo opportunity. My first ever of these tail bobbing beauties was way back in about 1980 on Tresco and I always recall that first bird whenever I have seen them subsequently.

Regards,

Mike P.

 

 

 



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15/12/2021 Wednesday -Pha Nam Yoi Forest Park - Roí Et Province.

Paul Pen and Art with friends up from Bangkok visited this site this morning primarily to show their visitors the impressive (though modern) large temple complex which we first visited in 2017. The temple stands high above the forest canopy and in the early morning affords stunning views of the surrounding forest and looks very birdy.

We have found it to be a banker site for Blue Rock-Thrush which normally is to be seen on the spires and roof of the buildings as well as being good for the commoner House Swifts.

After enjoying the interior of the complex Paul and Pen had a brief walk along the forest edge and met with a fine male White-throated Rock-Thrush and managed a few decent photos with which to gently tease me.

Of the ten species in the monticola genus this bird is one of the two which has eluded me and is an uncommon winter visitor and passage migrant through Thailand so I live in hope to catch up with it if and when I can ever return! (The other species is Miombo Rock-Thrush of central Africa which sadly for it has long ago missed its chance to get onto my life list).

Best Wishes,

Mike P.



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10/12/21 Friday - Ban Nom Khlao/Boong Khla Community Forest -Yasothon

Out birding this usually good site with stepson Kasiwat (aka Art) Pauls attention was drawn to two smallish larks by Art on the edge of the rice fields just before the entrance to the forest. One bird flew to join the other showing white outer tail feathers and so were well studied and seen to be Australasian Bushlarks before both flew off again showing white outer tail feathers: - a further new species for Yasothon which Paul could so easily have overlooked as Indochinese Bushlarks.

These proved to be the highlight of the visit as there were no mixed flocks and surprisingly nothing much in the way of flycatchers- the best of 24 total species being 2 Yellow-browed Warblers, a Pale-legged Leaf Warbler and two Abbotts Babblers.

13/12/21 Monday - Bueng Búa Park and Chang Reservoir - Ubon Ratchathani

A morning visit here produced 34 quite common species to boost Pauls personal list for this most s/easterly Thailand province to 139 species: -

200 Lesser Whistling-Ducks

8 Cotton Pygmy Geese

(3 common dove species)

2 Greater Coucals

15 Grey-headed Swamphens

2 Purple Herons

2 Little Egrets

8 Chinese Pond Herons

1 Rufous-winged Buzzard

3 Brahminy Kites

15 Green Bee-Eaters

1 Oriental Reed Warbler

1 Yellow-browed Warbler

1 Raddes Warbler

2 Dusky Warblers

3 Plain Prinias

1 Asian Brown Flycatcher

3 Taiga Flycatchers

1 Amur Stonechat

4 Pied Bushchats

(+ usual munías and sparrows)

Later - Mae Nam Song See viewpoint (Two Colour River) - 15 species at this new site inc. 1 Osprey and 8 Wire-tailed Swallows.

Meanwhile over to the west in Khon Kaen Province two winter rarities are presently the star attraction being well seen and photographed in the grounds of the university by Supaporn Teamwong the top lister for that province;- a fine male Japanese Thrush and a species we should dearly like to find in Durham - a Rufous-tailed Robin.

Best Wishes,

Mike P.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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Paul has posted rather better shots of the female Amur Falcon and I think that the rather buffy whitish tips to the mantle and scapulars make it a first winter bird but this is a first for Paul and my experience is very limited (not having seen one of these since 2001) so my attempt at ageing this is tentative.

Regards,

Mike P.

 



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05/12/2021 Phu Pha Yon Nat. Pk.(Kaeng Pho Waterfall) Mukdahan Province.

Paul and Pen recorded 17 species here to lift his personal list for this neighbouring province to 100 species. Pick of these were:-

1 Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (a first record for the province), 3 Velvet-fronted Nuthatches, 1 Asian Brown Flycatcher, 1 male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher (presumably a late passage migrant) and 3 Taiga Flycatchers.

Two days later on 07/12/2021 they set off for pastures new some 200 Kms. nw into Udon Thani province by Nong Han Kumphawapi Lake (also known as Red Lotus Lake) where they chalked up 44 species:-

Apart from 7 assorted common heron species, and some 80 Grey-headed Swamphens, most notable were 4 White-throated Kingfishers, 8 Amur Stonechats, a Burmese Shrike and a standout bird - a late passage female type plumaged Amur Falcon - a lifer for the pair of them. Record shots of one of the previously mentioned Nuthatches and of the Falcon are attached with the latter clearly showing the diagnostic transverse barring on rear flanks.

Regards,

Mike P.



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01/12/2021 (Wednesday) Phon Phun Suk rice paddies - Yasothon

This is an other site which seems to be new and in respect of which I can trace no previous mention.

As the rice harvest is now over it would appear that suitable fields are less prone now to disturbance with more waders and egrets about.

Pauls visit was rewarded with a province first record in the shape of a long overdue Spotted Redshank keeping loose company with 2 Marsh Sandpipers, 2 Wood Sandpipers, and 12 Little Ringed Plovers.

Within a total species count of 25 were good numbers of egrets :- 80 Little Egrets (2 groups of 40+ in adjoining fields) 60 Cattle Egrets, (all separate in a different field), 6 Chinese Pond Herons, 1 Great Egret.

I always think of Spotted Redshank as a Rolls Royce Redshank as (with no disrespect to Redshanks) it just strikes me as having a certain elegance and charisma lacking in its commoner cousin.

Regards,

Mike P.



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26/11/2021 - Ban Nom Khao/Boong Khla Community Forest -Yasothon

2 hours spent birding here this morning produced 20 species, the best of which were:-

1 Dollarbird

1 Black-naped Oriole

15 (!) Grey-headed Canary Flycatchers

1 Hainan Blue Flycatcher

2 Verditer Flycatchers

1 Siberian Blue Robin

1 Mugimaki Flycatcher (a female and new for Yasothon Province)

2 White-rumped Shamas

Pauls Yasothon list is now twice my own at 184 species (the full province list is now at 193 (or 194).

Will I ever get back there to do some catching up??

Cheers,

Mike P.

 

 

 



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26/11/2021 Loeng Nok Tha airport, Yasothon

- Just a couple of incidental records at this site from Paul- 12 Red-throated Pipits and approx 30 Striated Swallows.

Cheers,

Mike P.



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I neglected earlier to attach a few of the photos from last weeks Ubon trip.

Attached are the two raptors (the Shikra and one of the Rufous-winged Buzzards) which were hanging round very close to the camp site, and one of the three Orange-breasted Trogons which along with the Banded Broadbill and the tentative Alstroms Warbler and a Van Hasselts Sunbird were the choice species of this particular trip.

Cheers,

Mike P.



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17/11/21 - 19/11/21  Phu Chong Na Yoi National Pk. Ubon Ratchathani Province.

Paul and Pen journeyed south from Kutchum to spend two nights camping in this national park situated in the extreme S/E corner of Thailand (just north of Cambodia and east of Laos). They arrived late afternoon pitched their tent whilst noting a few common species with two Rufous-winged Buzzards perched close by.

There followed a night of intermittent discomfort from bites of some kind explained early the next morning by the realisation that they had pitched up directly over an ants nest.
Birding various locations within the park they logged the same Rufous-winged Buzzard a perched Shikra, 3 Orange-breasted Trogons, 5 Yellow-browed Warblers 3 White-throated Rock-Thrushes 1 Van Hasselts Sunbird. (This latter now seems to be a split from Purple-throated Sunbird of the N.Philippines). Moving on they logged 1 Brown-throated Sunbird and 1 Yellow-vented Flowerpecker. The next location yielded 3 White-bellied Erpornis 1 Great Iora 2 more Yellow-browed Warblers and 2 Pin-striped Tit-Babblers a party of 15 Vernal Hanging Parrots and 2 Scarlet-backed Flowerpeckers. 
The highlight of the 19th was Pen finding a Banded Broadbill (a new species for her). New trip birds were Taiga Flycatchers, White-rumped Shamas Green-eared and Lineated Barbets several Grey-headed Canary Flycatchers and two Black-napes Orioles and an Alstroms Warbler. This latter species was provisionally identified mainly on range but is a notoriously hard bird to call on plumage as it is now split from 3/4 other similar species of the Golden-spectacled group (seicercus genus) and now finds itself included within phylloscopus - though it looks nothing like one!

One species which got away was a large owl which flushed ahead of them which Paul felt could have been a Brown Fish-Owl but left it unidentified. Apart from other common species they had an Emerald Dove on the road and an Olive-backed Pipit which surprisingly appears to be new for the province. Paul added 23 species to his own province list and will return for sure as this corner of Thailand does play host to a clutch of rarities hard to find in other parts of Thailand.

Regards,

Mike P.



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Monday 15/11/21 KutChum - Yasothon

A nice surprise yesterday for Paul as he was pottering about in the garden was a female/immature Blue Rockthrush perched on the roof- a local patch tick (no. 101) .

Best Wishes,

Mike P.

 



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06/11/21 and 07/11/21 - Phon Noam/Dong Por Community Forest - Yat Phu Mak Prik, Yasothon

Paul explored this new site for the first time yesterday and recorded 30 species (with 4 more additions this morning).

Apparently the site comprises a forested hill with a convenient approach road, and he stopped the car en route yesterday and clicked off a few shots of a distant small raptor which he had spotted and assumed that this would likely be a Shikra.

It was only later when checking his photos that he realised that the bird was in fact a Eurasian Kestrel, new for the Province list and another Thailand lifer for him.

Other than the Kestrel the pick of the rest were :

1 White-browed Piculet (in with a mixed flock of babblers, warblers and canary-flycatchers)

1 female Blyths Paradise-Flycatcher

2 Grey-breasted Prinias

1 Yellow-browed Warbler

8 Pin-striped Tit-Babblers

2 Puff-throated Bulbuls

1 Hainan Blue-Flycatcher

3 Indochinese Blue-Flycatchers

1 Blue Rock-Thrush

This mornings best additions were:

1 Rufous-winged Buzzard

4 Stripe-throated Bulbuls

3 White-rumped Shamas

Best Wishes,

Mike P.

 

 

 



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Sunday 7th of November 2021 02:14:22 PM

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Thursday 04/11/21 -Dong Por/Dong Bang Ee Community Forests- Khok Yai Reservoir.

Paul started exploring this site in April of this year and is the only birder (as far as he is aware) to have recorded any bird species. Certainly I have never been there and look forward to exploring this and many of his other new sites when possible.

His 13 visits have yielded 74 species including two new additions this morning in the shape of an Ashy Drongo and more importantly for him a Peregrine Falcon- an addition to his Thailand life list.
The bird was perched on a tree growing out of the water and it took some patient stalking through the trees to get close enough for a photo. He had to ignore several warblers and Prinia species en route.

Cheers,

Mike P.



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29/10/21 Ban Nom Khao/Boong Khla Community Forest Yasothon.

A 4 hour 5 Km. walk this morning was very productive with 34 species seen with many heard only.

The best were:

1 Green- billed Malkoha

1 Shikra

1 Asian barred Owlet

4 Green Bee-Eater

1 Lineated Barbet (many more heard).

1 Blue-winged Pitta (seemingly a late bird as these winter further south)

5 Ashy Minivet

1 Black Drongo

1 Ashy Drongo

6 Greater Racket-tailed Drongo

1 Black-naped Monarch

1 (male) Blyths Paradise Flycatcher

1 Brown Shrike

7 Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher

3 Common Tailerbird

2 Dark-necked Tailerbird

2 Barn Swallow

2 Black-crested Bulbul

2 Puff-throated Bulbul

2 Yellow-browed Warbler

1 Two-barred Greenish Warbler

5 Pin-striped Tit-Babbler

1 Puff-throated Babbler

4 Abbotts Babbler

5 White-rumped Shama

4 Hainan Blue Flycatcher

3 Siberian Blue Robin (inc. 1 adult male)

2 Amur Stonechat

2 Brown-throated Sunbird

1 White Wagtail (leucopsis)

Recent additions to the province list have been a long awaited Pied Harrier (22/10/21) and a Grey wagtail which Paul only noticed perched on wires in the background of one of his record shots of the odd White Wagtail from yesterday!

Best Wishes,

Mike P.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Friday 29th of October 2021 02:33:01 PM

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28/10/21 Thursday - Tambon Hong Saeng - a roadside stop, Yasothon

Yesterday Paul photographed an interesting alba wagtail showing a seemingly odd combination of characters over which we are both puzzling.

In terms of identification the head pattern appears to rule out everything apart from M.alba leucopsis and M. alba baikalensis (both of which breed in Siberia and winter widely in Thailand). On the face of things this bird appears to show in part the grey mantle of baikalensis admixed towards the scapulars with the black of leucopsis. The greatly reduced black gorget is simply a feature of winter plumage. 
We are wondering if this is a hybrid of the two forms or could this bird simply be a juvenile male of leucopsis showing the moult from a grey juvenile mantle into adult black? In which case why would the grey of the mantle be so pale?

Neither of us have any experience of M. baikalensis nor in my case any experience of juvenile leucopsis so any thoughts from any of you with Asian encounters with either of these would be welcome.

I am attaching a photo of the famous first western palearctic record of the Durham breeding male leucopsis from April 2005 as a reference point and one of Pauls bird from yesterday.

Regards,

Mike P.

 

 

 



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25/10/21 - Back in Yasothon - Phue Hi

This morning Paul had a short 35 min. scout round this small local forest patch. 8 species noted included a couple of Black-naped Monarchs, a single White-rumped Shama, 2 Yellow-browed Warblers, the first returning Raddes    
Warbler of the autumn, a Hainan Blue Flycatcher and 2 Grey- headed Canary-Flycatchers.

This latter bird is a common resident in this region whose numbers are augmented over the winter. Raddes Warbler is of course very familiar to most active birders in Britain and is a regular vagrant at coastal sites in late autumn though rarely found inland in Britain. In both the U.K. and in Thailand I have never seen one perched higher than at chest level and certainly in Thailand where it is common in winter I often find them initially on call (to my ear - a rather throaty Tuc note regularly repeated). They like to forage low down through rank grass or low shrubs in a laboured style sometimes as if dragging their tail which often appears as if a bit loose.

Paul managed a couple of photos of this mornings Raddes on the same perch which if seen together portrays the bird quite well - (pity about the blade of hanging grass).

Regards,

Mike P.



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Monday 25th of October 2021 02:11:19 PM

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A correction is due to my comments of 12/10/21 when discussing Indochinese Blue Flycatcher. I wrongly stated that it was formerly known as Hill Blue Flycatcher. This is not the case and both these closely related species remain as sympatric common residents in Thailand, with Hill Blue having a weaker demarcation between the orange of the breast and the white of the belly, orange extending further down the flanks and with a longer primary projection than shown by Indochinese. What I should have said is that Indochinese Blue Flycatcher was formerly considered as conspecific with Tickells Blue Flycatcher (and was depicted as such in the old Thai fieldguide). Tickells is now treated as extralimital and found on the Indian subcontinent (where it is of course also common).

On the subject of splits and taxonomic changes, attached is a photo taken yesterday at the Yasothon Pools site of an Indochinese Roller - Coracias affinis (formerly lumped under Indian Roller - Coracias benghalensis) showing its darker more purplish cheeks and breast.

Regards,

Mike P.



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22/10/21 - Nakhon Phanom town - river sandbars 7 am

On this their last morning birding session Paul and Pen logged 39 species - the most interesting being: -

1 Oriental Turtle Dove

2 Little Ringed Plover

6 Kentish Plover

3 Common Sandpiper,

1 Green Sandpiper (a long overdue target for their Isaan activities)

1 Pied Harrier

20 Green Bee-eater

1 Thick-billed Warbler (heard)

1 Black- browed Reed Warbler

1 Wire-tailed Swallow

4 Amur Stonechat

1 Common Iora

2 Indo-Chinese Bushlark

They also recorded a scatter of Red-Whiskered Bulbuls at an undisclosed site. Those of you with Asian birding experience will of course regard this species as generally abundant and hardly worth a mention and in southern parts of Thailand this is indeed the case. However in the Isaan region this bird is much sought after to be kept as a cage bird on account of its gaudy plumage (I assume) so birders are urged to suppress all locations.Pauls list for the province is now on 68, with about half a dozen of these new for the province. Doubtless much remains to be discovered here and a future trip to the north of the province is on the cards for next year.

A photo of the Burmese Shrike from 21/10/21 is attached.

 

 

 

 

 



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20/10/21 - Huai Khaen reservoir - Nakhon Phanom Province.

Paul and Pen have embarked on a two night trip into this new and more northerly province which borders the Mekong river beyond which lies Laos. 
Their first birding session produced 30 species with nothing remarkable; - the best being a single Osprey and a scatter of Amur Stonechats, almost certainly recently arrived.

21/10/21 - They added a further 25 species travelling further north stopping en route at what appeared to be promising sites, logging Asian Brown Flycatcher, Little Spiderhunter, and a Blue Rockthrush at the Friendship Bridge which I assume is a road crossing point into Laos.

From the Thai side of the river one can see in the distance far to the east the limestone hills which are the home of one of the endemic species of Laos - the Bare-headed Bulbul which will be the object of a future twitch should we ever get back to Thailand.

Paul and Pen reached the Huai Bo Luang reservoir for a longer stop which yielded a bit more quality - among 13 species there were a Pied Harrier, a Burmese Shrike, several Brown Shrikes, 6 Amur Stonechats, a Yellow-browed Warbler, and a White-browed Piculet. Later at another reservoir (Nong Yat) they logged some 250 Lesser Whistling Ducks.

In summary, according to the Ebirder listings their list of 55 species over the two days puts Paul at the top spot for the province listers. To say that this part of Thailand is underwatched, is in itself is an understatement - it is thoroughly neglected!

Regards,

Mike P.



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18/10/21 - Phon Ngam & Dong Pa Community Forest - Loob Nong Nor Reservoir, Yasothon.

Paul only discovered this promising site in January and appears to be the only person to have ever recorded any bird species here. His three visits have yielded 42 species so far (including today).

This morning he followed a good trail through the forest and was rewarded with his first Collared Scops Owl which flushed ahead of him and his first White-browed Piculet which showed very well. The owl is not a first for the province though the piculet is.

Collared Scops Owl is a common species in Thailand but for me is a bogey bird which I have only ever heard but never seen. I live in hope that my poor Thai owl list can only get bigger with patience..

Regards,

Mike P.



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Monday 18th of October 2021 06:07:48 PM

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Friday 15/10/21 - Khueang Kham- Nong Hoi rice paddies, Yasothon

A two hour session yielded some 46 species: -

2 Lesser Whistling Duck

2 Cotton Pygmy Goose

Feral Pigeons 

2 Red Collared Dove

3 Spotted Dove

20 Zebra Dove

1 Plaintive Cuckoo

6 Germains Swiftlet

8 Asian Palm Swift

1 Little Ringed Plover

3 Common/Pin-tailed Snipe

2 Common Sandpiper

2 Wood Sandpiper

18 Asian Openbill

5 Great Egret

3 Intermediate Egret

25 Little Egret

4 Cattle Egret

15 Chinese Pond Heron

2 Black-winged Kite

1 Eastern Marsh Harrier (imm)

6 Brahminy Kite

20 Green Bee-Eater

1 Indochinese Roller

3 Malaysian Pied Fantail

20 Black Drongo

6 Brown Shrike

1 Racket-tailed Treepie

15 Large-billed Crow

3 Plain Prinia

2 Zitting Cisticola

2 Barn Swallow

2 Black-collared Starling

4 Common Myna

20 Great Myna

1 Oriental Magpie-Robin

3 Amur Stonechat

2 Pied Bushchat

3 Olive-backed Sunbird

30 Baya Weaver

10 Asian Golden Weaver

5 Scaly-breasted Munia

6 House Sparrow

3 Plain-backed Sparrow

12 Eurasian Tree Sparrow

4 Paddyfield Pipit

I dont normally input a full list of all the common stuff from Pauls observations but did this today to give a fuller picture- especially as this is a better than usual count for any site in Yasothon. Paul is presently looking out in particular for Pied Harrier on the local scene, as Pen thought she had a perched male recently while out driving on a shopping run.

Regards,

Mike P.

 

 

 

 

 

 



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Parking in Thailand in the wet season.

Paul always avoids blocking the farmers access to the fields when out checking the best wader habitats but he rather overdid things recently (actually this was back in August) and had to be towed out. Nevertheless he saw some good stuff.

Regards,

Mike P.

 



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11/10/21 Kut Chum local patch

During a brief mooch around the local patch Paul recorded the first returning wintering eastern stonechat in one of the rice fields. Ebird now calls this form Amur Stonechat, the fieldguide calls it Japanese Stonechat, and in the U.K. it appears to be called Stejnegers Stonechat. This is a common overwintering bird here and if we ever get back visiting there I shall just go with the flow and log it as Amur Stonechat accordingly.

12/10/21 Kut Chum local patch

Among some 26 species this morning Paul scored with two province firsts in the shape of 1 Eastern Crowned Warbler, (an overdue passage species for which we have been searching for some time) and an Indochinese Blue Flycatcher - better known previously under its former name - Hill Blue Flycatcher.

The local patch list is now up to 97 species and onto 185 species for the province (Yes I know- behind Elton and Pennington Flash, but this is Yasothon - a birding black hole until Paul and I started recording here).

Regards,

Mike P.

 



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07/10/2 - Ban Nom Klao - Boong Khla Community Forest, Yasothon

Paul has made 8 trips to this easterly site since May and seems to be the only birder ever to pay it any attention. His interest was sparked when he found breeding Blue-winged Pittas here and with todays count of 22 species has now logged 46 site species in total. The best of todays species was an Abbotts Babbler - a further addition to the province list as well.

Regards,

Mike P.

 



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06/10/21 Kut Chum, Yasothon

Paul has noticed more snakes around/in the garden of late, - (this being a regular and quite normal feature during the current rainy season).The best recent record being a Spitting Cobra in the garden, with a smaller probably harmless species brought into the kitchen by the cats this morning. The cats appeared endlessly fascinated by it and gathered in a huddle close by as if seeking approval for their initiative.

Pha Nam Yoi Forest Park

Rather naughtily Paul and Pen drove over the border into Roí Et this morning to the above no hunting area of forest with its huge temple complex and recorded a dozen species there the best of which were:

1 Shikra, 6 Ashy Drongos (all of the pale form), 2 Black- naped Monarchs, 1 Asian Brown Flycatcher, 2 Hainan Blue Flycatchers, 1 Blue Rock Thrush, and best of the lot - his first ever Blue and White Flycatcher (male) a passage migrant through here and a possible province first record.

On the minus side the Black - naped Oriole from last week was not a first but a second for Yasothon province.

Regards,

Mike P.

 

 

 

 



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01/10/21 Friday - local sites, Yasothon.

An early visit to Yasothon Pools produced 19 species amongst which the main feature comprised 20 migrant Whiskered Terns - several of which photographed were seen to be moulting adults.

Paul moved on next to Tambon Khueang Kham with 29 species there but no waders, -  (the best being 45 Asian Openbills, a White-browed Crake, and a scatter of 6 Brown Shrikes).

Tambun Sai Mun produced the star bird of the day - a Black-naped  Oriole (this being another new species for Yasothon province), 2 Black-naped  Monarchs, and a phylloscopus which vanished after all too brief views. This bird showed a strong supercilium and a yellow vent which set alarm bells ringing for Eastern Crowned Warbler- a species which surely migrates through Isaan but which to date has eluded both of us. Returning 2 hours later Paul failed to relocate the culprit though did meet up with a White-rumped Shama and obtained record shots of a Hainan Blue Flycatcher.

Regards,

Mike P.

 

 

 



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Friday 1st of October 2021 11:10:10 AM

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26/09/21 Yasothon Pools

A visit this morning produced 26 of the regular species among which were a single Watercock and a Lesser Coucal, but also included more winter visitors - 5 Brown Shrikes and a seasonal first - an Asian Brown Flycatcher.

In neighbouring Roí Et province to the west the very active resident birder (Shaun Green) has recorded the first of the common wintering stonechats as a Stejnegeri. While wintering stonechats are very common across Pauls rice fields we have always simply recorded them as Eastern Stonechats in view of the acknowledged difficulty of differentiating between Maura and Stejnegeri, although on wintering range according to the field guide these birds should be of the latter (sub?)species. Just to complicate matters, the fieldguide gives them the name Japanese Stonechat.

Birding somehow seems to be ever more complicated (I hear some talk lately of splitting Dunnocks?!)

Cheers,

Mike P.

 



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@From Paul in Thailand@

I had some very helpful input from Peter Ericsson in Thailand.  He was able to brighten up my original photo (the picture was taken on a very dark afternoon thunder clouds everywhere...) and provided a link to a photo of Japanese Sparrowhawk for comparison. For me a very good match.

 

Here is the link

Japanese Sparrowhawk

and attached is the brighter photo

Paul



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Friday 24th of September 2021 06:48:22 AM



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Friday 24th of September 2021 06:58:42 AM



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Friday 24th of September 2021 06:59:18 AM

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Thursday 23/09/21 - Kut Chum, Yasothon

Another window strike this morning,- Paul encountered a stunned accipiter outside the kitchen window which fortunately flew off once one of the cats started showing an unhealthy curiosity.

In gloomy wet conditions Paul managed a single quite good photograph before it departed, and I hope to have this here on the thread soon for comment. There is a degree of head scratching as regards identification as there are 4/5 small accipiters from which to choose in Thailand and in my opinion these birds can often be more readily identified in flight than when perched or grounded. 

As a starting point the possibilities are: Shikra, Chinese Sparrowhawk, Japanese Sparrowhawk, Besra, or Eurasian Sparrowhawk. My own view is that it appears to be a juvenile, most likely of Shikra, (the commonest small accipiter here), based mainly on head, neck and throat pattern. Three obvious tail bars on show (as a minimum), combined with white vent/undertail coverts appears to be common to all 5 candidates, so is perhaps of little use.

Paul will solicit views from Thai birders but any thoughts anyone here may have are welcome.

Regards,

Mike P.

@from Paul: Having seen several both adult and juvenile Shikra before my own feeling is that this bird is too dark for Shikra but all suggestions welcome.



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Friday 24th of September 2021 12:48:43 AM

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21/09/21 - Tambon Khueang Kham, Yasothon

The state of these roadside fields varies almost daily according to weather conditions and time of day and whether or not the farmers are active on site. They comprise a mix of rice crops in various stages of growth, and muddy flats and pools with grassy margins. Paul has found them to be a prime location for waders and egrets and regularly checks them out with varying results.

This morning he recorded 35 species, and apart from the regular common passerines (and culprits such as munías and weavers attracted to the crops) the main highlights comprised the following:-

4 Black-winged Stilts, 3 Grey-headed Lapwings, 3 Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Common Sandpipers, 1 Marsh Sandpiper, 14 Wood Sandpipers, 50 Asian Openbills, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Intermediate Egret, 15 Little Egrets, 12 Cattle Egrets, 9 Chinese Pond Herons, 1 Black-winged Kite, 4 Brahminy Kites, and the star bird - a Black-capped Kingfisher (apparently a species new to Yasothon Province which flushed from the reedy margins and performed a neat fly past before exiting the scene).

The vanellus plovers are always such elegant waders to behold, and hopefully Pauls photo of one of todays birds will follow shortly.

Regards,

Mike P.

 

 

 

 



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Wednesday 22nd of September 2021 11:45:30 AM

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19/09/21 - Kut Chum, Yasothon

Paul found a new bird for the garden today in the form of a Hainan Blue Flycatcher lying dead beneath the living room window. He found the first province record of this fine species earlier in the year, and I once had a probable some years ago with rear views of a calling individual which denied me a clinching front view, and which I had to leave as unidentified.

No doubt the species will prove to be quite common with regular coverage of the local habitats.

Regards,

Mike P.

 



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18/09/21

We had a long chat with Paul and Pen this morning about the current COVID situation in Yasothon. There remains in place a lockdown situation which differs from one province to the next. For instance they cannot legally cross west into Roí Et province, but can legally venture east into Amnat Charoen and Mukdahan. 
Paul had a good birding day out mainly in Phu Pha Nat.Park, Mukdahan on 16th (Thursday) adding 10 more species to his personal list for the province, 2 of which - Great Egret (6) and a Dollarbird were rather surprisingly new for the province itself. 
Pick of the rest were-

Plaintive Cuckoo ( Tambon Na Si Nuan)

Blue Rock Thrush (2) (Tambon Na Si Nuan)

Species noted in the park -

Red-wattled Lapwing (7)

Cinnamon Bittern

Rufous-winged Buzzard

Lineated Barbet (3) heard only

Yellow- legged Buttonquail (4)

 The Buttonquails though not new for the province were a species new for Paul - his first lifer for many months.

Regards,

Mike P.

 



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17/09/21 Yasothon Province

Driving locally yesterday Paul noted a roadside perched Rufous-winged Buzzard and managed a couple of opportunistic photos of this distinctive raptor. As he remarks, this is the closest one to the home patch which he has so far found after the first record for the province earlier this year. When we first saw one back in 2017 it was in Thailands eastern extremity in Pha Taem National Park by the Mekong river overlook and immediately reminded us of a pale-eyed outsize Kestrel.

Photos to follow hopefully.

Regards,

Mike P.



-- Edited by Mike Passant on Saturday 18th of September 2021 08:37:01 AM

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photos of Brown Shrike...



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photos of Barred Buttonquail...



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10/09/21 Kut Chum

This mornings main event centred on the cat bringing into the house a Barred Buttonquail which Paul managed to rescue, photograph and release out of harms way.

Yesterday the first of the winter visitors arrived appeared on the wires next to the house - a fine Brown Shrike offering a series of nice photos. Hopefully shots of this and the Buttonquail will be available shortly.

Regards,

Mike P.



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