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Day three Sakon Nakhon

08/12/2023 Day 3 - 6.40 am Nong Han Lake (Tha  Rae viewpoint) Sakon Nakon.

This walkway goes about 1 km. out into the lake with little shelters en route - effectively a boardwalk but constructed of concrete and steel. We appeared to be the first people there and enjoying the cool morning air were optimistic of adding new species on the basis of the extensive open views in all directions. 
Paul picked out 5 distant Indian Spot-billed Ducks and while scanning Barb found a distant marsh tern which we followed for a few minutes allowing Paul to obtain record photos confirming it as a late Whiskered Tern. On the lookout for any starling species (known to roost here in isolated patches of trees) Paul called out White-shouldered Starlings - 5 in all though I was more than pleased to get onto 2 of them before they cleared off away.

All along the outward walk were hundreds of Barn Swallows and it crossed my mind to start searching amongst them for any Sand Martins. Sure enough the further we progressed the more seemed to appear - pleasingly another province tick for Paul as just reward for his efforts. 
As we had plans for another visit to the university campus before leaving for home we reversed our route back but Paul noticed movement in the floating marsh vegetation - a White-browed Crake chasing a juvenile which gave an excellent photo opportunity.

Back in the university grounds we tried Spiderhunter on the speaker and pulled in a Black-naped Monarch and to our surprise and delight the elusive Cinereous Tit after our earlier failure playing its call. Having moved on a short way into an adjoining patch of open fields we picked up a Zitting Cisticola and best of all a new species for Sakon Nakhon province and within a few minutes a second new bird for me in Thailand - a Eurasian Kestrel!

After that I took in my stride missing yet another sneaky Green-billed Malkoha.

With time running out we explored a new site (the water treatment plant) which proved to be excellent despite the midday heat now becoming a factor. 50 minutes here gave us 34 species in all of which the additions and noteworthy species were:-

2 Lesser Coucals

2 Common Ioras

2 Yellow-bellied Prinias

3 Black-browed Reed Warblers

Heading for home our final stop at 14.10 was in Phu Phan Nat.Pk near the Seri Thai cave where we added 3 Rufescent Prinias at a known site with a bonus for us all in the shape of a Yellow-vented Flowepecker.

-And so ended our trip with me on 108 species in this new province and with Paul adding 11 species to top the listings with 163.

Best Wishes,

Mike P. & Family

3 Oriental Reed Warblers

-- Edited by Mike Passant on Sunday 10th of December 2023 07:50:56 AM


Challenges are inevitable, but failure is optional.

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Day two Sakon Nakhon

07/12/2023 - Kasetsart University (Chalerm Phrakiat Campus) Sakon Nakhon Province.

Day 2 -Sakon Nakhon trip.

This morning we kicked off with a 6.45 start in the extensive university grounds this being the prime site in the Isaan region for Cinereous Tit (a split from Great Tit which sports a grey back and has a different call from our familiar U.K. form). We failed to locate this and to be honest I was glad at this stage to move from a search for a washed out Great Tit (albeit under this taxonomy a potential world lifer) and to get on with general birding and to progress with list padding.

A session of two and a half hours yielded 34 species the best being:-

200 Lesser Whistling Ducks

1 White-breasted Waterhen

1 Asian Openbill

3 Brown Shrikes

1 Burmese Shrike

3 Grey-breasted Prinias 

25 Red-rumped Swallows

Our next stop was at the excellent Nong Han Lake at the Tha Rae viewpoint where coincidentally we also recorded 34 species (though with obvious overlap with the first stop).

Nice additions here were:-

1 Plaintive Cuckoo

6 Asian Palm Swifts

5 Eurasian Moorhens

50 Grey-headed Swamphens

2 Bronze-winged Jacanas

15 Little Cormorants

3 Yellow Bitterns

1 Purple Heron

1 Black-browed Reed Warbler

1 Oriental Reed Warbler

3 Baya Weavers.

We then moved on to a different viewpoint over this large lake adding 2 Medium Egrets - 3 Common Kingfishers - 

together with one of Pauls easier targets - 3 White-rumped Munias.

At 14.45 after our lunch break we spent some time studying and obtaining better photographs of Green-headed Wagtails at the previous days hotspot for these.

Later driving on in open country we stopped to check out a pre-roost gathering of weavers and found virtually all of these to be eclipse/winter plumaged Streaked Weavers - readily identifiable by the streaked breasts and diagnostic yellow streak on the neck side - world lifers for me no less - and one of my prime targets!

Later at just before 17.00 Paul finally found a freshly ploughed wet field complex with our first waders among a good scatter of Eastern Yellow Wagtails where we added:-

10 Germains Swiftlets

8 Black-winged Stilts

13 Pacific Golden Plovers

33 Little Ringed Plovers

2 Common Snipe

2 Common Sandpipers

22 Wood Sandpipers

1 Hoopoe

50 Eastern Yellow Wagtails

20 White (Amur) Wagtails

Our day ended with our listing nudging 90+ species but with target birds still on our radar for the final morning.


Mike P.

-- Edited by Mike Passant on Sunday 10th of December 2023 06:58:26 AM


Challenges are inevitable, but failure is optional.

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