News of a male Surf Scoter at Filey was too tempting to resist so we made our way over to a chilly Brigg to face the onshore wind. Sure enough the bird was bobbing on the swell a 100 metres out into the bay. Great bird. Also saw Grey Wagtail and Peregine on the way back. Not a bad day.
So we are now back on Flamborough, having arrived to light snow on the high ground and rain. However the next few days have been fantastic with clear skies at night, heavy frosts but wonderful sunny days.
This morning I went for a short walk out from the house and was reminded of how good the UK is for birds. Apart from the Fulmars, Red-throated Divers and myriad of Gulls and Shags on the sea, there were flocks of Yellowhammer, Meadow Pipit and Skylark on the fields, Long-tailed Tits, Greenfinch and Bullfinch in the trees and a single Greenland White-fronted Goose amongst the Canada/Greylag mixed flock.
But the stars of the day were the two Waxwing I found almost as I walked through the door at the end of my walk, sitting in the trees and looking stunning. In case the above is not enough, I have belatedly included a picture of a Little Bustard that turned up 10 km down the coast shortly before we left for Thailand. And some folk complain there are no birds in the UK!
So we reached our last birding day in Thailand and what a great time we have had. It’s Chiang Mai walking market tomorrow then to BKK to meet up with old friends.
The highlight of the day was a very obliging Yellow-bellied Flowerpecker showing near the summit but other highlights included a flock of Black-throated Parrotbill (they moved so quickly I could only mange a back view photograph!), Black-headed Woodpecker, Fire-breasted Flowerpecker, Buff-barred Warbler and White-capped Water Redstart. Can’t wait until we return next year.
My thanks to Dave Sargeant for his advice on identification and locations so as a result please alter on previous posts Chinese Leaf Warbler to Davison’s Warbler and Neglected Nuthatch to Chestnut-vented! Sorry for any confusion. If you have tried to contact me on the email I provided, I do apologise but I can’t access it at the moment. Will try to get it sorted when I return to UK.
Rear end of Black-throated Parrotbill
The past two days have been spent on Doi Inthanon where we have enjoyed bright blue skies framed against the staggering contrast of the mossy green trees. We have managed to connect with many of its regular birds. The temperature has drooped to below 12 degrees centigrade at night on the lower slopes at Mr Deang’s and 4 degrees at the top but still not as cold as the UK I think.
Highlights have been 4 singing Hume’s Treecreeper, White-gorgeted Flycatcher, female Snowy-browed Flycatcher and a first winter male Ultramarine Flycatcher (thanks Dave for the id). Other birds of interest have been Pygmy Wren Babbler, Slaty-bellied Tesia, Black-throated Parrotbill, Asian Emerald Cuckoo, 2 Clicking shrike Babbler, Common Buzzard and White-browed Shortwing. We heard Green Cochoa along the Jeep track but sadly did not get to see it! Next time.
First winter male Ultramarine Flycatcher seen 2 km along turn off at km 13
The stunning Yellow-bellied Fantail
As I was walking round the boardwalk something crashed from the trees above me and fell to the ground. When I looked down it was these two Ashy-throated Warblers locked in battle. Both lay stunned on the ground for a few minutes before flying off seemingly unhurt.
The beautiful Green-tailed Sunbird
A female Snowy-browed flycatcher to follow on from the male we saw yesterday
Today we left Mae Ping and made our way up to Doi Inthanon where we had a late afternoon session at the top ie 2500mtrs. It was a cool 13 degrees but had dropped to 4 degrees the previous night. We made our way to the boardwalk thanks to some excellent advice from Dave to stake out Rufous-throated Partridge. We were not disappointed with two showing really well at about 5.15 after the visitors had gone. The boardwalk held other good birds with 2 Dark-sided Thrushes, 3 Yellow-capped Tits, and single Woodcock, Snowy-browed Flycatcher, White-crowned Forktail and a showy Ashy Woodpigeon.
After an excellent meal at Mr Deang’s we returned to our room to find the eight legged friend shown below. Eunice is not happy!
Eunice’s friend for the night.
And now two Mountain Scops Owls have just started calling! Not a bad day.
Mae Ping is a new area for us so we were interested in what it might have to offer. Despite our concerns we found a smart new hotel; Baan Pailyn at 750 Baht per night. The Reserve is easy to access and its main attraction is its woodpeckers. At last we caught up with Black-headed Woodpecker seeing no less than six. White-bellied were common and calling frequently and other woodpeckers seen were Grey-headed, Pygmy, Greater Flameback and Greater Yellownape. We also caught up with the rare Rufous-bellied Woodpecker which gave itself away with its destinctive call then showed extremely well.
Other birds of interest were several Rufous Treepie and Eurasian Jays, six Burmese Nuthatch, Yellow-streaked Warbler, Black Baza, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Asian House Martin, numerous Red-billed Blue Magpie, Black-hooded Oriole, Asian Barred Owlet, ten Chestnut-tailed Starling and White-crested Laughingthrush were common. There were several Grey-headed Parakeet which numbered at least fifteen, a single Collared Falconet and two pigeons which flashed through the forest so quickly they defied identification!
DYK was as quiet as we have ever known it with long periods of few birds seen or heard. About 20 Black Bulbuls and a single White-headed Bulbul were around the sub station as well as Large and Black-winged Cuckoo Shrike. Giant Nuthatch were particularly vocal with five being seen, as were Slender-billed and Maroon Oriole. A party of about 20 Grey-headed Parrotbills and a couple of Grey-headed Woodpecker were a surprise. We also had a calling Oriental Turtle Dove, Verditer and a Pale Blue Flycatchers.
Back at Malee’s, the Spot-bellied Eagle Owl finally put on a flypast and landed in a nearby tree. How annoying we had both decided to leave our binoculars at the resort!
Today we returned to Doi Ang Krang and had a great day of birding. We started at an army camp on the Burmese border which provided us with male and female Daurian Redstarts and half a dozen Olive-backed Pipits. Nearby we we found a Black-headed Greenfinch and White-crowned Forktail before making our way to the Royal Project where four Black-breasted Thrushes, a Siberian Blue Robin, Hill Blue Flycatcher, three White-tailed Robins, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Streaked Wren Babbler and a migrant Blue Whistling Thrush gave superb views.
At the next stop, the highlight was a Bar-backed Partridge which flew from the ground into a tree then froze for the next five minutes giving excellent views. Another White-crowned Forktail and a Black-backed Forktail also showed briefly along the stream with two Mountain Tailorbirds performing well nearby.
At our final site, highlights were a flock of 25+ Common Rosefinch, about 10 Eye-browed Thrushes and a Chestnut-crowned Warbler.
Male Daurian Redstart
Male White-tailed Robin
Siberian Blue Robin
Streaked Wren Babbler
Male Hill Blue Flycatcher
We are now back at Fang after a great four days at Chiang Saen. Tomorrow we make an early start and go back up Doi Ang Khang.
This morning we tried again for the Firethroat but were once again unsuccessful. Saw another Rubythroat and a couple of Baikal Bush Warbler as well as a number of Oriental Turtle Dove. We then set off to Fang stopping at the lakeside on the way. A couple of Great Crested Grebes were on show which were probably different birds from the one we saw yesterday and a male Oriental Honey Buzzard flew over our heads as we drove back to the road. We called in at the paddies at Thaton once more on the journey and had better views of a Chestnut-eared Bunting although not the male this time. We also saw yet more Citrine Wagtails and half a dozen Oriental Turtle Doves.
After checking in to our hotel we decided to take a drive around the fields to the north-west of Fang and found a female Rubythroat, Rufous-winged Buzzard
and a rather surprisingly, a Large Hawk Cuckoo.
Thanks to some excellent information from Dave Sargent on a site near to where we are staying, we made two trips to the area to look for Black-faced Bunting. Our second visit did not disappoint. The site was very bird rich with a supporting cast of Red Avadavat, Siberian Rubythroat, Wryneck and so many Dusky Warbler it was impossible to keep count but two male Black-faced Buntings stole the show.
On the way back to the hotel we called at a small lake to see a Great Crested Grebe which duely perfomed along with two Oriental Honey Buzzard. It was a good day for BOP with Shikra and Osprey and ‘Japonicus’ Buzzard showing the day before.
In the evening we went to stand beside the Wat and look at the ducks on the lake. A number of Pintail, Ferruginous Duck and Garganey remained and a single male Tufted Duck put in a distant appearance before the fishermen frightened them off. On the way home we found either a Himilayan or Eurasian Cuckoo which didn’t give enough time to photograph but in trying to relocate it I flushed a Chinese Francolin. Not a bad couple of days. Tomorrow it is back to Fang and Doi Ang Khang.
One of two Wryneck seen.
Oh to turn one of these up at Flamborough especially in summer plumage!
Great Crested Grebe
A male Tufted Duck