Saturday, January 10, 2015

Tuas, Jurong Eco Garden, Pulau Punggol 27Dec14

Con, Danny, JS and I started the day at Tuas wetland. There were many egrets, a few Grey Herons and the common birds. In the woods, there was an immature Hodgson's Hawk Cuckoo. Raptor-wise, we had 1 Peregrine Falcon, 1 Japanese Sparrowhawk (juv), 1 Changeable Hawk Eagle (dark), 2 Brahminy Kites, 3 pairs of Black-winged Kite.

With nothing too exciting, we moved on to the new hotspot - Jurong Eco Garden. On arrival, we saw 20-30 photographers at the Violet Cuckoo place, and we were told there were double the number of people before we reached! And of course the cuckoo had come and gone, not just once, but three times. So we decided to take a walk instead of hang around with the crowd. The nature trail behind was quiet, so nothing to report here.

Following Alan Owyong's report of a Common Kestrel at Pulau Punggol, we headed there, only to find 3 Little Ringed Plovers, a Common Sandpiper and some Yellow Wagtails. Raptor-wise, we had 3 White-bellied Sea Eagle (1 pair building nest, 1 immature with Baya Weaver nest in talons), 1 Changeable Hawk Eagle, 1 Brahminy Kite (adult), missing the kestrel.

As Danny had to send JS off to his appointment, we called it a day.

Immature White-bellied Sea Eagle with Baya Weaver nest in talons ©Con Foley
Bali 20-25Dec14

I was in Bali with my wife for a holiday just to chill and relax, so no birding. We stayed mainly in the Seminyak and Kuta areas, hence we only saw the common birds:

Purple Herons, Cattle Egrets, Spotted Doves, Zebra Doves, Sooty-headed Bulbuls, Yellow-vented Bulbuls, Asian Glossy Starlings, Scaly-breasted Munias, Eurasian Tree Sparrows.

The only Javan Myna I saw was in a cage!
Turut Track, Bidadari, Pulau Punggol, Tuas 20Dec14

From JS

My father, Con and I dropped by Turut Track in the early morning. After some phishing, we managed to get some glimpses of the skulky Rusty-Rumped Warbler in the tall grass on the right of the path, near the entrance. No photographs of this individual though.

After a short period of silence, I heard an unusual one-note chirp from the tall grasses. Mimicking its call, I found myself an agitated White-Browed Crake, raising its wings while making the call. Nice!

Not wanting to let the White-Browed Crake take the unfortunate honour of being the best bird at Turut Track, just before we got into the car, we had a tantalizingly close encounter of a singing Rusty-Rumped Warbler singing in the tall grasses that block the view of the ponds from the "carpark". That just made the morning better!

Other notable bird sighted was a Black Bittern.

From KH

At Bidadari, they had the usual suspects. The only unusual event was Danny getting a parking summon while having lunch!

Danny and JS went on to Pulau Punggol, reporting that the Red-throated Pipits and Yellow Wagtails were still around, but no waders.

Lastly, at Tuas wetland, they found 2 Wood Sandpipers and an unusual streaky warbler in the reeds; and in the woods, a juvenile Japanese Sparrowhawk and an immature Hodgson's Hawk Cuckoo.

Thailand 29Nov-16Dec14

From Con


For me the best bird of the trip was certainly Mrs Hume’s Pheasant seen well on Day 1 one male and three females for 40 minutes. And then we backed our car up and never even flushed them.

Besides birds we also saw the following, mostly mammals. After living so many years in Asia I finally saw my first wild rabbit, but certainly the best mammal seen was the Binturong. We got great views through the scope, but the photos aren’t so great.

Asian Elephant
Lesser Mousedeer
Barking Deer
Hog Deer
Sambar Deer
Yellow-throated Marten (seen twice)
Cream-colored Giant Squirrel
Himalayan Striped Squirrel
Grey-bellied Squirrel
Mouse (species)
Burmese Hare
Northern Pig-tailed Macaque
Dusky Langur
White-handed Gibbon
Tokay Gecko

Day 2

This small female Slaty Blue Flycatcher came in to the feeder that is famous for the Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babblers. Danny will remember this feeder. The Rusty-cheeked are still coming in! This little flycatcher was quite shy and only came in a few times and then usually just flew in, stole a worm and then flew off.

Female Slaty Blue Flycatcher

Taken at Doi Lang these are the best two images I got.

Cook's Swift

Day 3

This was taken at the same patch of farmland we got a Grey-faced Buzzard 3 or 4 years ago on the mountain road to Doi Lang.

Adult Grey-faced Buzzard

Day 4

Since the military coup in May the rules at Doi Lang have changed. You can no longer go up the Western entrance to the top army camp. You are stopped at a check point. So most folks just bird until there. We saw Hume's Pheasants on our first day and again today. Spot breasted Parrotbill is in exactly the same spot. A couple of the big feeders are still at the same spot with the same birds. But the highlight of today was a non-breeding male Sapphire Flycatcher. Today I ran into the same Japanese digiscoper that we met in January.

Yesterday we went up the Eastern side. Road is not so good. Need an SUV at least. Anyway we reached the Army camp and beyond. I ran into a fellow I met at the Pencil Hill raptor watch 4 years ago. He had got lots of pictures of the Fire tailed Sunbird earlier that morning. Heck we were too late.

Day 5

As you can see this little warbler has an injured leg. He was feeding low in a bush. I guess with a bad leg he had to adapt his behavior. Taken at the King's Project at Doi Ang Kang at the coffee shop.

Yellow-browed Warbler

Taken at Ban Luang Resort at Doi Ang Khang.

Female Grey Bushchat

Day 6

Digi scoped this evening. Sorry lost the light. At 70X mag on Swarovski scope and crop a lot on Nikon photo.

Common Buzzard

Day 7

Then we took the back road from Doi Ang Khang to Chiang Dao and then the main highway to Doi Inthanon. Beautiful but it took us 6 hours to reach our accommodation at Inthanon Along the Chiang Dao mountain road we got Verditer Flycatcher, Short-billed Minivet and a few other things.

This morning at Inthanon summit on the King's birthday it was so crowed we had very low expectations. But we just went into the forest behind the souvenir shops and got entirely away from the crowd. In awhile I heard a partridge calling in the distance. I was sure it was a partridge but didn't know which one. So I imitated its call with my voice. It took awhile but to my amazement a pair Rufous-throated Partridges came in and we got great views. Add to that Chestnut-tailed Minla, Green-tailed Sunbird, Mrs Gould's Sunbird, Black-throated Sunbird, some bulbuls, a whistling thrush, Silver-eared Laughingthrush and Grey-throated Babbler and it was not a bad morning at the summit.

We had lunch at Mr Daeng's. He didn't have any rare thrushes in his gully. And he told us the Black-tailed Crake is gone. So first in the afternoon we tried the two jeep trails. The lower one had tourists on it so we left shortly. The one by the check point was quiet in the afternoon so we went to the Mae Pan Waterfall to try for the Plumeous Redstart. But it was neither in the stream by the car park nor at the waterfall so a rather dry afternoon with just a few bulbuls to show for the effort.

But at least we had a good morning !

Day 13-15

A bird I really wanted on the trip was Spotted Redshank, as one had been reported at Laem Pak Bia.

But initially I dismissed this bird as being a Common Redshank. But on closer examination it’s non-breeding Spotted, based upon Round “bill is longer and proportionately finer, with brighter red base to lower mandible. Well defined whitish supercillium.”

It’s actually the first bird we saw when we turned off the highway into the salt pans, there was just one individual.

There are only 4 possible stints in Thailand (long-toed, Temminck’s, red-necked and little). Little and Red-necked have blackish legs. Only Temminck’s and Long-toed have yellowish / greenish legs. All photos here have yellowish / greenish legs.

I believe the more upright birds with the longer necks are Long-toed Stints.

I believe the shorter bird with shorter neck is Temminck’s Stint. Only Temminck’s has a rather drab greyish plumage variation.

I’m feel pretty confident this one is a Nordmann’s Greenshank. It’s not a great photo though because it has been digiscoped at a great distance under windy conditions.

Marsh Sandpiper (middle) with Common Greenshanks

This Paddyfield Pipit was seen at the salt pans at Laem Pak Bia.

Here are four Yellow-browed Warblers from Doi Lang, each with 2 images except for the last

Warbler 1

Warbler 2

Warbler 3

Warbler 4
Tuas, Pulau Punggol 14Dec14

Danny went to Tuas in the morning and reported 1 Long-toed Stint, 1 Common Snipe and 1 Pintail/Swinhoe's Snipe.

JS joined him at Pulau Punggol in the evening and reported Red-throated Pipits, about a thousand Yellow Wagtails and a few Little Ringed Plovers, but no stint.