Saturday, 23 October 2010

Chumphon Raptor Watch 23rd October 2010

Oriental Honey Buzzard (EOS Kiss x3)
Khao Dinsor, Chumphon

 We drove south last night after work and made it to Chumphon just after 10 pm following an uneventful five hour drive. I made it out to the swamp behind the sports stadium in Chumphon this morning about 7:00 am and the list would be: white-breasted waterhen, intermediate egret, little egret, purple swamphen, common myna, lesser whistling duck, yellow bittern, chinese pond heron, bronze-winged jacana, purple heron, watercock, barn swallow, ........ and no starlings in the City of Starlings~ Don't worry there are plenty of common and white-vented mynas here just none in the swamp! I love this purple heron who was a considerable distance away from me.

The Raptor Watch is in full swing right now and thousands, well hundreds of thousands of birds have passed through and have been counted thanks to the efforts of Bob de Candido and Chukiat Nualsri and their assistants. A special mention to Pan who I met bird ringing a few months ago and helps correct my bad Thai. He was down here today and doing sterling work calling the species.

The species list for today is mind-blowing: shikra, crested serpent eagle, booted eagle, greater spotted eagle, grey-faced buzzard, oriental-honey buzzard, common buzzard, black kite, pied harrier, Chinese sparrowhawk, Japanese Sparrowhawk, osprey, black drongo, blue-tailed bee-eater, white-throated needletail and on and on the list goes. The highlight today was the arrival of the first of thousands of black bazas, very striking birds with distinctive black masks and backs. I even managed a picture of an oriental honey buzzard with my EOS Kiss. My ambition is to take a usable picture of a raptor with the digiscope!

I am pleased to say there were lots of enthusiasts out today, birders, photographers and members of the public so Khoa Dinsor was quite busy and as I walked down it was nice to say hello to so many familiar faces. It is great that more people are getting interested and involved.

My buddy Tom called me to say he spotted grey faced buzzards in Laem Pak Bia, Petcthaburi, this afternoon. He says the skies above his veranda at home have had a lot of raptors in them. Tom also told me there were a lot of birders in Laem Pak Bia/Pak Thale no doubt hoping to see Spoon-billed sandpiper whose arrival is imminent, possibly overdue. I also heard that there have already been sightings of aquila eagles at Norng Blah Lai, Petchaburi.

It is good to hear that there are more people out and about taking an interest in birds.This is an exciting time in the bird world. I wonder what is the fate of the Spoon-billed sandpiper.

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