Friday, 31 December 2010

A Couple of Days Off!

Rufous-winged Buzzard
Mae Wong Area

As I was travelling with my wife and son I thought I had better cater to their needs as non-birders and so we headed from Nakhon Sawan in the direction of Mae Wong National Park to the north. The objectives being beautiful scenery and a rest. We bade fond farewells to Brian and set off. I have to say notwithstanding signage I found it difficult to locate the park. En route we saw a Crested Serpent-Eagle plus an unidentified raptor ; big, very white underneath........ possibly a juvenile of same species.

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater
Mae Wong Area

We finally found the park and drove in and actually took a leisurely drive to the road end at Chong Len. I was generally impresed by the wuality of the road and facilities in the park. A Grey Wagtail and some warblers, probably To-barred but they were moving fast and I was having a day off!

We found a nice resort close to the hotel and settled in for a restful night. In the morning we just sat around and I got drawntot the birds in the trees. First up I noticed a couple of Asian Brown Flycatchers, and in the trees there were warblers and bulbuls, notably Black-headed. A Chestnut-headed Bee-eater posed high up for me. 

 In the afternoon we headed to the local village for some lunch and supplies and we spotted this Rufous-winged Buzzard in the trees. For once I had no bins or camera in the car so had a look and headed for lunch. An hour later on our return it was still there so I legged it back and got my kit and managed these shots. In the absence of internet access let me thank Tom Backlund for assistance with the ID; Tom suggested Rufous-winged Buzzard and I would agree with this on the basis of the photos I looked at subsequently on the Oriental Bird Club Database.

I then sat out in the grounds for a few hours and as day drew to a close I was disturbed by the loud screech of some birds and had a look at a nearby statue and there on it the offering table was a red-billed Blue Magpie and a Green-billed Malkoha. I didn't get the Magpie immediately and I didn't manage a photograph but it returned about 30 minutes after initial sighting and gave me a little display which enable me to ID it. What a beautiful bird with its long tail and beautiful colours. The malkoha hung around in the upper story of the trees and gave me a few decent shots.

Finally I snapped this little fellow thinking it was an Olive-backed Sunbird. In any event I was happy to get the scope on it. When I reviewed the photograph  I was distracted by what appears to be a supercilium. So this got me checking the literature and from this it is quite clearly a Purple Sunbird, a female to be precise. The key diagnostic and distinguishing feature is the small amount of white on the tail whereas the Olive-backed has lots. So three lifers on my days off .......the Buzzard, the Magpie and the Sunbird!

I am already excited about the prospect of returning to do some serious birding here. I really like the feel of this place! It is a known site for the Rufous-necked Hornbill and the Crested Kingfisher and a lot of other cracking birds too.

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