Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Round and About Ratchaburi

Sooty-headed Bulbul
Soi 14.02.11

An interesting few days in and around Ratchaburi. Sunday I revisited another local site that I haven't been to in some time,  Khao Prathapchang Non-Hunting Area ( เขตห้ามล่าสัตว์) situated about 20 kms west on the road to Chombeung. I am not sure exactly what the status "non-hunting area" actually signifies in Thai law or for that matter how such an area is distinguished from a National Park. For instance Bueng Boraphet in Nakhon Sawan, one of the most important water bird sites in Thailand is a non-hunting area. I will do some research and if possible get back on this and would welcome any comment from readers in the know.

Khao Prathapchang was actually very windy on top and pretty tame birding wise: some Common Ioras, Black-crested Bulbuls, Olive-backed Sunbirds, Greater Racket-Tailed Drongos, White-Rumped Shamas and one unidentfied bird I took as a thrush species. However I enjoyed the climb up the hill and the hike to the top, a first I hasten to add,which gave some nice views back over the cultivated land of Ratchaburi province. I am not sure I will be back in a huge hurry but good to get more familiar with the location. At ground level I went along to the big sala which actually had some water near it. I presume at some point there must have been quite a lot of water there and that the level has subsided. I saw this from the top of the hill so reckoned it would be worth checking out: lots of monkeys and Red-wattled Lapwing, Little Grebe, a Common Moorhen and a solitary White-throated Kingfisher.

The soi list has a few more species to be added to it: yesterday I saw a Black-shouldered Kite, a Drongo, an Asian Koel and an Oriental Magpie Robin in additon to the usual suspects; as I write this (c 20:15h)  I can hear the neurotic screeching outside of  Red-wattled Lapwing......however I can't see it! The Sooty-headed Bulbul above has  very nice yellow undertail coverts. This particular species was one that really struck me on my arrival here in Ratchaburi a couple years ago.
Asian Palm Swift
Ratchaburi 15.02.11

Tonight my wife andI went down to the Meklong River and I tried to photograph the swallows. All I can say with certainty is there were some Barn Swallows but there were definitely other species but I wouldn't like to try naming them. Edit: the above I reckon is an Asian Palm Swift with its tail closed! Shot at ISO 3200 in the fading light. Maybe that can be a useful project while I am minus my scope: learn my swallows and swifts......as well as my drongos , my gulls, my pipits, and so on!

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