Monday, 14 March 2011


Anhinga melanogaster
Huay Mai Teng Reservoir
I met up with my friend Tom Backlund early this morning and we had a very plesant morning's birding at Huay Mai Teng Reservoir. What a joy for me to be on holiday and to be able to go out birding on a Monday morning.Tom has been reading this blog and the presence of the Burmese shrike and Small Pratincoles was too much for him to resist. I am glad to say we were able to locate the shrike without too much difficulty and the Small Pratincoles obliged too....... and for me there was one lifer and a number of new ticks for the patch.

Black-collared Starling
Sturnus nigricollis
Huay Mai Teng Reservoir

Our first bird was a Darter, a species I thought I saw here a few weeks ago but didn't feel I could claim as it was literally a flash in the pan. This is a species I have only seen at Bueng Boraphet before. I even managed a shot of it from a distance in the early morning light; this shot also represents a further vote of confidence in my new rig. Tom then called two Black-collared Starlings in nearby trees and these too are a new species for the patch. No sign of Small Pratincoles and also no sign of Saturday afternoon's Bluethroat. Next up came a Red-throated Pipit, a further new species for the patch.

In the absence of Small Pratincoles we moved on in search of the Burmese Shrike which duly obliged at the same location my wife spotted it on Saturday. Phew! Species ⌗468 for Tom's Thai list. I say phew because I don't like to disappoint people and Tom was really after this one. Tom got some nice shots of a Black-shouldered Kite.

Oriental Pratincole
Glareola Maldivarum
Huay Mai Teng Reservoir

We moved on to the reservoir proper to a part at which I have spent a fair amount of time and Tom managed to flush some Small Pratincoles there. Phew again! Thai species ⌗469 for Tom! I concentrated on some Oriental Pratincoles which were in range so I managed a few shots of this very attractive bird and then turned my attention to the Small Pratincoles which were very obliging. The shot below is what I was looking for on Saturday! As you can see there is a resemblance between the two species but they are strikingly different in size and colouration.

Small Pratincole
Glareola lactea
Huay Mai Teng Reservoir

Small Pratincole - flight shot
(© Tom Backlund)
At this point we turned our attention to quail. Tom reckons the habitat is perfect for these species and he called Yellow-legged and Barred Buttonquail in this part of the site. I have also seen Rain Quail here in the not toodistant past. Now after some consideration I am not going to claim either species both of which would have been lifers.  It just doesn't seem right: I saw both species flying off after we flushed them but didn't get the binoculars on either and really couldn't claim to have sighted any distinguishing features for either species. What is important is to know these particular species are in the locale and I will, of course, be back and will endeavour to have a more meaningful contact with them!
Indochinese Bushlark
Mirafra marionae
Huay Mai Teng Reservoir

We drove on to the far side of the reservoir and en route we spotted a Common Kestrel flying off. On the far side we saw some Brown Shrikes, lots of Plain Prinias, a Zitling Cisticola and a Bright-headed Cisticola, my lifer for the day. A little detour in search of another part of the reservoir offered an opportunity to shoot this Indochinese Bushlark.

As always when Tom and I get together I had great day and it really helps to be with such an experienced and knowledgeable birder. Tom's view is this site could yield 100 species in a day due to the diversity of habitats in and around the area.

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