Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Reservoir Blues

Common Kingfisher
Alcedo Atthis
Huay Mai Teng Reservoir, Ratchaburi

In truth it was a frustrating day on account of the cold and poor light. Today was probably the first time I have ever been birding in Thailand when a pair of gloves might have been useful. The weather is being dominated by low pressure which is making it cold here and elsewhere in Thailand causing significant flooding. Most unseasonable weather and set to continue to the weekend. So with summer school not due to begin until tomorrow I headed once more to my favourite reservoir, Huay Mai Teng, in the hope of being able to photograph ( I originally wrote "shoot" but it doesn't sound right and I wouldn't want to give  the impression I was a huntin' and fishin' type!) Rain Quail. Cold, gloomy and no rain and that meant no Rain Quail until late afternoon when two females appeared but managed to frustrate my efforts to take their photograph.

It was impossible to take decent shots today. The low light meant I had to shoot at 200 ISO with a slow shutter speed, typically 1/8 to 1/40. It was really impossible to get a decent shot of the abundant Indochinese Bushlarks which like every other bird today were constantly on the move. Lots of interesting birds nonetheless: lesser whistling duck, cotton pygmy geese, a baya weaver in transition which because of this had me stumped for a while and one lifer in a Yellow-eyed Babbler which really took me by surprise. The distinct orange around the eye was the key feature that made ID possible. From looking at the distribution map Ratchaburi must be about this species' southern limit in Thailand. Sadly no photograph as it was skulking in scrub! The Small & Oriental Pratincoles were in place too and the Common Kingfisher, above, allowed a decent shot which might have been a great shot had the light been more favourable.

Some good news: I am off to the Philippines next week for a short break and I hope to be able to do a little birding while I am there. I am growing to enjoy my trips to the Philippines and likewise I really like the birding there.

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