Monday, 4 July 2011

The Weekend

River Lapwing
Vanellus Duvaucelli

I didn't have any classes on Saturday morning so it was a joy to head up to Huay Mai Teng reservoir without any time pressure. On arrival there were five River Lapwing around the main launch area and they appear to be reasonably settled.  I didn't see any Small Pratincoles anywhere in the site today so I imagine they will not be back until December or thereabouts. In the main Small Pratincole area I even managed to see one River Lapwing but I don't know if it was one of the five dispersing from the launch area or another bird.
Little Grebe
Tachybaptus ruficollis

I took advantage of the lack of pressure to have a good look around this morning and recorded 54 species. All fairly common species too including a decent look at Barred Buttonquail which didn't seem too bothered about my presence until I attempted to photograph it at which point it scurried off into the undergrowth! I had to settle on a very confiding Indochinese Bushlark that appeared to welcome the opportunity to pose.

Indochinese Bushlark
Mirafra marionae

This pair of Sooty-headed Bulbul's showed well for me. Their most interesting feature is the yellow undertail covert which is just about visible on the left hand side bird. This indicates they are of the thais sub species; red undertail covert that they are klossi ssp. They are very common in the local area, for example nesting in the trees facing our house. However it is a species that had me marvelling at the start of my birding and I was glad to get a shot of them, not the best I hasten to add.  

Sooty-headed Bulbul
Pycnonotus aurigaster thais

The attraction of the reservoir is obvious. It's an ideal place in hot weather to catch a bit of a breeze. Many of the locals come for a swim and wash their cars and motorbikes here! In the evening barbecues are popular. The reservoir is also popular with anglers. Sadly some poor child must have been drowned or injured as this sign has gone up in the last few days. I have done my best to translate it - but word for word translation doesn't work! 
A recently added warning at the reservoir launch area
"Take care! Danger
Children are forbidden from playing -  deep water"

All photographs, except for the last shot, digiscoped at Huay Mai Teng Reservoir Saturday 02.07.11

On Sunday afternoon I took a drive up to Chaloem Prakhiat Thai National Park in Ratchaburi Province. Dodgy weather with grey overcast conditions in the park and not a single shot of a bird in the forest. Plenty of White-rumped Shamas, Greater-racket Tailed Drongos and a fair few Black-naped Monarchs. Lots of calls. It would have been nice to get a shot of a Shama as they are beautiful looking birds but they were making lots of noise, including Laughing thrush but not posing for me in the available light. I only managed to shoot insects but they are nevertheless nice shots. I actually needed a shot to highlight pollination for my Grade 5 science students: they loved the bottom shot even if to my perfectionist eye the focus could be better! Now I don't have a clue about identifying any of these species so feel free to help!

My thinking about this national park is that due to its comparative proximity to Kaeng Krachan, maybe about 60 km to the north, it must have a lot of the same species in it. I think there must be Pittas and other species skulking around in the undergrowth especially at this time of the year. Nothing today, some interesting sounds, but nothing other than an idea. I think I need to get to higher ground in the park and that means an early start so maybe next week with  Friday a public holiday I shall get up there and really check it out!

I am happy to report that the reservoir is full of water.

It was a pleasant weekend, unpressured and gentle, and I was simply happy to be out and about. 

All photographs digiscoped at Chaloem Prakhiat Thai NP Sunday 03.07.11

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