Huay Mai Teng Reservoir at Dusk
It was a strange sort of weekend on the birding front. The weather was terrible with lots of heavy rain. I went up to Huay Mai Teng Reservoir mid-afternoon Saturday and saw 3 River Lapwing in the main launch area. Photography was out of the question on account of the rain and the light wasn't good either.
I drove around the site on the look-out for early migrants like Yellow-rumped Flycatchers which I have seen here before at this time of the year and which have been sighted in the last few days in Bangkok by Dave Gandy. I didn't see any but I did see lots of nice birds.
Plenty of tantalising glimpses of quails but I couldn't make a positive identification of any of them, possibly two Yellow-legged Buttonquail. I had a good look at a female Red Junglefowl and good views of a Lesser Whistling Duck and a White-breasted Waterhen with their respective broods in train. In the last light of the day a small flock of what I believe were Asian House Martins appeared and livened up the sky with their high energy aeronautics. The white, on the upper tail coverts (their rumps to be precise) and undersides, was I sawas they darted about in a frenzy and had me reaching for my binoculars. Impossible to get a good view of them. I've subsequently checked the field-guide and they look good for Asian House Martins. However I want another look at them before making a call and I'll need to get an idea of their timings in terms of when they normally arrive in Thailand; the distribution maps in the field guide show they are winter visitors and shows that Ratchaburi is in their normal range.
I drove back to the launch area after sunset with a view to taking a shot of the sunset over the reservoir. It was a fairly limp sunset so I didn't bother but a nightjar flew up into the glare of my headlamps and settled down on the ground again. There would have been a time when I would have said Indian Nightjar but I can't be sure as I really didn't get a good enough look at it before it took off again.
On Sunday the weather was wet again so I snatched a quick hour in the local rice paddy. The highlight was a brief view of a very elegant and light-coloured juvenile Watercock. I had a glimpse of a Common Kingfisher which I believe is another winter visitor. I haven't seen one for a few months. I even managed to photograph a Blue-tailed Bee-eater and a Purple Heron. I think the Blue-tailed Bee-eateers in this area are residents.
On the subject of migration the Chumphon Raptor Watch has begun this year with reports of small numbers of Japanese Sparrowhawks already on their annual migration south.
I think this blog entry confirms I need to do some serious work with the field-guides, epecially on quails and nightjars!