Tuesday, 4 October 2011

A Day at the Reservoir

Great Egret

I finally set eyes this morning on a Yellow-rumped Flycatcher at Huay Mai Teng Reservoir, Ratchaburi. Just as well the defining characteristic of the female is so prominent when it flies. Very disappointing day on the raptor front, a total of three Oriental Honey Buzzards and not a whiff of any other raptors. No sign of any migration either. A huge flock of Oriental Pratincoles was once more present towards the end of daylight, roosting on a recently water-free part of the reservoir where presumably the grub is good.

But lots of birds, lots of common species. I listed in excess of 80 species today, with two unidentifieds. I also photographed some dragonflies. I shot 94 frames today but not many good shots. I have a much better sense now of decent shots. The egret was four times as far away as the Indochinese Bushlark  (thanks to Paul Bourdin and Tom Backlund for confirmation that it is not an Oriental Skylark, but rather an IBL) but it is a much clearer shot. This is because the sun was shining on the bird and I was between the bird and the sun with the sun on my back.

Indochinese Bushlark

Trithemis pallidinervis and unknown insect
Competition, predation or what?!
Trithemis pallidinervis - copulation?

I even had the hide up this afternoon but nothing was biting so to speak. However I was not driven by the need to get good captures. In fact first thing I had a lovely two hour stroll through the woods with only my binoculars and this is when I saw the bulk of today's birds. I even managed to flush a couple of raptors as I walked but they were off so quickly that I wouldn't be able to make a call. I must take a stroll more often!

So a really long, pleasant day. I was thinking about the preponderance of Oriental Honey Buzzards in and around the reservoir area; of course, this makes perfect sense because this is an area famed for its bees and honey. Nearby Suan Phueng, the mountain resort area, means Bee Garden. And of course they are not called Oriental Honey Buzzards because of their love of fish! I was talking to one of the estate staff and he knew about Honey Buzzards, and he knew its name in Thai, "ee-u phueng" , ( เหยี่ยวผึ้ง), "honey hawk".

School holidays are great, huh?!


  1. I'm not sure about the Skylark. Couldn't it be a Bushlark? I have seen (young) Skylarks with some rufous on the closed primaries, but not as much as that. Not sure whether you get Australian or Indochinese Bushlark where you are. Very envious of your recent raptor sighting btw. My local patch (Los Banos, Philippines) has about 10 raptors/ year, and I mean individuals, not species!

  2. Hi Paul and thanks for your comment. I thought I was photographing an Indochinese Bushlark but when I got home and started looking at the image I thought I could discern a crest and I wasn't happy with the tail and the white/buff fringing on the outermost feathers. The more I looked the more I thought Oriental Skylark which I have seen in exactly the same area. Yeah the extent of the rufous doesn't make me confident in Skylark. I've asked for an opinion from a friend who knows much more about these things! There are lots of raptors about at the moment with the southbound migration in full swing. There is a count going on in the south of Thailand at CHumphon and they are counting 10,000 + raptors a day and that is likely to increase. I really like Los Banos and hope to revisit. I love birding in the Philippines. My wife is from Negros Occ. However she is pregnant right now so I don't think we'll be in the Philippines for a little while!

  3. Paul you are right! Thanks. My friend Tom Backlund confirmed it as an Indochinese Bushlark saying bill too stout. Unlike me Tom's never wrong! I seem to get it wrong rather a lot.