Sunday, 25 December 2011

Black-browed Reed-warbler, Thai Lifer ⌗306

Black Kite

A Merry Christmas to you! I managed Thai lifer ⌗306, a Black-browed Reed-warbler,  this afternoon in the rice paddy here in Ratchaburi, a perfect Christmas present. Two noteworthy features: its very clear black brow above a white supercilium and its white underparts. The warbler was skulking in reeds on the edge of the rice paddy adjacent to the irrigation canal. I could so easily have missed this bird and assumed it was an Oriental Reed Warbler but I waited for it to show itself and the black brow shouted at me, so to speak. No photograph as it was rather late in the day and I was in the truck.

Snipe sp
Ratchaburi 24.12.11

It is a joy to be on holiday for a few days and it is equally a joy to be able to go out birding at my leisure at 1430h with absolutely no pressure of time. It was strangely overcast and dull.  The first bird to attract my attention was a Black Kite which parked itself in the rice paddy while it devoured some unfortunate prey. It didn't like me encroaching and soon flew off.

I went to look for "inland waders" in another part of the paddy and met up with the two snipe photographed above. I think these are Pintail Snipes but I am really not sure and I cannot get any confirmation. I didn't get a view of their tails but there were no white trailing edges on their wings as they flew off - the field guides say these are diagnostic in respect of Common Snipe. It is conceivable that I didn't see their white trailing edge, but I was certainly looking for it when they flew. I attach a shot of the snipe's rear.

I am also influneced in favour of Pintail as I think the bill is on the short side and then this issue of the supercilium always being broader than the eyestripe at the base of the bill. If you feel confident about calling this one please let me know!

Red-wattled Lapwing

Not many other waders around and no sign of Grey-headed Lapwing either. I took advantage of the opportunity offered by the above obliging Red-wattled Lapwing, one of the more common residents in the rice paddy. An Eastern Marsh Harrier was doing a bit of buzzing and managed to unsettle 5 Black-crowned Night-herons which flew from their perch on a nearby tree, their presence up to that moment unknown to me. A Common Kingfisher  came tantalisingly close to giving me a good shot but as you can see the lower half of the bird's body is wrong. I also think I was in the wrong position too and that more of a side angle, as opposed to this head on, would make for a better image. You will appreciate, however, that if I start moving around the bird is going to take off.

Common Kingfisher

And finally there are thousands of ducks in the rice paddy waiting to be let loose on the remnants of the harvest. A strange spectacle but maybe their presence will draw in some more raptors in search of some variety in their diet.

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