Saturday, 3 December 2011

Wat Norng Blah Lai, Phetchburi Province

Greater Spotted Eagle
Aquila clanga
Wat Norng Blah Lai 03.12.11

I took my two and half year old son, Benedict, out with me this afternoon and we had a very pleasant time in the Wat Norng Blah Lai area, Phetchburi province. It's a 30 minute drive from home. We had one Greater Spotted Eagle, Eastern Marsh Harrier and Pied Harrier. Two resident Black-shouldered Kites were trying to mob an Eastern Marsh, (f), but she took it all in her stride and gracefully side-stepped their onslaught. What was striking was the difference in their sizes -  the harrier really dwarfs the kites.

Black-shouldered Kite
Elanus caeruleus
Wat Norng Blah Lai 03.12.11

I could only manage a silhouette of the Greater Spotted, but this shot really captures the atmosphere as the sun sets. The last couple of hours in the day are often fantastic The kites were much more obliging. However they were only about 50m away! As we drove around we also noticed a couple of Black Kites trailing the rice harvesters in the hope of a snack. These are the first Black Kites I have seen in this area this year.

White-throated Kingfisher
Halcyon smyrnensis
Wat Norng Blah Lai 03.12.11

As Benedict slept peacefully I was able to stop in the Khao Yoi area on our way home and watch the Black Kites coming in to roost. Over the next few weeks the count here is likely to rise to several thousands but tonight a modest 300-350. At 17:50h photography is just not an option now but they make an impressive sight as they crowd coconut trees; tonight about 100 of them were on the ground in freshly cut rice. I didn't see any kites coming in from the north tonight which surprised me as they do come up to Ratchaburi and Huay Mai Teng during the day.

I have to say things are warming up quite nicely

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