Sunday, 8 January 2012
Slaty-legged Crake, Bangkok
I had two targets this weekend: Mew Gull and Slaty-legged Crake. Mission accomplished: double twitch! I found Slaty-legged Crake in a garden next to the Department of Geology, Chulalongkorn University in downtown Bangkok early this afternoon. Once more many thanks to Phil Round for the news of the crake's presence. This is another real rarity. My Thai field guide describes Slaty-legged Crake as " หายาก" ( ha yak), "difficult to see"; it describes the Mew Gull as " หายากมาก" ( ha yak mak), "very difficult to see". So a very productive twitch and a couple of big ticks. I must also express gratitude and appreciation to Luna, my wife, who encouraged me to go and indeed gave me her blessing.
The crake didn't immediately show and I had to have a look around, at which point doubt started to set in; am I in the right place....after all it is a huge site? A quick call to Phil Round confirmed I was and then I finally saw the crake rather matter of factly walking around in trees. It presented me with a dilemma. Do I observe it or do I try to get a shot? When I finally spotted the crake I wasn't set up so I really had no choice but to watch. The crake didn't seem too bothered by my presence but was moving around and only occasionally standing still for a few seconds. In the end I managed to get set up and I managed one decent shot of the bird which is above. Both the crake and gull were really in 300 mm lens territory. I am sure one of my mates will get a couple of cracking shots of these birds if they are lucky. Regardless, I managed one reasonable shot in difficult circumstances and that is all I want.
I went back to Bang Pu first thing this morning and the Mew Gull obliged by keeping the right distance away! However as you might see from the white right side edge, noticeably on the head, the sun was in the wrong place! Once more I just wanted a decent shot of the whole bird and this one will do.
I don't think I'll be twitching for a while so I am glad this one was so successful. Slaty-legged Crake was lifer ⌗309.