Saturday, 28 January 2012

Small Pratincoles back at the Reservoir

Huay Mai Teng Reservoir rarely disappoints and today was no exception as my son and I headed up for a brief scout around late in the afternoon. I had one objective: to see if the Small Pratincoles had returned. I am delighted to say in the fading light of the day I watched 5 fly above their normal wintering quarters here at the reservoir. They didn't land but I am happy to say they are back in the area and I expect that over the next two months or so their numbers will increase and they will take up their usual position.

I also managed to "see" at least 5, possibly more, Savanna Nightjars. I have used inverted commas because it was virtually dark but nevertheless was able to note three key distinguishing features: white outer tail feathers, white wing patches on the females and finally, and conclusively, the call: it has a really distinctive rasping call which I have checked against other contenders on xeno-canto. It can only be Savanna Nightjar. So Thai lifer ⌗310 goes onto my list. As I drove home I was wondering about the possibility of getting a shot of these birds using flash with a handheld camera: they were coming in so close it seems feasible.

Elsewhere in the site I saw three Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, two Bronze-winged Jacanas, a glimpse of one Blossom-headed Parakeet and one Yellow Wagtail. Plus I managed to flush a small group of about 7 Barred Buttonquail. These are amazing birds: they must have been 10 yards away from me in thickish grass. I didn't have a clue they were so close until they flew off. They really are masters of disguise.

I also rather fancy I saw a couple of Richard's Pipits: they appeared bigger, more upright,stouter billed, longer-tailed and lighter lored with more extensive breast markings. I've just had a listen to both Paddyfeld and Richard's calls , once more on xeno-canto, and I am now doubtful so no claims.

For once I didn't get the rig out. My little boy loves to play with the tripod so I am not sure I would have been able to take any shots. But a most happy scout around the reservoir.


  1. Hi Gerry,

    I just came across your blog today. My wife and I will be doing a birding trip to Thailand. We are leaving snowy Canada in 3 weeks. We will spend the last week of our 4 week holiday at Kaeng Krachen park. Will the Small Pratincoles still be around the reservoir by mid-March? Is there a particular spot on the reservoir to look. Are you likely to be available to go out for a day of birding? Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Dean Nicholson

    1. Thanks for visiting the blog Dean. I've sent you an email on the above address. G