Sunday, 26 February 2012

Eurasian Coot at Huay Mai Teng Reservoir

The highlight of an unexpected trip to Huay Mai Teng Reservoir  this afternoon was 4 Eurasian Coot.  A big tick for the patch.  I followed my instinct today and headed to the southern end of the reservoir. As I drove in there were lots of Green Bee-eaters and Sooty Bulbuls in a feeding frenzy  in fruit trees. Earlier I had checked the northern end of the reservoir for Small Pratincoles but drew a blank I am sorry to say. Lots of barn swallows in the heat of the afternoon but little else.

Yellow Wagtail, Little Ringed Plover, Oriental Pratincole, and Wood Sandpiper were all near the water edge; the water level is decreasing providing rich feeding opportunities for birds. As ever I was in my element enjoying the peaceful atmosphere with a strong setting sun and gentle cooling breeze coming off the reservoir. I was happy to be able to get close to some birds and get a few decent shots.

I decided to scan a small islet about 300 metres away with the scope and picked up one Coot followed by three others. I rather fancy I had a glimpse of a White-browed Crake too but the light was poor so no claims. However I know where I'll be heading next time I come. I was happy with the Coot, a bird I had seen at Bueng Boraphet, where it is usually present during the winter in significant numbers but elsewhere is fairly uncommon in Thailand. Strange really as it is one bird I knew from seeing regularily in suburban London, when I was decidedly a non-birder!

I am concerned however that there was no evidence of Small Pratincoles. As the dark descended Savanna Nightjars made their presence known by their distinctive calls. I decided to head back to the northern side of the reservoir to see if I get a shot of one in the dark by using a flash gun. Plenty of calling but none came in close enough.

What a great afternoon's birding.

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