Thursday, 24 May 2012

Chestnut-winged Cuckoo in the Rice Paddy

It wasn't raining after work this evening, a pleasant change, in fact it was bright and sunny. So we put the boy's bike and the baby's push chair in the back of the truck and headed for the rice paddy en famille. Most pleasant to be outside and there was a pleasant breeze coming over the fields. I had my bins and there was plenty of bird activity, lots of weavers which I didn't pay much attention to, a Black-shouldered Kite, a Plaintive Cuckoo, Purple Heron, Asian Palm Swift, (but no Barn Swallows), and Streak-earred Bulbuls..... all the regular residents in this area. I wasn't really expecting any surprises. We had a pleasant walk. Before heading home we drove to the very end of the road in the rice paddy; this is where it reaches the railway line. We then turned round and headed back home and as we were slowly driving along, still in the rice paddy, Luna, my wife, said there was a big bird like a coucal in the bushes. My wife has a good eye so I reversed; out came a Streak-eared Bulbul; she said it wasn't this and then added her bird was still there. She put me onto it and I could make out a long tail reminiscent of a malkoha, simply in terms of length; I got the bins on the bird and could make out a bill a bit like a bee-eater and a rufous throat. I could also see the bird had a black crest. So I drove the truck forward and got out and walked back and the bird allowed me to get a good view. I could make out white underparts, a white neck collar, black eyes, reddish and black wings. I thought it must be a cuckoo of some description but couldn't call it. I didn't have a field guide in the car. We had a good look at it through the twigs and branches. I took field notes as I knew this was a new one plus I had decided not to bring a camera with me.  I really thought it had done an excellent job in disguising itself. On return home it was easy to see in the field guide that this was a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo. The Thai guide says it is "not seen often". I am not really sure of its status. Watch this space ! However for the record it is Thai lifer ⌗ 357 and I am indebted to Luna, my dear wife. Thanks baby!

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