Friday, September 29, 2006


White-rumped Shama by Yurie Ball

I’m overwhelmed, I’m speechless, no I could never be accused of being speechless but Mae Hia is amazing me. It certainly has gained ascendancy over Huay Tung Tao birdwise. Over the last 8 days I have documented 10 new species for the area, half of them migrant species.

(September 29th) The two new species today are the Red-breasted Parakeet and a juvenile Grey-headed Lapwing (187 spp). The former bird raises doubt in my mind as it was a solitary bird and usually parakeets are to be seen in flocks, could it have been an escapee? I don’t know. But whatever it was it made a beautiful sight sitting at the top of a dead tree. The Grey-headed Lapwing being a juvenile didn’t actually have a grey head but it did have grey cheek patches and these would eventually grow to cover the head and breast. When it flew it had the black and white wings of an adult. The bill was yellow with a black tip. The lapwing is a migrant so goes down as a returnee along with a Dusky Warbler also spotted.

Other birds of interest today were a Black-winged Cuckoo-Shrike facing off with an Oriental Cuckoo in a dead tree. Sitting above them was a Greater Racket-tailed Drongo and when it felt it had had enough of their bickering dived on them and drove them off. I find some of these interactions between different species quite amusing and human-like. Another instance of this this morning was a juvenile Yellow Bittern which we put up from a lakeside reed bed. It started off across the lake and then suddenly a Barn Swallow made a dive, I’m not sure if it was diving at the bittern but the bittern thought so,lost its composure, and fell into the water. I was just beginning to feel sorry for this tragic end when it sort of bounced back out of the water into the air and carried on to the other side of the lake.

We are still hearing a lot of songsters singing although they will sing less and less the farther they get from the breeding season. Two today that were still going strong were the White-rumped Shama with its loud fluty whistle, always a pleasure to listen to. The other one is the Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher with its tinkling four or five note song.


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