Friday, September 15, 2006

THINGS ARE LOOKING UP AT HUAY TUNG TAO (15th. September)

Crested Serpent Eagle - By Yurie Ball


I hadn’t been to Huay Tung Tao for 6 days, there didn’t seem any point considering the muddy state of the track. But this morning I decided to see how far the military had got with it. It was in the best condition its ever been, widened and graded to a fairly smooth surface. Next step is asphalting so there may be another gap in my visits there, it depends on how they proceed with it.

And the birds were plentiful, all the returned migrants that I had found at Mae Hia in the last six days were at HTT plus two more. A flock of Intermediate Egrets planed down to the waters edge. This was exciting as at the best of times they are not regular visitors. The other bird or birds were three Little Herons. These two places MH and HTT complement each other, if a bird is difficult to find at one place it can often be found in numbers at the other so I’m going to alternate my visits to each in the future. This way I can keep an eye on more birds.

The returning Brown Shrikes at both places are having a bit of trouble settling in, the local Long-tailed Shrike doesn’t appreciate them moving into its territory. Being bigger it has the last word and it’s usually a loud screech and the smaller shrike moves into a less productive area. Even the Burmese Shrike is higher in the pecking order and also sees it off. But they will all eventually settle into their own territory for the coming winter and things will quieten down. Good for them but not for me, I enjoy watching this interaction between species.

Another local bird seen today and it was living up to its name was the Crested Serpent Eagle. It was sitting at the top of a dead tree and had a metre long snake dangling down from the branch. The Eagle had it firmly held with one talon and was tearing strips of flesh off it as the snake was frantically wriggling, or maybe you didn’t need to know that gory detail but it’s all part of Nature. Another welcome sighting was a flock of White-crested Laughingthrushes and as usual there was at least one Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush included in the flock. I hear the former bird most days but don’t often get to see them as they usually don’t come down close enough to the road.

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