Tuesday, October 17, 2006

RARE RAIL AND BEAUTIFUL BEE-EATER



Chestnut-headed Bee-eater by John Moore


New bird for the area: This was at Huay Tung Tao and would probably rate as my bird of the year – it was the Water Rail. Okay it doesn’t sound exotic, in fact it doesn’t even look exotic but it is rare here. Its outstanding feature and I mean outstanding, was its long reddish/orange beak tipped with black, it is longer than any of the other Rails or Crakes. This now brings the total number of species for HTT to 235

One group of migrants that are still missing are the Leaf Warblers (Phylloscopus) and on checking back on previous years I find that they are comparatively late arrivals. But they should be around in the next week or two, looking forward to seeing them.

(October 16th MH) Another nice surprise was the sighting of four Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters. The books don’t do them justice, they are altogether brighter especially the blue that can be seen on their backs (not on the amazing picture above, I’m afraid, taken by my friend “Entomology” John). I have only seen them at Mae Hia once or twice before. A Thick-billed Warbler was heard with its soft warbling song emanating from a thick clump of mimosa bushes on the edge of Ant Bite Pond. It is a beautiful if somewhat understated song and I record it everytime I hear it. One solitary female Baya Weaver was seen which reminds me that all but one of those ten abandoned weaver nests have disappeared. This may have been due to the rather dramatic weather we have been having recently or been collected for sale.

(October 17th HTT) Besides the Water Rail, two Black Bazas were seen on a dead tree and a Grey-faced Buzzard in another dead tree and a Crested Serpent Eagle was seen circling overhead giving its melancholy cry . All this on a nice sunny morning for a change – I think the cool and sunny season has set in, I hope.

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