Monday, October 02, 2006

REQUIEM FOR A STARLING

Black-collared Starlings by Yurie Ball


(September 30th Mae Hia) It’s not really a case of “it never rains but it pours” though seeing two more Black-capped Night Herons comes close after seeing one juvenile a few days ago. This time there was an adult with a juvenile. It was years since I saw my last one, so there is a very happy man sitting here in front of his computer. But that was all of note that happened this morning.

(October 1st Mae Hia) Two new birds for the area and they also happen to be migrants so come under the heading of 'returning migrants'. One solitary Intermediate Egret and the other one is the Ashy Drongo (D.l. leuconensis). This latter bird is a sub-species quite a lighter grey than the original, the main distinguishing feature are the white patches surrounding the eyes and cheek, it's a bird that is not too often seen. (189 spp to date). On the subject of migrants, the Brown Shrike is back in amazing numbers at Mae Hia this year. I must have seen at least 15 individuals on my rounds this morning. This in comparison with 1 Long-tailed Shrike and 2 Burmese Shrikes. We will have to ask these migrants to apply for visas before too long to limit their numbers.

And yet another interesting morning besides those to new birds. I was very pleased to see a flock of Racket-tailed Treepies, I counted 15 as they very conveniently flew in line across the road. I haven’t seen a flock of this size for ages, usually it has been 4 or 5 at a time. Now we’re back to those dead trees , it wasn’t the dead trees themselves that were producing but the immediate surrounding area. The first surprise and it was a surprise for both me and the bird in question. I was just turning around a bend in a track and there, about ten metres in front of me, was a male junglefowl (or more popularly, a cockerel). I froze but the bird did exactly the opposite, it shot straight up in the air and then landed in an untidy heap and finally scuttled off into the undergrowth. This was also the place I saw the new Ashy Drongo. Other birds in that area was a Slender-billed Oriole, a Banded Bay Cuckoo, a Crested Honey Buzzard and a Crested Serpent-Eagle flew overhead. In future I will make that my breakfast spot. I usually breakfast at a small pond while I watch for a pair of Little Grebes and a Common Kingfisher to present themselves.

One unhappy event this morning was the death of a Black-collared Starling under the wheels of the car in front of us. This was on the road immediately after entering the project site. These starlings and their cousins the Common Mynahs and the White-vented Mynahs seem to find food on the road but usually manage to fly off before being hit. This particular starling must have found a juicy worm and was prepared to defend its meal to the death. That’s exactly what happened, it got squashed.

5 Comments:

At 2:36 PM, Blogger john m said...

Tony- I thought at first you were referring to this from yesterday's paper:
‘THE UK’s only rose-coloured starling was hounded to death by a mob of birdwatchers.The rare creature fluttered from garden to garden as it desperately tried to get away from up to 80 camera-wielding fanatics.’
Not seen any of those at Mae Hia? (you seem to have found pretty well everything else!)

 
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