Monday, January 22, 2007

The Office Pond – Well And Truly Ducked

Olive-backed Sunbird by Yurie Ball

(January 11th. 2007 Mae Hia) Today I was out with a client, Karen Petersen, and my bird of the day was probably the Emerald Cuckoo. We also got some excellent views of the Siberian Rubythroat and Eurasian Wryneck, both fairly common in the area. Also three barbets, Great, Coppersmith and Lineated. The Green Bee-eater impressed Karen the most. The immature Grey-faced Buzzard is still loitering in the area. Mae Hia is definitely the better of my two sites for raptors, we regularly see two or three species and sometimes up to seven. First stop of the morning was the Office Pond and 300 + Lesser Whistling Ducks took to the air on our approach, all whistling like mad! Morning count was 60 seen and 7 identified by call.

(January 13th. Mae Hia) The red flowering trees are getting redder by the day and producing more birds per tree than ever. I always give these trees around 20 minutes of my time. This morning a couple of Eurasian Jays were upset at the presence of two Rufous-winged Buzzards in one flowering tree and were swearing at it in Crested Serpent Eagle language. I suppose they thought that using the eagles call would frighten off the smaller buzzards or am I anthropomorphising them? In the same tree were 10+ Olive-backed Sunbirds. Two immature Spotted Owlets seen sitting on a shed roof preening themselves.

(January 15th. HTT) A Blue Whistling Thrush seen feeding on the sluice that drains the lake when it gets too full, this one was of the resident variety with the yellow bill. A red flowered tree again, 40+ Red Turtle Doves seen feeding in one. That must be the most I have seen in one flock. Heard two White-browed Piculets having some sort of argument, they were drumming on bamboo and trilling at each other. Would you believe it, my batteries had run out so I couldn’t record them.

(January 22nd . Mae Hia) A new bird for the area, a Drongo Cuckoo (205 spp.). This bird is uncommon up here and first I thought I was looking at a Bronzed Drongo but when it turned its head my way I saw the thin decurved bill. It landed about five metres away from me and that was unusual for a start, then it turned and I saw the white barring under the tail. This is one of the parasitic cuckoos. A Crested Honey Buzzard flew low overhead and it was gratifying to get such a good look at its underparts. Its tail is diagnostic, the tip is black with a thick off-white bar and then another black bar (some do vary in their plumage). The tail of the Crested Serpent Eagle is similar but this bird has clear black and white trailing edges to the underwing which differentiates it from the buzzard. A cold start to the morning, temperature was 9.5 centigrade at 7am.


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