Monday, February 19, 2007

Spotted a Spot-winged Starling

Greater-necklaced Laughingthrush photo by John Moore

(February 14th Mae Hia) Temp. at 7am 13c. - Saw a Hoopoe this morning and soon after seeing it heard its quite distinctive two or three note - hoop, hoop, hoop – call. Also came across a Crested Honey-Buzzard (dark morph) flying low enough to make out that it was carrying something shiny in its talons but not low enough that I could make out what it was. Could it have been part of a honeycomb? I don’t know. It was eating whatever it was, on the wing. Both the Banded Bay Cuckoo (calling at the time) and the Plaintive Cuckoo were seen, always nice to see a cuckoo, even though they are parasites.

(February 16th HTT) Temp. at 7am 15c. - I don’t very often see the Ruby-cheeked Sunbird but when I do they are usually on bamboo. Today I saw one male picking at a curled leaf, it was obviously after some sort of grubs sheltering in this leaf. It stayed long enough that I was able to get my scope on it and have a good look, a beautiful bird. Another bird I don’t get to see that often is the Red-rumped Swallow of the race H.d.badia. Saw two today and the deep chestnut underparts are conspicuous. The Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker is becoming more obvious as it picks out a drumming site. This morning a male, with the red cap, was testing some dead trees for the loudest sound and when it found the one it liked it then started sending out messages. It was soon joined by two others in the distance. Other birds that are testing out their songs are the White-rumped Shamas, the Common Koel and the Magpie Robin. Up until the last few days they have all been relatively quiet.

(February 19th HTT) Temp. at 7am 15c. – Yet another new bird for the area (244spp) and a good one at that, a female Spot-winged Starling. It was seen feeding in a red flowered tree (Butea monosperma) at the top end of the lake over the rice paddies, it was mixed in with a flock of Chestnut-tailed Starlings. At the time of writing these are the only two red flowered trees in the area still with flowers. Another bird worth seeing again was a solitary Striated Warbler, it’s a big warbler,has a long uneven ended tail and has a distinctive streaked back. A wire-tailed Swallow was seen with only one and a half wires. I always thought that when most birds moulted that two equivalent feathers on either side of the body moulted at the same time to help with flight balance, moulting out of sync? Maybe this one snapped off half of the tail, who knows. Also one Green Sandpiper seen and three Common Snipe. Came across another flock of around ten White-crested Laughingthrushes and mixed in with them was at least one Greater-necklaced Laughingthrush. That came as a bit of a surprise as usually I see the greater mixed in with the Lesser-necklaced Laughingthrushes.


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