Saturday, March 24, 2007

BIRD FLU GOING CUCKOO?


Eurasian Jay photo by John Moore

(March 21st HTT) Today the smog had definitely lessened due to the arrival of what we call the ‘Mango Rains’. I hope that we get a few more days of it to really clear things up. It came too late for one Plaintive Cuckoo, it has been wheezing away with its descending call and half the notes don’t quite make it out, a sort of squeaky sound is the result.
The Red-throated Flycatchers are beginning to regain their red throats in preparation for their migration north. This red throat, or lack of it when it’s here, causes embarrassment when I show the bird to clients and the inevitable question arises ‘why is it called a Red-throated Flycatcher?’.
A Common Snipe seen probing, beak deep, in the newly exposed mud of the shrinking lake – I’m looking forward to seeing more waders taking advantage of this situation.
Another Osprey seen again sitting on the top of a dead tree over in the ‘Army forbiddenZone’ (sic). I really would like to get in there as many birds are to be seen descending into that area in preference to our big lake, birds that we don’t see very often in our area now, Grey Herons spring to mind.
A Chinese Pond-Heron was seen sitting proudly (anthropomorphism again) in a tree in its maroon, black and white breeding plumage, it will be off north soon.
I was trying to find the Crested Serpent Eagle that I was hearing quite close by, eventually I located the caller which turned out to be a Eurasian Jay doing an amazing imitation of this raptor.

(March 22nd Mae hia) Still some smog about but not as bad as it has been, maybe the locals are taking the warnings to heart, we’ll see.
Today the grey-backed Long-tailed Shrike was remarkable by its absence. I have seen it every visit since it came back last year, maybe it has migrated.
A mixed flock of Chestnut-capped Babblers and Yellow-eyed Babblers seen and heard calling. I kept on getting quick glimpses of them as they skulked on by through the thorny mimosa.
Three Plaintive Cuckoos seen, two hepatic morphs and one in its more normal plumage. Also a much larger Oriental Cuckoo, hepatic morph, was seen diving into a tree. My first thought was that it was a falcon of some sort, possibly a kestrel, but on getting a closer look it turned out to be the cuckoo. It looked so much like a falcon that it also fooled the birds and they scattered like a sunburst, shrieking, when it arrived in the tree.
Strangely enough I didn’t see one Chinese Pond-Heron even thinking about changing plumage compared to most at Huay Tung Tao, I wonder why?

(March 24th KMP) Another new bird for the Ka Mu Phuket road, the Rufous-winged Babbler and I’m not apologising for it being a common bird, bringing the number for the area to 186spp. Still quite a bit of smog up there in the mountains! Came across two Grey-headed Flycatchers using rocks in a rushing stream as landing spots between their aerobatic flights to catch insects. I can’t say that I have seen them using that sort of behaviour and habitat before, more the habitat of the Plumbeous Redstart that I have seen there before. It was quite windy this morning and that is the reason that we didn’t see as many birds as usual.

6 Comments:

At 4:17 PM, Blogger Jamie Monk said...

Hi,

Just found your blog and thought I'd pass on a link to another birding blog done by a guy in Phuket - phuketbirder.blogspot.com.

Have a nice day!
Jamie
Phuket

 
At 4:38 AM, Anonymous nickupton@thaibirding.com said...

I'm fairly happy to use the new name "Taiga Flycatcher" these days. It masks the silliness of it being Red-throated when it hasn't got a red throat for most of its stay in Thailand.

 
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