Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Little Heron takes a dive


Little Heron before the dive

(March 1st HTT) I keep on hearing about ‘early morning mist’ this is a euphemism for the virulent smog that lasts all day and it was particularly virulent today. Fires burning on the Suthep range in about a dozen different places. The Hilltribes are busy with their slashing and burning.
But life goes on and the birds are still there in their numbers. This morning a Grey Bushchat turned up, I don’t see this bird too often only when it passes through on migration, so maybe it is preparing to go north.
I’m always happy to see the Siberian Rubythroat, especially the male. Its scarlet throat makes something of an otherwise ordinary bird. Two males appeared this morning and sat for a moment on the top of some Mimosa bushes and then quickly dropped out of sight.

(March 3rd HTT) I'm not going to mention the smog again, suffice to say that it will be with us for many months to come. Watched a flock of White-crested Laughingthrushes harassing a Shikra which was sitting in the mid-level of a leafy tree minding its own business. It wasn’t allowed to do this for long, the laughingthrushes were making individual dashes at until it flew off to find peace and quiet elsewhere. Included in this flock was at least one Lesser-necklaced Laughingthrush.
A female Olive-backed Sunbird was seen building its very untidy hanging nest. You really wouldn’t be able to find it unless you knew it was there, and that’s the whole idea, it looks like a piece of rubbish thrown into the tree.
I watched a Little Heron sitting on a tree stump some way into the lake. Now it was about one metre above the water and there was no way it could reach down to pluck out a fish. Finally it dived, not completely under water, and scooped up a fish. I had seen this once or twice before and it seems most unheron-like behaviour.

(March 5th HTT) Count for today 63 species seen and 13 identified by call – temperature at 0700 16c. A solitary Intermediate Egret seen flying overhead, they don’t very often put in an appearance in the area so it’s nice to know they are still around.
Another bird I don’t see that often is the Large-tailed Nightjar and one, a female, showed up this morning. It flitted around for about 15 minutes, flying a short distance and then dropping to the ground. Very hawk-like in appearance and quite a large bird at 30 centimetres. The female has a yellow splash near the tips of its wings.
I had almost given up seeing a Little Grebe on the big lake but one appeared this morning. They don’t like all the activities that have been generated around the lake and stick to the more secluded ponds. Incidentally I haven’t seen the Great-crested Grebe again, it stayed around for three days and then not a sign of it.

(March 7th KMP) Now I’m not going to mention smog but as we drove up to Ka Mu Phuket in the dark the mountainside was alight with fires. They were dotted all over the place which again points to the Hilltribes and Thai villagers who live in the vicinity. There are also newly placed signs along the road saying ‘Don’t light fires, you’re burning our country’ and all along that road workers were busy burning the mountainside, the mind boggles!
Anyway, we got three new birds, A Green Magpie which I was surprised that we hadn’t got before, a Rosy Minivet and a Black-winged Cuckoo-Shrike which was brought to our attention by its call, wii-wii-teew-teew. This brings our checklist for the area to 185 species. We also came across a flock of 6 or 7 White-necked Laughingthrushes which isn’t an everyday occurrence for me. They thrust themselves upon us with their maniacal laughter. They kept on popping up from the undergrowth into the lower branches of the trees to get a good look at us. Finally they thought we weren’t worth the effort and left.

5 Comments:

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