Saturday, May 05, 2007

Mango Rains have set in

Special birds at HTT over the years

Bar-headed Goose (26.11.2005) Anser indicus
Northern Sparrowhawk (21.2.2004) Accipiter nisus
Amur Falcon (2.11.2005) Falco amurensis
Northern Hobby (20.10.2004) Falco subbuteo
Water Rail (17.10.2006) Rallus aquaticus
Black-tailed Crake (24.3.2004) Porzana bicolor
Spot-billed Starling (19.2.2007) Saroglossa spiloptera
Golden-crested Mynah (25.11.2004) Ampeliceps coronatus

(May 2nd HTT) That patch of woodland that I discovered the other day is a gem! It’s home to a host of birds and some of them quite special, at least birds that I don’t see everyday elsewhere in the project area. One is the Asian Paradise Flycatcher male and its amazingly flexible tail which seems to have trouble keeping up with it as it performs aerobatic flights after insects. The Yellow-bellied Warbler always lets me know it’s around with its loud, high pitched tinkling song. The White-crested Laughingthrush which becomes more visible there than anywhere else. The Black-naped Monarch with its loud monotone trill that lets you know it’s around and a pair of Shikras which at the moment are nesting about 15 metres up at the top of a tree. I spend about an hour each morning confined to just this small area.
I’ve always know that White-breasted Waterhens can become quite eccentric come breeding time but three I came across this morning took it too far – or should I say too high. I heard them calling then realised that the calls weren’t coming from ground level where one would expect too find them. I looked up into the trees and there were three of them strutting around on branches at the top of a very tall tree caterwauling and ‘wokking’ at each other, quite amusing to watch.

(May 3rd HTT) The weather today was reflected in the bird count, miserable, 46 species seen and 9 identified by call, the drizzle persisted most of the morning. Even my woodland site was as quiet as the grave, the birds were keeping their heads down. Except for the Common Koels, the mating urge still upon them, the males were chasing the seemingly reluctant females from tree to tree uttering their earsplitting calls.
Some Chinese Pond-Herons, in their resplendent breeding plumage, are still passing through and our brown and white one, I’m assuming it is the same one, joins them while they are there.
Also a few pairs of Red Turtle-Doves can be seen and heard at this time with their hoarse, throaty ‘croodle-oo-croo’.

(May 4th HTT) When my sentences start getting longer and really saying nothing much then it was probably raining that morning, as it was this morning, and I’m trying to fill the requisite space in my Diary before I present it to you.
Due to the rain I decided to concentrate on the migrant species as it is that time of year again and the resident species will still be there when they are gone. Also it could be that a passage migrant might be the bird that will bring the number of species I have documented in the area to that tantalising number of 250 species. That didn’t happen today but the migrants spotted were: Chinese Pond-Heron (3), Little Egret (1), Common Moorhen (10), Barn Swallow (1), Thick-billed Warbler (2), and Brown Shrike (1). At the end of the morning I finished soaked to the skin (I forgot my poncho) and nothing much to show for it.


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