Thursday, November 15, 2007

Huay Tung Tao isn’t quite a ‘Phu Khieo’


Long-tailed Shrike - nominate race (Vietnam) photo by Tony Ball

I won’t say it was an anti-climax to get back to the more human oriented surroundings of Huay Tung Tao after Phu Khieo but in the last few months at HTT there have not been as many birds about as in normal years. What that’s all about I have no idea! It could be a combination of reasons, the continual ‘pruning’ of all vegetation in the area and the build up of ‘entertainments’ like the additional dining rafts that are creeping along the shoreline and the paint ball battlefield, which I have to say that no one seems to use that much. But some interesting birds still turn up even if the birdcount is down

HTT 13th. Nov. – A Black-headed Bulbul, grey morph, was seen, I notice that ‘the book’ has them down as rare but at fruiting time when these bulbuls gather in fairly large flocks to feed one and sometimes two can be seen.
Spotted today not a rare bird but one that stood out from its fellow birds in a flock of roosting Barn Swallows was the H.r. tytleri. When seen head on roosting in a reed bed it stands out like a sore thumb, literally, with its reddish-chestnut underparts standing out from the other 200 plus swallows with white underparts.

Mae Hia 14th. Nov. – I hadn’t visited MH since April but due to the paucity of birdlife at HTT I decided to check it out. Again the bird count has dropped but is higher than HTT and it was good to see that the grey-backed, Long-tailed Shrike (a migrant probably from China or Vietnam) has made it back to exactly same spot as it has for the last 3-4 years. Our local Long-tailed Shrike, with a light rufous back, is a resident species here in Thailand. Another bird of note spotted was a Black Eagle, I had seen it once before at Mae Hia in almost the same spot.

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