Friday, February 08, 2008

A not so glossy Glossy Ibis


The Glossy Ibis - not the actual bird we saw but a borrowed picture (not a decent camera between us)

(February 6th Mae Jo) I got a call from Paul Mackenzie, a Canadian, reporting a sighting of a Glossy Ibis (very rare in Thailand). He was staying in an up-market housing complex on the Mae Jo road and it backs onto a wetlands area. So the next evening fully armed with all my equipment consisting of pistol-grip microphone and recorder (well you never know, it might squawk or something), my binoculars and telescope I arrived at the wall overlooking the wetlands where Paul was waiting for me. It only took a couple of minutes before we spotted the Ibis and we watched it for about 40 minutes. It didn’t appear very ‘glossy’ but that was either due to worn plumage or the fact that it was evening and there was no direct sunlight to reflect off the feathers. From our viewpoint we could see over close to two acres.

Other birds seen were: 15+ Purple Swamphens, 10 Common Redshanks, 80+ Black-winged Stilts, 20+ Snipe (not sure which one’s) , 2 Little Egrets, dozens of Common Moorhens and heard the drawn out trill of the Ruddy-breasted Crake. The evening before Paul said he saw a Water Rail.

What I did find amazing was that these wetlands should exist in a fairly well built-up area bordered by a highway, another busy road that leads to Chiang Rai and this housing complex. The birds seemed perfectly at ease surrounded by the hurly-burly going on around them.

(February 8th. Mae Hia) Quite a good morning for raptors, A Peregrine Falcon was spotted sitting in a dead tree, a Rufous-winged Buzzard, a Shikra and a Crested Serpent Eagle seen and heard soaring above. The latter bird was using its full five note ascending call, the first three notes fairly fast and the last two drawn out. I’m not noted for my bird imitations but I did my best with its call and it hastened over and was obviously intrigued by this biped who was having an identity crisis, but the purpose was served and I got a closer look at it.

It doesn’t rain but it pours with Racket-tailed Treepies, I don’t see them for weeks and then, like today, they are all over the place, nice to see them. This morning I saw the biggest flock of Junglefowl I’ve ever seen at Mae Hia, at least eight females and three and a half males, one was a juvenile and was just growing into its comb and splendid plumage.

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