We spent the day at Ang Traepeng Thmor which is a huge area of low lying fields, marshes, open forest and a huge reservoir which is home to a wide selection of very good species. We began with the usual views of several Lanceolated Warblers as they fled from cover as we walked along the ditches near the road, and one would occasionally offer a few seconds glimpse before it scurried in mouse-like fashion into cover. Moving on we had Pintail Snipe, Spotted Redshank, Bluethroat, and a nice male Plain-backed Sparrow perched beside a pair of Zebra Doves on the telegraph wires, whilst overhead Red-throated Pipits called as they flew, the first of many Oriental Pratincoles appeared and a cracking male Pied Harrier flew past us. We took our packed breakfast overlooking a marsh and were served up a few Sarus Cranes in the distance, along with loads of Asian Openbills and Painted Storks in a feeding frenzy some distance away. After picking up our local guides from the Wildlife Conservation Society HQ where we saw our first White-browed Crake and Plaintive Cuckoo, we made our way towards a nice open patch of forest and along the way found Green-billed Malkoha, Thick-billed Warbler, a pair of Greater Painted Snipes out in full view next to a Watercock in a roadside marsh, as well as a Spotted Owlet. A little later we found a small herd of the endangered Eld’s Deer, and at the same place a fine male Pied Harrier gave even better views than earlier. By now it was getting really warm and raptors were much in evidence, so adding to numerous Eastern Marsh Harriers we had a couple of Greater Spotted Eagles, Black and Black-shouldered Kites, as well as what may well have been an Indian Spotted Eagle – a very rare bird in Cambodia. Possibly the best bird of the morning was the confiding Spot-breasted Woodpecker, a relatively recent split from Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker. Returning to HQ for lunch and a bit of a rest, along with some very bad old tunes from Bennie Hill and George Formby we set out again in the afternoon and checked out a huge marsh full of both jacanas and Black-backed Swamphens, and where flocks of Lesser Whistling-ducks and Comb Ducks flew around after being disturbed by the harriers. Also here were Pied Fantail, a pair of confiding Oriental Reed-warblers and one or two Dusky Warblers. Other species seen today included Cotton Pygmy-goose, Red Collared-dove, White-throated and Pied Kingfishers, Baya Weaver and Scaly-breasted Munia amongst others. Finally back out in the wide open landscape of dried rice paddies and arable fields 8 Sarus Cranes strode majestically across the landscape with a setting sun behind them to round off a fine day’s birding.
This will be the last post for a few days as we leave very early tomorrow to Tmatboey and a secluded lodge where we hope to see White-shouldered and Giant Ibis amongst others....