Friday, 2 March 2012

Florican Grasslands to Tmatboey

We headed out of Siem Reap early today and drove to an area known as the Florican Grasslands, a vast open plain which protects suitable habitat for Bengal Florican. As we drove along the bumpy track a Small Buttonquail was seen feeding right out in the open and despite all of us exiting the vehicles in a hurry it remained totally unconcerned by our presence – a most remarkable sighting. Whilst watching this little cracker a pair of Bengal Floricans strode across the plain in front of us a few hundred metres away. What an amazing double whammy! We watched in awe as they made their way across the grassland at a sedate pace and were on view for at least half an hour. Then we walked over to some scrub bordered ponds and spent quite a while trying to call in Manchurian Reed-warbler which did come in but never showed well. Care had to be taken as several Black-browed Reed-warblers were also present. Other goodies seen around the pools included Woolly-necked Stork, Zitting Cisticola, Oriental Skylark, Bluethroat and Striated Grassbird as well as some other previously seen species. Walking back to the vehicles a Savanna Nightjar was flushed from cover and a Lanceolated Warbler shot up out of the grass and flew under one of the cars. Leaving here we drove to Tmatboey, arriving around 4pm having stopped to view a mixed flock along the way which held Eurasian Hoopoe, both Common and Large Woodshrikes, Neglected Nuthatch, Sooty-headed Bulbul, Small Minivet, Large Cuckooshrike and Common Flameback, with an obliging Brown Prinia seen perched on top of a tall grass stem and with Crested Treeswifts flying overhead.. Upon arrival at the lodge we quickly dumped our gear into the rooms and then headed out into the forest in search of White-shouldered Ibis. The first place we checked drew a blank although we’d seen a pair of Brown Fish-owls, Lesser Adjutant, Red-billed Blue Magpie and Indochinese Bushlark but as we walked through the forest to a roost site, Sophoan spotted two White-shouldered Ibis perched at the top of a tall dead tree in the distance. So we scoped them for ages until the light faded, also seeing Grey-capped Woodpecker and Golden-fronted Leafbird, and after hearing a Collared Scops-owl in the distance returned to the lodge.

Small Buttonquail

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