Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Doi Lang (again)

We drove up the old road to Doi Lang this morning and got off to a very good start with a pair of Mountain Bamboo-partridges running along the road in front of us. 

Mountain Bamboo-partridge

At a large flowering tree we saw several Hair-crested Drongos, along with a few Blue-throated Barbets before moving on up the road a short distance. Our next stop was prompted by a large, perched raptor on the ridge above which turned out to be an Oriental Honey-buzzard. As we scoped it, another flowering tree was proving attractive to lots of birds. A Maroon Oriole was accompanied by a Slender-billed Oriole, whilst a Great Barbet was also very nice. Unfortunately both Grey Treepie and Stripe-breasted Woodpecker didn’t play ball and a Bay Woodpecker was equally unresponsive. 

Chestnut-bellied Rock-thrush

A fine male Chestnut-bellied Rock-thrush showed nicely beside the road as well before we made it up to the feeding station area. It was rather quiet to begin with whilst we put rice down at the various spots around the small huts and we suspected that all of the local photographers were not bothering here and going to the other sites on the new road. How wrong we were! First of all, 3 Scarlet-faced Liocichlas came down onto a mossy log speckled with rice and were quickly followed by a Spectacled Barwing and we enjoyed wonderful views at close quarters. 

Scarlet-faced Liocichlas

Spectacled Barwing

Over the road a male Himalayan Bluetail was offering point blank views and kept diving down for rice between a male Large Niltava, Dark-backed Sibias and a confiding Eye-browed Thrush. What a show they all put on and when confronted by such an amazing sighting all you can do is sit down and watch…. 

Himalayan Bluetail

Large Niltava

We then walked along the road and picked up quite a few birds in some mixed flocks including Whiskered Yuhina, Davison’s Leaf-warbler, Yellow-bellied Fantail, Blue-winged Minla, Mountain Tailorbird and a Black-eared Shrike-babbler for some of us. Up at the viewpoint an Aberrant Bush-warbler was called in and we finally nailed a Stripe-breasted Woodpecker.

Davison's Leaf-warbler

Just as we were about to leave a flock could be heard just inside the forest and we walked in and saw a Yellow-browed Tit, Rufous-winged Fulvetta and a close Hume’s Treecreeper. Leaving here we drove back down the mountain, to the ricefields near Thaton, seeing a flock of Cook’s Swifts, and walked out between the rice paddies seeing Green and Wood Sandpipers, Paddyfield and Richard’s Pipits, Citrine Wagtail, Eurasian Wryneck, and best of all, a male Pied Harrier

Pied Harrier

Then we drove to another site and scanned the tall grassland where we eventually scoped a pair of Jerdon’s Bushchat. They were a bit distant but through the scope the views were acceptable, and whilst scanning picked up what may be only the 5th record of Black-headed Bunting for Thailand when a pair flew down on to the waters edge. Then we walked to some closer grassland and also managed to get Bluethroat, Chestnut-capped Babbler, Grey-breasted Prinia, Scaly-breasted Munia, Black-faced Bunting and a few Small Pratincoles flying over. 

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