Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Phetchaburi Area

After an unsuccessful search for a reported Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (a rarity here), we drove into the King’s Project and found a few more White-winged Terns amongst the large flock of Whiskered Terns. We drove around the lagoons, passing several Black-crowned Night-herons and rows of pond-herons waiting for their breakfast on the bamboo pontoons – like some avian diner! The problem with these birds at this time of year is that they are indistinguishable in non-breeding plumage and dodgy id’s like dusky wingtips etc just don’t cut the mustard I’m afraid. Anyway, we found a Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker drumming on the roof of a building – and this bird some people are calling Freckle-breasted Woodpecker now. 

Richard's Pipit

There were plenty of commoner birds such as a large flock of Lesser Whistling-ducks but nothing too fancy, although a Thick-billed Warbler and a flyby White-shouldered Starling both managed to elude my group. So we moved on and checked out a few other sites that gave us Indian Nightjar, Golden-bellied Gerygone, Chestnut Munia, Oriental Skylark, Booted Eagle, and a flock of newly arrived Oriental Pratincoles flying around the clear blue sky. The latter is noteworthy, the sky not pratincoles (but they were great too), as the weather seems to have cleared up and bodes well for our few days birding in Kaeng Krachen. 

Booted Eagle

Booted Eagle

Oriental Pratincole

From here we went to the coast and as the tide receded found 5+ Terek Sandpipers amongst a mass of hundreds of Eurasian Curlews, 3 Far Eastern Curlews, Great Knots etc. It was very hot here so we headed back inland to Phetchaburi and lunch. The afternoon was spent amidst the rice fields where birds were numerous and we found 2 Black-headed Ibis and a Painted Stork at a big lagoon. 

Asian Openbill

Whiskered tern

Little Green Bee-eaters

Moving on a marshy area held 10 Grey-headed Lapwing, whilst a lake further down the road held a spectacular congregation of 350+ Cotton Pygmy-goose. There were Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-winged Jacanas, a lone Garganey, Eurasian Coot, and a Yellow-bellied Prinia here as well. 

Asian Pied Starling

Peaceful Dove

Black-capped Kingfisher

Then we were off to the raptor fields and managed to see a few Greater Spotted Eagles, a huge Eastern Imperial Eagle, Eastern Marsh and Pied Harrier, Black-eared, Black-shouldered  and Brahminy Kites, a Peregrine and several Red-throated Pipits flying over uttering their high-pitched call.. Leaving here we continued our exploration of this vast, open area and came up with Plaintive Cuckoo, Ruddy-breasted Crake, Pink-necked Green-pigeon, Yellow Bittern and flocks of Eastern Baya Weavers.

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