Thursday, 23 January 2014

Doi Ang Khang to Thaton

After a bitterly cold night we had breakfast and then drove along the road through pine forest where we pulled the minibus onto the verge and sat and waited for a while. We were waiting for Hume’s Pheasant which suddenly appeared after around a 20 minute wait and was two males were seen feeding inside the forest not too far away from us. The views weren’t god at all but shortly after another male and a female appeared on the grassy verge downhill from us and proceeded to feed right out in the open. They weren’t that close but we enjoyed the opportunity to see them as our hopes weren’t that high to begin with. But unfortunately a car drove past us and disturbed the birds which didn’t reappear, so we hopped out of the minibus and had a look at a Rufous-gorgetted Flycatcher and Blyth’s Shrike-babbler that were calling from nearby. 

Yellow-cheeked Tit
Further up the hill we birded on a sunlit piece of hillside and found quite a lot of activity with a few Chestnut-vented Nuthatches, Japanese and Yellow-cheeked Tits, Grey-cheeked Fulvettas, a pair of Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-babblers, Mrs Gould’s Sunbird, Grey-backed Shrike, and a fine Golden-throated Barbet.

Leaving here we drove back to our lodge and enjoyed nice views of the Grey-winged Blackbird and Chestnut-bellied Rock-thrush again, but this time in much better light than yesterday and a few Olive-backed Pipits were also present. 

Olive-backed Pipit
We spent a while enjoying the other garden birds here, such as White-headed and Brown-breasted Bulbuls, White-capped Water-redstart, Maroon Oriole, Common Rosefinch and others. A short drive took us to another stake-out where we saw several White-tailed Robins, Black-breasted Thrush, stunning male Rufous-bellied Niltava, male Hill Blue Flycatcher, and a juvenile Siberian Blue Robin all feeding some 20 feet away. In the surrounding trees there was Blue-winged Minla and Yellow-bellied Warbler as well.

Rufous-bellied Niltava

Hill Blue Flycatcher
After lunch we drove up to the border post which overlooks Myanmar and found a pair of Daurian Redstarts and a female Slaty-backed Flycatcher, but not a lot else, so we set off down into the lowlands and headed to Thaton ricefields. It was unusually cool here and there was a lot of bird activity and as soon as we got there an immature Pied Harrier flew by and landed not too far away. A good start! I think the male Siberian Rubythroat that sat out in the open for ages takes some beating though. 

Siberian Rubythroat
We also had a Green Sandpiper, Long-tailed Shrike, Black-collared Starling, several Dusky Warblers and Chestnut-tailed Starling. Keeping our run of good luck going we found Thailand’s 2nd ever Siberian Chiffchaff as well!

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