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“Wasteland” as a Bird Habitat – Thailand Birding

On a recent bird photography trip in Petchaburi province myself and Colin Rogers spent some time photographing a number of common species in a quite ugly scrap of “wasteland”. At first glance the area looks of little value with scrubby invasive bushes, piles of illegally dumped rubbish, murky pools of water and rutted tracks – certainly it is exactly the sort of place that “developers” love to turn into something else. But spent a little time there in the late afternoon and it becomes apparent how valuable a habitat the small area is to a large number of individual birds and a fairly wide range of species as they come to feed on dumped scraps and bathe in puddles of rainwater.

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Photography at Ban Song Nok – Thailand Birding

Getting really close to birds and watching them go about their business is just about the best way to really appreciate them; even some of the apparently dull and very common birds can suddenly reveal themselves to be very interesting. There is probably no better place to be able to do this than some of the hides close to Kaeng Krachan National Park and on the afternoons of 18th and 22nd November I made a couple of visits to Ban Song Nok to sit in the hide and watch birds coming to feed, drink and bathe. Auntie Ek, the owner of Ban Song Nok, keeps a log of which highlight species arrive each day, so we had a good idea of what we might see but as always there were a few interesting surprises.

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Shorebird Heaven – Thailand Birding

As I will be heading back to Pak Thale & Laem Pak Bia for a few days tomorrow I thought I would process some of my photos from my last visit on 3-4th November. Of course for most birders viewing the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper is the top priority and I was successful on both mornings with this bird, getting quite close one day; I spent more than an hour watching some Spoonies feed at a distance of just 10 metres with at one point four individuals of the species feeding together including one white-flagged bird.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about my visit on these two days were the huge numbers of shorebirds at both Pak Thale and Laem Pak Bia salt farms. Not only were the numbers of birds very impressive but the variety of species was very high too with the star species being Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Nordmann’s Greenshank, Asian Dowitcher, Far Eastern Curlew, Terek Sandpiper, Malaysian Plover and White-faced Plover. Such numbers also allowed for many close encounters and photography opportunities. Read more »

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Late October Migrants – Thailand Birding

I often spend a morning looking for migrants Sri Nakorn Kuen Khan Park during the Spring migration in March/April, when it can be very good birding, but have never visited during Autumn migration in September/October due to the fact that I am usually back in UK. This morning I had a chance to visit this small but well-wooded park, and although migration is probably passing its peak for many birds I had hopes of finding something interesting; perhaps given the different time of year for my visit I could add a species or two to my park list?

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Linnet

Birding from Home – British Birding

These days I have two homes; one in Bangkok and one in UK – my mother’s house, which is where I grew up. Yesterday I returned to my Bangkok home from my UK home where over the last couple of months I have been able to enjoy birds and other wildlife on walks from the front door. As much as I enjoy Thailand this is not something I am able to do from where I live so it makes my stay in UK that more pleasant. Most of the birding from my mother’s house is not particularly spectacular, although a number of declining species can be found right on the doorstep and a good variety of birds can be found if you know where to look for them. Basically the area I go birding in when I am back in Britain is what was always my “local patch” when I was younger and the area in which I grew to love birds.

Over the years I have seen 128 species along the Darent Valley, close to my mother’s home, and the following are a selection of photographs from August and October this year (2016). Read more »

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Shorelark Twitch at Reculver – British Birding

Today I decided to make a trip along the North Kent coast to Reculver where Shorelark had been reported for about a week or so. As I have written on previous occasions I am not much into twitching. It is not because I don’t like to see new birds or that I am not prone to becoming obsessive about listing, it is just the simple fact that I do not like to be in crowds of people, but Shorelark is a bird I enjoy seeing very much and I did not expect there to be many other birders around given that it is not very rare in UK.

My main hope was that I would be able to get close enough to get some nice photos of a species that frequently can be very confiding as well as birding in an area that would hopefully provide a few other interesting birds. On arrival I met a couple of other birders who had exactly the same idea as me and we were all to be rewarded with some nice lunchtime birding. Read more »

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Birding Away From The Crowds – British Birding

Siberian Accentor is a great little bird, I had the pleasure to see several at very close range in South Korea earlier this year, in January, in the company of Nial Moores of BirdsKorea.org. However, when I got the news that one had turned up at Easington, East Yorkshire, I cancelled my plans to visit the area for a few days of birding and decided to pay a visit to the north Norfolk coast instead. Now, I know many UK birders will think I am crazy for missing the opportunity to add this rarity to my British list but while I know many people enjoy the camaraderie of twitching, I really do not like birding in crowds and many of the other rarities in the area such as Dusky, Pallas’s & Yellow-browed Warblers are commonplace where I live in Thailand and of no real excitement to me. Instead I hoped to find an area where I could encounter migrant species that I do not get the opportunity to see in Asia and at the same time do some birding in a nice place away from huge crowds of other people. With this in mind I decided to visit Burnham Overy Staithe where a Great Grey Shrike had been seen and where I would be likely to find other birds that were exciting to me. It proved to be a successful and enjoyable visit. Read more »

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