October 26th, 2016
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 »
October 18th, 2016
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 »
October 16th, 2016
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 »
October 13th, 2016
For all of us who love Thailand October 13th 2016 is a very sad day with the passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, aged 88. Apart from his steadying influence on Thailand, the way his activities most affected me were in the many Royal Projects that he initiated that are good places for birding. King Bhumibol initiated a large number of projects around the country which were designed to help rural folk which range from agricultural projects such as those at Doi Ang Kang (Chiang Mai) and Chang Hua Mun (Petchaburi), flood-mitigation projects such as Kaem Ling Nong Yai in Chumporn and the well-known experimental wastewater treatment project at Laem Pak Bia (Petchaburi) which most birders in Thailand will have visited.
There will be a long period of mourning in Thailand and many tributes to the King who devoted his life to helping the people of his country. My tribute will be a simple one; a gallery of bird photographs taken at the Royally Initiated Project at Laem Pak Bia, a site that has given much to birds and bird watchers thanks to the foresight of King Bhumibol. Read more »
October 9th, 2016
After the successful completion of the Zootherabirding tour to West Java & Sumatra last month I spent a few days in Jakarta, mainly to rest, but also to do a little birding in the city as I was interested in seeing the Javan form of Coppersmith Barbet which is so different from the subspecies I am used to seeing in Thailand.
I spent two mornings birding in Jakarta; one morning at the well-known Muara Angke marsh in the north of the city and another morning in the park surrounding the National Monument in the centre of Jakarta. Considering that Jakarta is a huge, sprawling and polluted city it is quite a surprise how many species of bird I found in these two small green areas in a short space of time. Read the following account for lots of photos and a map locating both sites. Read more »
October 9th, 2016
One thing about birding which does not sit well with me is getting up early. Although I am used to it because of leading tours, when I have free time I do not often get up very early but today was an exception as I wanted to get to the Isle of Sheppey in the early morning to give myself time to look for whichever interesting migrants that might be around.
On arrival at Leysdown I drove straight past the coastal park, planning to return later to look for migrants, and took an early morning look over the stubble fields to search for the reported Common Crane. Large groups of Greylag Geese contained some obviously smaller birds which turned out to be 14 Greater White-fronted Geese, a nice start to the day. However, for the second time in a week there was no sign of the Crane despite being told it had been seen shortly before my arrival! Well, never mind, looking for it would give me a good reason to have a good walk around to look for other interesting species. Read more »
October 6th, 2016
It has been windy in the East of England for the last few days, and with easterly winds in October usually comes a good variety of migrant birds. Over the previous few days I have had some interesting sightings in various parts of Kent but I have not come across migrants in any numbers so with great hope I headed down to Dungeness Bird Observatory to see if I could find any interesting migratory species.
Despite the brisk winds making birding hard I had the happy situation where I kept finding birds all through the day, with many of them giving me a chance to photograph them. The highlights of the day turned out to be Ring Ouzel, Firecrest, Black Redstart, Osprey, Wheatear, Whinchat and some very friendly Goldcrests; take a look at some of the photographs I got of some of these really cool birds. Read more »