Late October Migrants – Thailand Birding

Ashy-Drongo2

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?

Sunrise was at about 6am and after some breakfast along the way I arrived at a little before 7. There had been heavy rain overnight and there was still a stubborn layer of cloud, something which lasted all morning. I never find this helpful to birding in Thailand; so many of the birds are insectivores and with no sunshine there is little insect activity and as a result little bird activity. Unfortunately this was to prove true this morning despite there being quite a lot of birds calling.

A short walk around the front of the park turned up many of the common species including Pink-necked Green Pigeon, Brown-throated Sunbird, Common Myna, Asian Koel, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Malaysian Pied Fantail, Oriental Magpie Robin, Olive-backed Sunbird, Coppersmith Barbet and Collared Kingfisher to name just some.

Brown-throated-SunbirdFemale Brown-throated Sunbird

As is quite common with my visits to this park, early morning did not turn up many migrants at all, just a couple of Ashy Drongos and an Oriental Honey-buzzard being mobbed by some Crows. The  main reason to get here early is to miss the traffic. I often find it quite good to stand on the bird watching tower early on and see what species perch on trees to catch the sunshine but with no sunshine birds were quite limited but it is always a great place to photograph Pink-necked Green Pigeon.

Pink-necked-green-pigeons2Pink-necked Green Pigeons

From the top of the tower I did see a few common migrants; Asian Brown Flycatcher, Black-naped Oriole, Hair-crested Drongo as well as a Black-naped Monarch, a species I do not see very often here.

Black-naped-monarch3Black-naped Monarch

A short walk further along got me a great view of a couple of Stork-billed Kingfishers and a trickle of migrant species including a male Hainan Blue Flycatcher and the first of a few Sakhalin Leaf Warblers all of which could be identified on call.

Hainan-blue-flycatcher3Hainan Blue Flycatcher

I also came a cross a Black Baza which was repeatedly attacking Drongos and Pigeons in a tree but seemingly with very little success and surprisingly doing nothing more than making its potential prey flutter around a little bit. I was also able to get some nice shots of leucogenis Ashy Drongo, while some more resident species included Racket-tailed Treepie, Dark-necked Tailorbird, Streak-eared Bulbul and Yellow-vented Bulbul.

Ashy-Drongo2Ashy Drongo

Over the course of the morning I found a number of migrant species, including a few that I have not seen very often in this park, but nothing new for my park list nor anything particularly notable;

Ashy Drongo – 6 leucogenis, 2 mouhoti
Hair-crested Drongo – 2
Black Baza – 1
Oriental Honey-buzzard – 1
Black-naped Oriole – 5
Black-naped Monarch – 2
Asian Brown Flycatcher – 4
Taiga Flycatcher – 1
Sakhalin Leaf Warbler – 3-4
Ashy Minivet – 1

A pleasant morning of birding, despite high humidity and plenty of mosquitoes (must remember the insect repellent next time), hopefully this will give visitors at this time of year some idea of what to expect.

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