Sometimes when you are birdwatching, you just get lucky.
One morning in March I was birding at Khao Yai National Park with Merl & Marty Arnot and it seemed that our luck was out with light but persistent rain and poor visibility. After watching a number of common birds like Black-naped Oriole, Green-eared Barbet, Asian Fairy Bluebird and Scarlet Minivet, I suggested a walk on the loop trail near the old HQ where I had seen Eared Pittas before.
Excellent Views of Male and Female Eared Pittas
We had walked only about 400 metres along the trail when a brownish bird flew from the ground along the trail in front of us and luckily landed within view. All three of us managed to get an excellent view of a female Eared Pitta, foraging around in the undergrowth. After some time I heard more rustling around a short distance away and saw the male. We watched both birds at a distance of about 10 metres for roughly 10 minutes before Merl asked if he could get closer for a photo. Given the light and the fact that he would have to be very close I didn’t think there was much chance but the Pittas didn’t seem concerned by us so I told him to go ahead.
Merl sneaked forward a step at a time and unbelievably got to within about 5 metres of the male Eared Pitta. Even so, with the poor light conditions, the fact that Merl was not using flash and that the Pitta was constantly moving its head as it foraged I thought the chance of a decent shot was very slim indeed. Then, as if on cue, the Pitta froze, totally motionless, allowing Merl to get a photo even in very low light conditions – amazing.
Here is the photograph.