Phylloscopus Invasion – Thailand Birding

A couple of days ago, on 31st October, I paid another visit to my local park, near my home in Bangkok: Sri Nakorn Kuen Khan Park. The rainy season seems to have come to an abrupt end and with the air much less humid and the skies clear it was a pleasant morning to be out but not one that seemed like it should be good for finding grounded migrants. Well, what do I know? In fact there was quite a number of migrant birds in all corners of the park and I was finding them from the moment I arrived at a little before 7am. Variety of migrant species was quite good, without being special, but the numbers of Phyllsocopus Warblers were higher than I have ever seen here and in particular Eastern Crowned Warbler was to be seen in good numbers. Read more »


Returning Migrant Shorebirds – Thailand Birding

A few days ago I had to make a trip out of town and found myself with some time on my way back so I decided to drive back into Bangkok along the coast, coming from the East. I stopped at the first coastal habitat I found, a set of salt pans, with a convenient track through them, which when I looked at a map were just inside the boundary of Chachoengsao province; not a province famed for its shorebirds, in fact I did not even realize the province had a coastline. Anyhow, the habitat looked fairly good, just the sort of place that one could find a Spoon-billed Sandpiper if they were lucky. I did not have a telescope with me so I could not mount a proper search for this prize but instead I just enjoyed the common, returning migrant shorebirds that I was able to see right next to the vehicle and it turned out there was quite a nice variety to see. Read more »


Migrant-hunting at Phuttamonthon – Thailand Birding

In October migration is in full swing and with resident forest birds very quiet probably the best birding in this month is to find migrant hotspots and search for what has been forced to land in search of food and to rest. Parks within Bangkok are good for this as are copses/wooded areas close to the coast but, on 15th October, I decided to go to the large park of Phuttamonthon, just outside of Bangkok, which can provide birders with a decent morning of migrants as it sort of forms a wooded island with an area of farmland and, increasingly, suburban sprawl.

Finding migrants in this huge park is not exactly easy as much of the area has a canopy of trees and birds can disperse among them and remain hidden. However, by focusing on a few areas which are less manicured than others, with an understorey of vegetation, I was able to find a number of interesting migrant species as well as plenty of resident birds; a total of 60 species for the morning was quite a good tally. Read more »


Phylloscopus Warblers Passing Through Bangkok – Thailand Birding

I the morning of 11th October birding in Sri Nakorn Kuen Khan Park and although the weather was mostly gloomy with some heavy showers I saw exactly 50 species between 7 and 11,30am. I saw some of the regular, resident species which always amaze me that they occur this close to central Bangkok including Stork-billed Kingfisher, a female Laced Woodpecker, Lineated Barbet, Vinous-breasted Starling, Green-billed Malkoha, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo and, of course, plenty of Pink-necked Green Pigeons.  My main aim, though, was to look for migrant species and although there was not an abundance of birds passing through I did find a total of 13 migratory species including four species of Phylloscopus; Arctic Warbler, Eastern Crowned Warbler, Sakhalin Leaf Warbler and a single Kamchatka Leaf Warbler which I located and identified on call. Read more »


Halmahera Highlights – Birding Indonesia

Travelling from Sulawesi to Halmahera on the final leg of the Zootherabirding tour I recently led gave us the opportunity to see a whole load more new birds with Halmahera being home to many endemic species; in fact it was like starting a completely new tour and the anticipation of the new habitats and new birds gave us a whole new wave of excitement and energy.

While Sulawesi had provided us with some really great birds, birds had been sparsely distributed but in Halmahera our experience was that there was a far greater abundance of birdlife even if the forests were under pressure and bird trappers operate there. With an abundance of parrots, frequent sightings of hornbills and pigeons/doves as well as a couple of stunning target birds we all agreed that many of the best birds of the trip were seen on our Halmahera section. Read more »


Tangkoko Delights – Birding Indonesia

With comfortable accommodation, good food and a reputation for great birds the leg of our trip that took us to Tangkoko, North Sulawesi, was much anticipated by the Zootherabirding group earlier this month. While the weather was not exactly how we imagined it, with lots of rain, we still managed, with local assistance, to find a lot of exciting birds, including one that was to be voted “Bird of the Trip”.

Ochre-bellied Boobook, Sulawesi Scops Owl, Sulawesi Dwarf Hornbill, Sulawesi (Purple-winged) Roller, Silver-tipped Imperial Pigeon, White-necked Myna, Ivory-backed Woodswallow and Tabon Scrbfowl were all highly rated by all participants and extraordinary encounters with Sulawesi Dwarf Cuscus, Sulawesi Crested Macaque and Spectral Tarsier also made for a memorable visit. However, it was the collection of Kingfishers that birders talk about when they mention Tangkoko that made for the most colourful spectacles in the forest. Read more »


The Hunt for Lompobattang Flycatcher – Birding Indonesia

As part of the Zootherabirding tour of Sulawesi/Halmahera that I have recently finished leading, we made an excursion to Makassar, in Southwest Sulawesi, to head to the foothills of Mount Lompobattang which is a fairly recently recognized centre of endemism where there are a few endemic birds and mammals as well as a number of distinct subspecies which may well be split in the future; for us the main target was Lompobattang Flycatcher, a little-known and endangered species of Ficedula flycatcher.

We stayed at an old Dutch colonial hotel and an early start saw us walking, in darkness, around 1km through farmland and forest patches to the site for this bird. As it became light around us we could see that we were in an area of secondary forest with some original, large trees and although we hear the song of the flycatcher a few times our first efforts were completely fruitless and indeed for the first hour it looked like the whole excursion could come to an unsuccessful conclusion with no birds whatsoever seen! However, as the sun penetrated the forest bird activity increased dramatically to give us a very successful and enjoyable morning of birding. Read more »

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