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Brown Bush Warbler at Emei Feng – China Birding

Although the Zootherabirding tour to Southeast China last month featured a lot of very colourful and rare birds one of the species I was most keen to see was one of the brownest of “little brown jobs” – Brown Bush Warbler. One might ask why a skulking brown bush warbler would be high on my list of priorities? Well, I find Bush Warblers an interesting group of birds as they are a real challenge to even see let alone identify, plus the fact that as someone who does most of their birding in Thailand this is the only Bush Warbler on the Thai list that I had not previously seen. Fortunately, at Emei Feng, in China Brown Bush Warbler proved fairly easy to see at the higher altitudes in open habitat and its amusing skulking “peek-a-boo” behaviour delighted everyone in the group and was definitely one of the highlights of the day and for most of us it was one of the more memorable birds of the trip. Read more »

Red-billed-chough

North Wales 4-day Trip, 23-26th May 2017 – British Birding

Although I am lucky enough to spend a large amount of my time on birding trips in Thailand and other parts of Asia, I do not get that much time to spend birding in UK and in particular I spend very little time in my home country in Spring when it is easier to see many breeding birds and summer visitors. With time on my hands a good weather forecast I was able to spend four days in North Wales looking for species that I seldom seen on my visits to UK, including a few scarce breeding species that I have not seen for many years. I started on the island of Anglesey, visiting RSPB South Stack, Holyhead Harbour and Penmon Point for seabirds and Red-billed Chough before moving on to The Spinneys Local Nature Reserve near Bangor and Aber Falls to look for scarce woodland species. I then visited RSPB Ynys Hir, again for woodland species, before finally ending up at the strangely named World’s End, close to Wrexham, where moorland and woodland species can be found, with a highlight being lekking Black Grouse. Read more »

Lesser-redpoll

Old Lodge Nature Reserve, Ashdown Forest – British Birding

Just 45 minutes away by car from my mother’s home I can get to Ashdown Forest. This is a great place to find a number of woodland and heathland birds that are not easily seen in Southern England outside of the best habitat and today I made a visit to this very scenic area. In the past I have found Old Lodge Sussex Wildlife Trusts Nature Reserve to be one of the best areas in Ashdown Forest for birds so I headed straight to it and spent the best part of 5 hours walking around, taking photos of the birds I found although today the results were not particularly good due to the persistent poor light.

Despite the gloomy conditions there were lots of birds singing and calling and I got nice views of a number of species scarce in this part of the UK including Spotted Flycatcher, Common Redstart, Crossbill, Tree Pipit, Woodlark, Common Cuckoo and Willow Warbler. Quite sobering to think that many of these were common when I was younger. Read more »

Reed-parrotbill

Birding Nanhui, Shanghai – China Birding

I recently returned from leading the Zootherabirding tour to Southeast China where we enjoyed some large numbers of shorebirds, range-restricted forest species and a wide variety of passage migrants. We flew in and out of Shanghai, traveling around this and neighbouring provinces, and one site, just outside of Shanghai provided me with my first birding in China when I visited alone, and making two more visits over the course of the trip, Nanhui gave us some really good birding and a really varied list of birds, certainly a migration hotspot and one of those places where the birds change on a daily basis. My personal favourite here was the very impressive Reed Parrotbill, a really great bird which made making the trip to China worth it in itself but there were loads more good birds here. Read more »

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Spring Birding in UK – British Birding

Having recently spent 2 weeks in China, then just 1 day back in Thailand, I find myself back in UK with the opportunity to walk out of the front door and see a whole load of breeding farmland birds within seconds. Spring is in full flow with lots of birds singing and even a few common species feeding fledged young and a short walk this morning provided me with some nice sightings and I managed to get a few passable photos of my main target – Corn Bunting. Every time I am back in Britain I always try to catch up with Corn Buntings as there is a small population of this declining species near my mother’s house which hangs on and it was my degree dissertation species. Today I found 5 calling males and 2 females within a very short walk and watched them calling from various song posts and chasing females back towards the nest. Read more »

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Daap Waterhole, Kaeng Krachan – Thailand Birding

The hides/waterholes close to Kaeng Krachan have become famous with birders in Thailand and beyond and quite rightly as they always seem to deliver good birds and it is a great experience to get so close to so many species at these locations. Ban Song Nok and Lung Sin Waterhole are the most frequently visited of these hides but there are others that produce good birds but less reliably so than the previously mentioned two locations. However, in mid March 2017 it was suggested to me that I visit Daap Waterhole as there were some good species that were frequenting it at that time. My only previous experience of this spot was in April 2016 when it began raining 30 minutes after we arrived and did not stop but I need not have worried as we had an awesome afternoon of birding there this time. The following are a set of photos taken at Daap Waterhole on March 14th 2017. Read more »

Siberian-thrush

Migration; Siberian Thrush – Thailand Birding

After weeks of overcast skies and stormy weather the forecast today was for clear skies. Considering that the clouds had made migrants extremely thin on the ground I wondered if things would be different with the change of weather and headed to Sri Nakorn Kuen Khan park this morning. As has often been the case early on there were no migrants other than a single Ashy Drongo but from around 8am there was a bit of an arrival of birds which gradually thinned out over the next hour until by about 10pm there were very few remaining apart from small numbers of Drongos. There were quite a few interesting birds including 3 Yellow-rumped Flycatchers, Crow-billed Drongo, 2 Mugimaki Flycatchers, 20+ Eyebrowed Thrushes, 2 Pale-legged Leaf Warblers both singing in short bursts but by far the most uncommon bird was a female Siberian Thrush which fed and rested in a small fruiting tree for about 10 minutes. Read more »

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