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.

The first migrant birds I saw were Black-naped Oriole, Black Drongo and Black-capped Kingfisher all of which I saw before evening getting into the park properly. There were lots of Eastern Jungle Crows around making a commotion and this one let me take his photo.

Eastern-jungle-crow3Eastern Jungle Crow

Yes, I know, it is only a Crow, but I like the pose it is striking and what happened next was a surprise. This and several other Crows all suddenly attacked something on the ground which flew up and proved to be a Grey Nightjar. The Nightjar flew of, gaining altitude, as the mob of Crows chased it out of the park. Amazing.

Taiga Flycatcher and Asian Brown Flycatcher were both fairly numerous and I was seeing them here and there all morning, in fact these were the only species of Flhycatcher I saw all morning.

Taiga-flycatcher2Taiga Flycatcher

Asian-brown-flycatcher6Asian Brown Flycatcher

The first of the Phylloscopus Warblers I found was an Eastern Crowned Warbler, quickly followed by another. I was to see at least 20 of this species throughout the morning but actually it was probably more. One thing I noticed was that not one of the Eastern Crowned Warblers was vocal at all, they were busy foraging and avoiding having their photo taken. They were very fast and I managed to end the morning without a single decent photo of one. This is about as good as it got.

Eastern-crowned-warbler8Eastern Crowned Warbler

There were also plenty of Sakhalin Leaf Warblers around. A little harder to see as they kept to thick vegetation but I saw around 8-9 birds. All of these were calling persistently and two birds even sung a few phrases of their song. Just 1 Pale-legged Leaf Warbler was located and this was also calling a lot and singing a little to make confirming the id a bit easier.

I also found a single Two-barred Warbler which was calling infrequently and a Yellow-browed Warbler which called more often. It was interesting that four species of Phylloscopus were vocal but the Eastern Crowned Warblers were silent. My fifth species of Leaf Warbler turned out to be Arctic Warbler and I saw at least 3 of these, all of which called, but not very frequently at all.

Arctic-warbler3Arctic Warbler

Other migrants over the course of the morning included more Black-capped Kingfishers and Black-naped Orioles, 3 Black Bazas, 1 Shikra, 3 Hair-crested Drongos, several small flocks of Ashy Minivets, 2 Brown-rumped Minivets feeding in a flowering tree, a couple of Barn Swallows, 3 Black-naped Monarchs and some more Ashy Drongos; this one sat still and let me approach it.

Ashy-drongo4Ashy Drongo leucogenis

Of course there were plenty of resident birds to be seen too, the most notable being Pink-necked Green Pigeon, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Vinous-breasted Starling and Laced Woodpecker. Always a pleasure to see these birds so close to the city centre.

Malaysian-pied-fantailMalaysian Pied Fantail

I finished the morning spending some time getting some photos of this Malaysian Pied Fantail. This is a really common bird in Bangkok but it is full of character and it is always fun to watch them go about their business. Their jerky movements and liking for shady places make them tricky to photograph.

The full list of species I saw can be seen here – Sri Nakorn Kuen Khan eBird List, 31st October 2017.

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