Looks like my visit to the UK is almost up, the prime reason was to return for my brother’s fiftieth and to catch up with my father (in Devon) and the rest of our family, though I was hoping to get some reasonable birding time in also. Unfortunately Spring hasn’t yet arrived in GB, and neither have the migrants but things are ‘warming-up’ and there is a faint possibility I might get out and catch a few before I depart for Thailand next week, here’s hoping…..
Click on images to enlarge them
Common Redshank, Common Greenshank and Lesser Yellowlegs
One of the first things that I did on arrival in Devon was to sign-up temporarily for the Rare Bird Alert in the hope that I would find out if any exciting species were present or had arrived, sadly the only species that I felt like making a special trip for was an over-wintering Lesser Yellowlegs at Ernesettle Creek near Plymouth. It took a couple of trips before I managed to score but I did get reasonably close views on a very cold, damp day but at the time of writing migrants were still only arriving in trickles…
One migrant that I was lucky to encounter was an adult male Ring Ouzel which appeared to land almost at my feet at Whiteworks near Princetown, this was one species that I’ve longed for in the past and I was fortunate to get one or two reasonable images of.
The most abundant large raptor on Dartmoor is the Common Buzzard and I was fortunate to encounter several ‘displaying’, I also had a male Hen Harrier early one morning at Dartsmeet.
I’ve also been ‘loitering-around’ a bird-feeder at Badger’s Holt, and have had 5 species of tits, Nuthatch, Yellowhammer, 3 species of thrush, Siskins, Robins and wagtails. On the weekend I popped into birding-friends Gary and Anna Easton backyard and photographed several Brambling (The birds were actually in their neighbours Mike and Jan’s, garden!)
Before leaving the UK for Thailand I spent several days w, ith relatives at West Wycombe in Buckinghamshire. The most impressive sight for me was seeing many Red Kites soaring in the area…..possibly one of the most successful re-introduction projects in the history of the UK, when I was younger they were an almost ‘mythological’ species, found only in Wales or mainland Europe.
Currently creating the latest posting in a very cold and wet UK, have been here now for over two weeks and the temperature hasn’t got above 10°C with only one day of sunshine, it’s well into April and still very few, if any migrants, apparently Spring might arrive next week….when I’m due to leave!
On a more positive note my week-long trip to Thailand was an exciting one mainly due to the great company of Dave Sargeant, we spent four days birding in the Chiang Mai area, two at Doi Inthanon and two around Doi Chiang Dao. Dave has created a full report of the outing on his website “North Thailand Birding” so to avoid repetition I will just add some of my own images.
Doi Inthanon Summit
Speckled Wood Pigeon
Speckled Wood Pigeon
Doi Inthanon lower-elevations
Doi Chiang Dao
Giant Nuthatch habitat
Silvergoldgarden Hotel, Bangkok
Asian Open-billed Stork
Returning to Bangkok near the end of the month, I booked a one-day birding tour with Wild Bird Eco-Tours and was met by guide Panuwat Sasirat mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Starting at 06.30am (before it got too warm), we went to a variety of locations and I saw several ‘lifers’, including Chinese Egret, Germain’s Swiftlet, Yellow-bellied Prinia, Painted Stork and by far the best a Milky Stork (one of Thailand’s rarest species!)
Streaked and Asian Golden Weavers
Also seen near the Silvergold Garden Hotel, Lat Krabang
Still have no power or mobile access at home but now at the office in Toowong, thought that I’d mention some sightings from yesterday. On Sunday evening it was impossible to get through Dayboro due to flooding but on Monday morning the water had receded and I decided to check out Steve Murray’s Shorncliffe Booby. As I drove through Strathpine’s main shopping street, Gympie Road I was astonished to see a Sooty Tern fly over, nearby at Bald Hills the fields were inundated and I could see many more hawking over the water (it was still very wet and windy at this time)
On arrival at Baxter’s Jetty I soon saw Steve armed with his camera and bins and watched as many Common and Black Noddies, Sooty and Bridled Terns, Lesser Frigatebirds and the odd Wedge-tailed Shearwater were coming out of Cabbage Tree Creek into Moreton Bay (seemingly as the weather was easing but the conditions were still very wild, with high south-easterlies and showers)
The mass exodus lasted till around 10 am but with seabird numbers becoming very low I headed to Redcliffe which turned out to be a large traffic-jam. At Nathan Road (Redcliffe Airport) I watched 3 Lesser Frigatebirds heading north and saw another from the BBQ area near the North Pine Dam (Lake Samsonvale)
It looks as though Oswald is heading south (hopefully with less tragic-consequences) so NSW birders should check out the coast for impending ‘goodies’!
It’s been a weird summer….heatwaves, bushfires and now the deluge is approaching! However there have been many birding highlights….Crakes and Rails, Painted-Snipe, Eastern Yellow Wagtails and for most of it we were in drought-conditions….then there were seabirds!
Australian Spotted Crake, Gold Coast
But where were all the cuckoos this spring?