Saturday, 2 May 2009

Pitta Patter...

It's been a hot few days in Thailand and the birding has been just as good as the weather. I'll not beat around the bush, and I'll head straight to events of yesterday - a day out with local guide Yotin.

With an early morning pick-up I was at Khoa Nor Chu Chi by 06.30. First port of call was a site good for long-tailed nightjar - and within seconds of arriving I was admiring my second nightjar species of the trip (the first being great-eared nightjar, a huge species that has been hunting over our hotel each evening). I've not really had the opportunity to see a nightjar roosting before - and this bird did not disappoint - once you could see it - their plumage is incredibly camouflaged!

A short while late I was in a hide, with a female gurney's pitta on show immediately. Very soon it was joined by a male. OMG what a species - blue on the tail is very like the blue on a common kingfishers' back - and even in the dark gloom of the forest this was a highlight of my birding - full stop. Many photographs have been taken ( at ISO3200!!!! - it was dark) - images, no matter how grainy will appear upon my return.

If that was not good enough, two blue-winged pitta and a banded pitta (the prettiest pitta?) were observed prior to 10am, and by 11am I had been shown a red-crowned barbet visiting it's nest. This was some day!

After lunch our journey continued, exploring primary forested areas - the birds did not stop - green broad bill, yellow and black broadbill were personal highlights and the supporting cast included nine species of bulbul, eight species of babbler (including a favorite, black capped babbler), black-naped monarch, red-throated barbet, 4 tiny black-thighed falconet and, on the way out back to the hotel, calling spotted wood owl.

Needless to say the birding was the main priority of the trip and record shots are the best that will be on offer. The use of flash has been invaluable, especially in the forested areas. Details of how to contact Yotin will also appear on this blog when I return - he comes highly recommended.

The hotel itself has also been rewarding, indeed today I picked up coppersmith barbet, orange-bellied flowerpecker and a richard's pipit in the grounds.

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