Europe & Middle East
& Mailing Lists
2000 THAILAND BIRD REPORTS
BIRD CONSERVATION SOCIETY OF THAILAND (BCST Bulletin)
RECENT REPORTS November – December 2000
by Phil Round from Khao Soi Dao Wildlife Sanctuary, SE Thailand:
Blue-rumped Pitta and "Siamese" Chestnut-headed Partridge.]
Two more new records for Thailand, both predicted to occur (Guide to the
Birds of Thailand, Appendix 2) were a Common Crane, first reported
from Nong Bong Khai, Chiang Saen (Chiang Rai) on 17 November (BK) and seen
subsequently up to at least 13 December by many observers: and Rusty-capped
Fulvetta (ca. 20 birds) from 1600 m, Doi Mokoju, Mae Wong National Park
(Nakhon Sawan) on 24 November (WS).
Little Grebe was incubating at Khok Kham (Samut Sakhon) on 14 November
(SD,RJ). A single Painted Stork was seen in Manorom District (Chainat)on
20 November (WS) while three more flew east over Khok Kham on 2 December
(SN,PDR,SS). Single Spot-billed Pelicans were reported from Bang Pu
(Samut Prakan) on 17 November (WS) and flying SE over the second stage
expressway just south of the Din Daeng/Rama IX interchange on 19 November (GG).
A female Gadwall was seen at Tha Ton on 17 November (JS, UT) and a
single Ferruginous Pochard at Nong Bong Khai on 16 November (UT). There
were four Black Bazas at Salaya (Nakhon Pathom) 17 November, and five on
24 November (PDR). A Grey-headed Fish-Eagle photographed at Khao Khieo
(Chon Buri) on 28 November (PS) seems likely to have been an escaped or
deliberately released captive from the nearby Khao Khieo Open Zoo. A Mountain
Hawk-Eagle was also seen on the same day.
Further details of Amur Falcons in Chiang Mai (reported last month)
have been received from CK. The first birds 3 were seen at Huai Tungtao on 30
October by CB. Following the 16 birds at the same locality on the following day,
30 more (more males than females/imms), were seen moving north over Sanpatong on
2 November (JS); and there were 2 at Suan Luang Lor Kaw (Chiang Mai) on 7
November (SK). Following this, even more Amur Falcons were found, with
three feeding high above Tha Ton (Chiang Mai) on 11 November, and a stunning 40+
apparently grounded by bad feeding conditions (mist) and sitting around in
bamboo clumps on the morning of 12 November (PJB). No adult males were among
these latter birds, however. It looks as if Amur Falcon, with its spectacular
migration across the Indian Ocean, taking it to winter quarters in southern
Africa, just “clips” the northern part of the country. (There is a specimen
record as far south as Kanchanaburi, a questionable mid-winter sighting in
Chanthaburi, and last year's autumn sighting of a single in Mae Wong, but the
only previous concentration of this bird was also from Chiang Mai Province,
albeit in May.)
Following on from last year's sighting of a Merlin, another, a male,
and probably a female too, was seen at Tha Ton on 17 December (RK, JS). A
Common Kestrel was present in Lumphini Park (Bangkok) on 23 November with
possibly the same bird in the grounds of the British Embassy, Ploenchit Road on
25 November (BS) and another was photographed by CK at Mae Hia (Chiang Mai) on 8
The Band-bellied Crake at Laksi, Bangkok reported in the previous
issue was apparently seen again on 22 November (SoT) but not subsequently
although many observers looked for this elusive species. Four Grey-headed
Lapwings were seen in paddies along the Ongharak Road, Nakhon Nayok on 19
November (WS). Two River Lapwings were seen at the edge of a
reservoir near Srinakarin National Park (Kanchanaburi) on 29 October (AL). A
male Malaysian Plover was seen at Laem Talumphuk (Nakhon Sri Thammarat)
on 12 November (PA).
There were 132 Spotted Redshanks on the Mekong River at Chiang Saen on
16 November (UT). The Libong Straits (Trang) held 15 Nordmann's Greenshanks
on November: 5 on Ko Hard Toop and another 10 on the east side of the strait at
Hat Samran (BCST). At least 23 Asian Dowitchers, 10 Great Knot and
Red Knot were present at Khok Kham on 2 December (SN, PDR, SS). Numbers
of Heuglin's Gulls at Laem Phak Bia had increased to 21 (9 adults and
subadults; 11 second winters and one first-winter) by 11 November (PDR, WS, ST,
UT). A single Spoon-billed Sandpiper was seen at Khok Kham on 24 November
(SD, JH et al) though two were reported on 19 November (NSG)
Five Pin-tailed Pigeons were seen at Phu Hin Rong Kla (Phetchabun) on
4 November (PJ, NN) and fourteen Yellow-footed Pigeons at Mae Hia (Chiang
Mai) on 28 November (CT). Following the discovery of a roosting flock of
Pale-capped Pigeons in mangroves at Thung Kha (Chumphon) by a BCST group in
late September, an amazing 101 birds flew out of the roost on the morning of 18
November (PDR, ST, RJT). This is possibly the largest count ever, and certainly
the largest number reported anywhere for approaching 100 years. Red-collared
Doves were absent from AIT (Pathumthani) until 14 November, when they
appeared in numbers (RJT), possibly suggesting the arrival of northern migrants
at that time. Two Chestnut-winged Cuckoos were seen at Laem Talumphuk on
12 November (PA). Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl was seen at Huai Bai Luang, Mae
Jarim (Nan) on 3 December (SoT). Two male and two female Rufous-necked
Hornbills were reported from Doi Mokoju, Mae Wong on 24 November with two
more, a pair on 26 November (WS) and Crested Kingfisher at Mae Krasa, Mae
Wong on 27 November (WS).
Two Moustached Barbets in Thongphaphum National Park (Kanchanaburi) on
9 December (PS) is a new range extension. Five Nepal House-Martins were
seen at Phu Luang (Loei), 1100 m, on 25 November (WY, TY) with two more at Doi
Khun Lan, Mae Jarim on the same date (SoT).
Pied Triller was seen at Laem Talumphuk on 12 November (PA). Black
Bulbuls of the race leucothorax were reported from Doi Wao Watershed
Station on 30 November (SoT) with two more at Phu Luang on 10 December (SoT).
There was a leucogenis Ashy Drongo in the grounds of the British
Embassy, Bangkok on 25 November (BS) and another at Kaeng Krachan on 14 November
(SoT); a Hair-crested Drongo at Salaya, 17 November (PDR) and the
tideline corpse of a presumed migrant Hair-crested Drongo was washed up
on the beach at Lam Phak Bia on 25 November (SP, PDR, ST).
Burmese Yuhinas were seen frequently in groups of 2–6 birds on Doi
Mokoju during 24–25 November. Other high elevation species found there at
1,600–1,900 m included Brown-throated Treecreeper, Chestnut-tailed
Minla, Yellow-bellied Fantail, and a race of Green-tailed
Sunbird which clearly differed from the form on Doi Inthanon (WS). A female
Japanese Robin was seen at Mae Jarim on 24 and 25 November (SoT).
Black-backed Forktail on the lower slopes of Doi Suthep-Pui on 1 December
(CT) was the first reported from this locality for some time. River Chats
were found at Surin waterfall, Mamtok Mae Surin National Park (Mae Hongson) on
25 November (RJ); at Mae Pan and Vachirathan Waterfalls on Doi Inthanon; and
from a site on Doi Suthep during 26–29 November (CT).
A pair of Jerdon's Bushchats was seen in riverine reeds at Tha Ton on
17 November (JS, UT) and 17 December (RK,JS). An Orange-headed Thrush was
photographed in a house yard at Khok Kham on 18 November (KD). A Long-tailed
Thrush was seen on Doi Pha Hom Pok on 19 November (JS, UT); and a
Dark-sided Thrush at Thung Bua Thong, Doi Mae Uko (Mae Hongson) on 24
November (RJ). A Paddyfield Warbler was reported from a reedbed at Tha
Ton on 17 December (RK, JS); Manchurian Bush-Warbler from Huai Bai Luang,
Mae Jarim on 3 December (SoT), with two Yellow-vented Warblers at Doi
Khun Lan, Mae Jarim on 24 November (SoT). Another Yellow-vented Warbler,
from Pha Sawan Waterfall, Srinakarin National Park on 10 December (PS), is the
southernmost record of this winter visitor in Thailand. A female or immature
Mugimaki Flycatcher was seen in a coffee plantation on Phaen Din Samur
(Krabi/Trang) on 28 November (KK, PK, YM, BS). Blue-and-white Flycatcher
was reported from Mae Wong on 23 November (WS). One male, two female Scarlet
Finches were seen on Doi Pha Hom Pok on 19 November (JS, UT) and two male
and one female Black-faced Buntings at Tha Ton on 17 December (RK, JS).
Contributors: Panom Acharit, Philip J. Benstead, Chukiat Boonthanom,
Suchart Daengphayon, Khanchit Duanglomjan, Dr. George Gale, “Nok Sriracha
Group”, Roongroj Jugmonkol, Panuwat Julawat, Dr. Rungsrit Kanjanavanich, Bruce
Kekule, Samak Khodkaew, Kamol Komolphalin, Patcharee Komolphalin, Chitapong
Kuawong, Amorn Liewkiratiyutkul, Yotin Meekaeo, Sakchai Netlomwong, Nomjit
Nualnetr, Sittikul Poungmali, Philip D. Round, Pinit Saengkaew, Wachara
Sanguansombat, Jitraporn Satamaya, Dr. Sompoad Srikosamatara, Brian Sykes,
Sopitcha Tantitadapitak (SoT), Sukanya Thanomphut, Chanin Thienwiwatnukul,
Robert J. Tizard, Uthai Treesucon, Tadda Yusawat, Wachara Yusawat.
Compiled by Philip Round and Roongroj Jugmongkol
Birdwatching in Houaphanh Province, Laos, October 2000
by Thomas Brooks & Line Sørensen
We visited Houaphanh Province, Laos, on a birdwatching trip, 10–17 October
2000. While access to undisturbed habitats is at the moment very hard, and hence
we actually only saw rather few birds, the province holds the country's
second-largest contiguous protected area, and hence has the potential to be a
very rewarding birdwatching destination. The purpose of this article is to
summarize our experiences for the benefit of future visitors to the region.
The bulk of our time was spent in two areas, Phou Louey National Biodiversity
Conservation Area (NBCA) and Xam Neua town. The former is one of the province's
three NBCAs (the other two being the adjacent Nam Et NBCA, and Nam Xam NBCA),
and probably its most important area for biodiversity. It is comprised of a
mosaic of evergreen, deciduous and degraded forest habitats, mostly on steep
slopes, from 1,000m up to a Phou Louey peak at 2,257m (Davidson 1998). There are
about 60 small Hmong villages, mainly subsisting from shifting cultivation,
scattered through the NBCAs. After visiting Phou Louey, we aimed to fly back to
Vientiane from Xam Neua, but persistent rain and low cloud closed the airport
and so we ended up leaving the province by bus.
We travelled to Houaphanh by flying from Vientiane to Luang Prabang (1hr,
$75) on 9 October, and then by bus to Vieng Kham (5hrs, $3) and on to Viengthong
(5hrs, $4) on 10 October. Viengthong is situated at the southern border between
Phou Louey and Nam Et NBCAs. The town has a market, several guesthouses ($2 per
night) and small restaurants, as well as the local DAFO (District Agriculture
and Forestry Office). This is the office which administers the NBCAs, and where
an IUCN Integrated Conservation and Development Project targetting the villages
in the NBCAs is based. We were generously given a letter of permission to visit
Phou Louey NBCA by the DAFO. They also kindly arranged for guides to accompany
us (a policeman from Viengthong for $6 per day, and a villager from Ban Nam Neun
for $3 per day).
We spent 11–13 October in Phou Louey NBCA. The DAFO staff generously gave us
a lift ~20km north along the boundary road between Phou Louey and Nam Et (which
starts immediately west of the bridge in Viengthong), after which we hiked up
west into Phou Louey and spent the night camped in degraded forest at ~1,300m in
the NBCA. On 12 October we birded in the area for the morning, walking back out
to the road and catching a bus (which runs once daily up and down the road)
south to Ban Long Vua Pa in the afternoon. We stayed the night here, and walked
slowly south out of the NBCA the following day.
Most of what is known about the birds of Houaphanh Province comes from two
recent surveys (Davidson 1998, Showler et al. 1998). The first of these
recorded no less than 299 species of birds in Phou Louey NBCA during Feb-May
1998, including 35 species listed in Lao PDR risk categories (Thewlis et al.
1998) and three globally threatened species (Collar et al. 1994):
Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis, Blyth's Kingfisher Alcedo
hercules and Beautiful Nuthatch Sitta formosa. Further, they found a
montane bird community in the highest areas of the NBCA that is unique in Laos,
including ten species in Lao PDR risk categories. They also reported 38-51
species of large mammals, 40 of bats, and 30 of reptiles and amphibians.
We recorded only about 50 species of birds during our time in Phou Louey.
However, this total included two species listed as globally Near-threatened by
Collar et al. (1994). These were Grey-headed Lapwing Vanellus cinereus,
of which we saw five on the road north of Ban Nam Neun, and Jerdon's Bushchat
Saxicola jerdoni, of which we saw a pair in scrub just south of the village,
both on 12 October. We also saw two species unrecorded by Davidson (1998): a
male White Wagtail Motacilla alba (of the race leucopsis) in Ban
Nam Neun on 11 October; and one female and one male Asian Emerald Cuckoo
Chrysococcyx maculatus in a mixed-species flock in degraded forest on 12
October. Additionally, we found feathers of Silver Pheasant Lophura
nycthemera in the forest, and met a hunter carrying a dead Red Junglefowl
Gallus gallus. Another hunter had a dead Asiatic Brush-tailed Porcupine
Atherurus macrourus. The only other mammal species which we recorded was a
small striped squirrel Tamiops sp., which was common.
We travelled by bus from Viengthong to the provincial capital of Xam Neua (7
hrs, $3) on 14 October, where we stayed at the pleasant That Meung Guesthouse
($4 per night). We planned to fly from here back to Vientiane, but bad weather
led to the cancellation of all flights on the following two days. Instead, we
left the town on 17 October, by bus to Nam Neun (4hrs, $2) and on to Phonh
Savonh (6hrs, $4), and flew from there back to Vientiane (1hr, $40) the next
day. We made the most of our time in Xam Neua by surveying the species kept in
captivity in the town or being sold dead for food or alive as pets in the
market. The extent of trade in wildlife is dramatic throughout the country
(Duckworth et al. 1999) and Xam Neua in particular is known as a major
center for this (Showler et al. 1998: Appendix 3).
In total we recorded 25 bird and six mammal species (plus numerous
unidentified frogs, fish and invertebrates) in trade. We saw 50 birds of 19
species kept as pets: Bar-backed Partridge Arborophila brunneopectus (1),
Mountain Bamboo Partridge Bambusicola fytchii (1), Red Junglefowl
Gallus gallus (1), Great Barbet Megalaima virens (2), Lesser Coucal
Centropus bengalensis (1), Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis
(3), Red Collared Dove S. tranquebarica (2), Emerald Dove Chalcophaps
indica (3), Watercock Gallicrex cinerea (1), Crested Goshawk
Accipiter trivirgatus (1), Black-collared Starling Sturnus nigricollis
(6), Hill Myna Gracula religiosa (1), Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush
Garrulax monileger (1), Black-throated Laughingthrush G. chinensis
(17 including 10 all-dark “lugens”), Rufous-vented Laughingthrush G.
gularis (1), Hwamei G. canorus (1), White-browed Laughingthrush G.
sannio (1), Silver-eared Mesia Leiothrix argentauris (5) and Tree
Sparrow Passer montanus (1). Both Gallicrex cinerea and
Garrulax gularis are listed in Lao PDR risk categories (Duckworth et al.
We saw a further 13 birds of six species for sale dead in the market: Silver
Pheasant Lophura nycthemera (2), Green-billed Malhoka Phaenicophaeus
tristis (1), White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus (2),
Long-tailed Broadbill Psarisomus dalhousiae (2), Black-winged
Cuckooshrike Coracina melaschistos (1) and Spangled Drongo Dicrurus
hottentottus (5). In addition, we saw five Pallas' Squirrels Callosciurus
erythraeus and three Red-cheeked Squirrels Dremomys rufigenys for
sale dead (plus one of the former kept alive as a pet), and two Bamboo Rats
Rhizomys sp. sold alive by the road south of Nam Neun. Finally, frontlets of
Sambar Cervus unicolor, two muntjacs Muntiacus sp. and one
Southern Serow Naemorhedus sumatraensis were on display in a restaurant.
All six mammals plus another seven species were recorded in trade in the town in
January 1998 (Showler et al. 1998), but this survey only saw four of the
bird species that we found being traded, instead finding an additional 20
This pressure on wildlife for trade was much more intense than we saw
elsewhere in the country, with Kham Keut, Bolikhamsai Province (20 October)
being the other town where we recorded many species for sale: Greater Yellownape
Picus flavinucha (1), Blue-eared Barbet Megalaima australis (1),
Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica (2), Thick-billed Green Pigeon Treron
curvirostra (2 alive), Pin-tailed Green Pigeon T. apicauda (1 alive),
White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus (1), Spangled Drongo
Dicrurus hottentottus (1), Black-collared Starling Sturnus nigricollis
(1 alive), Hill Myna Gracula religiosa (2 alive) and Blue Whistling
Thrush Myophonus caeruleus (1); plus one all-grey squirrel (maybe
Inornate Squirrel Callosciurus inornatus) and a Bamboo Rat Rhizomys
sp. We saw little evidence of wildlife trade in Vientiane, Luang Prabang,
Phonh Savonh or Pak San.
There is no doubt that Houaphanh Province faces considerable challenges if
its biodiversity is to be sustainably managed into the future. The most obvious
of these is the direct hunting pressure on all species. An assessment of the
income and/or protein provided by this harvest, its sustainability, and
possibilities for its substitution might be of great value for informing
provincial wildlife management. A less direct but probably even greater threat
to sustainability is the pressure from shifting cultivation throughout the
province, including the NBCAs. All of the forest that we were able to reach
during our visit was heavily degraded, and only relatively small portions of the
province's NBCAs remain pristine (Davidson 1998, Showler et al. 1998).
The ongoing IUCN project in Phou Louey NBCA (as well as official government
policy) is currently addressing this issue by attempting to provide means for
stabilizing cultivation within the NBCAs – its success would be an enormous boon
to both the people and wildlife of the province. Finally, we suggest that future
visits to the province by birdwatchers and others interested in biodiversity
could have a useful role to play in stimulating concern for the region's special
natural habitats and species.
We are very grateful to the staff of DAFO – Viengthong, Mr Phouvong
Saisomhuk, Mr Chris Flint and Mr Vankham for aiding the logistics of our trip,
to the villagers of Ban Nam Neun and Ban Long Vua Pa for help and hospitality in
Phou Louey NBCA, and to Mr Pete Davidson, Mr Tom Evans, Mr Troy Hansel, Mr
Michael Hedemark and Mr Bryan Stuart for providing information.
Collar, N.J., Crosby, M.J. & Stattersfield, A.J. (1994) Birds to Watch 2.
BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.
Davidson, P. (1998) A Wildlife and Habitat Survey of Nam Et and Phou Louey
NBCAs, Houaphanh Province, Lao PDR. CPAWM/WCS, Vientiane, Laos.
Duckworth, J.W., Salter, R.E. & Khounboline, K. (1999) Wildlife in Lao
PDR. 1999 Status Report. IUCN – The World Conservation Union, Vientiane,
Showler, D.A., Davidson, P., Vongkhamheng, C. & Salivong, K. (1998) A
Wildlife and Habitat Survey of Nam Xam NBCA, Houaphanh Province, Lao PDR.
CPAWM/WCS, Vientiane, Laos.
Thewlis, R.M., Timmins, R.J., Evans, T.D. & Duckworth, J.W. (1998) The
conservation status of birds in Laos: a review. Bird Conservation
International 8(suppl.): 1-159.
Thomas Brooks , Center for Applied Biodiversity Science – Conservation
International, 2501 M St. NW, Suite 200, Washington DC 20037 USA,
Line Sørensen, Department of Entomology, Zoological Museum of the
University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø,
RECENT REPORTS October – November 2000
Nine Oriental Darters were seen near Khlong 29, Tambol Bang Or,
(Nakhon Nayok) on 26 October (Anon.) Cinnamon Bittern and Japanese
Sparrowhawk were seen on Mu Ko Similan (Phang-nga) on 24 October (RJT). A
single Aquila eagle, almost certainly Greater Spotted Eagle, seen
at great distance, moved through on migration among Black Kites at Khao
Sam Roi Yot (Prachuap Khiri Khan) on 4 November (PDR,WS). There were two
Peregrine Falcons at Khok Kham on 1 November, one of which, a first winter
bird, showed possible characters of the race peregrinator. A stunning 16
Amur Falcons, including 14 males, were seen at Huai Tung Tao (Chiang Mai)
on 1 November (CB, JK). Eclipsing even this, though was a Band-bellied Crake
at Laksi (Bangkok) in a cat-tail swamp on 7–8 November (JW). This is the second
Thai record, the only previous one being of a specimen collected ca. 75 years
ago (also from Bangkok).
Red-wattled Lapwings (2 in each case) were seen at Pha Dong Na Tham,
Khong Chiam (Ubon Ratchathani) on 5 November and at Phu Pha Thoeb, Muang
District, (Mukdahan) on 6 November (RJ). These sightings are noteworthy because
Red-wattled Lapwing is a rather rare bird in the north-east, having been so
greatly reduced by human persecution. Up to 13 Greater Paintedsnipe were
recorded on, or near, the AIT Campus (Pathumthani) on 10 October (RJT). A single
Asian Dowitcher was seen at Kalong (Samut Sakhon) on 6 October
(SD); there were 140 Eurasian Curlew and 6 Great Knot at Khao Sam
Roi Yot on 22 October (PN) and two more Great Knot there on 5 November
(NT). At Khok Kham (Samut Sakhon) there was a single Red Knot on 27
October (WS); 3 Great Knot on 28 October (SD,PK); and 21 Great Knot,
30 Red Knot on 31 October (WS).
A second individual had joined the single Spoon-billed Sandpiper at
Khok Kham by 24 October (SD). Two birds were also present on 27 October and 31
October (WS). Numbers of Sanderlings at Laem Phak Bia had risen to 32 on
22 October. No fewer than 10 Heuglin's Gulls (one first winter, 7 second
winter and 2 sub-adults) were also present on the same date (PDR,SS). A pair of
Northern Thick-knees was observed at Ban Chang (Rayong) on 4 November
Chestnut-winged Cuckoo was seen at Tham Lord (Mae Hongson) during
23–24 Sepember (JK,JS); one on Doi Suthep on 26 October (DK) and another at the
Khao Bandai substation of Khao Sam Roi Yot on 5 November (WS). A Dollarbird
showed up at Laksi on 6 October (JW) and a Hooded Pitta on Doi Suthep on
19 October (DK). Black-winged Cuckooshrike was seen at Laksi on 30
October (JW). 4–5 Black-headed Bulbuls at Kamphaengsaen Scout Camp on 15
October was an unusual occurrence (WS,ST). A Black-billed Magpie flew out
of the White-vented and Asian Pied Myna roost at Laem Phak Bia early on the
morning of 22 October (SS). A salangensis race Ashy Drongo was
present in mangrove scrub at Laem Phak Bia on 22 October (PDR,SS).
Orange-headed Thrush was seen on Doi Suthep on 26 October (DK). The first
Red-throated Pipits (12) were reported on or near the AIT Campus on 17
October (RJT). Last year's Crested Myna was again seen at Bang Poo on 7
November (perhaps it has been there all year!). An albino White-vented
Myna was also seen (ST). There were 10 Red Avadavats at Rangsit
(Pathumthani) on 6 November (NT). 7–8 House Sparrows and 2 nests were
seen at Suankularb School (Bangkok) on 30 October (PP).
Contributors: Chukiat Boonthanom, Suchart Daengphayon, Roongroj
Jugmongkol, Panote Krairojananan, Jitapong Kuawong, David Kuehn, Porpol Nontapa,
Pongpach Phuapatanakul, Chris Ross, Philip D. Round, Wachara Sanguansombat,
Jitraporn Satamaya, Dr. Samaisukh Sophasan, Sukanya Thanomput, Robert J. Tizard,
Nature Trails, Jittanat Wisesjinda
Compiled by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jugmongkol
RECENT REPORTS AUGUST – OCTOBER 2000
The Oriental Darters at Sa Kaeo (reported last month) were showing
almost the full range of nesting behaviour on 25–26 September: nest-building,
incubating and young in the nest (ST). On 7–8 October it was reported that most
nests seemed to have well-developed young, possibly fledging soon. Broods of
two, three, and four young were noted (BK). A single Painted Stork was
seen in flight over ponds at Laem Phak Bia (Phetchaburi) on 8 October (PDR). The
earliest Grey Herons (3) flew over Laem Phak Bia on 24 September (PDR);
the first Garganey (2) were on ponds at Bang Poo (Samut Prakan) on 8
October (WS); and the first Temminck's Stint at Laem Phak Bia on 23
No fewer than 179 Chinese Sparrowhawks came in off the sea at Thung
Tako (Chumphon) during 24–25 September (BCST). A Peregrine Falcon flew
over Kalong (Samut Sakhon) on 1 October (PDR) and another (probably adult male,
migrant race) was seen at Bang Poo on 9 October (PC,PDR,WS,ST,P & PS)
A wader count at Rangjan (Samut Sakhon) on 28 September included 40
Black-tailed Godwits, one Bar-tailed Godwit, one Asian
Dowitcher, 20 Eurasian Curlew, 650 Common Redshank, 200
Marsh Sandpipers, 120 Common Greenshank, 63 Great Knot, 4
Red Knot, 2,800 Curlew Sandpipers and 120 Pacific Golden Plovers
and 850 Black-winged Stilts (WS). Red Knot (2) were seen also at
Bang Poo on 16 September (PN). 80 Black-tailed Godwits flew over Kalong
on 1 October (PDR), and there were 120 at Bang Poo on 9 October (PC,PDR,PS).
There were 180 Great Knots, 300 Curlew Sandpipers, 230 Eurasian
Curlew, 40 Bar-tailed Godwits and an Asian Dowitcher between
Laem Phak Bia and Bang Kaew on 8 October (PDR).
A single Ruff was seen at Thung Kha (Chumphon) during 23–24 September
(BCST). There was a Red-necked Phalarope at Khok Kham (Samut Sakhon) on 8
October (PC) while a single Spoon-billed Sandpiper had already returned
to last winter's haunt, on salt-pans at Khok Kham, by 19 October (PDR).
A Great Thick-knee on a recently excavated pond at Kalong on 30
September (CT, NT) was a very big surprise. Although the bird could not be found
on the following day when many observers were looking for it, it was seen again
on the evening of 3 October (PS) and the morning of 4 October (UT et al.).
This recalls a sighting under similar circumstances at Bang Poo roughly 35 years
ago by Ben King, and Madoc's published record of 3 or 4 birds from Samut Sakhon
another 15 years before that! Dispersing birds escaping the late monsoon
floodwaters in Cambodia or Burma, perhaps?
A second winter Heuglin's Gull at Laem Phak Bia on 30 September (GG,
PDR) was unexpectedly early. This had been joined by two more birds, sub-adults,
by 7 October (ND,WK,PDR).
Eight Pale-capped Pigeons, presumably roosting, in mangroves at Thung
Kha on evening of 23 September and early morning 24 September (BCST) was an
outstanding find of an elusive and little-known species.
There were two Oriental Cuckoos at Mae Hia (Chiang Mai) on 21
September (JK). The first Black-capped Kingfisher in the Chiang Mai area
was noted at Huai Tungtao on 8 September (JK). Rufous-collared Kingfisher
and Rail-babbler were among 135 species of birds recorded at Krung Ching
Waterfall, Khao Luang National Park (Nakhon Si Thammarat) during 12–14 August
Both male and female Blue-bearded Bee-eater were seen apparently
feeding young in a nest-hole at the side of the road, Tham Pha Plong, Chiang Dao
(Chiang Mai) on 10 September (JK). This is an unusual time for nesting in this
species, although birds have previously been seen excavating nests in October.
Three Black Hornbills were seen at Phru To Daeng (Narathiwat) on 30
September (ST). A male Rufous-bellied Woodpecker in dry dipterocarp
woodland at Sap Sadao, Thap Lan National Park (Nakhon Rathchasima) on 30
September (SM,MP,MW et al.) was an extremely good find, since it seems to
be the only contemporary record of this species for the NE region. A juvenile
Blue-winged Pitta was seen in Kaeng Krachan on 25 September (PE). The first
Red-rumped Swallow of the autumn was seen at Laem Phak Bia on 8 October
A Rufous Treepie at Saphan Mai on 15 October (PE) may have dubious
origins. Female Siberian Blue Robins appeared at Rangjan on 28 September
(WS); Bangkapi on 4 October (PK) and Laem Phak Bia on 7 October (WK,PDR). . A
Dark-sided Flycatcher was in Lumphini Park on 19 September (DA,GH). The
earliest Red-throated Flycatchers appeared on 17 September (Saphan Mai,
Bangkok: PE); 19 September (Lumphini Park: DA,GH) and 23 September (Laem Phak
Bia, WK, PDR). Female or immature Yellow-rumped Flycatchers were seen at
Mahidol University on 24 September (SS); 26 September (PDR, SS); and Rangjan on
27 September (WS). Yellow-rumped Flycatchers were common in Hala-Bala
Wildlife Sanctuary (Yala/Narathiwat) during 19–26 September, with several seen
on most days (ST, UT). There was a male Mugimaki Flycatcher on 1200 m on
22 September (ST,UT).
A juvenile Malaysian Blue Flycatcher was seen at Phru To Daeng on 30
Male Hill Blue Flycatchers showed up in a Bangkapi (Bangkok) garden on
25 September (PK) and at Saphan Mai (Bangkok) on 5 October (PE). Two more,
thought to be first year birds, were seen at Rangjan on 27 September along with
a male and a female Blue-throated “Chinese Blue” Flycatcher. A male and
female Hill Blue Flycatcher and Blue-throated Blue Flycatcher
were present on 28 September and were probably different individuals to those
seen the preceding day (WS). There were also female or immature Asian
Paradise-flycatchers at the same site on 27 and 28 September (WS), with
another at Laem Phak Bia on 7 October (ND,WK,PDR).
The first Dusky Warblers were present at Laem Phak Bia on 24
September with a single Two-barred Warblers on 30 September and 7 October
(PDR). There was an Eastern Crowned Warbler at Mahidol University
(Bangkok) on 26 September (SS), and another at Saphan Mai on 4 October (PE).
There were 3 Arctic Warblers at Phutthamonthol (Nakhon Pathom) on 14
The first migratory Richard's Pipits were reported at Laem Phak Bia on
24 September (PDR). One possible bird at the same site exactly one week (ST) was
not heard to call. The first White Wagtail for the Bangkok area this
autumn (race undetermined) landed on the roof of Mahidol University on 4 October
Sharing honours this month, along with the thick-knee and the Pale-capped
Pigeons, were two juvenile Rosy Starlings between Kalong and
Rangjan on 8 October (PC) and, remarkably, another at Bang Poo more or less
simultaneously (P & PS, WS). All birds were seen late afternoon, associating
with pre-roost gatherings of Asian Pied Mynas. Although a number of observers
spent time looking at Bang Poo on the following day, the bird could not be
relocated, though at least 4 Purple-backed Starlings were seen. Since
Rosy Starling is irruptive, though, there may yet be a chance of finding some
more this autumn.
More Hala-Bala Birds
A good range of species were recorded during a trip to Hala-Bala Wildlife
Sanctuary, (Yala/Narathiwat) by Uthai Treesucon and Sopitcha Tantitadapitak
during 19–26 September. From montane and submontane habitat in the Hale Sector,
these included Long-billed Partridge (heard below 700 m); Malayan
Partridge (1200 m elevation; the first Thai record); Golden-throated
Barbet, Rusty-naped Pitta, Javan Cuckooshrike, Large
Scimitar Babbler, Pygmy Wren Babbler, Black and
Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrushes, Grey-chested Flycatcher,
Chestnut-crowned Warbler and Black-throated Sunbird.
Lowland forest along Khlong Hapa in the Bala sector held a pair of
Cinnamon-rumped Trogons, two Garnet Pittas among other species.
Contributors: Des Allen, BCST Survey Trips, Pathomphon Charoenjai,
Narouchit Dampin, Peter Ericsson, George Gale, Gerry Hinchon, Bruce Kekule,
Patcharee Komolphalin, Wichian Kongtong, Jitapong Keuawong, Porpol Nontapa,
Philip D, Round, Pinit and Piyanipa Saengkaew (P & PS), Wachara Sanguansombat,
Panuwat Sasirat, Dr. Samaisukh Sophasan, Chatchawan Tantitadapitak, Sarthip
Thongnakcokegruad, Nature Trails, Uthai Treesucon.
Compiled by Philip Round and Roongroj Jugmongkol
From the Web:
Is the Spoon-billed Sandpiper on the fast road to extinction?
Unique to the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, the Spoon-billed Sandpiper,
Eurynorhynchus pygmeus, is a globally threatened (vulnerable) wader species.
The size of its population is unknown, and the largest flock ever recorded is
257 birds in the Ganges delta, Bangladesh (Howes & Parish 1989). The only
population estimate based on real data was undertaken in 1970s and resulted in
2,000–2,800 breeding pairs, which seems to be an overestimate even for that
time. No information is widely known about the species' population trend.
In June-early August 2000, a survey of coastal areas in southern Chukotka
Autonomous Area, NE Siberia, was undertaken by the International Arctic
Expedition of the Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of
Sciences. The most unexpected finding of the survey was the almost total absence
of Spoon-billed Sandpipers in four locations formerly known as breeding sites
for this species. It means that the population number has declined roughly by an
order of magnitude during the last one or two decades.
The summer of 2000 was generally favourable for breeding of various birds in
the surveyed area, and the Spoon-billed Sandpiper is known to be a site-faithful
species. This means that seasonal conditions in the summer of 2000 were not
responsible for the negligible number of Spoon-billed Sandpipers recorded
breeding. Such results throw new light on previous indications of a possible
species decline which came from two other more northerly breeding locations.
There are no obvious reasons for the decline within the species' breeding
range. Therefore causes should be looked for on migration and/or wintering
grounds, where migratory waders are known to meet many threats (e.g. see
First Draft for the "Asia-Pacific
Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy: 2001 + 2005").
A bottleneck for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper population is not known. Thus,
there is a big chance of losing one more wader species before we find a clue for
the situation, if the current level of knowledge and conservation on the species
is not urgently changed/improved. Anyway, there are no doubts that the current
status of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper is endangered (possibly even critically
endangered), not simply vulnerable anymore.
Eugeny E. Syroechkovski, Jr.
Leader of the International Arctic Expedition
Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences
Leninski Prospect, 33
Moscow, 117071, Russia
Pavel S. Tomkovich
Moscow State University
B.Nikitskaya Street, 6
Moscow, 103009, Russia
Leg-flagged Spoon-billed Sandpipers
This summer an expedition led by E.E. Syroechkovski managed to catch and ring
8 adult and 6 young Spoon-billed Sandpipers (Eurynorhynchus pygmaeus) in
the breeding area in Chukotka (Russia) with a light green leg flag. Birders
should look out for these birds. With so few Spoon-billed Sandpipers now known,
looking for 14 colour-marked birds may be less like looking for the proverbial
needle in the haystack than it first appears.
Singapore Bird Race 2000
The 16th bird race since 1984 took place on 14/15 October 2000. For the first
time since its inception, the starting post was in Pulau Ubin. At the Ubin
Lagoon Resort our host Manager Louis Poey was on hand to wave the start flag and
lots of pre-race interviews were delivered to the TCS television crew. Most of
the 13 teams spent the first two hours of light on the island recording the many
birds, which still survive in the unique rural habitats, found there. The team
who eventually emerged as winners recorded 48 species before leaving the island.
On average, well over thirty species were picked up by each team. Surely a good
argument for maintaining the natural habitats of this wonderful rural retreat
island, most suited for many non-disturbing, low impact, recreational
It was noted after the results were calculated that in the first bird race there
were many birds but few birdwatchers in Singapore. In this race, the perception
is that there are many birdwatchers but unfortunately fewer birds. For example
mangrove habitats failed to produce Mangrove Whistler, Mangrove Flycatcher or
Mangrove Pitta, and the forests seemed bereft of Red-crowned Barbet, Rufous
Woodpecker and Cream-vented Bulbul. Such trends are worrying and provide us with
indicators that the quantity and quality of such natural habitats in Singapore
need to be increased rather than further diminished.
The winning team 'Falconets' in the Novice Category was ably led by Benjamin Lee
who recorded 79 birds, including an Oriental Pied Hornbill so beautifully
sketched as evidence. One of the losing teams comprising a number of botanists
decided on 'Treepies' to suit their expertise. Due to a mix-up with the recorded
locations, they listed eleven waders for Sime Road (surely a record!) and it was
suggested they might have planted them there!! The 'Ayams' so aptly named for
chicken habitat on Ubin unfortunately did not record one but they should have
consulted with the 'Harriers' who failed to persuade the arbitrators that the
kampong birds at Sungei Buloh were the real Jungle Fowl.
In the Advance Category, Sutari and Co failed to realise their true potential
expertise displayed through the acquisition of some challenging ticks in the
forest such as Dark-sided Flycatcher, Sand Martin and White-bellied Woodpecker.
The reason was that from 2355 hours to 0620 hours, their team 'Flamebacks' were
on their backs and broke rule 1 about completing a 24 hour race proper. The
defending champions 'Eagles' led by Kim Seng who was also in the first bird race
(how old is this guy anyway? He always looks so fresh-faced) correctly
identified oil-stained waders, which actually means that rule 6 could have been
applied to deduct. Many other teams witnessed the effects of the recent oil
spillage which we tend to accept was not so damaging since ENV are so adept at
cleaning up. For the birds that use many coastal locations in the area the clean
up was not enough for them. Kim Chuah just pipped his brother and came in with
some nice sightings of Common and Honey Buzzards at Tanah Merah.
The eventual winner with 140 species was our old friend Subaraj and company.
Using the familiar 'Strix' name, their night prowling tactics were rewarded with
good records of three owls, two nightjars and even a sleeping Cockatoo. A
Himalayan Swiflet and a Swinhoe's Snipe were discounted by the arbitrators for
further evidence but they still won even with a late finish of seven minutes.
The tranquil surroundings of the Bukit Timah Visitor Centre were much enjoyed
by all and we were entertained by Jimmy Chew's exceptional bird slides and even
more exceptional commentary, which went down well with the good food, and beer
(sponsored by Shawn). Thanks go to all, especially to our Guest of Honour Mr
William Lai, Dr Leong Chee Chiew of the National Parks Board, and our main
sponsors Swarovski Singapore and Alfred Chia and friends. Most particularly
Sunny Yeo the chief organiser who once again excelled with superb organisational
skills. Our President Dr Geh Min also graced the occasion and announced that
there were tentative plans for the Society to run our very own Nature Reserve at
Khatib Bongsu in the future. What an excellent project for us to pursue now that
our building fund has been completed.
Novice Category: Champion - Falconets 79; Mandarin Ducks 70; Ayams 66;
Phoenix 62; Flowerpeckers 57; Treepies 54; Harriers 53.
Advanced Category: Champion - Strix 140; Parakeets 125; Eagles 123;Flamebacks
118; Little Terns 113; Little Grebes 81
Total of all teams: 156 (subject to further checking )
Top 100: Champion - Strix by 11.12am
Clive Briffett, co-arbitrator
9-12 May 2001. Third International Hornbill Workshop, Phuket Thailand.
For further information please contact Dr. Pilai Poonswad, c/o Department of
Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Rama 6 Road, Bangkok
RECENT REPORTS June – September 2000
Apart from a few records of residents and breeders, this month's records
cover the first part of the autumn migration, especially for landbirds and
At least 6 Rain Quails were present on coastal flats at Khao Sam Roi Yot
(Prachuap Khiri Khan) on 16 September (BCST). The Laem Phak Bia area
(Phetchaburi) held 22 Painted Storks, 68 Great Knot, 5 Red Knot, 8 Sanderling
ca. 780 Common Terns and 25 Great Crested Terns on 27 August. Three pairs of
Malaysian Plovers with chicks were also found (WK,PDR,SS, et al.). The
same site held 23 Bar-tailed Godwits and 18 Terek Sandpipers on 3 September
(PDR) and 27 Terek Sandpipers and 17 Sanderling on 9 September (CR,PDR,ST). A
Grey-tailed Tattler was among other waders seen at Khao Sam Roi Yot on 16
September (BCST). Pride of place among the shorebird sightings goes, however, to
the 5 Little Curlews seen with 10 Whimbrel on a drained pond at Bang Poo (Samut
Prakan) on 11 September (PS).
There were 85 Great Crested Terns at Ban Phak Thale (Phetchaburi) on 3
September (PDR) with a record count of mixed Eurasian Curlew and Whimbrel of ca.
1000 birds, thought to be in the ratio of ca. 300 Eurasian Curlew to about 750
Whimbrel. The coast from Laem Phak Bia to Ban Phak Thale held about 1,500 Common
Terns on the same date (PDR). There were at least 1000 Whiskered Terns and ca.
50 White-winged Terns at Khok Kham (Samut Sakhon) on 10 September (BCST).
A group of 8 River Lapwings, together with one full-winged juvenile, were
seen on paddies close to the edge of the Huai Thap Salao Reservoir, near Suan
Paa Huai Rabam, Lansak District (Uthai Thani) on 1 September (AH, KP, US, et
White-browed Crake was seen with four young at Khao Sam Roi Yot on 16
September, as was a Painted Snipe with two nearly full-grown young (BCST).
Eastern Marsh Harrier was reported from Chiang Mai as early as 20 August
Three Red-breasted Parakeets, a pair and a juvenile, were in Lumphini Park
(Bangkok) on 2 September (BS) with a single female at Laem Phak Bia on 27 August
Passage of Blue-throated Bee-eaters was noted over Khao Sam Roi Yot on 16
September (BCST). The earliest Black-capped Kingfisher was at Kamphaengsaen on 3
September (ST) with others at Bang Poo on 15 September (ST) and Khao Sam Roi Yot
on 16–17 September (BCST).
Both Buff-rumped Woodpecker and Chestnut-breasted Malkoha were
feeding fledged young at Bala (Narathiwat) on 6 June (ST). Rusty-naped Pitta
was seen at Km 17 Kaeng Krachan at ca. 390 m elevation on 15 July (ST) and
another at Nam Nao (Phetchabun) on 2 August (PE), possibly with a calling
An Orange-bellied Leafbird (sex not reported) was feeding on
fruit as low as 390 m elevation, Ban Krang, Kaeng Krachan on 16 July (ST). An
oriole, presumably Slender-billed Oriole, but Black-naped not
definitely ruled out, was at Nam Nao on 2 August (PE). The first apparently
migrant Black-naped Orioles were two adults at Mahidol University Rama 6
Campus (Bangkok) on 1 September (PDR) and another in Lumphini Park on 3
September (BS). The first migrant Black Drongos were flying to a roost at
Laem Phak Bia on 17 September (BCST). Four Purple-backed Starlings were
seen at Khao Sam Roi Yot on 16 September (BCT).
A Rufous Treepie at Suan Sirikit (Bangkok) on 26 August (PC was a
presumed escape from captivity. The same area, unfortunately, is supporting a
Black-billed Magpie and some Rosy Minivets, associating with the
(hopefully wild) Small Minivets (SaW). It appears that, due to
Bangkok's thriving and illegal bird trade, we are now destined to have lots of
escaped exotics creating headaches and irritation to birdwatchers.
Black-browed Reed Warbler was already present (heard calling) at
Jarakhebua (Bangkok) on 2 September (UT). The earliest Arctic Warbler was
at Chiang Mai on 21 August (BL), with another at Saphan Mai (Bangkok) on 3
September (PE), and many records thereafter. The only Eastern Crowned Warbler
was at Khao Sam Roi Yot on 17 September (BCST).
The earliest Asian Brown Flycatcher was heard at Saphan Mai on 8
September (PE), with several seen thereafter at Khao Sam Roi Yot on the weekend
of 16–17 September (BCST). Adult male Yellow-rumped Flycatchers were
found from Saphan Mai on 31 August (PE) and at the BCST office on 2 September
(NR, PDR, UT et al.). There were two more, both immatures, at Laem Phak
Bia on 9 September (CT, PDR, ST) with another female or immature at nearby Hat
Chao Samran (WK) and two at Don Hoi Lot (WK). Two more, both females, were seen
at Rong J, Khao Sam Roi Yot on 17 September (BCST). Migrant Asian
Paradise-flycatchers also appeared in force with 7 different birds
(including at least three “copper-backed” males and one white male) at Laem Phak
Bia on 9 September (WK,CR,PDR, ST) one at Khok Kham on 10 September (BCST) and
another at Bang Poo (Samut Prakan) on 15 September (ST,UT). The first apparently
migrant Black-naped Monarch was seen in mangrove scrub at Laem Phak Bia
on 17 September (BCST). Tiger Shrikes were found at Laem Phak Bia on 3
September (PDR) and 9 September (3 birds CR,PDR,ST) and at Rong J, Khao Sam Roi
Yot on 17 September (BCST). The earliest Brown Shrike was seen in Chiang
Mai on 13 August (BL) with another at Laem Phak Bia on 27 August (WK,PDR,SS). A
major fall of Brown Shrikes, 50–60 birds, mainly juveniles, was evident
at Laem Phak Bia on the weekend of 9–10 September (WK,PDR,ST). The first
Yellow Wagtail was found in Chiang Mai on 23 August (BL). Single Forest
Wagtails were seen at two sites in Kaeng Krachan on 12 and 13 August, with
two more at a third site, Khao Pakarang, on 14 August. Another was seen at Suan
Sirikit on 26 August (PC) and several at Khao Sam Roi Yot on 16–17 September
A colony of Streaked Weavers including a least ten nests (some with
young) was reported from Thap Kris (Nakhon Sawan) on 10 July (ST). Some of the
nests were in trees, unusually.
Contributors: BCST Official Field Trip, Pathomphon Charoenjai, Peter
Ericsson, Amphai Hutem, Wichian Kongtong, Bengt Legnell, Kittipong Potipradit,
Chawatee Ratanadilok na Phuket, Natthida Round, Philip D. Round, Pinit
Saengkaew, Dr. Samaisukh Sophasan, Udom Setajit, Samaisukh Sophasan, Brian
Sykes, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak, Siam Thukmo, Uthai Treesucon, Sumalee Wongdara,
Sawat Wongteirawat (SaW).
The following messages were received from Simba Chan of WBSJ Asia Pacific
Migratory Waterbird Meeting:
We are going to have an Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Meeting in Okinawa
this October. We would like to ask you (and anyone who cares about waterbirds)
to send us a 'message' from a species of wetland bird (ducks, herons,
shorebirds, terns, kingfishers, reed warblers, etc.). The 'message' is what you
think a wetland bird would say if it could talk to us. You can send more than
Common Kingfisher: Please don't put concrete on the river banks. We cannot dig a
nest in concrete.
Little Tern: To everything, tern, tern, tern, there is a season, tern, tern,
tern..... A time to love, a time to hate. A time that you may embrace. A time
for seashore conservation. I swear it's not too late.
Please send in the 'messages' to the following e-mail address by early
October. The message will be posted at the International Conference in Okinawa
from 16 to 19 October 2000.
NTT-ME World Bird Count
I would like to ask you to send a list of birds (any birds) seen on any dates
from 1 to 31 October 2000 for the NTT-ME World Bird Count. This is a
fund-raising activity funded by the telephone company NTT-ME, and it is the
biggest birdwatching event in the world. Please send in a list / lists of birds
you have seen, with the location, date and numbers of observers to the following
e-mail address by mid-November.
Please forward this message to anyone who might be interested. Thank you very
much for your help.
Head Conservation and Database Division
Wild Bird Society of Japan
WING, 2-35-2 Minamidaira, Hino-shi
Tel: + 81-42-593-6871
Fax: + 81-42-593-6873
June - July 2000
This is very definitely the yearly low period, as seen from the relative
dearth of sightings below. It is a great pity that so many of us give up birding
at this key time of year, the breeding season for so many resident species, and
when there is still so much of importance to see and to record.
Mudflats at Bang Poo held a breeding plumage Indian Pond Heron on 24
June 22 Whimbrel, 50+ Lesser Sand Plovers, one Greater Sand Plover,
2 Curlew Sandpipers, 36 Common Greenshank and 6 Common Redshank
(PDR). Roughly 50 Common Redshank,7 Black-tailed Godwits and
20 Eurasian Curlew were present on 22 July (PDR). There were ca. 320
Common Terns on mudflats at Bang Poo on 24 June, and a single Gull-billed
Tern on both 24 June and 22 July (PDR).
No fewer than 18 Eurasian Thick-knees were observed at Takhli Airforce
Base on 24 June (ST). There were 14 adult breeding Pheasant-tailed Jacanas
at Bang Poo on 22 July, including one with three small, recently hatched young.
Two birds in non-breeding plumage, seen in flight on the same date, were almost
certainly full-grown juveniles (PDR).
Aan adult Besra was seen perched on a dead snag at Kaeng Krachan on
the BCST Field Trip on 17 July (PS). Buffy Fish Owl was seen at Km 17,
Kaeng Krachan on 8 July (KUWC). A nest of Red-legged Crake was found in a
low Pandanus clump on the lower, SE slopes of Khao Nor Chuchi in Aow Tong
District on 1 July (YM). Three Chestnut-capped Thrushes were heard
singing nearby on the same date, and one was seen (YM).
A nest of Eared Pitta was reported from Kaeng Krachan on 7 July (PE).
According to bird photographers, this later fledged three young (although the
young were said to have left the nest only six days after hatching, an unusually
short fledging period, which does raise significant questions). A second nest
with incubating bird was seen nearby on 16 July (many observers).
Lesser Rufous-headed Parrotbill was recorded at Mae Moei National Park
(Tak) during 24-25 June at only ca. 700 m elevation (NT). This is a significant
extension to the known range in Thailand, and begs the question why it has not
been otherwise recorded away from the extreme north.
The first Grey Wagtail of the autumn season was at Kaeng Krachan on 9 July
Contributors: Kasetsart University Wildlife Club, Nature Trails, P.D.
Round, Pinit Saengkaew, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak.
Compiled by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jugmongkol
March – June 2000
A single male Great Frigatebird and a female Lesser Frigatebird
were identified from among a flock of ca. 12 Fregata sp, less than 5 km
off Ko Bida, Phi Phi Island Group, (Krabi) on 7 May (CR,CS,TS). A single male
Lesser Frigatebird was seen off Phuket Marine Biological Center (Phuket) on
14 May (CR,CS,TS).
Black Bittern, Watercock and “many” Oriental Pratincoles
were seen at Chalerm Prakiat Wildlife Sanctuary (Narathiwat) on 5 May (ST). A
Grey-headed Fish Eagle was seen on the way to Padi 2, Chalerm Prakiat WS on
6 May (ST) and Lesser Fish Eagle at Bang Lang Dam, Tharnto
District (Yala) on 19 May (RJ).
A male Hume's Pheasant was photographed along the road to the summit
of Doi Pui on 22 April (SaS). According to park officials, although Silver
Pheasants and Red Junglefowl have previously been released on the mountain,
there have never been releases of Hume's Pheasant. This is the second sighting
of Hume's Pheasant on Doi Pui in a little over a year. The indications are
either that the species has recolonised the mountain naturally or, more likely,
that the small population documented as present until the early 1930s has
remained undetected by ornithologists throughout these past 70 years. The same
observer reported that gunshots could still be heard around the upper elevations
of Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, which is slightly worrying!
Five Terek Sandpipers, 300 Black-tailed Godwits and ca. 300
Lesser Sand Plovers were seen at Bang Poo (Samut Prakan) on 18 May (ST). Ten
nests of Malaysian Plovers and 20 nests of Little Terns were seen
at between Hat Sam Phraya and the mouth of Khlong Khao Daeng, Khao Sam Roi Yot
National Park (Prachuap Khirikhan) on 5 June. Ten Spotted Redshank were
also reported present (RK, CR).
There were four Chestnut-winged Cuckoos at Khao Leng Khoi, Kaeng Khoi,
(Saraburi) on 17 May (WY); three more from Kaeng Khoi on 21 May (ST); and one at
Ramindra (Bangkok) on 24 May (BCST). There were also four further sightings from
Khao Pu-Khao Ya (Phatthalung) during March, though no dates were provided (SM).
A grey morph Oriental Cuckoo was seen in Lumphini Park on 7 May (SS).
Short-toed Coucal was seen along the roadside before Saphan Song, Bala
sector of Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary (Narathiwat), on 1 May (ST).
At least ten bird photographers were queued up to take photographs of an
adult White-fronted Scops Owl roosting with a brood of three young at Ban
Krang, Kaeng Krachan National Park (Phetchaburi) on 21 May (per WS; P?
and P?). The birds were still present when seen at night on 26 and 27 May, when
a call of the species was taped (PDR,CR). This, a deep soft drumming, up to 12
or 13 seconds in duration, was unlike anything that has previously been linked
to White-fronted Scops Owl but now it is known, it should improve detection of
this elusive species.
Black-capped Kingfisher was still present at Namtok Sirindorn
(Narathiwat), 29 April (ST). Streak-breasted Woodpeckers were seen
feeding fledged young at Ban Krang, Kaeng Krachan, the male apparently
accompanying a juvenile male, and the female a juvenile female, on 27 May
(CR,PDR). On 4 June, an apparently different adult pair was seen with two
juvenile females (RK,CR). Greater Yellownape was seen with fledged young
at Nam Nao (Phetchabun) on 20 May (ST).
5–6 Dusky Broadbills were seen cooperatively building a nest at Ban
Krang, Kaeng Krachan on 21 May (P? and P?). A bird was present in the nest on 3
June (RK,CR) Two adults and three fledged young were seen nearby on 4 June
(RK,CR). (The timing seems wrong for all these observations to pertain to the
same territory.) Three pairs of Silver-breasted Broadbills and a pair of
Banded Broadbills were nest-building during 3–4 June (RK,CR).
A Golden-fronted Leafbird in a built-up area at Pinklao (Bangkok) on
25 March (DP, WS) may have been an escaped captive. A Green Magpie was
seen on a nest at Ban Krang (Kaeng Krachan) on 26–27 May (CR).
Black-naped Oriole was seen in a public park of Yala Town on 18 May
(RJ). The spread of White-vented Myna throughout the peninsula continues.
One of subspecies grandis was seen in Yala Town on 20 May (RJ). “Two or
three” pairs of Black-collared Mynas were parasitized by Asian Koels
and were seen feeding young Koels in Phanat Nikhom District (Chonburi) on 24 May
(CA). A pair of Asian Pied Mynas was feeding fledged young on the same
date (CA). A female White-throated Rock Thrush was seen at 630 m
in Hala Sector of Hala-Bala WS (Yala) on 7 April (ST). A Narcissus Flycatcher
(not stated whether F. n. elisae, as presumed, or nominate
narcissina) was present at Khao Pu-Khao Ya on 17 March (SM).
3–4 Tiger Shrikes were seen at Mae Nam Phachi WS (Ratchaburi) on 30
April (DP,WS) and singles at Nuey Phukhao Thong, Hale-Bala WS on 30 April and 2
May (ST). A Brown Shrike was still present at Chalerm Prakiat WS on 5 May
(ST). Two Forest Wagtails were seen at Mae Nam Phachi WS (Ratchaburi) on
30 April (DP,WS) and one at Bala 28 April (ST). A pair of Scarlet Sunbirds
was noted at Tharnto Waterfall, Bang Lang National Park (Yala) on 19 May (RJ).
There were 3-4 nests of House Sparrow with young at NMR School, Samut
Prakan on 19 March (Friends of Suan Samut Forest).
A bewildering number of records were received from ST for Hala-Bala Wildlife
sanctuary (Yala and Narathiwat) during late March to early May. A flock of 6
Helmeted Hornbills variously sexed and aged as adult male (2), female (2)
and young, probably female (2) was seen at Khao Ya De, (Bala Sector) on 27
From the Hala sector, Checker-throated Woodpecker at 1300 m elevation
(2 April) and Maroon Woodpecker at 1200 m (2 and 3 April); Banded
Broadbill at 1100 m, 5 April, were all unusually high, as, especially, was a
reported Striped Wren Babbler at 1050 m elevation on 3 and 5 April. Other
records included male White-tailed Flycatcher at 700 m;
Maroon-breasted Flycatcher at 780 m; and Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker
at 1200 m.
Nest and eggs of Long-tailed Broadbill was found at 1250 m. on 31
March (ST). Pairs of both Short-billed and Long-tailed Minivets
were claimed from 1100 m elevation in Hala on 1–2 April and 2 and 4 April
respectively (ST). Since there are no records of either species elsewhere in the
Sunda region, these records at present must be regarded as unconfirmed. A single
Mountain Leaf Warbler, an addition to the Thai fauna, was reported at
1400 m on 4 April in evergreen forest with bamboos.
Javan Cuckooshrike was seen at 1400 m on 2 and 3 April. Other expected
montane birds, most of which have been previously recorded for the site,
included Red-headed Trogon, Black-browed Barbet, Mountain
Bulbul, Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, Rufous-winged Fulvetta,
Black-eared and White-browed Shrike Babblers, “Golden-spectacled”
Warbler, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Little Pied
Flycatcher, Large Niltava, Hill Blue Flycatcher, and
Streaked Spiderhunter. Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush was common
around 1250 m. Black Laughingthrush was scarcer, seen three times
on 2 and 4 April around 1200 m. Chestnut-backed Scimitar Babbler was
common at montane elevations in Hala. It was also found at Khao Ya De, Bala
Sector (Narathiwat) on 23 April (elevation not noted).
Male Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker was seen at To Mo (Bala), 2 May.
Japanese Paradise-flycatchers (details of sex not reported) were seen at
1200m in Hala, 2 and 5 April; at Samnak Song Nuey Phukhao Thong on 20 April and
Khao Ya De (Bala Sector) on 25 April (ST).
Nesting records from the Bala Sector of Hala-Bala were received as follows:
Near research station, Bat Hawk - nest with one small young, 29 April.
Nesting activity commenced in November 1999, but the young was said to have
eaten by one or other of the parents, so this was a second nesting (same pair or
not?). At Nuey Phukhao Thong: birds with fledged young were Yellow-crowned
Barbet and Blue-eared Barbet, 3 May; Green Broadbill, 26
April; Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike 8 April; Grey-and-buff
Woodpecker, male, 2 May (Fai Phukhao Thong).
At Samnak Song Nuey Phukhao Thong Asian Paradise-flycatcher with young
in nest, 2 May. At Khao Ya De Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, young in
nest, 26 April; Chestnut-naped Forktail young in nest, 24–27 April. At
Saphan Song Blue-eared Barbet with fledged young, 4 May. Black-and-red
Broadbill nest and eggs 30 April to 5 May. At To Mo, Javan Frogmouth,
apparently a male in attendance on a nest containing two young during 1–5 May;
and Pacific Swallow, nest-building below bridge, 3 May (ST).
Nesting records from the Hala sector were: two pairs of Golden Babblers
with fledged young on 5 April (ST). Nest and eggs of Mountain Fulvetta at
1000 m on 31 March, and another pair with fledged young on 5 April (ST); two
nests with eggs of Rufous-browed Flycatcher on 1 and 3 April; and
two pairs with fledged young on 1 and 5 April. White-throated Fantail
with fledged young on 3 April (ST).
LATE ADDITIONS: January and February 2000:
Extremely belated records: the Common Pochard seen on Bung Boraphet
(Nakhon Sawan) in late February was first noted on 7 February (PM); At Doi Pha
Hom Pok (Chiang Mai) there was female Black-breasted Thrush on 19
January; a flock of 40–50 Grey-winged Blackbirds, Chestnut Thrush and
Red-throated Thrush during 20-21 January. Northern Goshawk and two
Cutias were also among other birds seen on the same trip. Three Little
Cuckoo Doves and a Great Eared Nightjar at Mae Fang National Park
(Chiang Mai) on 9 February were new locality records for these species (JK,JS).
A few belated records of birds from Doi Khun Tan National Park for February
2000 were received from Piyaporn Riansiri.
Contributors: Chatama Asarat, Chukiat Boonthanom, Friends of Suan
Samut Forest, Roongroj Jugmongkol, Jitapong Keuawong, Rattapon Klaichit, Phairin
Maneerungrat, Stephen Munden,Siriporn Phumkan, Dome Pratumtong, Chawatee
Ratanadilok na Phuket, Philip D. Round, Wachara Sanguansombat, Saravudh
Saokhamkhaet (Sas),Thavorn Sarimanond, Jitraporn Satamaya,Chanchai
Sinyang,Suthee Supparatvikorn, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak, Wachara Yusawat.
(Parinya ? and Piriya ?)
Compiled by Philip Round, Roongroj Jugmongkol and Chawatee Ratanadilok na
Poaching continues at Khao Nor Chuchi
On 19th April 2000 birdwatchers visiting Khao Nor Chuchi (Kha Pra-Bang Khram
Non-Hunting Area and surroundings) reported finding a villager, presumably from
Ban Bang Tieo, making a wooden trap in the forest. The villager ran off and the
birdwatchers reported the incident to wildlife sanctuary staff. A few days
later, Mark Gurney, a descendant of Lt. Col. J.H. Gurney, after whom Gurney's
Pitta was named by his friend, Allan Hume, more than one hundred years ago, also
found a trap at exactly the same spot, inside a Gurney's Pitta territory on, or
close to, the boundary of the wildlife sanctuary. As far as known, this trapping
was not aimed at Gurney's Pitta, but at capture of Lesser Mouse-Deer, since the
elaborate trap was baited with a sprig of fresh green leaves. Nonetheless, any
trapping of wildlife is of great concern, especially since most birds and
mammals are fully protected in law.
News of the discovery of these traps has already been circulated among
birdwatchers in contact through the Internet. This is not an isolated incident.
The log books of Khao Nor Chuchi Lowland Forest Project from 1990–1999 were
filled with scores of similar occurrences, ranging from villagers hunting
turtles inside the wildlife sanctuary; stealing young hornbills from the nest;
shooting bears; eating serow, and (on one occasion) even being caught
transporting Banded Pittas and other wild birds to the market in order to sell
The traps would not have been found by sanctuary staff even though they were
on a well-used trail, a couple of hundred metres from the road only, and not
more than 1 km from the sanctuary office, for the reason that wildlife sanctuary
staff seldom if ever undertake routine patrols. It is therefore no exaggeration
to say that, unfortunately, villagers are free to continue with hunting wherever
and whenever they please, with very little chance of ever being intercepted.
Birdwatchers, and tourists of all sorts can play a useful role in reporting
incidents of hunting or other illegal activity to RFD officials.
On a more encouraging note, the latest news on forest protection may give
some slight cause for short-term optimism. Although there was some cutting of
forest in late 1999, according to local sources an RFD task force has been
operating in the area since the late dry-season of year 2000. Although some new
areas have been cleared, forest loss is less than was originally feared,
doubtless due to the operation of this task force. We are pleased that RFD is
increasing forest protection efforts at Khao Nor Chuchi, but frankly concerned
as to how long this additional effort can be sustained. BCST will follow
Construction spirals out of control at Khao Yai and Kaeng Krachan
It often seems that RFD are much better at building things than they are at
protecting the forest. Bulldozers were at work at Khao Yai this spring, where a
new restaurant is under construction on the banks of the Lumtakong River,
opposite the park headquarters. This is taking place in spite of the fact that
there has been, for many years, a whole row of food shops catering to park
visitors just across the road. Meanwhile, at Kaeng Krachan, the present
single-track laterite road leading to the base of Phanoen Thung is being widened
and upgraded into what, on the face of it, seems to resemble a super-highway!
Wide roads present physical barriers to wildlife. Gibbons, for example, can
only cross roads if the gap between the trees on either side is narrow enough to
enable them to swing across through the canopy. A wide and well-surfaced road
will also allow vehicles to travel even faster than they do at present. This
potentially will increase deaths of wildlife. Deaths of tired migrant Hooded
Pittas, struck by cars at Kaeng Krachan, have already been reported even with
the old laterite road. Also significant will be the increased annoyance caused
to park visitors, who have come to enjoy nature, by a large, noisy and
unregulated flow of traffic speeding along a super-highway.
Slow-flowing rivers in national parks are a very precious resource: they are
few and far-between. Forest animals come to drink at their banks, while the
riparian flora and fauna usually differs from that in other areas. It is
understandable that, when Khao Yai was first established, in 1962, the first
offices, and worker's accommodation, were located for convenience on the banks
of the river. But some forty years on, with a permanent headquarters set well
back from the khlong it is time to begin to return the khlong-side
to some semblance of its original condition. The last thing we need are new
concrete structures replacing the wooden sheds that were formerly there.
Instead, vegetation should be allowed to regenerate along the banks, so that it
starts again to resemble a natural area. As far as possible, all structures and
human habitation along the riverbank should be removed.
So are these construction projects in Khao Yai and Kaeng Krachan completely
above board? Have they been approved by anything like a park management
committee? Has an environmental impact assessment been conducted? Or does RFD
think it can behave any way it likes in what it chooses to regard as its
exclusive domain? We have to ask how, if at all, these construction projects
will benefit either park. Perhaps the National Parks Division has forgotten that
the primary role of national parks is to conserve the fauna and flora and other
aspects of the natural environment, and not to maximize profits through park
entry fees and sale of food and services to visitors.
If construction is on the minds of our concrete-loving Khao Yai officials, we
would advise them to turn their attention to installing proper sewage treatment
for the toilets by the headquarters lecture hall (presently leaking raw sewage
into the Lumtakong), rather than erecting superfluous new restaurants!
Following Thailand's example? Lao forests going, going . . . .
A recent publication by Tropical Rainforest Programme paints a damming
picture of the highly corrupt and unsustainable logging practices in Lao PDR.
Logging is largely controlled through the Prime Minister's Office and the
Laotian military, with the Department of Forestry being marginalised or excluded
from the process. The process of allocation of logging quotas is highly
secretive and there is no code or practice or management plan for
sustainability. The annual logging quotas jumped more than six fold in one
province alone, Savannakhet, in 1999 compared with the preceding few years. The
process has been described as a “fire-sale” of the country's resources.
In addition, actual exports are far higher than reported, Lao statistics on
logs exported to Thailand being only half of the volume recorded imported from
Lao PDR by Thai authorities. The report goes on “ . . . the Thais in particular
were buying up all the wood they could get and were stockpiling it.” There is
also a large volume of timber exported to both China and Vietnam, and massive
investment in log processing capacity from Taiwan. Since the inundation zones of
all the proposed hydroelectric dams (most of which will never even be built)
have been logged out, the inescapable conclusion is that the main future source
of logs will be the from the country's network of nature reserves—the NBCAs
(National Biodoversity Conservation Areas).
Aspects of Forestry Management in the Lao PDR Tropical Rainforest
Programme, The Netherlands. 24 pp. The full report is available from Tropical
Rainforest Programme, Plantage Middenlaan 2B, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
RECENT REPORTS MARCH - APRIL 2000
The biggest surprise of the period was a Wedge-tailed Shearwater, a
new bird for Thailand, sitting on a salt pan at Khok Kham (Samut Sakhon) on 10
April, and subsequently taken into captivity (SD). The bird was examined and
photographed by BB, RJ, PK and PDR on 12 April. Though clearly weak and
emaciated, it was consuming small fish, but sadly expired a few days later.
There was an Oriental Darter on the Srinagarind Dam at Tha Rua Ongsit,
Srisawat District (Kanchanaburi) on 14 April (GB).
Two pairs of Hume's' Pheasants were seen in fire-devasted forest at
Den Ya Khat, Doi Chiang Dao on 5 April (PDR, R&AW) and one male and two females
from the new main road between Doi Ang Khang and Ban Arunothai on 8 April, 2000
“Several” Chinese Goshawks and Chestnut-winged Cuckoos were
reported from Kaeng Krahan (Phetchaburi) during 7-8 April (per PE). Great
Thick-knees were seen at two sites on the Mekong: a single bird upstream of
Pakchom (Loei) on 21 April (PDR) and a group of 4 downstream of Khemmaraj (Amnat
Charoen) on 26 April (PDR, SR,NR). (Birds had previously been found at both
sites by observers working the Laotian banks of the Mekong.) A Grey-tailed
Tattler on a sandbank of the Mekong River between Mukdahan and Savannakhet
in Lao on 26 April (PDR,SR) qualifies as the first record for Lao (and seemingly
the first non-coastal record anywhere in SE Asia). The same site also held 3
Common Greenshank, 6 Spotted Redshank and 3 White-winged Terns.
20 Whiskered Terns and three Pheasant-tailed Jacanas were present
on the Mekong River at Tha Uthen District (Nakhon Phanom) on 24 April (PDR).
Another Grey-tailed Tattler was found at the mouth of the Khlong Prasong
(Krabi) on 28 April (PC). A Ruff was seen at Nong Kruat, Bung Boraphet
(Nakhon Sawan) on 5 March (ST).
Counts of waders from Had Tup, Ko Libong during 12–14 April yielded maxima of
22 Grey Plover, 366 Lesser and 109 Greater Sand Plover, 389
Whimbrel, 28 Eurasian Curlew, 125 Bar-tailed Godwits,
a single Asian Dowitcher, 4 Nordmann's Greenshank, 44 Great
Knot, only 6 Great Crested and 14 Lesser Crested Terns among
other species (WS).
Ruddy Kingfisher (migrant or resident?) was seen in lowland forest
along a stream at Khao Phanom Bencha (Krabi) on 21 April (WS) and a male
Crimson-breasted Woodpecker on Doi Ang Khang on 8 April (PDR, R&AW).
A pair of Black-and-red Broadbills were nesting at Kaeng Krachan on 7–8
April (PE). Both Hooded and Blue-winged Pittas were calling
at Phu Wua WS (Nong Khai) on 23 April (PDR). A male Siberian Blue Robin
was found in mangroves at Khok Kham on 12 April (BB,RJ,PK). There were several
pairs of Jerdon's Bushchats, including at least one pair with fledged
young, on sandbanks of the Mekong River in Loei Province on 21 April (PDR).
Two extreme rarities found in the north represent great coups for their
finders. A female Japanese Robin (the 3rd Thai record) was seen and
photographed at 1,365 m elevation in Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary (Loei), on 11
March (DP,WS,BT). Meanwhile at Mae Jarim National Park (Nan) a male and female
Black-throated Robin were observed coming to drink at a small stream in
lowland forest at about 300 m (ST). So far as known, this is only the second
sighting ever of the species away from its breeding grounds. A number of other
birds recorded at Mae Jarim during 10–22 March were new, but expected,
distributional records for that part of the country, including Coral-billed
Scimitar-Babbler, Limestone Wren Babbler, Manchurian Bush Warbler,
Small Niltava (ST).
Dark-sided Flycatchers were reported from Ko Libong on 12 April and
Khao Phanom Bencha on 22 April (WS); a Ferruginous Flycatcher from Khao
Phanom Bencha on 21 April (WS) and a male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher from
Ko Libong on 13 April (WS). A nest of Brown-streaked Flycatcher was seen
at Bang Tieo (Krabi) on March (PDR, BS) and another with 3 young at Khao Phanom
Bencha on 17 April (WS). A Mugimaki Flycatcher, a probable first year
male, was found at Mahidol University Rama 6 Road Campus (Bangkok) on 15 April
(PDR,SS). There were 38 Spot-winged Grosbeaks, males, females and
juveniles, at Mae Fang National Park on 12 April (HKBWS).
Contributors: Banasit Boonyarapawet, Gerhard Brand, Philip Chantler,
Suchart Daengphayon, Peter Ericsson, Hong Kong Birdwatching Society, Roongroj
Jugmongkol, Phanot Krairojananan, Mr. Maki, Miss R. Mountfield, Dome Pratumtong,
Philip D. Round, Sonapa Round, Nattida Round, Dr. Samaisukh Sophasan, Brian
Sykes, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak, Barami Tenbunyakiat, Uthai Treesucon, Robert and
In addition to the material above, a bird list for Doi Pha Hom Pok,
(January), was received from Dr. Rungsrit Kanjanavanit and friends; and another
for Hala-Bala and Phru To Daeng (April) was received from Panuwat Sasirat/Wild
Many breeding records of birds from Phu Luang and from locations in the south
during March-April were received from Wachara Sanguansombat.
Compiled by Philip Round and Roongroj Jugmongkol
Wild birds in cages
The following e-mail was posted on the Oriental Birding Newsgroup recently:
On a recent trip to Thailand it was never a surprise to come across the usual
caged munias outside temples across the country.
After a weeks excellent birding I agreed to my partner's request for a week
in the south snorkelling and 'relaxing'.
On a snorkelling trip we paid a brief visit to the now very commercialised
Ban Ton Sai on Phi Phi Don. I was very disappointed to see an interesting range
of birds in very small cages outside the laundry on the 'main street'. These
included Koels, 2 bulbul species, Hill Myna and, saddest of all, a Brahminy Kite
in a cage too small for it to open its wings.
I am aware of the wild bird trade in Thailand, but wonder whether there is any
form of protection to prevent the imprisonment of birds?
Brahminy Kites are currently still quite common in the area, but given the
general lack of raptors in much of Thailand is any form of protection offered to
such species in particular?
Thailand-China Eucalyptus Pact spells danger for lowland birds
A Thai firm, Advance Agro Plc, and Beijing have agreed to invest in a pulp
and paper plant to be located in eastern Thailand. To supply raw material to the
new plant the joint venture calls for the Royal Forest Department to make
available up to 250,000 rai (400 sq. km) of forest land. Another 500,000
rai (800 sq. km) of land under the land reform programme would be needed
for contract farming. This joint venture was approved in principle by the Thai
cabinet during February.
Dr. Plodprasop Surasawasdi, Director General of RFD is an enthusiastic
supporter of eucalyptus planting, especially since one of the conditions
requires the joint venture to pay off farmers who have encroached on the
national reserve forest. The land would then be returned to RFD which would then
lease it to the company for 30 years.
Dr. Plodprasop is assuring the public that the planting will have no
environmental impact. Hmmm…. This is a highly dubious premise: does either Dr.
Plodprasop or, indeed, anyone else in RFD, have either the knowledge or the
capacity to make an unbiased and scientific assessment of the environmental
First and foremost, while the RFD, through an accident of history, is charged
with responsibility for biodiversity conservation areas (national parks and
wildlife sanctuaries), it has primarily been concerned with commercial
exploitation of timber. It is largely staffed by officials who are trained
foresters: very few are biologists. As far as they are concerned, if an area
produces wood or wood pulp, it is forest! This is a long way away from the
biological definition of forest, as a natural or semi-natural and interdependent
community of plants and animals inhabiting an area of woody cover.
RFD is less concerned with biodiversity conservation than it is with
maintaining its own, exclusive authority over areas designated as forest land.
The Eucalyptus scheme, since it is backed by big money, will do very well
as a way of moving subsistence farmers out of National Reserve Forest, which RFD
was too ignorant or inefficient to protect in the first place.
Thailand already possesses a large number of protected areas, many of which
exceed 1000 sq. km in area. So why should wildlife conservation NGOs be
concerned about what happens outside their boundaries?
There is a very good reason. A recurring theme, stressed by wildlife
conservation NGOs, such as BCST, but which RFD itself prefers to ignore, is that
lowland habitats and species are under-represented in the parks and sanctuaries,
most of which are situated in steeply mountainous country.
The so-called "degraded forests" to which RFD likes to refer, often support
quite a lot of wildlife: less so than a pristine lowland forest, certainly, but
in the near-total absence of pristine lowland forests inside protected areas,
degraded forests are all we have. They offer the only hope for survival of many
kinds of plants and animals which were once common, but which have now become
very scarce, even though they are used at some level by farmers and others.
“Degraded forests” in Nakhon Ratchasima and Prachinburi Provinces, provinces
targeted by the “eucalyptus folly” scheme, which I visited during September to
December last year, in which dry dipterocarp and other trees were scattered
among farmland, supported a diverse bird community. This included populations of
globally or nationally threatened or near-threatened birds, and many others
which are very scarce in, or absent from, most protected areas, such as
Rufous-winged Buzzard, White-rumped Falcon (both globally near-threatened);
Blossom-headed and Red-breasted Parakeets (once formerly extremely abundant, but
which have disappeared from most of the country); and Fulvous-breasted
Woodpeckers (generally scarce and restricted to extreme lowlands. There was also
a great wealth of other birds, including Burmese Shrikes, Indochinese Bushlarks,
Pied Bushchats, and other common species). How many of these birds would still
be around in a eucalyptus plantation?
Because of the generally dictatorial approach followed by the Thai civil
service, no middle-ranking official dare speak out against his or her own
Director-General, especially when much financial and political clout is
involved, as in the present case. We can therefore be assured of the continued
silence of those few biologists in RFD who may be in a position to make an
unbiased assessment of the potential damage caused by eucalyptus-planting.
History repeats itself. It is only ten years since the beneficiaries of a
previous eucalyptus-planting scheme were found illegally cutting trees inside a
concession area. A national uproar led to the suspension of all large scale
commercial forestry activities throughout Thailand; numerous court-cases, and
transfers of those officials suspected of involvement. Should abuses occur under
the present scheme, the RFD Director General may be held similarly accountable.
We are already assured that many social-activist NGOs will be monitoring events
very closely, on behalf of the farmers and poor villagers who would be displaced
by big business. But, in the absence of any other knowledgeable national
wildlife conservation agency, either inside government or out, it is important
that BCST and other wildlife conservation NGOs state their position forcefully.
(Contributed by Philip D. Round)
Keep at Eye out for Golden Plovers with Leg Bands!
The following message was passed to us by Wetlands International, though by
the time it gets into print it may be too late for the current spring migration
season, so we shall have to wait for autumn.
SHOREBIRDERS IN NORTH AMERICA AND RUSSIA: Please keep your eyes on
Pluvialis plover legs during the upcoming migration and breeding season!
We've been banding golden-plovers (Pacific and American) and Black-bellied
Plovers for many years at Oahu, HI and Nome, AK. More recently, we started
marking Pacific Golden-Plovers at Johnston Atoll, and this spring also at Midway
Atoll. Each bird wears a USF&WS metal band plus some combination of color-bands
or flags. It is important to record the exact sequence on each leg, and whether
there is a color-band above or below the metal band. Send observations with as
much information as possible to: Wally Johnson, Dept. of Biology, Montana State
University, Bozeman, MT 59717 (e-mail owjplovers [at] montana.campuscwix.net;
tel 406-994-4548; FAX 406-994-3190) or Phil Bruner, Natural Sciences Div.,
BYU-Hawaii, Laie, HI 96762 (e-mail brunerp@BYUH.edu; tele 808-293-3820; FAX
RECENT REPORTS - December 1999 to early March 2000
A Great Cormorant found on the Mekong River upstream of Chiang Saen
over the New Year (JWD) was again seen on 13 February together with a River
Lapwing (ST). An Oriental Darter was seen at Kroeng Krai Substation,
Huai kha Khaeng (Uthai Thani) on 18 December (PV). A drake Baikal Teal at
Nong Bong Khai, Chiang Saen (Chiang Rai) on 27 January (CC) was seen
subsequently by other observers up to at least 19 February, (SK,SP,PS,SS). Seven
Ruddy Shelducks were present on the Mekong River at Chiang Saen together
with a drake Mallard on both 12 February (ST) and 19 February,
(SK,SP,PS,SS). A maximum count of about 47 Spot-billed Ducks was reported
from the Nong Bong Khai and the Mekong River combined on 12 February (ST). Three
Spot-billed Ducks were reported from Bang Phra (Chonburi) on 4 March (KC
and WN, per PC). Two Common Pochard and 14 Ferruginous Duck were
also present at Bung Boraphet on 27 February, but no Baer's Pochard could be
found (PDR,UT, T and WY). Four Tufted Duck, 7 Ferruginous Pochard,
4 Baer's Pochard, 9 Northern Shoveler were seen on Nong Bong Khai
on 11–13 February (ST) with a female Mandarin Duck also being present on
26 January (WP). A female or immature Common Shelduck at Bung Boraphet,
said to have been present since 28 December 1999, was seen on 27 February
(PDR,UT, T and WY). Another Common Shelduck was photographed on a
distillery wastewater body at Chiang Rak (Ayutthaya) on 5 February (WSu). A male
Hen Harrier was claimed from Phru To Daeng (Narathiwat) on 5 March (PS),
though the description did not positively exclude male Pallid Harrier, which
must also be considered as a possibility. An adult Mountain Hawk-Eagle
was reported from Ko Adang, Tarutao on 25 February (PS). Copulation was observed
in a pair of White-rumped Falcons at Sap Sadao, Thap Lan National Park
(Nakhon Ratchasima) on 26 January (WS).
A Small Buttonquail seen in paddies at Doi Saket (Chiang Mai) on 22
February (Wings) was a new distribution record. A long-staying River Lapwing,
remarkably, was still present at Phutthamonthol Nakhon Pathom) on 21–22 February
(PC). The origins of this bird must surely be wondered at, since it is in such
atypical habitat, and at a time of year when most of its fellows would be
holding territories on riverine sandbars. Two Common Ringed Plover were
reported from the Mekong River at Chiang Saen on 13 February (ST) with another
at Khok Kham on 25 February (SH,GP), which was the first for the Central Plain.
The long-staying Spoon-billed Sandpiper at Khok Kham was seen on 8
February (Wings) but not subsequently, though the Pied Avocet, another
long-stayer at the same site was still present a full month later, on 8 March
(KKCC,PD). On Ko Libong (Trang) a single Asian Dowitcher and 26
Nordmann's Greenshank were among other waders photographed on 11 February
(KS,ST). A pair of Beach Thick-knees was reported from Ko Surin Tai
(Phang-nga) on 15 December (AS). A pale morph adult Pomarine Skua
was on the sea-trip between Ko Surin and Khura Buri on 18 December (AS).
A Slender-billed Gull (age not mentioned) was reported from Bang Poo
on 8 February (KS,ST). Two Caspian Terns, 2–3 Lesser Crested Terns
and 4 Great Crested Terns were seen over the sea around Ko Surin
(Phang-nga) during 29 January to 6 February (DP,WS). Laem Phak Bia (Phetchaburi)
held 40 Great Crested Terns, 2 Lesser Crested Terns, 2 Pallas's
Gulls, 7 adult and 6 subadult Heuglin's Gulls, and 12 first-winter
“herring gull types” including some definite Heuglin's and others as yet
undetermined on 5 March (JWD,PDR,KS,SaT). 36 Great Knot and two Ruff
were also present, with a third Ruff further north, near Bang Kaew (JWD,
A Thick-billed Pigeon and a Hill Myna both seen seen in
Lumphini Park (Bangkok) on 22 December (PC) may have been escaped captives.
Seven Pin-tailed Pigeons, 5 males and 2 females, and two
White-bellied Pigeons were reported from Tham Pha Phlong, Doi Chiang Dao on
22 March (ST). Up to 18 Large Green Pigeons were seen feeding in fig
trees on Ko Surin (Phang-nga) during 30 January to 1 February (DP,WS). Up to 5
Orange-breasted Pigeons were also recorded on 4 February (DP,WS). Four
Large Hawk-Cuckoos were reported from Ko Libong on 10 February (SJ, KS,ST).
A Common Cuckoo was heard calling at Den Ya Khat, Doi Chiang Dao on 31
December (KS). Wire-tailed Swallows and Blue Magpie were
nest-building at Huai Thung Thao on 10 February (ST) with Eurasian Jay
nest-building on Den Ya Khat on 23 February (ST). A Fire-capped Tit was
present on the summit of Doi Pui (Chiang Mai) on 15 February (Wings Tour) and
there were 3 more at Km 34, Doi Inthanon on 5–7 March (PhC et al.).
Yellow-cheeked Tit was seen carrying nest material on Doi Inthanon, 9
Four Limestone Wren Babblers were seen at Doi Pha Klong National Park
(Phrae) on 20 February (RJ). A pair of Black-eared Shrike Babblers
were seen in attendance on a nest at Km 37.5 on Doi Inthanon, on 20 February
(SK,SP,SS). Grey-headed Parrotbill was seen with nest-material at Den Ya
Khat on 15 February (ST).
River Chats were reported from Phaa Thaan waterfall, Thamsakeun
National Park (Nan) on 31 January (RJ); from Wang Kaew Waterfall, Doi Luang
National Park (Lampang) on 2 February (PK); and from Mon Hin Lai waterfall, Sri
Lanna National Park (Chiang Mai) on 9 February (PK).
A Long-tailed Thrush was seen at Doi Pha Hom Pok on 15 February (ST)
and a single Red-throated Thrush on Doi Ang Khang (Chiang Mai) on 3
Three Red-throated Thrushes, two Chestnut Thrushes and a
Dusky Thrush were present in the radar station ground on the summit of Doi
Inthanon on 20 February, together with a female Blue-fronted Redstart
(SK,SP,SS). Two Dusky Thrushes were present up to 9February
(ST). 5 Grey-winged Blackbirds were seen on Doi Suthep on 15 February
(Wings); a single male and female at Fang Hot Springs on 14 February (ST); and
two males at Doi Ang Khang on 20 February (ST). However, all these reports pale
compared with a flock of 20 Grey-winged Blackbirds and 5–6 Chestnut
Thrushes in a single fruiting tree on Doi Pha Hom Pok during 14–17 January
(RK). A male Common Blackbird was again present in lowland
scrub/grassland/open woodland at Huai Thung Thao (Chiang Mai) on 21 January
(KS). Three Grey-sided Thrushes were seen on Doi Inthanon on 16 February
(Wings). A report of a female Siberian Thrush in the Doi Inthanon Radar
Station grounds on 8 January (TT) was not substantiated with any description.
Most or all other records of this species from the north are in times of spring
and autumn passage.
A male Black-breasted Thrush was seen at Doi Wao, Nanthaburi National
Park (Nan) on 29 January (RJ).
A Lesser Whitethroat (no description supplied) was reported from
Sanpatong (Chiang Mai) on 19 January (KS). Nest-building was seen among
White-tailed Leaf Warblers on Doi Pha Hom Pok on 15 February, Den Ya Khat on
23 February (ST), and in Chestnut-crowned Warbler and Green-tailed
Sunbird at Doi Inthanon on 18 February (RK).
Ten to 50 Spot-winged Starlings were seen at the Thinuey Substation of
Thung Yai Wildlife Sanctuary, 31 December, with another 50–70 along the road to
Mae Sakae on 1 January (PC). Four Brahminy Starlings were at the Mae
Krasat Substation of Thung Yai on 2 January (PC). Four pairs of House
Sparrows were observed nesting in trees in the grounds of Surin Hospital,
Muang District (Surin) on 20 January (SS/SBC). Spot-winged Grosbeaks were
present at Fang Hot Springs Mae Fang National Park (Chiang Mai) with 30 on 9
February (EK, PK); 40 on 14 February (ST) though there were said to be as many
as 300 at the same location on 5 March (SaK per BK). There were over 200
Black-headed Greenfinches on Doi Ang Khang on 18 February (ST). 10
Chestnut Buntings were seen at Thikhong Substation, Thung Yai Wildlife
Sanctuary on 2 January (PC). Two Black-faced Buntings were present at Mae
Taeng Irrigation Project on 19 February (Wings Tour).
Contributors: Khok Kham Conservation Club, Cristian Cederroth, Philip
Chantler (PhC), Pathompol Charoenjai, Khanchit Chinnarin, Chulalongkorn
University Environment Club, Peter Davidson, J. Will Duckworth, Steve Huggins,
Surachit Jamornman, Roongroj Jugmongkol, Dr. Rungsrit Kanjanavanit, Bruce
Kekule, Ekalak Keunson, Sarawut Klaichinda, Samak Kodkaew (SaK), Panot
Krairojananan, Wicha Narangsi, Gavin Peplow, Wanchai Plabpleungthong, Sompol
Plaitho, Dome Pratumthong, Philip D. Round, Pinit Saengkaew, Anuwat Saisaeng,
Wachara Sanguansombat, Suwannee Sirisespakdee (Surin Birdwatchers' Club), Kampol
Sukhumalind, Suthee Supparatvikorn, Wanchanok Suvanakorn, Thossaphon Tannsurat,
Sopitcha Tantitadapitak, Sarthip Thongnakcokegruad (SaT), Uthai Treesucon,
Prinyakorn Voravan, Wings Tour, Thada and Wachara Yusawat,
Compiled by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jugmongkol
Coral-billed Ground-Cuckoos becoming easier to see at Khao Yai?
Coral-billed Ground-Cuckoo is a relatively common and widely distributed
bird in Khao Yai and, indeed, elsewhere in the upper eastern forest complex, but
at least until recently it has always been found to be one of the shyest and
most sought-after ground-living birds. It is glimpsed occasionally while walking
trails, or sitting motionless in the forest. In the past, the best opportunities
for prolonged observation have usually come from areas where fresh garbage is
dumped in the forest, such as at the old rubbish tip behind the now disused
Tourist Authority restaurant, some twenty years ago, and much more recently,
behind the car-park at Haew Narok Waterfall where a number of BCST members have
Driving into Khao Yai on 10 February, the Wings tour group were stunned to
see a ground-cuckoo run across the road at Dong Krating. Instead of
disappearing, it remained on the grassy verge between the roadside and the
forest edge, taking very little notice of passing cars and allowing prolonged
observation. As if this wasn't enough, half an hour later a second bird was seen
under similar circumstances along the roadside near Lam Takong stream, just
north of the headquarters. Then, on the following day, either the first bird or
another was seen at Darn Chang, again, along the roadside, more or less
disregarding passing cars (and excited birdwatchers).
There seems, therefore, to have been a marked change in behaviour in
Coral-billed Ground-Cuckoo at Khao Yai. Perhaps this parallels what has also
happened in pheasants. Ten or fifteen years ago, Siamese Fireback was very hard
to see in Khao Yai, but now sightings, even from the road, of both this species
and Silver Pheasant are becoming commonplace. Perhaps all these species have
become used to seeing people, and are becoming habituated to human disturbance.
Another possibility may be linked with the habit of ground-cuckoos, and perhaps
pheasants too, of following wild pig herds in the forest. A few years ago, most
of the wild pigs around the headquarters area in Khao Yai died off in the course
of a mysterious epidemic. Perhaps this has forced ground-cuckoos and other birds
to modify their behavior?
Contributed by Philip D. Round
Phil Round on seeing Green Peafowl
25 February 2000
Green Peafowl is easy at Huai Hong Khrai Royal Development Study Center, Doi
Saket district, east of Chiang Mai town in the early mornings, with 4 calling
males present in the immediate vicinity of the small aviary/menagerie across the
dam at Km 4. Just wait by the shore of the reservoir in early morning and you
cannot fail, at least at this time of year.
I can understand that birders might feel a bit queasy seeing Green Peafowl
feeding among the cages of the small menagerie at the site, where ca. 6 captive
Green Peafowl are also kept. But there is no doubt that the birds outside the
cages are genuinely wild. There have never been any captive releases at the
site, and the officials of the project have more or less tracked the population
since 2 birds first appeared roughly ten years ago.
They are highly pleased that the wild birds have come in to grace the project
with their presence! The habitat around is classic Green Peafowl terrain: dry
dipterocarp and mixed deciduous forest in low rolling hills, with abundant
waterbodies (in this case, small irrigation reservoirs designed to channel water
to promote soil moisture and prevent fires). I didn't see too much in the way of
other birds in the short time we were there, but doubtless a few other lowland
deciduous woodland species are to be found.
Update: 10 April 2000
The phone numbers I have for Huai Hong Khrai Royal Development Study Centre
are 053-248004 and 053-248483. If dialing from outside Thailand the code would
be 66-53. I have never tried to use these numbers so I do not know if they work.
However, the place is well-signposted off the Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai highway,
a few km past the town of Doi Saket. If you turn up in the early morning and
tell them you want to see the peafowl, they will probably let you in. If you
have the time, it might be worth calling in during office hours on a weekday to
check with the officials, and let them know you'll be coming in early morning
the next day.
The peafowl are at Km 4. Park by the first pond (before the menagerie) and
walk over the embankment to the second pond (Past the menagerie) and scan the
trees behind. One or two roosting birds may be perching up in the treetops early
morning. Sooner or later, two or more birds will fly in to the menagerie
grounds. I have to say I am not 100% convinced as to the wild origin of these
birds. I'd love to think they were wild, because of the favourable implications
for the eventual recovery of this species elsewhere in its range. The officials
there are adamant that they have not released any birds, or lost any captive
birds, and I certainly believe them. However, a Chiang Mai University lecturer
told me that he had heard that the Chiang Mai Zoo had released some Green
Peafowl there a few years back.
Nong Bong Khai Non-Hunting Area (a.k.a. Chiang Saen Lake)
Phil Round, 6 February 2000
I guess Nong Bong Khai and the Chiang Saen area are well-known to many
oriental birds enthusiasts. This is a really interesting and still very
Anyone who is visiting should be aware that one of the non-hunting area
workers, Mr Boonpob, has newly been assigned responsibility to keep an eye on
birds around Nong Bong Khai. (He replaces the previous incumbent, Mr Saokham,
who died recently). He is a youngish man, about 35; very polite and helpful. I
spent a very pleasant day in his company in mid-January.
Although he has had no previous experience or encouragement, he is extremely
keen and well-motivated in his job. He is well tuned in to which species of
ducks go where in the many hidden bays around the lakeshore, etc. etc. After a
couple of hours with me, he was picking up and separating Dusky Warblers and
Thick-billed Warblers on call, for example, so he is as interested in small
birds as he is in waterfowl. In short, he shows a lot of promise, so I would
urge anyone who is visiting to make contact with him both in order to find out
what birds are around, but also to help him develop his expertise further. (He
probably does not speak too much English, though, so non-Thai-speakers might
have difficulty communicating)).
He has been supplied with binoculars by the BHA superintendent, but another
bird book would be useful if anybody can donate one. The NHA only has one
well-worn copy of the Thai bird guide.
December 1999 – January 2000
[5 Feb 2000] Great Crested Grebe was present at Nong Bong Khai (Chiang
Rai) on 31 December to at least 3 January (KS); 3 birds (one in breeding dress)
were present on 15–17 January (BCST) and two on 21 January (PDR). A Milky
Stork was reported together with 20 Painted Storks and 100 Asian
Openbills, in rice paddies opposite the Nestlé factory, at Wat Nam Daeng,
Preng District, Chachoengsao on 30 December (WY). The waterbird colony at Ban
Thasadet (Suphanburi) was playing host to a roost of 105 Black-headed Ibises
on 20 January (WS). Interestingly, there were also 250 Indian Shags,
including ca. 40 nests with near full-grown young—a new record for this site. 37
Spot-billed Duck were counted on the Mekong River at Chiang Saen
(Chiang Rai) on 31 December (KS). A count of presumably the same flock on 21–22
January made it 26 Spot-billed Duck and 9 Northern Pintail on the
Mekong, with a further 17 Spot-billeds on Nong Bong Khai (BK,PDR). Two
Mallard (male and female) were reported from Nong Bong Khai on 11 January
(still present on 19th, but not seen the following day: BK); while
four pairs of Eurasian Wigeon, a male Gadwall, 5 Ferruginous
Pochard, 2 Baer's Pochard and a female Mandarin Duck
were reported among other ducks there on 14–15 January (ST/BCST). Nong Bong Khai
also held 3 Common Shelduck on 10 December (BK) and a drake Baikal
Teal on 28 January (CC,NF,CJ). The annual Water Rail was present at
Nong Bong Khai on 16 and 17 January (BCST) though there was only a single bird
instead of the two last year.
A stray River Lapwing was found among Red-wattled Lapwings at
Phutthamonthol (Nakhon Pathom) on 31 December (SK). Two were at a more typical
location on the mainstream Mekong at Chiang Saen on 31 December (KS).
Over 100 Red Knot at Khok Kham on 10 January (DA, PDR) was an
unexpectedly and unprecedentedly large number for Thailand. Two Great Knot
were also present. The single Spoon-billed Sandpiper was still present on
9 January (SarT); could not be found only one day later, but was seen again on
28 January (BCT). An adult Black-tailed Gull was present at Bang Poo on 8
and again on 11 January. It was photographed (SarT). A first-winter Pallas's
Gull (Great Black-headed Gull) was reported on the Mekong River at Chiang
Saen on 31 January (KS). A visit on 22 January produced a first winter 'herring
gull” possibly Yellow-legged Gull (PDR). A juvenile
White-rumped Vulture was reported from Doi Pha Hom Pok on 4 January (ST).
Two White-bellied Pigeons, both females, were reported from near the
Sala Phrom Substation of Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary (Chaiyaphum) on 9 January
(WS) with another on the way up to the summit of Doi Inthanon on 12 January
(ST). A flock of 13 Speckled Wood Pigeons was seen near Doi Pha Hom Pok
summit on 3 January with a single bird on Doi Inthanon on 12 January (ST). Two
White-fronted Scops Owls were seen in daylight in the roadside
lowland forest area of Kaeng Krachan on 22 January (BWG). Blyth's Kingfisher
was reportedly photographed on the mainstream Mekong below Rim Khong, Chiang
Saen on 1 December (PL,KS).
Twelve Common House Martins were reported from Thung Kramang, Phu
Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary on 8 January (WS). Two Rusty-cheeked Scimitar
Babblers were seen copulating on Doi Ang Khang (Chiang Mai) on 23 January
White-throated Rock Thrush was seen at Huai Mae Cumin (Kanchanaburi)
on 31 December (RKl). Long-tailed Thrush was reported from Km 37.5 (the
jeep-track) on Doi Inthanon, 28 December (ST) with 3 Red-throated Thrushes
inside the radar station compound on the summit of Doi Inthanon on 1 January
(PS); and there were at least 4 (one male, one female and two immatures) on 3
January (RK) and still three on 11–12 January (ST). The area also held a female
Blue-fronted Redstart (RK), up to four Chestnut Thrushes and two
Dusky Thrushes (PS). Male Grey-winged Blackbird was still present
by the stupas below the summit on 1 January (PS). Chestnut Thrushes were
also present at Doi Sam Muen (Chiang Mai/Mae Hongson) over the New Year (NT) and
on Doi Pha Hom Pok (2 birds) on 3 January (ST).
The date was inadvertently omitted from the Pygmy Blue Flycatcher
sighting reported from Doi Inthanon last month: it was on 28 December, and the
observers were KR and ST Over 100 Red-throated Pipits were roosting in
grassland at Takhli Air Base (Nakhon Sawan) on 6 January (UB, PDR,ST).
Spot-winged Starling was reported from between Huai Mae Cumin and Bung
Kroeng Kavia (Kanchanaburi) on 31 December (RKl). Two male Scarlet
Finches were reported from Doi Ang Khang on 1 January (DV).
Contributors: BCST Official Trip, Des Allen, Ukris Borvornwinyanant,
Christian Cederroth, Nina Fransson, Nitipong Jiraworanond, Cecilia Johansson,
Suwit Kanbungkerd, Dr. Rungsrit Kanjanavanit, Boonphob Kansiwiang, Rachaphol
Klaichit (RKl), Phairote Lenawat, Kris Mutitakorn, Nature Trails, Kant
Ratanajun, Philip D. Round, Pinit Saeng-Kaew, Wachara Sanguansombat, Panuwat
Sasirat/Wild Birds Eco-Tour; Kampol Sukhumalind, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak,
Sarthip Tongnakcokegruad (SarT), Dr. Dusadee Voraurai, Wachara Yusawat.
Compiled by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jugmongkol
Midwinter Waterfowl Census in the Gulf of Thailand
BCST members implemented a survey of waterfowl in the western sectors of the
Gulf of Thailand from Khok Kham, Samut Sakhon Province, west to Laem Phak Bia in
Phetchaburi Province over 28–30 January 2000. The count was entirely land-based:
no boats were used.
A total of 30,882 waterfowl was counted, including over 16,000 shorebirds and
14,000 other waterbirds, (gulls, terns, herons, etc.) The most numerous
species counted were Whiskered Tern (7,335), Lesser Whistling-duck (5000),
Black-winged Stilt (1,884), Marsh Sandpiper (1,383), Little Egret (1,110),
Rufous-necked Stint (1,109), Garganey (1,100), Spotted Redshank (755), Curlew
Sandpiper (717) and Long-toed Stint (698). The Brown-headed Gull total was 2,431
even though the usual flock off Bang Pu, in the eastern sector of the gulf, was
Among scarcer species were Eurasian Curlew (219), Great Knot (48); Red Knot
(15), one Spoon-billed Sandpiper, 54 Gull-billed Terns, 53 Caspian Terns, 76
Great Crested Terns and 2 Lesser Crested Terns. Although, as expected, numbers
of some species, such as the sandplovers and Curlew Sandpiper were well below
spring passage maxima, against expectations the totals of some species exceeded
those in last year's joint BCST/Wetlands International April “Super-Census”,
even though coverage was ostensibly less extensive.
Common Redshank may have been under-recorded, since the largest
concentrations are usually found on intertidal mudflats, and tides were high for
most of the period of the count. Common Redshank and a few other species seem to
roost among mangroves at high tide, rather than coming onshore on to ponds, and
are therefore less detectable.
The counting team consisted of Rattapon Klaichit, Krit Mutitaphorn, Veera
Netlomwong, Sakchai Netlomwong, Andreas Petersen, Makarin Pichaikul, Chawatee
Ratanadilok na Phuket, Kant Ratanajun, Philip D. Round, Thavorn Sareemanond,
Sopitcha Tantitadapitak and Aunchana Watanayut.
A full report is held at BCST and will be submitted as the society's
contribution to the Asian Midwinter Waterfowl Census.