WORLDTWITCH.com Home Page - Finding Rare Birds Around the World [Logo by Michael O'Clery] Americas | Asia | Australasia & Pacific | Africa & Middle East | Optics | Books

Site Map

Links

Sounds

New

Brazil

Thailand

Malaysia

Belize

Costa Rica

Galápagos

Vietnam

Trip Advice

Books World

Books Americas

Books Asia

Books Aus/NZ

Books Africa

Books Europe & Middle East

Feeders

Yahoo! Groups & Mailing Lists

FAQs

About

Contact

Worldtwitch Thailand

2000 THAILAND BIRD REPORTS

BIRD CONSERVATION SOCIETY OF THAILAND (BCST Bulletin)

E-mail: bcst[at]box1.a-net.net.th


RECENT REPORTS November – December 2000

[Update: Trip notes 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 November.

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. 1999).

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 species.

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.

Acknowledgments

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.

References

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, Laos.

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, t.brooks@conservation.org

Line Sørensen, Department of Entomology, Zoological Museum of the University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø,
Denmark
LLSorensen@zmuc.ku.dk



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 (CR).

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 September (PDR).

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 (BCST).

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 (PDR).

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 September (ST).

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 October (PDR).

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 (PDR).

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
E-mail: rgg@eesjr.msk.ru

and

Pavel S. Tomkovich
Zoological Museum
Moscow State University
B.Nikitskaya Street, 6
Moscow, 103009, Russia
E-mail: tomkovic@1.zoomus.bio.msu.ru


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 activities.
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.

Race Results:-

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


Diary Dates

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 10400.



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 waders. 

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 al.).

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 (BL).

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 (WK,PDR,SS).

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 juvenile nearby. 

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 (BCST).

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).


IMPORTANT NEWS

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 one message.

Examples:
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.

Koyama@wing-wbsj.or.jp

Please forward this message to anyone who might be interested. Thank you very much for your help.

Regards,
Simba Chan
Head Conservation and Database Division
International Center
Wild Bird Society of Japan
WING, 2-35-2 Minamidaira, Hino-shi
Tokyo 191-0041
Japan
Tel: + 81-42-593-6871
Fax: + 81-42-593-6873
e-mail: simba@wing-wbsj.or.jp



RECENT REPORTS
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 (KUWC).

Contributors: Kasetsart University Wildlife Club, Nature Trails, P.D. Round, Pinit Saengkaew, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak.

Compiled by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jugmongkol



RECENT REPORTS
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 April.

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-spectacledWarbler, 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 Phuket


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 them.

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 developments closely.


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 (M, UT).

“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 Ann Walton.

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 Birds Eco-Tour.

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?

Anthony Dorman


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 impact?

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 808-293-3825).



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, PDR, KS,SaT).

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 February (ST).

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 February (UT).

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 photographed it.

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 under-watched site.

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.



RECENT REPORTS
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 (PS).

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 not covered.

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.

Worldtwitch Thailand


Copyright © 1992-2012 John Wall