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Bird Conservation Society of Thailand Bulletin (BCST Bulletin)

E-mail: bcst[at]

September - November 2002

A Great-billed Heron reported from Ko Stok, Ko Surin (Phang-nga) on 15-16 November (SP, TT) has to be this month's most significant bird. Almost equaling this was a Greater Adjutant feeding with 16 Black-headed Ibises at Wat Kusarot, Sena District (Ayutthaya) on 25 November (AJ,NL,SR). There were 3 Painted Storks at Ban Khao Takhrao (Phetchaburi) on 19 September and 7 on 25 September (BK). There were five Ruddy Shelduck on the Mekong River at Chiang Saen (Chiang Rai), 28 November (DD,MD).

18 Black Bazas flew over Bang Pu (Samut Prakan) on 23 October (MA), and the regular small wintering flock had appeared at Mahidol University Salaya Campus (Nakhon Pathom) on 28 October, when eight birds were seen perched in Casuarina trees, where thought to have roosted (IG). Over 2000 Black Bazas, together with small numbers of Japanese Sparrowhawks, Grey-faced Buzzards and Oriental Honey-buzzards came through at Tha Yang, Chumphon, on 1 November (CN,PDR) when, due to rainy conditions, many of the bazas dropped into clumps of coconut palms to sit out the bad weather. Ten Grey-faced Buzzards and 13 Chinese Goshawks flew over Phu Pha Jit, Nam Nao (Phetchabun) on 27 October (ST).

A Eurasian Kestrel was seen at Wat Benjamabopitr (Bangkok) on 22 November (CR). There were 27 Amur Falcons in the Tat Ton to Mai Ai area (Chiang Mai) on 4 November; 25 on 5 November, and 95 birds, of which ca. 60% were adults, flying SW, 8–18 km east of Tha Ton, along the highway to Mae Chan (DD, MD).

There were 50 Asian Dowitchers at Khok Kham (Samut Sakhon) on 19 October (SD) and four more, together with several hundred Black-tailed Godwits, at Bang Pu 26 October (SS). Two Eurasian Woodcocks were seen at Nam Nao (Phetchabun) on 21 October (ST) and another on the summit of Doi Inthanon on 4 and 5 November (CB).

The first Spoon-billed Sandpiper appeared at Khok Kham on 18 October (SD); there were two Spoon-billed Sandpipers together with a Red-necked Phalarope on 2 November (WS), and two Spoon-billed Sandpipers on 24 November (GLA). The Red-necked Phalarope was still present on 5 November (PK).

Over 100 waders roosting at high-tide at Paknam Chumphon included 70 Pacific Golden Plovers, 1000+ Lesser Sand Plovers, 100 Kentish Plovers, a Ruddy Turnstone, 5 Terek Sandpipers, 3 Broad-billed Sandpipers and 100 Rufous-necked Stints.

A record count of 50 Sanderling was made at Laem Phak Bia (Phetchaburi) on 23 November (PDR). There was a single Ruff at Ban Khao Takhrao on 25 September (BK), and two Pied Avocets on 18-19 September (BK).

Single Grey-headed Lapwings were reported from Sala Phrom, Phu Khieo (Chaiyaphum) on 20 October (ST), Kaem Ling Nong Yai (Chumphon) on 30 October (CN,WS) and four more flew past apparently on migration at nearby Tha Yang on 1 November (CN,PDR).

There were 11 Brown-headed Gulls and an immature Pallas's Gull on the Mekong at Chiang Saen (Chiang Rai) on 29 October (DJ,NU). The first Heuglin's Gull, an adult, was present at Laem Phak Bia on 6 October, with a first-winter on 19 October (STh). Four more immature Heuglin's Gulls were seen at Bang Pu on 26 October (SS), with six (five first-years and one very worn bird, probably a third year, but in a highly aberrant, incompletely moulted state) at the same site on 9 November (MM, PDR,NU). There were 28 large gulls, probably all Heuglin's Gulls including many adults and subadults, on the sand-spit at Laem Phak Bia (Phetchaburi) on 10 November (BB), and 45 large gulls, thought be all or mostly Heuglin's Gulls, and including seven full adults; on 23 November (PDR). A single first-winter Pallas's Gull and a Black-tailed Gull were also present on the latter date (PDR). A single Great Crested Tern flew past Bang Pu on 9 November (MM,PDR) and there were 25 Great Crested Terns and 35 Caspian Terns at Laem Phak Bia on 23 November (PDR). A Chestnut-winged Cuckoo was seen behind Phrapokklao Hoopital (Chanthaburi) on 14 October (CT). There were five Red-whiskered Bulbuls at Mu Ban Phudaan, Nong Khaem (Bangkok) on 5 November (RJ). The earliest pale leucogenis Ashy Drongo was reported at Pinklao (Bangkok) on 4 October (CS).

Three Blue Magpies on the Mahidol University Salaya Campus on 14 November (PDR) are perhaps most likely to have been deliberately released birds. Whatever the case, the birds were in good condition, and were behaving more or less naturally in a mixed plantation of eucalyptus and Acacia auriculaeformis. It will be interesting to note how long they remain .

A pair of Cutias were seen on the Kiw Mae Paan Trail, Doi Inthanon on 4 November (CB). Seven to ten Short-tailed Parrotbills were seen in bamboo forest at moderate elevation, Phu Soi Dao (Uttaradit) on 17 November (BB). Two Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrushes on Doi Ang Khang on 26 October (DJ, NU) were perhaps indicative of resident breeding population. There was a male Purple Cochoa on the Doi Inthanon Jeep Track on 22 October (DJ,NU) and a Green Cochoa on 6 November (CB). The first-recorded Orange-headed Thrush for the winter was at Mo-singto, Khao Yai on 17 November (GG,AP). Thailand's second Black Redstart, at Mae Jo University (Chiang Mai) on 19 November (PT, SK, per RK) was a fine adult male. It was still present at the site one week later. On Doi Ang Khang, Dark-sided Flycatcher, was recorded on 26 October and Ferruginous Flycatcher on 27 October (DJ,NU). A single male Slaty-backed Flycatcher at Huai Phrom Din Sai, Nam Nao (Phetchabun) on 21 October (ST) and a male Slaty-blue Flycatcher at Doi Inthanon on 22 October (DJ,NU) were both useful early, autumn records of these migrants.

Two Chestnut-cheeked Starlings, an adult and an immature were with a flock of Purple-backed Starlings at the Municipal Sports Ground (Chumphon) on 28 October (CN), making the second successive year that this species has been recorded. Only the immature remained on 29 October, and it had gone by the following day, though a juvenile Rosy Starling performed well at the same location from 29 October to 1 November (CN, WS, PDR). The Rosy Starling was probably the same bird found earlier by CN on 7 October but not seen in the intervening period. A further Chestnut-cheeked Starling reappeared on 2 November (CN). Ten Chestnut-tailed Starlings were seen at the same site on 27 November among which were four bids showing the deep pale chestnut underparts typical of the Indian race S.m. malabarica (CN). Three Purple-backed Starlings were still present on that date. However, the earliest count provided, also the largest, was 149 birds on 27 September (CN).

There were two Buff-throated Warblers by the chedis below the Doi Inthanon summit on 22 October (DJ,NU) and the species was said to be "plentiful" on Doi Ang Khang on 26 October (DJ,NU). Two Aberrant Bush Warblers were reported from Phu Soi Dao, at 1600 m, on 16 November (BB).

A Rosy Pipit photographed on Doi Ang Khang on 27 October (AJ, RK & SK, JS) was a new locality record.

A major fall of migrants was reported from Muang district, Chumphon, on the early morning of 4 November, when more than 100 birds were thought to have been recovered as tideline corpses, or in a moribund state. Full details may never be known, as most were scavenged, captured or killed by villagers, but among those recovered by CN were three pittas, probably Blue-winged, four crakes, thought to be Red-legged Crake, and many White-breasted Waterhens. The migrants were thought to have been grounded by strong winds and rain. Another fresh recovered migrant corpse was a Slaty-legged Crake at Samsen Nai (Bangkok) on 6 November (observer's name illegible).

Contributors: Michael Allen, George L. Armistead, Big Bird Club (BB), Chuphong Bunyasiriwat, Suchart Daengphayon, Dowroong Davies, Mick Davies, Ian Grange, Ayuwat Jianwattanakanok, Doug Judell, Anutin J., Suparat Kanjanavanit, Rungsrit Kanjanavanit, Boonrawd Khieoyuu, Samak Khodkaew, Patcharee Komolphalin, Nattinee L., Mark Mallalieu, Chukiat Nualsri, Roongroj Jukmongkol, Chawatee Ratanadilok na Phuket, Santana Pluemshoosak, Philip D. Round, Surachai Rungkhunakorn, Wachara Sanguansombat, Jittraporn Sartamai Chutamas Sukhontapatipak, Suthee Supparatvikorn, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak, Sukanya Thanombuddha, Prapakorn Tharachai, Termsak Tiranaparin, Chira Trirongchit, Nick Upton.

Late records:

Painted Stork, 10, Sangkhlaburi (Kanchanaburi) 15 July (Nonn Panitvong); Osprey along road between Kaeng Krachan and Pala-u, 28 July (Pisit –no surname supplied)

Black-crowned Night Herons nesting and Black Bittern present, probably breeding, Ban Huai Klod, Ban Sang district, Prachinburi 14 July (Pisit-no surname supplied)

Compiled by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol


We remind members that the dates for the annual Asian Midwinter Waterfowl Census are the second and third weeks of January. We encourage observers to make counts of waterfowl (grebes, cormorants, herons, storks, ducks, rails, waders) for wetland sites, both freshwater and coastal/saltwater, large and small, including areas of (e.g.) rice paddy. Forms for recording data will be available from BCST office. If you are in doubt what constitutes a waterfowl or a wetland site, never mind! Just count!


In response to a request for action by Khok Kham Conservation Club and BCST, Royal Forest Department staff confiscated 14 Red-whiskered Bulbuls from a shop in Samut Sakhon on 31 July.


In some years, one or two Cinereous Vultures have straggled to Thailand, to be shot or captured by local villagers, and ending up in zoos or temples. In the unlikely event that any should appear this winter, please be sure to look out for marked birds. The following news item, posted on the Oriental Birding web-page, is reproduced here.

This year several Eurasian Black or Cinereous Vultures (Aegypius monachus) young have been banded, wing tagged, and released in central Mongolia as part of the breeding ecology study of the species. All birds have one black colored band in left leg with a letter above a number N44 (code from bird band coding system by ACRAFT, Canada). Many birds have black wing tags with white alpha numbers. All birds were in good health condition when they were handled and banded.

Some of vultures are now about leaving the breeding area and we want to learn their locations to track their movement. So we kindly request your help in sighting and reporting the location of these birds. You can e-mail or write to the addresses provided below. Please include your name, email address, and provide exact details of location, time, and description. We deeply appreciate your help.


Tseveenmyadag Natsagdorj
Ornithological Laboratory
Institute of Biology, Academy of Science
Ulaanbaatar 51,
e-mail: tseveenmyadag [at]

August–October 2002

Four Painted Storks were seen in flight over Muniti Maharat, Rangsit Khlong 6 (Pathumthani) on 13 October (PE).

The first Garganey of the autumn was at Khok Kham (Samut Sakhon) on 12 October (NT). Black Bazas, conspicuous by their absence during the raptor-watch weekend of 12–13 October, were passing through in numbers on 19 October (CN). No fewer than five Booted Eagles were seen at Tha Yang (Chumpon) during the raptor watch weekend—one each of dark morph and pale morph on 12 October, and three pale morphs on 13 October (many observers). The predominant species among the few thousand raptors which passed through during the weekend was Chinese Sparrowhawk (c. 3000), with smaller numbers of Japanese Sparrowhawks, Grey-faced Buzzards, Oriental Honey-buzzards and a few Black Kites, Ospreys, Eastern Marsh and Pied Harriers. A Hen Harrier and a Greater Spotted Eagle were both reported, but no details supplied. One further paler morph Booted Eagle and a Greater Spotted Eagle passed through on 19 October (CN). A Japanese Sparrowhawk was seen over Chaeng Wattana Road, near Pakret (Nonthaburi) on 16 October (PE).

Six Accipiter hawks, one of which was a Chinese Sparrowhawk, passed over Kalong (Samut Sakhon) on 21 September (DP), with five more Accipiter sp. at the nearby Samut Sakhon Mangrove Study Center (DP). An adult migrant race Peregrine Falcon was hunting around Patong Beach (Phuket) on15 October (PDR,SR) and there was a Common Kestrel at Khao Nor Chuchi (Krabi) on 12 October (NU).

Three Temminck's Stints on paddies near Bang Bua Thong (Nonthaburi) 31 August (MR,WS) is the earliest autumn sighting on record. A probable juvenile Little Stint was identified at Khok Kham on 12 October (MM) and a full winter plumage bird there on 19 October (PDR) and a Sanderling (the same long stayer?) was also present on both dates (NT, PDR). At least 812 Black-tailed Godwits, 40 Eurasian Curlew and 59 Asian Dowitchers were present on mudflats at Samut Sakhon Mangrove Study Center on 21 September (DP), and another Asian Dowitcher was at Bang Pu (Samut Prakan) on 23 September (PN). There were 21 Great Knot at Krabi River Mouth on 9 October (NU) and a Red-necked Phalarope at Bang Saen (Chonburi) on 28 September (PS). A Long-tailed Jaeger was the most surprising oddity during the Chumphon Raptor Watch, passing through (overland) on the afternoon of 12 October (PC,AJP et al.). The earliest received record of Brown-headed Gull was at Bang Pu on 25 September (PN) but by 17 October there were already 500 present, along with two adult and one first-winter Heuglin's Gulls (NU). There were two Slender-billed Gulls, an adult and a first-winter, at Bang Pu on 20 October (PN) and a first-winter Black-tailed Gull on 26 October (SS).. A presumed Spot-bellied Eagle Owl was heard giving the deep double hoot at Km 13, Doi Inthanon on 10 September (AJP).

No records of Black-capped Kingfisher were received before 21 September (Kalong, DP). A male Plain-pouched Hornbill was picked up shot in Bang Khram village, near Khao Nor Chuchi on 7 October (YM) and when last heard, it was seemingly recovering in captivity. There were two Eurasian Wrynecks at Ban Mae Sa Mai, Doi Suthep, (Chiang Mai) on 1 October (AJP) and one at Muang Boran (Samut Prakan) on 17 October (NU).

A Golden-fronted Leafbird was feeding a fledged juvenile on Doi Inthanon on 10 September (AJP). A single pale race Ashy Drongo was seen in the Black Drongo migratory stream at Tha Yang, Chumphon on 12 October (AJP, PDR) and another was seen at Muniti Maharat, Rangsit Khlong 6 on 13 October (PE). Rail-babbler was seen at Khao Nor Chuchi on 12 October (NU). The earliest Siberian Rubythroat, a red-throated male, was at Ban Mae Sa Mai on 29 September (GG). A Siberian Blue Robin was present at the same site on 2 October (AJP) with another, a female, at Ban Chai Thale Rangjan (Samut Sakhon) on 20 September (AR,WS). Grey Bushchats, possibly only a winter visitor to the Doi Suthep area, were plentiful at Ban Mae Sa Mai on 29 September (AJP).

A presumed Plain-tailed Warbler, the only one of the “Golden-spectacled Warbler” species complex to be recorded from the central plains) was at Kamphaengsaen (Nakhon Pathom) on 2 October (NT). Another member of the complex, thought to be “Grey-crowned Warbler” was at Ban Mae Sa Mai on 29 September (AJP). The earliest Yellow-browed Warbler was reported along the Doi Inthanon jeep track on 9 September (AJP), though no records were received for the Bangkok area until 8 October (PE). Two trochiloides Greenish Warblers were present at Ban Mae Sa Mai on 1 October (AJP). There was a Dark-sided Flycatcher at Ban Mae Sa Mai on 29 September (AJP) and another at Muniti Maharat, Rangsit Khlong 6, on 13 October (PE).

Two female/immature Yellow-rumped Flycatchers and 3 incei race Asian Paradise-flycatchers were seen at Ban Chai Thale Rangjan on 20 September (AR,WSa).

At least one White-shouldered Starling was present among 30-40 Purple-backed Starlings in Chumphon on 12-13 October (PDR, WSa et al.). The wave of Vinous-breasted Starlings colonizing and advancing down the peninsula appears to be gathering strength. There were at least 50 in a single pre-roost gathering at Tha Chana (Surat Thani) on 11 October (AJP, PDR, SR). It would be interesting to know of sightings further south along the eastern coastal plain.

The first Olive-backed Pipits were noted at Ban Mae Sa Mai on 29 September (AJP). There was a Common Rosefinch male at Ban Mae Sa Mai on 29 September (AJP).

Contributors: Pathomphon Charoenjai, Peter Ericsson, George Gale, Patcharee Komolphalin, Mark Mallalieu, Nature Trails, Porpol Nontapa, Chukiat Nualsri, Andrew J. Pierce, Dome Pratumtong, Arun Roisri, Praisan Seepai, Mark Read, Philip D. Round, Sonapa Round, Wachara Sanguansombat (WSa) , Worawan Simaroj, Suthee Supparatvikorn, Nick Upton.

Compiled by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol

Deaths of night migrants attracted to lights in Tak province

It has long been known that migrating birds are sometimes attracted to lights at night, becoming disoriented, especially in misty, cloudy or moonless conditions, when they are prevented from seeing the stars that apparently provide cues for navigation. In the UK, large numbers of migrant birds have often collided with the many lighthouses around the country's seacoast, and as a result stringent efforts were made modifying these so as to reduce mortality. In Asia, on the other hand, local people in Assam, NE India and in the Philippines deliberately place lights so as to attract migrant birds, which are killed and eaten for food. Sometimes, ornithologists studying bird migration have been able to take advantage of nocturnal attractions at lights to capture birds unharmed in mist-nets, band and release them. The best-known sites for studying nocturnal migrants are Ngulia Lodge in Kenya, and Fraser's Hill in Malaysia, where tens of thousands of birds have been ringed over the years.

We first became aware of this phenomenon in Thailand in the mid-1980s when entomologists, running mercury vapour light traps at night in both Tak Province and Uthai Thani Province reported nocturnal attractions of Hooded Pittas, Tiger Shrikes and other night-migrants.

Recent observations supplied by Dome Pratumtong, Arun Rosiri, Wachara Sanguansombat and Somchai Sermsinchaiyakul have provided evidence of significant mortality of night migrants at a TV Relay Station at 1000 m, in Taksin Maharat National Park, Tak Province. On the morning of 13 September they recovered the corpses of 21 birds: Ruddy-breasted Crake (1); Baillon's Crake (1), Watercock (1), Chestnut-winged cuckoo (2), Tiger Shrike (10), Common Kingfisher (1), Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler (1), Yellow-rumped Flycatcher (3), Brown-chested Flycatcher (1). In addition 4–5 other Tiger Shrikes could be seen feeding around the station during the day. The attraction of birds to lights at this site is apparently well-known to local staff, who told the observers about it.

This location might reward study in future years. BCST would also be very interested to hear from anyone else who has encountered this phenomenon.

RECENT REPORTS July–September 2002

Five frigatebirds off Laem Phanwa (Phuket) on 11 July were said to have been Great Frigatebirds (PSu). 50 Painted Storks, including at least 8 juveniles, were feeding in muddy areas near Huai Talat Non Hunting Area (Buriram) on 2 July (CP). There were two Ruddy Shelduck at Laem Phak Bia (Phetchaburi) on 28 September (PC, STh, et al.). Single Pied Avocets were reported at Wat Chong Lom (Samut Sakhon) on 10 September (WT); at the nearby Mangrove Study Center on 25–27 September (SD,RJ) and at nearby Kalong on (DATE?) (AJ, SB). A Little Curlew on a pond at the Samut Sakhon Mangrove Study Centre, on 27 September (SD,RJ) seems to have been a one-day wonder. A Nordmann's Greenshank was reported from Khao Sam Roi Yot on 21 September (BCST); a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper at Laem Phak Bia on 30 September (PS); a Grey-tailed Tattler at Khok Kham on 9 September (SD) and three Red-necked Phalaropes at Khok Kham on 29 September (SD). The mouth of the Tachin River near the Samut Sakhon Mangrove Study Center held 300 Black-tailed Godwits, 33 Eurasian Curlews, 20 Asian Dowitchers, a single Great Knot on 27 September. 410 Black-tailed Godwits and 850 Common Redshank were counted at the same site on 29 September (CR,PDR). There were an estimated 30-40 Eurasian Thick-knees at Ban Lat (Phetchaburi) on the weekend of 21-22 September (SK). Six Pale-capped Pigeons, the first of the season, were seen at Chumphon on 16 September (CN).

Alexandrine Parakeet was seen at Bang Khunthien (Bangkok) on 21 September (NU).

Hodgson's Hawk Cuckoo was reported at 1000 m on 13 September (SS,ST). Eyebrowed Wren Babbler was seen at 1200 m in Hala, 12 and 14 September (SS,ST). Chestnut-backed Scimitar Babbler was reported at an elevation of 1300 m during this period.

A flock of no fewer than 100 Red Avadavats was reported from Ban Sangha Ngam, Tambol Samet, Muang District (Buriram) on 20 July (CP).

Breeding records:

Emerald Dove, nest and two eggs (adult incubating) 12-14 September (ST); Black-throated Laughingthrush feeding one fledged young, Kaeng Krachan, Km 26, 27 August (KW). Common Tailorbird nest-building, Bangkok, 5-8 August (at least one young in nest on 3 September (BM);

Commoner migrants (first dates reported, unless stated otherwise):

The first migrant Accipiter hawks noted at Chumphon on 16 September (15 flew past in one hour during late afternoon; CN). There was a single Japanese Sparrowhawk at Khao Yai on 19 September (PE) and at least 7 more flew south along the coast at Khao Sam Roi Yot, late afternoon of 21 September (PDR). 17 Japanese Sparrowhawks and 30 Oriental Honey-buzzards at Laem Phak Bia on 30 September (PS); Chinese Sparrowhawk at Sukhumvit Soi 101 (Bangkok) on 15 September (SJ).

Temminck's Stint, and 4 Great Knots, Laem Phak Bia, 28 September (AP, CR, PDR et al.). Black-capped Kingfisher Khao Yai on 19 September (PE). Red-rumped Swallows moving south at Khao Sam Roi Yot, 21 September (PDR, STh); Blue Rock Thrush, Khao Yai. 15 September (GG,AJP,PDR). Black-naped Oriole, Khao Yai, 19 September (PE). Black-browed Reed Warbler at KU Kamphaengsaen (Nakhon Pathom) on 24 August (SJ) seems unusually early. One was also heard giving subsong at Ramindra (Bangkok) in mid-September (UT) though, surprisingly, none were noted at Khao Sam Roi Yot on 21 September when two Manchurian Reed Warblers were present (AJP,PDR,STh). Dusky Warbler, Laem Phak Bia, 28 September (AP, CR, PDR et al.); Eastern Crowned Warbler at Khao Nor Chuchi (Krabi)(one, 8 September, 02PC); at Khao Yai on 14 September (one; GG,AJP,PDR) and 19 September (two; PE). Arctic Warbler at Laem Phak Bia on 7 September (PDR,PS et al) and Phrakhanong, 11 September (SJ). Two-barred Warbler and Asian Brown Flycatcher, Khao Yai,14 September (GG,AJP,PDR); Dark-sided Flycatcher, Khao Yai, 15 September (GG,AJP,PDR) and 19 September (PE).

Female or immature Yellow-rumped Flycatchers on 24 August:at Saphan Mai (Bangkok; PE) and KU Kamphaengsaen (SJ); Saraburi on 1 September (WK) when seen eating small fruits. Five more, all thought to be first-years, at Laem Phak Bia on the weekend of 7–8 September (AP,PDR, PS, et al.) and two, including one adult male, at Saphan Mai (Bangkok) on 9 September (PE). Other adult males at AIT (Pathumthani) on 8 September (AR) and Khao Yai on 19 September (PE). Red-throated Flycatcher, Phrakhanong on 17 September (SJ).

A white morph migrant Asian Paradise-flycatcher, Lumphini Park on 20 September (NT). Others, female or immature birds, at Phrakhanong, 18 September (SJ); Khao Sam Roi Yot on 22 September (AJP, BCSTSTh) and Khok Kham on 24 September (SD). Four different Tiger Shrikes at Laem Phak Bia on the weekend of 7–8 September (AP,PDR, PS, et al.); one on 28 September (AP,CR,PDR); one, Phrakhanong, 18 September (SJ) and two, Lumphini Park on 20 September (NT). A significant influx of Brown Shrikes was also evident also at Laem Phak Bia on 7–8 September. The first record of Brown Shrike received, however, was from Tambol Na Thung, Muang District (Chumphon) on 27 August (CN). An immature Burmese Shrike in mangrove scrub at Laem Phak Bia on 8 September (PDR,PS) was a new bird for the site.

A single White-shouldered Starling at KU Kamphaengsaen on 24 August (SJ) was somewhat early but by 20 September over 100 were present at Khao Sam Roi Yot, together with a few Purple-backed Starlings (AJP,PDR,STh). 24 Purple-backed Starlings were also seen bathing in a puddle at Bang Khunthien (Bangkok) on 21 September (NU) though the earliest, 8 birds were at Sukhumvit Soi 101, Phrakhanong on 15 September (SJ).. There were at least 6 Forest Wagtails at Khao Sam Roi Yot on 21-22 September (AJP, PDR, STh) and an immature White Wagtail at Laem Phak Bia on 28 September (PDR).

Late records: Tiger Shrike, 1 June, Khok Kham (SD)

Contributors: Anuthin Jantera, Bird Conservation Society of Thailand monthy trip (BCST), Sumate Bhlapibul, Paul Carter, Suchart Daengphayon, Peter Ericsson, George Gale, Anuthin Jantera, Siree Jaroenjai, Roongroj Jukmongkol, Wichian Kongtong, Miss B. Mountfield, Chukiat Nualsri, Dr. Anak Pattanavibool, Andrew J. Pierce, Chainarong Pongsuwan, Chawatee Ratanadilok na Phuket, Arun Roisri, Pinit Saengkaew, Dr. Samaisukh Sophasan, Pinsak Surasawasdi, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak, Sukanya Thanomphut (STh), Wongphairote Thongluang, Nature Trails, Uthai Treesucon, Nick Upton, Jittanat Wisesjinda, Krisakorn Wongkornwuthi.

Compiled by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol

(on behalf of BCST Record Committee)

Blue Nuthatch -- a new resident bird record for Thailand

A recent (23–31 August 2002) trip to the 1400+ m mountain closest to the Border Patrol Police Post in the Bang Lang Dam, in the Hala Sector of Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary, recorded yet another new Malaysian montane bird for Thailand. Two Blue Nuthatches were seen in a bird-wave along with Grey-chinned Minivets, Chestnut-capped Laughingthrushes, Mountain Fulvettas and Pygmy Blue Flycatcher, at around 1200 m elevation. Also in the flock were one or two Mountain Leaf Warblers—a bird first reported for this location by Ms. Sopitcha Tantitadapitak in April 2000.

Calls of a peacock pheasant Polyplectron sp, heard at two locations around 1100–1200m were thought to be those of Mountain Peacock-Pheasant -- another recent addition to the Thai list. A tail-feather of this species was found last year by Chatchai Thanupran and Wachara Sanguansombat.

Elsewhere, at around 600 m, there were sightings of both Wrinkled Hornbill and Rufous-tailed Shama -- seemingly both new for the Hala Sector of the sanctuary, while in the extreme lowlands around the dam catchment, a flock of 22 Large Green Pigeons was seen, as was the impressive number of 729 Plain-pouched Hornbills flying to a roost.

Participants on the trip were Arun Roisri, Philip D. Round, Wachara Sanguansombat, Pramote Sittanomai, Kulapat Soralam, Smith Suthibut, Chatchai Thanupran and Ms. Sukanya Thanomphut, The trip was organized by Ms. Sukanya Thanomphut (Big Bird Club).

Postscript. Single Blue Nuthatches were seen at 1200 m on the same mountain on 12 September, and at 1400 m on 13 September by Ms Sopitcha Tantitadapitak. Mountain Leaf Warbler was also recorded at both these elevations.

Illegal Wildlife Trade at Chatuchak Market

On 8 September 2002, Nick Upton reported seeing a Besra two fledgling Blue-winged Pitta, and a Slow Loris being openly offered for sale.


June – August 2002

There were said to be fewer pairs of nesting Oriental Darters at the Khlong Malakor (Sa Kaeo) colony on 21 July (ST). A Grey Heron was already present at Bang Phra (Chon Buri) on 31 July (WS). A Lesser Adjutant flew over marshes and paddyfields somewhere between Samut Sakhon and Samut Songkhram on 23 June (EV). There were a remarkable 9 Glossy Ibises at Bung Boraphet (Nakhon Sawan) on 19 and 21 July (WS). An early Kentish Plover was reported on the beach at Ban Phe (Rayong) on 26 July (SP). Common Sandpipers were already present at Tha Chalaeb (Chanthaburi) on 21 July (AN). There were three Sanderlings at Laem Phak Bia (Phetchaburi) on 11 August (PDR,PS). Two Eurasian Curlews which flew SSW over Khao Soi Dao (Chanthaburi) on 15 August (AN) added themselves to the sanctuary list. Singles of both Great Crested Tern and Lesser Crested Tern were present at Laem Phak Bia on 11 August (PDR,PS). A Chestnut-winged Cuckoo was seen in open dry scrub country at Cha-am (Phetchaburi) on 22 and 28 July (MD). The observer commented that the cuckoo was in the same habitat as Indian Nightjar. A flock of 30 needletails apparently migrating over Khao Soi Dao on 15 August contained at least 12 White-throated Needletails (AN).

The earliest reported Common Kingfisher was at Mahidol University Salaya Campus (Nakhon Pathom) on 2 August (PDR). A Red-backed Kingfisher seen bathing in a stream at Du-lu, Thung Yai Naresuan (Kanchanaburi), 1 August (ST) is the northernmost-reported Thai record. Two Common Flamebacks and six Blue Magpies were present at the Queen Sirikit Forest Flora Education Center, Suan Phung (Ratchaburi) on 2 August (CK). Were the magpies released or genuinely wild birds?

A Rusty-naped Pitta was somehow trapped against a fence near Malee's Guest House, Doi Chiang Dao on 17 June (EV). The observer had the satisfaction of being able to assist and release the bird, which had suffered no major damage. Two Blue-winged Pittas were thought to be nesting at Khao Samsip reservoir (Sa Kaeo) on 21 July (ST). Ten Small Minivets were in Suan Rotfai (Bangkok) on 17 August (PE). A juvenile Crow-billed Drongo at Du-lu, Thung Yai on 2 August (ST) might be a locally-produced offspring, since this species breeds in lowland deciduous forest in Hua Kha Khaeng. Another, a first-winter, at Khao Soi Dao on 15 August (AN) may be confidently assumed to be a passage migrant.

A female or immature Yellow-rumped Flycatcher stayed at Khao Soi Dao during 15–19 August (AN), as did a Forest Wagtail during 15–18 August (AN).

Six Hill Mynas were seen, unusually, perched in a coconut palm on the beach at Ko Chang (Trat) on 25 July (CT). A Long-billed Spiderhunter reported from the base of Thorthip Waterfall, Kaeng Krachan on 22 June (EV) would, if accepted, be a new bird for the park. Both Streaked Weavers and Asian Golden Weavers were nest-building in cat-tail beds around Sukhothai Airport (Sukhothai) on 14 July (ST). Some of the Golden Weavers had young in the nest.

Breeding records:

Kalij Pheasant, two small juveniles with two adults (sex not specified), Kaeng Krachan, 21 June (EV); Lesser Whistling-duck with 8 tiny young, Bung Chorakhe (Sukhothai), 14 July (ST); fledgling Great Hornbill, Khao Yai, 9 June (EV). Silver-breasted Broadbill, pair carrying nest-material, Kaeng Krachan, 21 June (EV); Long-tailed Broadbill, pair carrying nest-material, Kaeng Krachan, 9 June (EV) and feeding recently fledged young, Nuey Thinuey, Thung Yai Naresuan, 10 July (ST); Green Broadbill with nest and young, Khao Nor Chuchi (Krabi) 26 July (ST); Hooded Pitta, nest and two young, Du-lu, Thung Yai Naresuan, 1 August (ST); Blue-winged Pitta with a single fledged young, same locality, 2 August (ST); Long-tailed Shrike with fledged young, Bung Chorakhe, 14 July ST); Green Magpie, adults feeding four well-grown nestlings, Kaeng Krachan, 18 August (SK); Streak-eared Bulbul, nest with two eggs at Thung Song Hong (Bangkok) on 12 July was empty (possibly predated) on 13 July. The bird had been incubating since 16 June (BM).

Great Iora with fledged young, Khao Nor Chuchi, 24 July (ST); Stripe-throated Bulbul with recently fledged young, Khao Ang Ru Nai, 6 July (ST); Moustached Babbler with fledged young, Khao Nor Chuchi, 25 July (ST); Pygmy Wren-Babbler building nest, 1.4 m above the ground, in the bark crevice of a large tree, Doi Inthanon, 16 June (EV). White-browed Shortwing pair with nest and several other adults carrying food, Doi Inthanon, 15–16 June; two separate White-gorgeted Flycatcher fledglings being fed, Doi Inthanon, 15 June (EV). Yellow-vented Flowerpecker fledgling with adult in fruiting tree, base of Doi Chiang Dao, 17-18 June (EV).

Contributors: Mick Davies, Peter Ericsson, Chatchapong Khemsap, Suppalak Klabdee, Miss B. Mountfield, Albert Noorlander, Santana Pluemshoosak, Philip D. Round, Pinit Saenkaew, Wachara Sanguansombat, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak, Chanin Thienwitwatnukul, Nick Upton, Eric VanderWerf.

Compiled by Philip Round and Roongroj Jugmongkol

Extracts from August edition of Lanna Bird and Nature Conservation Club Newsletter, compiled by Dr. Rungsrit Kanjanavanit (all localities in Chiang Mai Province).

Cho-lae, Mae Taeng: 6–8 Australasian Bushlarks, 14 May, Sri Lanna National Park: Changeable Hawk-Eagle, Forest Wagtail, 4 August. Doi Ang Khang: Mountain Bamboo-Partridge with one young , 13 July, Red-faced Liocichla with nest material, 22 June, and (another pair) with newly fledged young 23 June. Mae Fang National Park: 7–8 Spot-winged Grosbeaks, 23 June. Doi Inthanon: Small Niltava with recently fledged young, 29 June; Tham Pha Phlong, Chiang Dao, 2–3 Purple-naped Sunbirds 8 June.

May – July 2002

An Indian Shag in breeding dress was present on the campus of KMUTT, Bangkhunthien (Bangkok) on 20 July (AP,PDR). Breeding plumage Javan Pond Heron was again present at Ban I-Let, Hat Sairee (Chumphon) on 31 May (CN). There are relatively few records of this species from the peninsula, where it is a rare visitor. A remarkably early Chinese Egret was reported from Cha-am (Phetchaburi) on 27 July (PS).

Rufous-bellied Eagle was seen in the Bala Sector, Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary (Narathiwat), 3 June (ST). Two Ferruginous Partridges were feeding close by a female Grey Peacock Pheasant at Kaeng Krachan (Phetchaburi) on 2 July (ST).

There were 30 Whimbrel and ca. 100 Common Redshanks at Saphan Hin, near Phuket Harbour (Phuket) on 1 July (IS). The earliest returning Common Sandpiper was at Kaeng Krachan on 25 July (NT). 30–40 Bridled Terns were reported on each of two rocky islets between Ko Phang-ngan and Ko Tao, Hin Bai (Surat Thani)and Hin Lak Ngarm (Chumphon) on 22 June (GC). Black-naped Terns (8 birds and two small young) and 6 Bridled Terns (the latter thought to be nesting) were seen at Ko Saak, Mu Ko Chumphon National Park, Tambol Hat Sairee, Chumphon on 22 June (CN).

A Blue-banded Kingfisher was reported from the Song Praak Waterfall, Tonpariwat Wildlife Sanctuary (Phang-nga) on 6 June (PE). Male and female Olive-backed Woodpecker were reported from Km 31 at Kaeng Krachan on 29 May (ST). A Rusty-naped Pitta was calling regularly from a gully at Ban Mae Sa Mai, Doi Suthep during 2-4 July (AP), on an otherwise more or less deforested, but regenerating slope. Black-naped Oriole was apparently nesting in dry dipterocarp woodland at Sap Sadao, Thap Lan (Nakhon Ratchasima) on 23 June (NT). There are no previous breeding records from this part of the country. Chestnut-naped Forktail and a pair of Sooty-headed Babblers was reported from Ramon Waterfall (Phang-nga) on 9 June (PE). Red-throated Sunbird (a pair) was reported from Sri Phang-nga National Park (Phang-nga) on 4 June (PE).

At least three male and three female Asian Golden Weavers, and some nests, were seen in a small Typha bed at the edge of a pond on the campus of KMUTT, Bangkhunthien (Bangkok) on 9 July (GG,PDR). The birds were apparently feeding young one week later (AP).

A Yellow-billed Grosbeak seen and photographed at the Bangjak Project site, Phra Khanong, (Bangkok) on 1 June (BBC) was presumably an escaped captive, as this bird is imported from China in large numbers. (1203 bird-days were logged by BCST surveyors in the four bird markets around Suan Chatuchak during December 2000-May 2001.)

Breeding records:

Bala (ST):

White-crowned Hornbill male and female (or helper) feeding young in nest, 1 June; Yellow-eared Spiderhunter with one recently fledged young, 2 June; Everett's White-eye with recently fledged young, 2 June

Kaeng Krachan, (ST):

Blue-banded Kingfisher incubating, 27 May; Orange-breasted Trogon nest and young, 27 May; Great Hornbill pair with recently fledged young, 26 May; Great Barbet excavating 29 May; Green-eared Barbet excavating, 28 May; Greater Yellownape feeding young in the nest, 26 May; Blue-throated Barbet with recently fledged young, 29 May; Banded Broadbill nest-building 27 May; Silver-breasted Broadbill at least three nests with young, 27 May; Ochraceous Bulbul incubating, 27 May; Ratchet-tailed Treepie feeding recently fledged young, 29 May; Grey-throated Babbler with two recently fledged young, 26 May, Dark-necked Tailorbird, nest and young, 27 May. Pair of Ruby-cheeked Sunbirds taking turns incubating, 1 July.

Miscellaneous localities and observers:

Orange-breasted Pigeon (sitting on a nest), and 7 Pied Imperial Pigeons, including nest and two young, on Ko Saak, Mu Ko Chumphon National Park, Tambol Hat Sairee (Chumphon) on 22 June (CN); House Swifts nesting under bridge near Wat Shanghai (Pattani) (ST); Banded Kingfisher nest and young in arboreal termitarium, Khao Yai 20 June (AP, PDR); Red-headed Trogon pair with two full-grown young, Khao Yai, 21 June (AP); Laced Woodpecker male feeding fledged juvenile, Khao Yai, 22 June (GG,AP,PDR); Hooded Pitta nest with three young at Haew Narok, Khao Yai on 23 June (SN) and pair nest-building at Khao Soi Dao (Chanthaburi) on 22 June (ST); nest of Pied Triller at Phru To Daeng, Chalerm Prakiat Wildlife Sanctuary (Narathiwat) on 1 June (ST); Common Iora with two fledged young, Sap Sadao, Thap Lan, 15 June (ST); Stripe-throated Bulbul feeding fledged young, Khao Soi Dao, 22 June (ST); Striated Swallow nest-building, Tham Krachaeng (Yala) 4 June (ST). Blue Rock Thrush carrying food into rock crevices, where presumably feeding young, at Tambol Chumkoh, Patiu District (Chumphon) on 29 June (CN). Tickell's Blue Flycatcher feeding young in nest, Chantaten waterfall (Chonburi) on 25 June (CT); Malaysian Blue Flycatcher with recently fledged young, Phru To Daeng on 1 June (ST); Ruby-cheeked Sunbird nest-building, Khao Soi Dao on 22 June (ST); Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker feeding two recently fledged young, Phru To Daeng, 1 June (ST).

Contributors: Bangjak Birdwatching Club, Gawin Chutima, P Ericsson, George Gale, Somchai Nimnuan, Chukiat Nualsri, Andy Pierce, Philip D. Round, Pinit Saengkaew, Ike Suriwong, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak, Chanin Thienwiwatnukul, Nature Trails.

Compiled by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol

Forest Department bonkers over buildings

Once again, the wildlife conservation community owes a vote of thanks to the Provincial Conservation Forum, representing community groups in the provinces of Kamphaengphet, Kanchanaburi, Nakhon Sawan, Suphan Buri, Tak, and Uthai Thani, for blowing the whistle over Royal Forest Department's mismanagement of Thailand's Western Forest Complex of parks and sanctuaries.

Last time it was 4-wheel drive rallies in Huai Kha Khaeng, organized with the connivance of officials, under the pretext of releasing captive-bred White-winged Ducks. This time, it is a construction boom. According to the Bangkok Post (10 July 2002) some 36 structures are planned under a 22.7-million-baht project. These include a building for holding training sessions and seminars, research facilities, lodgings, and a canteen.

Construction began last November. In addition to the 36 structures mentioned above twenty further structures will reportedly also go ahead in Khao Nang Ram, in the heart of Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, the centrepiece of the Western Forest Complex, where a research station is located. Researchers from WEFCOM—the Western Forest Complex Ecosystem Management Project—had previously classified this area as "strict nature preservation zone".

In a letter to Deputy Agriculture Minister, Praphat Panyachartrak, the Provincial Conservation Forum demanded that the number of structures be reduced. This representation was sufficient to induce the house committee on the environment to visit the site. The committee subsequently advised the government not to proceed with construction. At the very least, it now seems that some of these buildings will be situated outside, rather than in the heart of the sanctuaries.

Certainly the prospect of twenty more buildings at Khao Nang Rum is the stuff of nightmares to anybody lucky enough to have watched birds and other wildlife there. It certainly causes one to question RFD's priorities and judgement. RFD has shown considerable commitment to erecting buildings over the years, but to what purpose? One has only to look at the massive new structures built in Khao Yai, with total disregard for either aesthetic or biological sensibilities, to realise that something has gone seriously amiss with RFD's understanding and application of the protected area concept.

Yes, RFD are very adept builders of facilities, but they perform much more poorly when it comes to managing and patrolling protected areas, all of which are thoroughly infiltrated by poachers. As most national and international conservation bodies recognise, the key to improving Thailand's parks and sanctuaries is to patrol more often, using forest guards that are properly trained, motivated and equipped. A number of training courses and protection projects are already being supported by generous foreign donors, since RFD claims it has insufficient funds itself for this purpose. Yet the 22.7 million baht allocated to buildings could go a long way towards improving capacity and self-esteem among forest guards if properly allocated.

As long as RFD is free to pursue its own arbitrary management, free of outside accountability, similar instances will occur ever more frequently in the future. Instead of being subject to the whims of a few high-ranking government officers, every protected area in the country should ideally have its own management board, on which RFD, local communities and national wildlife conservation bodies are represented equally. This is the only way to attain proper balance and ensure that management is not subverted by any single group in pursuance of its own dubious agenda.

Urgent Conservation Appeal From the Southeast Asia Rivers Network:


Take Action to Stop Dredging and Blasting of Rapids in Southeast Asia!

Please send endorsements to Gila Neta (gila[at] by FRIDAY, JULY 26, 2002.

Dear Friends,

We urge you to sign the letter below calling for a stop to the Lancang-Mekong Navigation Channel Improvement Project. This project involves the dredging and destruction of rapids, shoals and reefs along a 331-km section of the Lancang / Mekong River between China, Burma, Laos and Thailand. The rapids provide critical habitat for fish and native vegetation that villagers rely on for food and income. Although thousands of people depend on the rapids for their livelihoods, they have not been consulted about the project or its potential impacts. Many more people living downstream are likely to suffer impacts from the destruction of fish habitat and changes to the river's flow patterns.

The project is proceeding despite the fact that comprehensive environmental and social impact assessments have not been completed. Senators from Thailand recently expressed opposition to the project and are calling for the project to be suspended until further studies of the project's environmental and social impacts can be completed. Growing concern about the project has been expressed by Cambodian and Laotian officials and the Mekong River Commission.

We ask for your support. We will be submitting the following letter to the four governments involved in the project. Please send endorsements to Gila Neta at gila[at] by FRIDAY, JULY 26, 2002. Include your name, organization and country.

Thanks for your support.


Susanne Wong
International Rivers Network, US

Chainarong Sretthachau
Southeast Asia Rivers Network, Thailand

* * * * *



Minister of Transportation, the Kingdom of Thailand
Minister of Communication, Transport, Post and Construction, Lao People's Democratic Republic
Minister of Communications, People's Republic of China
Minister of Transport, Union of Myanmar

We, the undersigned organizations, are deeply concerned about the potential impacts of the Lancang-Mekong Navigation Channel Improvement Project and are concerned that the project is proceeding without a thorough and careful examination of its impacts on the environment and people's livelihoods.

As you are well aware, the Mekong River is a complex and rich ecosystem upon which millions of people depend for their livelihoods. Many have adapted to the river's ebbs and flows relying on the river's diverse and vibrant fisheries, cultivating vegetables on the riverbanks and using the river for transport and drinking water. However, this delicate balance is in jeopardy due to blasting and dredging for the Lancang-Mekong Navigation Channel Improvement Project.


Despite its potentially far-reaching impacts, the navigation project is proceeding without a comprehensive investigation of the project's social and environmental impacts. A recent article in the Cambodian Daily stated that the environmental impact assessment was "not up to international standards." The project also fails to meet Thai legal standards on environmental impact studies and public participation, in violation of the agreement between China, Burma, Laos and Thailand. Senators from Thailand have voiced reservations about the project and called for serious and careful study of its environmental impacts.


The most serious impact of the project is the blasting and clearance of many rapids, shoals and scattered reefs to facilitate navigation. The destruction and blasting will have wide-ranging ecological impacts on countries located along the entire length of the Mekong. Rapids and reefs comprise some of the most productive riverine habitats, serving as vital breeding grounds and safe haven for fish and other forms of aquatic life, including plants such as Mekong seaweed (kai). Blasting the rapids and reefs could jeopardize the survival of rare species such as the Mekong giant catfish, which spawns in the rapids. The reefs also play an important role in producing oxygen, reducing pollution and aiding in decomposition of vegetation. Because of their high productivity, islets and rapids are a source of food and income for small fishermen who rely on the river for their livelihoods.

Destruction of the rapids and dredging of the river channel may also have serious impacts on water flow, impacting people who live along the banks of the Mekong and have adapted to the river's flood-drought cycle. Without the rapids, the river may flow faster, eroding the riverbanks and damaging riverside plantations.


While the navigation project directly affects people living in China, Burma, Laos and Thailand, it is also likely to have far-reaching impacts on people in downstream countries. Cambodian and Vietnamese officials have raised concerns that fewer reefs upstream could change the flow of water into their countries, posing problems for farming and other activities. The project could also affect fisheries by destroying spawning grounds for fish that live in Cambodia and Vietnam but migrate upriver to lay their eggs.

Despite these potential impacts, people in Cambodia and Vietnam have not been consulted.


Recent surveys have documented that rapids, shoals and reefs in Thailand that are supposed to be destroyed for the navigation project are crucial for the subsistence livelihoods of local people. The surveys are an indicator of the likely impacts that the navigation project will cause all along the river. The studies have found that local people from Chiang Saen to Chiang Khong rely on riverine plants, such as Mekong seaweed, that grow in the rapids for food and income. The plants, sand dunes, whirlpools and small swamps provide vital spawning ground for Mekong fishes, including the endangered Mekong giant catfish. Blasting of the rapids would destroy important fish habitat and threaten the income and food security of villagers living in the area.

Further, villagers living in Huai Luk-Waing Kaen, Thailand, will lose their common customary lands without compensation due to dredging of the shoal. Fishermen in Chiang Saen can no longer use traditional fishing boats due to waves created by large ships. Last summer, the number of fish caught by fishermen along the Thai-Lao border also decreased because implementation of the project altered water levels and currents in the Mekong.


Given the impacts outlined above, we respectfully urge the Chinese, Lao, Myanmar and Thai governments to stop all work on the Lancang-Mekong Navigation Channel Improvement Project immediately and ensure that comprehensive environmental and social impact assessments are conducted that will examine potential impacts along the Mekong, from China downstream to Cambodia and Vietnam. These assessments should be carried out in a transparent and participatory process by a study team selected by government officials, villagers who will be affected by this project and civil society organizations in the Mekong region. The health and vitality of the Mekong River and the lives of those who depend on it deserve nothing less.

Thank you for your attention.


Southeast Asia Rivers Network-Thailand Chapter (SEARIN-Thailand)
78 Moo 10
Suthep Road
Muang Chiang Mai 50200
Tel: (66) 53-278334, 280712
Fax: (66) 53-283609

Earlier report by Phil Round

RECENT REPORTS March – June 2002

Numbers of Oriental Darters at the waterbird breeding colony at Khlong Malakaw Tai (Sa Kaeo) rose from seven in late April (KB) to 22 by 23 May, with some nests on the latter date. Also on the latter date were 16 Purple Herons (some with completed nests); 48 Black-crowned Night Herons (plus nests); several hundred Little Egrets, Cattle Egrets and a single Little Cormorant. Single breeding plumage Indian Pond Heron and Javan Pond Herons were seen in Mu Ko Chumphon National Park (Chumphon) on 11 May (CN), with another Indian Pond Heron at Ban Ilet, Hat Sai Ri, Muang District (Chumphon) on 25 May (CN). Schrenck's Bittern (sex not stated) was photographed in Chumphon Province (locality not stated) on 17 March by EL (per CN). There were five Painted Storks, Bang Pahan (Ayutthaya) 8 April (PP).

Ten Spot-billed Ducks were still present on Nong Bong Khai (Chiang Rai) on 24 March, along with 20 Garganey and a single Northern Pintail (KA).

Up to 6 Hume's Pheasants were seen on Doi Chiang Dao (Chiang Mai) on 16 March (MG), with a male and two females on 9 June (GG,AI). A flock of 37 Black Bazas roosted near the old golf course, Khao Yai on the evening of 29 March and early the following morning (NK,JW). A single Black Baza over the TAT Pond in Khao Yai on 31 May (PDR) was an unusual record because it is outside the wintering or passage season, when the breeding population should be concentrated in low elevation, drier and more open forests. Chumphon is rapidly establishing itself as the primary province for conducting observations of raptor migration, thanks to the very active Chumphon Birdwatching Group. 68 Black Bazas, 31 Chinese Sparrowhawks, 82 Japanese Sparrowhawks, 136 Accipiter sp. and 362 Oriental Honey Buzzards were seen along the Phetkasem Highway in Tambons Wang Phai, Haat Phan Sai, Ban Na and Wang Mai, mid- and late afternoon on 18 March (CN). Further observations on 21, 23 and 24 March produced two Black Kites, 318 Black Bazas, 59 Chinese Sparrowhawks, 5 Japanese Sparrowhawks, 199 Accipiter sp., 376 Oriental Honey-buzzards, one Common Buzzard, 791 unidentified Buteo or other medium-sized hawks, and two unidentified falcons (CN). There was also a passage of 500 Blue-tailed Bee-eaters on 24 March (CN). The hills west of Cha-am (Phetchaburi), produced counts of 1000, 400 and 650 Chinese Sparrowhawks (approx 35% of the total) and Black Bazas (65% of the total) on three successive days, 31 March to 2 April (MD).

There was a male Pied Harrier at Mu Ban Kila, on the eastern outskirts of Bangkok on 13 March (KR) and singles flew north at Cha-am on 31 March and 1 April (MD). Lesser Fish Eagle was seen on the Mae Klong River in Thung Yai Naresuan on 16 April (ST).

A Red-legged Crake was reported from Km 17, Kaeng Krachan (Phetchaburi) on 25 April (JWKP) and a Black-winged Stilt with a black hindneck (the so-called "Australian" morph) at Bung Boraphet on 1 May (KC). No fewer than 13 Pied Avocets, a bird for which there are rather few previous records, of no more than two at any one time, were reported from Ban Khao Takhrao, Ban Laem District (Phetchaburi) on 13 April (SM). There were an astounding 20 Grey-tailed Tattlers at a high tide roost on a pond at Bang Pu (Samut Prakan) on 14 May, though all but five had vanished by the following day (WS). Over 50 Oriental Pratincoles at Muang District, Chumphon on 25 May included many full-grown juveniles (CN). A first-winter Black-tailed Gull was, remarkably, still present at Bang Pu on 14 and 15 May, as were ca. 100 Brown-headed Gulls (WS). Seven first-year Sooty Terns over the beach at Laem Son (Ranong) on 22 May (YM,PDR) was an unexpected sighting of this pelagic seabird. There are very few previous Thai records, though, interestingly, the second of these was also from Ranong, a month later, in June.

One male and three female Large Green Pigeons were reported from the BPP post in the Hala sector of Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary (Yala) on 27 March (KB, PM), and (the largest ever count of) 122 Pin-tailed Pigeons at a mineral lick Doi Pha Nor, Mae Jarim NP (Nan) on 31 March (ST). A single Alexandrine Parakeet feeding in a Pithecellobium tree Bangrak Noi, Muang District, Nonthaburi in early April (JRM) provided evidence of the continued presence of the feral birds formerly centred on nearby Wat Thien Thawai. Male Blossom-headed Parakeet was seen at Thung Krating, Thung Yai Naresuan, on 25 April (ST). There was a newly fledged juvenile Collared Scops Owl at Phuket on 8 May (IS) and a pair of Spotted Wood Owls in the grounds of Phuket Marine Biological Centre (Phuket) during 20-23 February, when copulation was observed, (PM,KW). Two Buffy Fish Owls were seen at Ban Bang Charoen, Tha Yang, Muang District (Chumphon) on 28 March (CN) and Javan Frogmouth at Jakae Thong, Thung Yai Naresuan on 12 April (ST). Two Silver-backed Needletails came to drink with the flock of ca. 30 Brown-backed Needletails, late afternoon, at Khao Yai on 29 and 30 May (PDR). A male Blue-banded Kingfisher was seen on the Mae Klong in Thung Yai Naresuan on 18 April (ST). A Ruddy Kingfisher at Khlong Thom Tai (Krabi) on 20 May (YM) was presumably from a small inland breeding population in the Khlong Thom Basin. There were ca. 6 Ruddy Kingfishers calling in regenerating Rhizophora mangrove at Ranong Mangrove Research Station on 23 May (YM,PDR), while another was at the Du Lu Guard Station, Thung Yai Naresuan on 10 April (ST). A flock of 25 hornbills, either Wreathed or Plain-pouched, flew high over the centre of Ranong town on the mornings of 23 and 25 May from a presumed roost somewhere to the west (YM, PDR). Helmeted Hornbill brought a snake to a nest in the Bang Lang Dam catchment, BPP Post No. 1, Hala Sector of Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary on 22 May (SS). There was a Blue-winged Pitta at Doi Pha Nor, Mae Jarim on 3 April (ST) and a Hooded Pitta at Huai Song Thara, Thung Yai Naresuan on 14 April (ST).

A pair of the resident siamensis race of Asian Brown Flycatchers were feeding at least two fledged young at Mae Lao-Mae Seh Wildlife Sanctuary (Chiang Mai) on 10 June (GG,AI,AP, PDR). A Ferruginous Flycatcher was reported at Huai Khu, Thung Yai Naresuan, 23 April (ST); two Mugimaki Flycatchers from Suan Sirikit (Bangkok) on 14 April (JW, S?) and a Tiger Shrike at Huai Khu Guard Station, Thung Yai Naresuan on 21 April (ST)

A single White-shouldered Starling at Pa Phru Sirindhorn (Narathiwat) on 9 April (PK) was unusually far south. A pair of Copper-throated Sunbirds was seen in the mangrove arboretum at Khlong La-Un (Ranong) on 24 May. House Sparrow at Tha Muang (Kanchanaburi) on 16 May (PE) was a new locality record. There was a female Scarlet Finch was above Ban Khum, Doi Ang Khang on 13 March (MG) and ca. 3 pairs of Spot-winged Grosbeaks on Doi Chiang Dao on 8–9 June (GG,AI,PDR)

Breeding records

Observer ST: Bala Sector, Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary (Narathiwat): Bat Hawk nest and single well-grown young, 2 May; Changeable Hawk-Eagle with one young in nest, 3 May (ST); fledged juvenile Red-throated Barbet 4–5 May; Buff-rumped Wodpecker excavating at To Mo, 5 May; Asian Paradise-flycatcher feeding a single fledged young, 5 May. Plain Sunbird feeding young in nest, 3 May.

Phru To Daeng (Narathiwat), 4 May: White-chested Babbler feeding two recently fledged young; Fluffy-backed Tit Babbler nest-building; Malaysian Blue Flycatcher male and female feeding a single recently fledged young; Plain Sunbird feeding recently fledged young.

Khao Pu-Khao Ya, (Phatthalung) 6 May: Chestnut-winged Babbler feeding 2 recently fledged young. Red-throated Barbet feeding young in nest; Streaked Wren Babbler feeding recently fledged young.

Mae Jarim (Nan): Blue Whistling Thrush feeding young in a rock crevice, 31 March.

Thung Yai (Kanchanaburi): Nest of Black Baza with two nestlings on 19 April; Red-headed Trogon nest and young, 21 April; Hoopoe feeding young in a rock crevice, 25 April; a pair of Plain-pouched Hornbills with a recently fledged young at Jakae Thong on 13 April (ST); Bay Woodpecker with two recently fledged young, 21 April; Nest-building and copulation in Long-tailed Broadbill, 21 April; Black-hooded Oriole nest and two newly fledged young, 21 April. White-crowned Forktail feeding fledged young, Huai Sesavo, 26 April.

Observer SK: Doi Inthanon: Two nests of Green Cochoa (each with two young) were under observation during 25–28 May. One of these was found by Mr Daeng and the other by ChK. Nests of White-browed Shortwing (5), White-crowned Forktail, Large Niltava and Snowy-browed Flycatcher were also under observation during the same period.

Late records from December 2001 –February 2002

60–80 Lesser Frigatebirds on the boat crossing between Phuket and Ko Phi Phi on 20 February (PM,KW). Six Ruddy Shelduck, Ban Samae Chai, Ban Laem (Phetchaburi), 12 January (BK,KS, AW). Pied Harrier, Ban Thung Feua, Muang (Phetchaburi) 3 February (BK,KS,AW); one Grey-tailed Tattler, 7 Nordmann's Greenshank and 7 Great Crested Terns at Krabi River Mouth on 13 February (HvdJ, LS); Pink-necked Pigeon nest-building, Suan Thonburirom, Bang Mod (Bangkok) on 23 January (TS); Blue-rumped Parrot, pair with young in nest, Kaeng Krachan, 17 February (NU). Ruddy Kingfisher at Km 16–17, Kaeng Krachan, 27 January (PP). Three White-crested Laughingthrushes, one of which was a juvenile, at Sammakorn 2 Village (Bangkok) on 10 February (JW) suggests that a city population becoming established from escaped cagebirds. Baikal Bush-Warbler from the slightly unlikely locality of Suan Thonburirom, Bang Mod (Bangkok) on 23 January (TS); ten Citrine Wagtails, Thung Feua, Phetchaburi, 20 January (BK,KS).

Three Chinese Bulbuls (Light-vented Bulbuls), with Mountain Bulbuls, Doi Pha Hom Pok, during 28 December to 2 January (CKl). A bird list from Khao Ang Ru Nai (Chachoenngsao) was received from GC.

Indian Skimmer Record: Additions and corrections

Although his initials were given, the name of Piyatpong Rapeephan was inadvertently left off the list of contributors for Recent Reports, December 2001–February 2002 in connection with the record of Indian Skimmer, at Khok Kham on 23 January. Details were also subsequently received from Wim van Splunder, who saw the bird on 18 January. It is hoped this record, which is the first in Thailand for over 30 years, will be documented in an appropriate journal.

Contributors: Khem Amnueilaph, Kampol Boonchoosawang, Ron and Marcia Braun, Klos Bunthavee, Ladda Charoenchasi, Khanittha Cheuaphanich, Gawin Chutima, Mick Davies, Peter Ericsson, George Gale, Marc Guyt, Apirat Iamsri, Henk van der Jeugd, Noppamas Kachachiwa, Chaitat Klinjapo (CKl), Chaiyan Kaesorndokbua, Boonrawd Khieoyuu, Pornthep Khlongtapao, Suppalak Klabdee, Chitapong Kuawong (ChK), Euayporn Linsirichai , Petch Manopawitr, Yotin Meekaeo, John R. Milne, Suwanna Mukachornphan, Chukiat Nualsri, Andy Pierce, Pongpach Phuapattankul, Subhara Pongsiri, Philip D. Round, Wachara Sanguansombat, Santi Seri, Krisana Suriyo, Tirappat Siriatiwat, Laurens Steijn, Ike Suriwong. Chanon Thamromdee, Viraphan Tomibun, Nathawuth Uthasilp, Supakit Wanasith, Jaratsri Watcharapiyasopon, Aunchana Watanayut, Krisakorn Wongkornwutthi, Chaiyan ?, Sukhontha ? (no last names supplied)

Compiled by Philip Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol

RECENT REPORTS, February to April 2002

One Chinese Egret was seen on mudflats off Krabi on 18 April (AvE, MG, AM) and a Malayan Night Heron at Khao Yai during 16–19 April (AA, MvE, SW). A roost of at least 40 harriers at Nong Bong Khai held 8 male Pied Harriers on 24 February (HG, PT).

Grey Peacock Pheasants, apparently with single young, were seen on the slopes of Doi Khao Yai, at ca. 1800 m the highest point (?) in Thung Yai Wildlife Sanctuary (Kanchanaburi) on 2–3 March (ST) and also at the Sara-wa Guard Station of Thung Yai, on the Thai-Burmese border on 10 March (ST). Rufous-throated Partridge with two young was seen on Doi Khao Yai on 2–3 March (ST).

There were 120 Black-tailed Godwits and 7 Asian Dowitchers at Bang Pu on 17 March (JS,AT,UT). Two Spoon-billed Sandpipers were still present at Khok Kham on 24 March (RH, RB,MB; per MG); one on 2 April (JG) and, remarkably, one bird was still present on 22 April when in breeding dress (PS). There were three Great Knots on 24 March (WJ,AP,KW). There was a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo at Khok Kham on 18 March (WJ,AP,KW). A Common Cuckoo was heard calling at Km. 35.5 on Doi Inthanon on 24 April (TB). A Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl roosting near one of the camp sites at Khao Yai during April (MG) was reported (one what authority?) to be a released captive. Another was seen along the road to Khao Khieo, however, on 18–19 April (AvE, MG,AM, AP).

A Pale-capped Pigeon was seen at Hat Nopparat Thara, Ao Nang (Krabi) on 18 March (IS). A White-throated Needletail was present among Brown-backed Needletails at Khao Yai on 20 April (AP). A Scarlet-rumped Trogon on the way to Thorthip Waterfall, Kaeng Krachan on 27 March (UT) was a new bird for the park. A male Rufous-necked Hornbill was seen on Doi Khao Yai on 5 March (ST). Plain-pouched Hornbill was apparently feeding young in nest at Jakae Thong (Thung Yai) on 7 March (ST). Green Broadbills recorded from Jakae Thong on 7 March and Sara-wa in Thung Yai on 9–10 March (ST) may be the most northerly Thai records.

A Straw-headed Bulbul at Katu (Phuket) on 12 April (IS) was presumably an escape from captivity. Two Brown-breasted Bulbuls at Ban Mae Sa Mai, on the northern slopes of Doi Suthep-Pui on 26–27 April (AP), was a new locality record. Several Black-throated Tits at Doi Dong Ya Wai, Doi Phu Kha, Nan during 17–21 March (ST) amounted to a new locality record.

Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush was common on Doi Khao Yai, Thung Yai during 2–3 March, and 3 Coral-billed Scimitar Babblers were also seen (ST). Sooty-capped Babbler was recorded from Krung Ching, Khao Luang (Nakhon Si Thammarat) on 28 March (PJ, NN).

The enigmatic Purple Cochoa has been much in evidence on Doi Inthanon this year, Both Green Cochoa and Purple Cochoa were seen in the same tree on 11 April (UT). and up to five Purple Cochoas (three males and two females) were present in nearby fruiting trees along on 12 April (UT). This included one singing bird. So far as known, this is the first time the song has reliably been heard in Thailand. Green Cochoa was also reported from Doi Dong Ya Wai on 18 March (ST). There was a Dark-sided Thrush at Sara-wa on 10 March (ST). Male and female Siberian Thrushes were seen at Doi Dong Ya Wai on 18 March (ST) and both sexes of Black-breasted Thrush were seen bathing on 20 March (ST). There was a Ferruginous Flycatcher at Doi Dong Ya Wai on 17–21 March (ST). A male Blue-and-white Flycatcher was seen in a north Bangkok garden daily during 1 January to 12 February (BM). Two male Ultramarine Flycatchers were reported: one from Doi Inthanon on 12 March, and another on Doi Ang Khang on 14 March (UT). Both were in pine-oak association woodlands at ca. 1600 m.

Chestnut-flanked White-eye at Kaeng Krachan on 28 January (FG) was apparently a new record for the park.

Breeding records: Red Junglefowl nest and 5 eggs, Mo-singto, Khao Yai on 21 April (GG,AP). Golden-throated Barbet excavating nest, Nam Khang Watershed Station, Doi wao (Nan) on 16 March (ST). Nest and three young of Blue Pitta on Doi Khao Yai, Thung Yai on 4 March (ST). Common Iora: chicks in nest in a Bangkok garden would have been four days old on 24 February, when vanished, and were presumed to have been preyed up by a Variable Squirrel (BM). Streak-eared Bulbul fledglings left the nest, Bangkok, 24 February (BM); Common Tailorbird nest and one young were devoured by a Variable Squirrel on 12 February (BM). Two nests of Abbott's Babbler, one with three eggs and another as yet unlined, were seen at Khao Yai on 19 April and another nest with 3 eggs on 20 April (GG,AP). Puff-throated Bulbul was collecting nest material on 20 April (GG,AP). White-browed shortwing feeding fledged young, Doi Dong Ya Wai, 17-21 March (ST).

Contributors: Tony Ball, Marcia Braun, Ron Braun, Arjan van Egmond, Field Guides Tour (FG), Hector Galbraith, John Gregory, Marc Guyt, Rich Hopf, Panuwat Julawat, Arnold Meijer, Miss B. Mountfield, Nomjit Nualnetr, Andy Pierce, Pinit Saengkaew, Jitraporn Satamaya, Ike Suriwong, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak, Phil Thompson, Ajjima Treesucon, Uthai Treesucon, Kevin Webb.

Greater Scaup – New for Thailand

Two Greater Scaup were reported at Nong Bong Khai on 24 February by Hector Galbraith and Phil Thompson. This species is only a vagrant to the northern part of Se Asia, with very few previous records. Full details are awaited.

UK authorities take smuggling of Thai wildlife seriously

A British national, Raymond Humphrey, was jailed for six and a half years for the crime of smuggling birds of prey into the UK from Thailand. His Thai accomplice, identified in UK press as Peora Jungthirapanic, a former pupil of the prestigious Ampleforth School in UK, was jailed for 22 months. Peora and another person delivered two suitcases, containing live birds packed in plastic tubes, to Humphrey in the parking lot of Heathrow Airport, where they were arrested. Of 23 birds found in the luggage of the pair, six were already dead.

Wildlife seized, either in the suitcases or later, at Humphrey's Falconry Centre, were Black Eagle, Mountain, Blyth's and Changeable Hawk Eagles, Crested Serpent Eagle, Brahminy Kite, Pied Harrier, Barred and Spot-bellied Eagle Owls, both Brown and Buffy Fish Owls and Elongate Tortoises. Non-Thai species seized included Golden-cheeked Gibbon, Great Grey, Ural and Short-eared Owls and European Eagle Owl.

Jailing the pair, Judge Jonathan Lowen told them the offences were "cruel and despicable". He said: "The extent of the planning is an aggravating factor in this case. The method used on July 25 was well practised by Humphrey and the evasion was cruel to the extreme. Three of the birds were in a bad state of health from the start. Insulation tape had been used to bind their feet and they were crammed into tubes scarcely bigger than the birds themselves.

"There was not air or water, or chance for the birds to move. The battering of the cases was an inevitable aspect of the despicable way Humphrey and Jungthirapanic operated this exercise. Any decent person who has seen the photos would be shocked that any creature could be deliberately transported in this way. It would be difficult to imagine a more severe case to do with the smuggling of wild birds."

Judge Lowen branded Humphrey "mean and greedy" adding, "I intend to send a clear message to those who would take these creatures from the wild, whose existence is enriched by their diversity and survival." "Humphrey is a man who makes no recognition or remorse for what he has done. He is a man of great arrogance. His motive was the pursuit of profit."

Inspector Alan Roberts who led the Norfolk police half of the joint 'Operation Retort' with Customs, said after the case, "I think this excellent result justifies the in-depth investigation by police and customs. It gives an idea of the serious nature of this sort of offence and hopefully it will send out a clear message to other potential offenders that it will be dealt with severely."

The differences in both official attitudes, and severity of punishment between UK and Thailand could not be more obvious. The maximum fine allowable in law in Thailand, a mere Bht. 40,000, has never, even once, been applied to a wildlife smuggler or poacher. Neither, so far known, nobody has ever been imprisoned following prosecution in a court of law in Thailand for a wildlife offence. Sale and slaughter of wildlife in Thailand is a multi-million baht business, and the fact that it continues at such a level reflects very poorly on the international profile of this country When ever will our complacent and uncaring authorities in the government learn to take this issue seriously?

(With thanks to Birdwatch magazine and to Adrian Pitches for relaying this information to BCST.)

Philip D. Round
Department of Biology,
Faculty of Science,
Mahidol University,
Rama 6 Road,
Bangkok 10400
Tel. (office) 66-2-201-5278
Tel. (home) 66-2-455-0552
mobile 66-1-914-8675
fax 66-2-455-1616

RECENT REPORTS December 2001 – February 2002

There were 8 Chinese Egrets at Laem Pakarang (Phang-nga) on 9–10 March (YM,HS) and at least two at Krabi on 7–8 March (YM,HS). Two Purple Herons were carrying nest material at Bang Kaew, Km 8 along the Bang Na-Trat Highway on 9 March, indicating probable nesting in the area (SuT). A Glossy Ibis at Bang Pu (Samut Prakan) on 8 February (VK,WS) remained for some days, but a reliable last date is still wanting. Remarkably, two further Glossy Ibises were also reported from Bung Boraphet (Nakhon Sawan) on 20 February (SN, KY).

The 5 Ruddy Shelducks on the Mekong River at Chiang Saen (Chiang Rai) reported last month were, in fact, first recorded on 10 January (JC); were still present on 2 February (DP,KS,KSa,WS) and had increased to six by 2 March (NT). The drake Mandarin Duck reported earlier was also still present on 2 February (DP,KS,KSa,WS). There were 64 Spot-billed Ducks on the Mekong River on the latter date (DP,KS,KSa,WS). Five Tufted Ducks, over 30 Ferruginous Pochard and 105 Spot-billed Ducks were counted at Nong Bong Khai, Chiang Saen (Chiang Rai) on 12 and 13 January (PC,YP); and five Mallard, 146 Common Teal, 181 Northern Pintail, two Northern Shoveler, 274 Garganey, 33 Ferruginous Pochard and 3,121 Lesser Whistling Duck on 2 February (JH). However, as many as 450 Northern Pintail, 230 Common Teal, 2,000 Garganey and 36 Ferruginous Pochards were counted on 4 February (WS).

A first-year Imperial Eagle over the Khao Khieo Viewpoint, Khao Yai on 9 February (Wings) was the first record for the park. An immature Amur Falcon was reported from a lowland wooded area in Chiang Dao District on February (PB,PS). Two Ferruginous Wood Partridges were showing in Kaeng Krachan around Km 18 (one bird on 28 December, PK) and Km 17, three birds on 17 February (JWKP, AP). Three Mountain Bamboo Partridges were seen at Ban Pha Daeng (Mae Taeng or Chiang Dao District) on 26 February (AP). Male and female Hume's Pheasant were seen both on Doi Ang Khang, on 29 December (PS, PiS), and on Doi Ma Ya, near the Mae Jok watershed station (Mae Hongson) on 10 February (DP,KS,KSa).

32 Black Bazas, in two groups, were seen at Khao Phra Thaeo (Phuket) on 14 February (IS) with two more at Kaem Ling Nong Yai on 5 January (CN) and a group of 7 at Salaya (Nakhon Pathom) during 16–18 January (IG). A Eurasian Kestrel was also present at Kaem Ling Nong Yai on the same date (CN). Slaty-breasted Rail was reported from Takhli (Nakhon Sawan) on 4 December (PW). There were four Grey-headed Lapwings at Kaem Ling Nong Yai (Chumphon) on 9 December (CN); six at Bang Kaew, Bang Phli District (Samut Prakan) on 27 December (PK), and three more at Bang Pla Maa (Suphanburi) on 23 January (SP,CP, CS). There were 380 Spotted Redshank on the Mekong River at Chiang Saen on 2 February (DP,KS,KSa,WS) with a further 160 birds at Nong Bong Khai on 4 February (DP,KS,KSa,WS).. At least 1,600 Small Pratincoles, 18 River Lapwings, 58 Grey-headed Lapwings and 20 Grey Herons were counted on riverine sandbars the following day between Chiang Saen and Chiang Khong (DP,KS,KSa,WS). Bang Pu held 66 Eurasian Curlews and 350 Black-tailed Godwits on 8 February (WS). A Grey-tailed Tattler at Krabi on 13 February (HvdJ, LS) was an unusual midwinter record. There were also 7 Nordmann's Greenshanks on the same date (HvdJ, LS).

One or two Black-winged Stilts with black hindnecks were seen at Khok Kham on 9 December (SM). Khok Kham (Samut Sakhon) produced no fewer than 4 Spoon-billed Sandpipers, feeding simultaneously on adjacent ponds on 5 February (Wings). This was the largest count since the species were first found at the site in 1995. Two were still present on 5 March (MG) and a single on 11 March (SD,WJ, KW). A pond behind nearby Phanthai Norasingh School supported two Little Stints on 5 February (Wings) and a single on 11 March (SD,WJ,AP, PDR, KW). There were 100 Great Knots at Khok Kham on 6 March (SD) and a single Red Knot on 11 March (SD,WJ,AP, PDR, KW), and 4 Great Knots on 12 March (WJ,AP, KW). The long-staying Sanderling was still present on 11 March (SD,WJ,AP, PDR, KW).

A single Slender-billed Gull was present with the Brown-headed Gull flock at Khok Kham on 5 February (Wings) while there was a record count of at least 10 first-winter Slender-billed Gulls at Bang Pu on 24 February (PDR). A first-winter Black-tailed Gull was seen at Bang Pu on 9 February (PN,SS,WS) and 11 February (DP,SS,WS). The real star, however, was an adult Mew Gull, the first record for Thailand, photographed at Bang Pu on 10 February (WS, SSu, ST) which was still present on 11 February (DP,SS,WS), but not thereafter. Indian Skimmer, reported from Khok Kham on 23 January (PR) was a stunning record of one of the rarest birds in Asia, not recorded in Thailand for ca. 35 years.

A male White-bellied Pigeon was present with a small flock of Wedge-tailed Pigeons at the northern (fire-station) viewpoint of Khao Yai on 10 February (Wings). Others were seen at the Sala Phrom Guard Station of Phu Khieo (Chaiyaphum) on 18 February (DP,KS) and at Phu Luang (Loei) on 25 February (ST). The largest count of Pale-capped Pigeons in mangroves at Ban Bang Charoen, Tha Yang District (Chumphon) was 126, emerging from the roost on 2 January (CN). A Short-eared Owl, 5 km south of Tha Ton on 12 January (EC,PC,YP) was one of very few records of this rare visitor. Pied Kingfisher was seen at Aow Manao (Prachuap Khirikhan) on 7 March (CT) while a Crested Kingfisher flew north along the Mekong Roiver at Chiang Saen on 2 March (NT). The Malaysian Honeyguide site above Roi Chan Phan Wang waterfall (Krabi/Trang), occupied by one singing male for more than 15 years, appears to be deserted this season, although there has been no obvious major habitat disturbance (YM). So far as known, a more or less complete ban on tape use was observed during the entire period, so the bird's disappearance cannot easily be accounted for. Two Rufous Woodpeckers were present on the Mae Hia Campus (Chiang Mai) on 11 February (Wings).

A male Purple Cochoa along the Km 38 jeep-track, Doi Inthanon, on 14 January (AB,JJ) was a really lucky find. River Chat on the Si Sangwaal waterfall, Doi Chiang Dao National Park on 30 December (PS,PiS) was another new locality record. A Scaly Thrush was photographed in Khao Yai on 16 February (SK); there was one at Sala Phrom, Phu Khieo on 18 February (DP,KS), and another around Doi Inthanon HQ from 4–7 February (HvdJ,CK, LS). An adult male Red-throated Thrush was present on the summit of Doi Inthanon from 2 to 10 February (CK,LBC); a Dusky Thrush on 3 February (SK,LBC), and again on 14 February (NT) and a female Black-breasted Thrush on 3 February (SK,LBC). Grey-sided Thrushes were more abundant this winter than for several years, with 2 on Doi Pui on 11 February (PDR) and an estimated 10+ on upper and middle elevations of Doi Inthanon during mid February (many observers). Two were also recorded at Doi Ma Ya. on 10 February (DP,KS,KSa). Eurasian Blackbird was still present at Nong Bong Khai on 2 February (DP,KS,KSa,WS). Four Plain Martins and a single male Jerdon's Bushchat were seen along the Mekong River between Chiang Saen and Chiang Khong on 3 February (DP,KS,Ksa,WS). Another Jerdon's Buschat a male, was present along the Kok River at Tha Ton on 12 January (EC,PC,YP).

A Lesser Whitethroat on Doi Ang Khang on 10 February (PB,PS) was the first record of this scarce winter visitor for some years. Four or five Brown Prinias were reported from mimosa scrub at Huai Thungtao (Chiang Mai) on 27 January (AB). This is a bird with an oddly patchy distribution in Thailand, seeming to be restricted to the better areas of dry dipterocarp forest. There are no previous records from the Chiang Mai plain. At least 5 Pale-footed Bush Warblers were seen or heard singing at Ban Mae Samai, on the northern slopes of Doi Suthep-Pui National Park during 23–24 February, with ca. 6 more at Ban Pha Daeng during 25–27 February (AP). A female or immature male Mugimaki Flycatcher at Pong Ton Sai, Khao Yai, first found in early January, was still present on 8 February (JD) with another upstream of Pha Kluey Mai on 8 March (PDR). There was a female Sapphire Flycatcher on the summit of Doi Pui on 11 February (PDR). At least 8 Citrine Wagtails were present on paddies, Km 25, Doi Inthanon on 15 February (Wings). Two male and one female Spot-winged Starlings graced the flame trees by the Doi Inthanon entrance gate with their presence on 13 January (AB,JJ), but not thereafter. An estimated 1000 White-shouldered Starlings roosted in mangrove scrub at Laem Phak Bia (Phetchaburi) on 2 March (PDR,SR). An adult male Rosy Starling was reported from Mae Sarieng (Mae Hongson) on 19 January (PW). The pond holding the largest number of Asian Golden Weaver nests at Pracha Utis Soi 76, Bang Mod (Bangkok) was in the process of being filled in when visited on 5 February (Wings). A male Dark-breasted Rosefinch at an unusually low elevation at Mae Fang National Park on 9 February (DP,KS) was the first record of this rare winter visitor for several years.

Breeding records From Phu Luang Golden-throated Barbet, two pairs excavating, 24 February; Ashy Drongo, nest-building, 23 February; Yellow-cheeked Tit feeding nestlings, 24 February; Buff-breasted Babbler, incubating, 23 February; Blue-winged Minla, one nest-building, one occupied nest, 23 February (ST); Doi Ang Khang Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, two pairs nest-building, 19 February (ST). Two young from a nest of Black-shouldered Kite under observation at Mae Hia (Chiang Mai), still with down adhering on 2 December, left the nest on 23 December (AB). A fledged juvenile Slaty-backed Forktail was seen at Khao Yai on 8 March (NP,PDR).

Contributors: Raksa Atrakorn, Tony Ball (AB), Paul Bamford, John Carroll, Erwin Collaerts, Peter Collaerts, Lanna Bird Club, Suchart Daengphayon, Jon Dunn, Ian Grange, Marc Guyt, John Howes, Jon Jackson, Henk van der Jeugd, William Jones, Viwat Kasemkosin, Porntep Kasura, Boonrawd Khieoyuu, Samak Kodkeaw, Chitapong Kuawong, Yotin Meekaeo, Dr. Suwanna Mukachornphan, Porpol Nontapa, Chukiat Nualsri, Suthirak Nongkaew, John W.K. Parr, Andy Pierce, Santana Pluemshoosak, Nichaya Praditsup, Chawan Prapai-thong, Dome Pratumtong, Yvon Princen, Philip D. Round, Sonapa Round, Pinit Saengkaew, Piyanipa Saengkaew (PiS), Kittiyan Samphantharak (KSa), Wachara Sanguansombat, Chollada Savestwichitkul, Hazel Seo, Somchai Sermsinchaiyakul, Kunlapat Sornrarum, Laurens Steijn Suthee Supparatvikorn (Ssu), Ike Suriwong, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak, Sukanya Thanomphut (SuT), Chanin Thienwiwatnukul, Nature Trails, Pramoj Waithyakul, Kevin Webb, Wings, Pongsak Winiyom, Krairat Yiamamphai.

Compiled by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol (with special thanks to Dr. Rungrsit Kanjanavanit for compiling some Chiang Mai records)


Asian Midwinter waterfowl counts were received from a number of sites in Buriram Province due to the good efforts of Mr Kobsak Sunthoraporn, Superintendent of Sanambin Non Hunting Area and Mr Phayao Saidee Superintendent of Huai Talat. The superintendents of the various non-hunting areas in Buriram have long been the most reliable and regular contributors to AWC, and we thank them for their hard work in continuing the tradition. The details are presented in the table below.

See Key Below 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total
Little Grebe 23             11 34
Little Cormorant 2               2
Cinnamon Bittern 1             3 4
Chinese Pond Heron 80 4   15 3   5 367
Cattle Egret 4     12 19   4 3444 3483
Little Egret 27     14     5 900 941
Intermediate Egret 23     7       350 380
Great Egret 26 1   2     2 287
Purple Heron 7 7   2       18 34
Grey Heron 9 4         3 48 64
Asian Openbill               5 5
Lesser Whistling Duck 2300 7 520   1850 1900   6859
Cotton Pygmy-Goose 18             195 213
Northern Pintail 26               26
Garganey 285               285
Baer's Pochard 1               1
White-breasted Waterhen               2 2
Common Moorhen 80               80
Purple Swamphen 187             221 408
Common Coot 2             113 115
Pheasant-tailed Jacana 8             83 91
Bronze-winged Jacana 12             13 25
Greater Painted-snipe               3 3
Black-winged Stilt 12             36 48
Pacific Golden Plover             11 40 51
Little Ringed Plover 14           7 16 37
Black-tailed Godwit 23               23
Spotted Redshank 15     32     7 36 90
Marsh Sandpiper 15     5     5   25
Common Greenshank               43 43
Wood Sandpiper 34           6 380 420
Common Sandpiper 5             5 10
Pintail Snipe 4           6   10
Common Snipe 5     6     11 148 170
Temminck's Stint               2 2


1: Sanambin, 14 January.
2: Ban Paisan, 16 January.
3: Nong Phai, 16 January.
4: Nong Thanon Hak, 16 January.
5: Bang Khok Anguan, 16 January.
6: Nong Preu, 15 January.
7: Nong Sanoh, 15 January.
8: Huai Talat, 15 January.

A Bright-Green, Poisoned Landscape, by Philip Round

December 2001 – early February 2002

Two Chinese Egrets were present at Krabi River mouth on 24 January (KingBird) but the site was otherwise a little disappointing for waterfowl, dredging of the river channel last year having changed the configuration of sandbars. There were three Painted Storks at Khok Kham (Samut Sakhon) on 14 January (KS,WS) and an exciting count of 12 Lesser Adjutants was made at Ko Pratong (Phang-nga), possibly Thailand's last remaining breeding site, on 19 January (WS).

Nong Bong Khai, Chiang Saen (Chiang Rai) produced 65 Common Teal, a single Eurasian Wigeon, three Northern Shovelers, one male and 3 female Gadwalls on 1 January (DP,KS,SS,PW); 79 Spot-billed Ducks on 19 January (ST) and a male Mallard on 22 January (JWKP,MP); Three male and two female Gadwalls were also reported on fish ponds in Chiang Saen on 20 January (ST). Twelve Ferruginous Pochards were present on sandbars on the Mekong River at Chiang Saen on 27 December (PN,SP,CS), with 20 at Nong Bong Kai on 1 January (DP,KS,SS,PW) and two on 19 January (ST). The only Baer's Pochard was a single bird on 1 January (DP,KS,SS,PW). There were also five Ruddy Shelducks on the nearby Mekong River upstream of Chiang Saen on 19 January (ST), while a male Mandarin Duck turned up on 2 February (BK,WS).

Definitive identification of an immature vulture near a Karen Village, Ban Huai Yao, Khuan Yuam District (Mae Hongson), apparently inside Namtok Mae Surin National Park, on 18 December, may not be possible though the observers (PJ,NN) considered it was probably White-rumped Vulture. Another vulture (origins unknown: wild or not?) identified as an immature White-rumped Vulture was seen by SK in flight over the Khao Khieo Open Zoo (Chonburi) on 12 January after a picture had earlier been posted on the internet. Northern Goshawk was seen on Doi Pha Hom Pok on 28 December (SS,KS,PW). Grey-headed Fish Eagle was reported nesting at Ko Pratong (Phang-nga) on 19 January (WS). Doi Pha Hom Pok becomes the country's third known locality for Black-tailed Crake, with sightings there on 21 and 23 January (JWKP).

A Common Ringed Plover was seen on the Mekong at Chiang Saen on 19 January (ST). High tide at Laem Phak Bia produced a high mid-winter count of 340 Great Knots on 30 January (KingBird). There were six Red Knots at Khok Kham on 14 January (KS,WS) and six Asian Dowitchers there on 1 February (SD). Spoon-billed Sandpipers continued to show well at Khok Kham throughout the period, with two birds being seen by many observers (per SD), and 3 together in the same 'scope field as recently as 2 February (BCST). One observer (CT) still found time to tear his eyes away to usefully count 35 Caspian Terns t on the latter date. There were still three Slender-billed Gulls at Bang Pu on 11 December (ST) and a single Slender-billed Gull put in an appperance at Khok Kham on 14 January (KS,WS).

A female White-bellied Pigeon was identified at Thinuey Guardstation, Thung Yai (Kanchanaburi) on 27 January (ST). Five Speckled Wood Pigeons were present at Doi Sam Muen (Chiang Mai) on 1 January (ST)There was a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo on the KU Kamphaengsaen Campus (Nakhon Pathom) on 6 January, with two male and one female Asian Emerald Cuckoos there on 13 January (KUWC),. A Large Hawk Cuckoo was found at Sanambin (Buriram) on 6 January (ST). There were two Hoopoes, one calling from a tree, at Suan Rot Fai (Bangkok) on 18 January (PE). A Ruddy Kingfisher was recorded from Ranong Coastal Resources Research Center during 14–16 January (IS). Three Rufous-bellied Woodpeckers were seen in the Huai Mae Dee-Khao Bandai area of Huai Kha Khaeng (Uthai Thani) during 9–10 December (ST). A single nominate race White-bellied Woodpecker was reported from Ko Pratong (Phang-nga) on 19 January (WS).

20 White-headed Bulbuls were seen along the Rom Klao road, Mae Jarim on 15 December (ST). Three birds (two adults, one immature) showing the characteristics of Slender-billed Oriole, a species not listed in the recent BCST checklist for Kaeng Krachan, were present on the Khao Phanoen Thung ridge on 29 January (KingBird). Both male and female Maroon Orioles and a Silver Oriole (sex unreported) were seen at Thinuey Guardstation, Thung Yai on 25 January (ST).

A sighting of Crow-billed Drongo at Doi Khun Khoon, Mae Jarim NP (Nan) on 21 December (ST) accords with Deignan's (1945) observation of a resident population in lowland deciduous forest in Nan Province. Three more reported from Huai Nam Lu, 1500 m on Doi Sam Muen on 30 December (ST) are outside expected patterns of occurrence. Limestone Wren-Babbler was recorded from Doi Pha Nor, Mae Jarim on 25 December (ST). Cutias were again reported from Doi Pha Hom Pok, with a pair on 28 December ((SS,KS,PW), and two males and one female on 16 January (ST).

Black-backed Forktail was seen at Wat U-Mong, Doi Suthep (Chiang Mai) on 27 January (AP). A male White-throated Rock Thrush and a Scaly Thrush were reported from Ku Sa Huad, Mae Jarim on 13 December (ST). Black-breasted Thrushes were reported from Doi Pha Hom Pok on 18 January (two males: ST) and 23 January (one; JWKP,MP). A male Eurasian Blackbird on the golf course at Khao Yai, reported by ST on 22 and 23 January though apparently seen by many observers over a much longer period, was a new record for the park. Another Eurasian Blackbird fed in a lamyai orchard near Nong Bong Khai on 1 January (DP, KS,SS,PW).

There was a Manchurian Reed-Warbler at King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Bangkhunthien Campus (Bangkok) on 16 January (AP). A Chinese Leaf-Warbler seen well on Khao Phanoen Thung, Kaeng Krachan on 29 January (KingBird) was new for the park, and is the most southerly record to date. Three Yellow-vented Warblers were seen at Doi Khun Lan, Mae Jarim on 18–20 December (ST). Several White-browed Fantails were found in lowland deciduous woodland, Km 4–Km 8 along the Khao Bandai Road, Huai Kha Khaeng, on 9 December (ST). An apparent alboides White Wagtail was seen on the Mekong at Chiang Saen on 19 January (ST). A single White-shouldered Starling roosted with orioles and mynas at Ranong Coastal Resources Research Center during 14–16 January (IS). White-vented Mynas (now widely established in the peninsula) were also present at this site. Two juvenile Rosy Starlings were reported from Thinuey Guard Station, Thung Yai on 26 January, along with no fewer than 100 Spot-winged Starlings during the entire period 25–27 January (ST). 20 Spot-winged Grosbeaks were again present at Fang Hot Springs (Chiang Mai) on 13 December (ST). There were three female Scarlet Finches on Doi Pha Hom Pok on 30 December (SS,KS,PW) and seven or eight others, including three males, elsewhere in Tha Ton District (Chiang Mai) on 31 December (DP).

Contributors: Suchart Daengphayon, Peter Ericsson, Panuwat Julawat, Boonphob Kansiwiang, Kasetsart University Wildlife Club, KingBird Tour, Suppalak Klabdee, Porpol Nontapa, Nomjit Nualnetr, John W.K. Parr, Mukda Parr, Andy Pierce, Santana Pluemshoosak, Dome Pratumtong, Wachara Sanguansombat, Chonladda Savesvisitkul, Somchai Sermsinchaiyakul, Kunlapat Sornrarum, Ike Suriwong, Sopitcha Tantitadaptak, Chanin Thienwiwatnukul, Prasit Wongprom.

Compiled by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol

Poaching News

"Villagers were shooting Mountain Imperial Pigeons and other birds daily at a mineral lick on Doi Hua Lan, inside Doi Phu Kha National Park in late December" (per Sopitcha Tantitadapitak).

The above is a fairly usual encounter for anyone who watches birds in any of Thailand's protected areas. But as we know, it is not only forests and forest wildlife which are plundered under the noses of RFD officials. As reported in The Nation newspaper (15 January 2002) divers around the world are outraged over the partial destruction of Hin Daeng and Hin Muang coral reefs in Ko Lanta National Park, Krabi Province by dynamite fishermen. This damage was allowed to occur even though the many dive companies had previously, and repeatedly, reported instances of illegal fishing boats operating in the park to the appropriate authorities.

The gulf in attitudes between conservation-conscious park users and complacent, unmotivated government officials is illustrated by the attitude of the Ko Lanta park superintendent Prayuth Lorsuwansiri, who is quoted as playing down the damage, saying "The damage from the bombing was not too bad" (The Nation 15 January 2002). This seems to indicate less concern than is appropriate for someone in his position.

Park users have every right to be outraged over RFD's poor performance, especially when it is considered how much money they must pay for the privilege of entering parks, and using park accommodation. RFD seems perfectly content to spend millions of baht erecting huge buildings and other facilities, while paying only a pittance to the temporary workers, hired as day-labourers, on whom the main task of patrolling and maintenance falls.

Protected area superintendents in USA or UK are expected to know, and take full responsibility for, every square meter of the area under their jurisdiction. Even should they have a PhD, they will not be above getting their hands dirty, digging a ditch or trimming a hedge. Yet visit any protected area in Thailand without prior arrangement and nine time out of ten you will not encounter the superintendent. "Hua naa pai prachum"; "The chief has gone to a meeting", you will be told. Perhaps this is neither surprising nor culpable, when promotion is gained not by diligence and attention to duty, but by cultivating social contacts, and showing your face in the right places. The efforts of a few conscientious park and sanctuary superintendents who give their all are not recognised or rewarded by the patronage system which still operates in RFD, as in other branches of the civil service.

Mekong River under new threat

China is apparently pushing for clearance of islets along the Mekong River in order to facilitate navigation between Simao, Yunnan, and Chiang Khong, Chiang Rai Province, Northern Thailand. The proposal was discussed at a meeting of the committee meeting of the Joint Economic Quadrangle Chamber at Chiang Rai in mid-January (Bangkok Post, 22 January 2002). China is the only country in the region operating cargo boats on the upper river, has contributed about 200 million baht for the clearing of the river and plans to begin operating vessels with a 300-tonne load capacity in 2003.

Needless to say, clearance of the Mekong River islets would be disastrous for biodiversity along the river. Most of the opposition from Thailand has so far been focused on the fishery, but it would be equally devastating for birds, since Mekong River islands and sandbars support internationally important populations of breeding Small Pratincoles, River Lapwings and Jerdon's Buschats, and the region's last few breeding Great Thick-knees, River and Black-bellied Terns among a great many other species. The islets around Chiang Saen also support major wintering concentrations of shorebirds, ducks and other waterfowl.

According to Tao Xin Wah, President of Xishuangbanna Chamber of Commerce "good cooperation between the four countries could solve any environmental problems" . Anybody who is familiar with China's environmental and human rights record will immediately understand the fatuousness or blatant insincerity of such a statement.

Another oil spill in the gulf

Over 100,000 litres of crude oil was spilled in the Gulf of Thailand, from a Panamanian registered tanker, the Eastern Fortitude, which hit rocks off Ko Chang, Chonburi in mid-January (The Nation 22 January 2002).

This is only the latest incident in a long and dismaying history of pollution incidents along the Eastern Seaboard, which supports huge industrial complexes as well as scenic coastlines and some important biodiversity sites, including some of the last turtle beaches, and rocky islets where terns nest. Brown Boobies and Brown Noddy were still present off Satthahip up to at least the early 1970s, while a few pairs of Bridled, Black-naped and Roseate Terns, and perhaps Great Crested Terns still nested off Ko Samet, Rayong into the early 1980s. Even though some parts of the area are designated as a marine park, there have been no recent biological surveys.

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