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Worldtwitch Thailand

2003 THAILAND BIRD REPORTS

Bird Conservation Society of Thailand Bulletin (BCST Bulletin)

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


RECENT REPORTS
November - December 2003

This month's Recent Reports is strong on shorebirds, thanks to the boom of interest in the Phetchaburi area, continuing on from November's discoveries there. Let us hope that this level of coverage can be maintained throughout the entire winter. The status of the Inner Gulf of Thailand as the single most important site in the entire country for shorebirds is underscored by the findings below, in which it seems that the two sites in the inner gulf may possibly support as much as 0.5% to 1% of the world population of the globally threatened Spoon-billed Sandpiper. Both are threatened by the government's plans to build a gulf-spanning road bridge, since the bridge would leave the shore at or near one Spoon-billed Sandpiper site, Khok Kham and make its southern landfall at another, in the immediate vicinity of Ban Pak Thale.

We should not perhaps let undue focus on endangered species blind us to the fact that the mudflats of the inner gulf support globally important flyway concentrations of ca. 15 other waterfowl species, either on passage or in winter. Yet in spite of this, the importance of the gulf has been neglected by government agencies. Its international importance is not officially recognized while the Ramsar reserve at Don Hoi Lot seems to encompass what may be the least valuable part of the gulf for migratory shorebirds. Whether this is because Don Hoi Lot is intrinsically less valuable as a feeding area, or whether bird numbers are artificially low due to high levels of human disturbance remains to be seen. Whatever the case, the Ramsar reserve is not a reserve in any established sense, since there are no more restrictions on any form of use than are present anywhere else in the gulf.

There is an urgent need to mount regular, repeated (and repeatable!) year-round surveys of waterfowl in the Inner Gulf, so as to obtain more comprehensive data on numbers, distribution and patterns of usage. This information must then be made available to government agencies who lack the resources and expertise to collect and assimilate this information themselves. Weekend birdwatchers can play an important part in submitting site counts for any coastal sites they visit. Please also do not forget the Asian Midwinter Waterfowl census this January. For further information, please contact the BCST coordinator, petch manopawitr, email:  pmanopawitr.at.hotmail.com.

A Chinese Egret photographed on the beach at Laem Phak Bia on 10 December (KSu) may be the first undisputed record for the Inner Gulf. There were eleven Painted Storks in flight near Ban Laem on 20 December (JWKP,MP, TCY). Six Ruddy Shelducks (presumably some were the same individuals seen last month) were on a pond at Wat Khao Takhrao (Phetchaburi) on 14 December (MM,CP,PDR) and were still present on 20 December (JWKP, MP, TCY). A single male Ruddy Shelduck was also seen and photographed at Mae Jo (Chiang Mai) on 13 December (LBC).

There were six Black Bazas at KU Kamphaengsaen Campus (Nakhon Pathom) on 13 December (JWKP,MP, TCY), and six more at MU Salaya Campus (Nakhon Pathom) on 21 December (PDR). Fields of paddy stubble near Khao Yoi (Phetchaburi) held one dark morph Booted Eagle, two Imperial Eagles and 9 Greater Spotted Eagles on 6 December (MM). The same site held only one Greater Spotted and one Imperial Eagle on 14 December, but by way of consolation there were in addition no fewer than four Steppe Eagles, two of which were first-winter birds (DL, MM,CP,PDR,NU). A dark morph Booted Eagle, possibly the same bird, was reported from nearby Pak Tho (Ratchaburi) on 16 December (GD,PS,UT). Two Grey-faced Buzzards over paddies in Wang Saphung (Loei) on 11 December were, unusually for this winter visitor, calling as they circled, gaining height (SN,PDR).

There were 4 Grey-headed Lapwings at Bang Tao (Phuket) on 18 November (KS) and 25 at Lum Lukka, Khlong 4 (Pathumthani) on 11 December (PE). Two or three Eastern Curlew were found at Pak Thale on 15 December (KSu); a single was seen subsequently on several dates by many observers, with two on 19 December (KK) and 20 December (SM,PDR,CT, ST et al.). These birds were associating with a flock of Eurasian Curlews reported at various times to be 225–250 strong.

There were still 5 Spoon-billed Sandpipers at Pak Thale on 5 December (RJ, SD, RP, PN, CP). A record count of 11 at the same site on 20 December, nine in view simultaneously in the same pond (SM, PDR, CT & ST), was the largest number reported since the first record for Thailand, from Pattani Bay in October 1984, when 13 were found by Kees Swennen. One of the two Spoon-billed Sandpipers at Khok Kham (Samut Sakhon) was also showing regularly throughout November and December (SD).

There were also four Dunlin at Pak Thale on 14 December (PDR) and one, probably two still present on 20 December, along with small numbers of both Red Knots and Great Knots (SM, PDR, CT, ST). 100 Great Knots were counted on 5 December (RJ, SD, RP, PN, CP). A single Nordmann's Greenshank was still present at Pak Thale on 14 December (MM, CP, PDR). Two Nordmann's Greenshanks were photographed south of Khao Sam Roi Yot on 8–9 November (IG, HS). Remarkably, the same observers considered that they had another, on the Mekong River at Chiang Saen, on 21 November, making Thailand's first inland record. Pak Thale held a minimum of 246 Spotted Redshanks and 11 Ruffs on 20 December (PDR). Nearby salt pans further south at Laem Phak Bia held 4 Pallas's Gulls including one full adult with a black head, and 19 “large white-headed gulls” which included adult and subadult Heuglin's Gulls in addition to at least two paler grey-mantled adults, possibly “Mongolian Gull”.

29 Pale-capped Pigeons were counted at Ban Bang Charoen, Mu 2 (Chumphon) on 5 December (CN). Two Blue-bearded Bee-eaters were seen in the vicinity of a newly-excavated nest-hole, near Phu Luang Wildlife Research Station on 11 December (SN, PDR).

A male Rufous-bellied Woodpecker was seen at Km 8.5 along the Huai Mae Dee-Khao Bandai Road in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary on 6 December, during the BCST monthly trip (ST). The scarce White-browed Fantail was also photographed on the same trip by ChT. A female or immature Asian Paradise-flycatcher appeared in a garden at Thung Song Hong (Bangkok) on 28 November (BM).

Two Chestnut-cheeked Starlings, ten Purple-backed Starlings and 23 Chestnut-tailed Starlings, including 6 apparently of the race malabarica were seen at Chumphon on 1 December (CN). A single Chestnut-cheeked Starling was present on both 2 and 4 December. Numbers of Chestnut-tailed Starlings had declined to 4 birds, and Purple-backed Starlings to just two by 15 December, when, however, two Chestnut-cheeked Starlings were again present (CN).

A Hill Myna and two Black-crested Bulbuls at MU Salaya Campus on 21 December (PDR) were presumably escapes or released birds. Three Blue Magpies, first seen one year ago, were also still present (PDR). There were two Forest Wagtails at MU Salaya Campus on 21 December (PDR).

A Little Bunting in fields used for grazing livestock, at Bang Tao, Phuket on 17 November (KS) is the first report for the Thai-Malay Peninsula.

Late record: Grey-cheeked Warbler reported from Km35, Doi Inthanon, 21 October (SP,KY).

Contributors:

Lanna Bird Club, Suchart Daengphayon, Dr. Gerold Dobler, Peter Ericsson, Ingrid Grunwald, Roongroj Jukmongkol, Kamol Komolphalin, Dave Lewis, Mark Mallalieu, B. Mountfield, Dr. Suwanna Mukachornphan, Somchai Nimnuan, Porpol Nontapa, Chukiat Nualsri, John Parr (JWKP), Mukda Parr, Rungratchanee Pimathai, Colin Poole, Siriporn Poumkan, Chawan Prapaithong, Philip D. Round, Pinit Saengkaew, Helmut Schumann, Katarina Stenman, Kaset Sutasha (KSu), Chachawan Tantitadapitak, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak, Chanin Thienwiwatnukul (ChT), Uthai Treesucon, Nick Upton, Tan Cheng Yam, Kogroi Yimmongkol.

Compiled by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol



RECENT REPORTS
October-November 2003

In this issue, we report on the tail-end of the autumn migration (a few late-received records from September being included for completeness) and the arrival of wintering birds. The importance of the great expanse of ponds and coastal habitats around Phetchaburi is emphasized by the numbers of records of scarce and globally threatened species there, including some more Spoon-billed Sandpipers. A dearth of records from the northern mountains may be a reflection of the fact that the traditional time for trips is not yet upon us, and is a reminder of just how seasonally biased much of our knowledge of birds is. Even so, some interesting new distribution records were received from little known mountains in the west, in Thongphaphum.

Robert DeCandido has generously shared with BCST a full account of his season's observations on raptor migration at Chumphon. However, beyond picking out a few of the more significant records, it would be inappropriate to present these data in the bulletin, as Robert will shortly be preparing a paper for publication.

A new colony of Oriental Darters, supporting 6-7 adults, with chicks, was reported from near the Pasak Cholasit Dam (Lopburi) on 8 October (KB). 100-200 Asian Openbills were also present. Another Oriental Darter was seen at Ban Yangchum, Kui Buri (Prachuap Khiri Khan) on 18 October (MD,DD); there were still 10 Painted Storks and 22 Spot-billed Pelicans at Wat Khao Takhrao (Phetchaburi) on 5 October (AR,WS), and 56 Painted Storks, plus three more at Ban Laem, on 8 November (MM,PDR). A new locality record for Milky Stork was two (at least one photographed) with 8 Painted Storks at Huai Talat (Buriram) on 4 November (DP). A Lesser Adjutant was seen at Thung Kha Chumphon) on 4 November (MM,CN). Local people reported that the species used to breed there but persistent theft of nestlings finally extirpated the nesting population about a decade ago.

Three Greater Flamingos flying across the road at Tha Yang (Phetchaburi) on 25 September (TT) added to an increasing number of sightings of released or escaped species. A single Greater Flamingo was also still present at Laem Phak Bia (Phetchaburi) on 9 November (SS).

A Black-faced Spoonbill at Krabi River Mouth, a new locality record for this globally endangered species, on 23 November (PH) and was still present on 26 November (YM). A Black-headed Ibis flew over the Chumphon Province Sports Ground on 5 November (CN). A flock of ca. 2000 Garganey was present on a single pond at Wat Khao Takhrao on 8 November (MM,PDR), and there were 10 Northern Pintail and four Ruddy Shelducks at Ban Pak Thale, Ban Laem District (Phetchaburi) on 15 November (MM,PDR). Two Ruddy Shelduck, perhaps the birds from above, were seen at Wat Khao Takhrao on 23 November (MM) and two Baer's Pochard at Bung Boraphet (Nakhon Sawan) on 25 November (PH, ST).

Two Ospreys were present at Thung Kha on 4 November (MM,CN), with three more noted between Khao Yoi and Ban Laem on 8 November (MM,PDR), and probably four different birds in the Wat Khao Takhrao area. 250 Accipiter hawks and 70 Oriental Honey-buzzards passed over Huai Yot (Trang) in 15 minutes on the early afternoon of 1 October (PP).

The largest single day's count of Black Bazas at Tha Yang, Chumphon was a staggering 44,000 birds on 23 October (RD). 17,000 also passed over Ban Yangchum on 27 October (MD & DD) and 1000 at Kaem Ling Nong Yai (Chumphon) on the morning of 8 November (RD,CN). 13 presumably wintering Black Bazas were seen at KU Kamphaengsaen Campus (Nakhon Pathom) on 7 November (KUBC). The latest record of apparently migrant Black Bazas was 22 November, when 11 birds flew south over Kaem Ling Nong Yai (CN). A Northern Goshawk was seen on Doi Ang Khang (Chiang Mai) on 28 October (SK, KK). A juvenile Steppe Eagle and two Aquila spp. were reported from Kaem Ling Nong Yai on 9 November, along with ten Chinese Sparrowhawks and four Common Buzzards (RD, CN). Four Crested Serpent Eagles were also thought to be mixed up with these and other migrant raptors on the same day (RD,CN), and 20 were said to be seen, apparently on migration, at Yangchum during two days between 27 October and 4 November (MD,DD).

Four Greater Spotted Eagles, three adults and one juvenile, were seen at Ban Yangchum in the three days up to 21 October, and two more on 27 October (MD,DD).

Two Greater Spotted Eagles, one juvenile and one second-winter, were present over the great expanse of ponds at Wat Khao Takhrao on 8 November (MM,PDR), where expected to winter, while another of uncertain age, apparently a pale morph, was photographed at Bung Boraphet on 25 November (PH, ST).

A Black Eagle was seen at Doi Dong Ya Wai, Doi Phu Kha (Nan) on 25 and 26 October (NU). Changeable Hawk Eagle was reported from Mae Hia (Chiang Mai) on 24 October along with, in the early morning of the same day, 4 Amur Falcons (AJ).

A Common Kestrel was noted at Muang District (Chumphon) on 5 October (CN); Common Buzzard and a single Common Kestrel were noted in Ban Laem District on 8 November, with the kestrel seen again on 15 November (MM,PDR). There was a Northern Hobby at Ban Thattafang, Mae Yuam, Mae Sarieng District (Mae Hongson) on 30 October (KR). Six falcons passing over Kaem Ling Nong Yai on 3 November (MM,CN) were not certainly identified, but were probably Northern Hobbies.

A Slaty-legged Crake flew into a camp in the forest at 865 m elevation, Na Haeo (Loei) on 25 October, at 2045 h, and was photographed (RK, CP, K?). A boat trip for 35 km along the Salawin River, from Ban Nge to Ban Sob Moei, yielded a total of 50 River Lapwings and 30 Wire-tailed Swallows during 29-31 October (KR). Six Grey-headed Lapwings and 300 Oriental Pratincoles were seen at KU Kamphaengsaen Campus on 7 November (KUBC). There were three Grey-headed Lapwings at Kaem Ling Nong Yai on 3 November (MM,CN); two on 19 November (CN) and 4 on 22 November (CN).

Kalong (Samut Sakhon) held 100 Broad-billed Sandpipers along with 200 Curlew Sandpipers and ca. 3500 sand plovers (98% said to be Lesser Sand Plover) on 5 October (AR,WS). Four Asian Dowitchers and three Great Knots were also present on 27 October (SD). A Nordmann's Greenshank and ca. 300 Lesser Sand Plovers were seen at Thung Kha on 4 November (MM,CN), while five more Nordmann's Greeenshanks, with a single Red Knot and three Asian Dowitchers at Ban Phak Thale on 8 November (MM,PDR), was one of relatively few records for the Inner Gulf. Remarkably, the number of Nordmann's Greenshanks had risen to eight on 9 November (SS) though only three remained on 15 November (MM,PDR,SS,KS et al.). 154 Eurasian Curlews counted on 11 September (WS) had risen to 170 on 15 November (MM,PDR,KS,SS et al.).

The first Spoon-billed Sandpiper appeared at Khok Kham (Samut Sakhon) over a week late, on 27 October (SD), with two on 30 October (SD). A single was seen subsequently on a number of dates by different observers. Most significantly, two were also found at a (long-awaited) second salt-pan site in the gulf, Pak Thale, by observers looking for the Nordmann's Greenshanks on 11 November (WS). A repeat survey of Pak Thale on 15 November of revealed certainly three, and possibly as many as 5 Spoon-billed Sandpipers there, among ca. 1000 Rufous-necked Stints and 1500 Curlew Sandpipers among other species (MM,PDR,SS). Five Spoon-billed Sandpipers were finally confirmed at Phak Thale when seen together on 24 November (PH, ST). A single Small Pratincole was also present (PH,ST). A Red-necked Phalarope was present at Pak Thale on 13 November (WS) and 23 November (MM).

60 Great Knots and a record number of c. 200 Red Knots were counted at Phak Thale on 11 November (WS) with over 300 Great Knots on 13 November (WS). The area also supported 2-3 Ruff.

Four Brown-headed Gulls over the Khwae Noi River in Muang District (Kanchanaburi) on 24 October (PN) constituted an unusual inland record. A "Herring Gull" was reported from Bung Boraphet on 9 November (AJ) and a first-winter Pallas's Gull together with a juvenile plumage Heuglin's Gull, and a record count of 82 Gull-billed Terns at Pak Thale on 11 November (WS).

Cinnamon-headed Pigeon was again seen (one male and two females) at Ko Pratong (Phang-nga) on 11 September (WS) when feeding on the small black berries of an unknown species of climber. Two Pale-capped Pigeons flew over Ban U-Tapao, Muang District (Chumphon) on 20 October, and 3 on 30 October (RD,CN). There were 90 Pale-capped Pigeons at Thung Kha on 4 November (MM,CN), and a single at Wat Khao Takhrao on the late afternoon of 15 November (MM,PDR). A pair of Blossom-headed Parakeets fed in dry oak/pine woodland at ca. 1400 m, Doi Ang Khang, on 27 October (SK, KK) and a flock of 60-80 Grey-headed Parakeets was found at the Salawin River, Ban Thattafang, on 30 October (KR). An Alexandrine Parakeet was reported from Samrong (Samut Prakan) on 31 October (AS).

Single wintering or passage Grey Nightjars were photographed at Kamphaengsaen on 9 Nov and at Windmill Park (on the eastern suburbs of Bangkok) on 10 November (RKe, CP).

A juvenile Violet Cuckoo was being fed by a Ruby-cheeked Sunbird at Kroeng Kavia (Kanchanaburi) on 5 October (DP). Another Violet Cuckoo, a male, was seen at Haew Narok, Khao Yai on 5 November (WS). A female Asian Emerald Cuckoo was photographed in Khao Yai on 27 October (PE) with a male, at Haew Narok on 5 November (WS).

Crested Kingfisher was reported on the large stream behind the headquarters of Mae Wong National Park (Kamphaengphet) on 8 November (AJ) and four Rufous-necked Hornbills at nearby Chong Yen on 21 October (NU).

Roughly 500 martins, of which at least 200 were Nepal House Martins, were seen at Lan Hin Pum, Phu Hin Rongkla (Phitsanuloke) on (RuK,SuK). More Tiger Shrikes were seen at Khao Nang Rum, Huai Kha Khaeng (Uthai Thani) on 6 September (two on 7 September) and on Ko Pratong on 11 September (WS). A Hair-crested Drongo appeared on the Bangkhunthien Campus of KMUTT (Bangkok) on 11 November (GG, AP). Giant Nuthatch was reported from Km 31, Doi Ang Khang (where it is a very rare bird indeed) on 27 October (SK, KK)

A male Siberian Thrush was seen along the road up to Khao Khieo, Khao Yai on 27 October (PE); an adult male Orange-headed Thrush at Mo-singto, Khao Yai on 28 October (AJP) and single male White-throated Rock Thrushes at Mo-singto on 23 November (GG) and at Wiang Kosai (Phrae) on 23 October (TD). A male Jerdon's Bushchat was present at Doi Phu Kha on 25 October (NU). A male Daurian Redstart at 900 m in Thongphaphum National Park (Kanchanaburi) on 1 November (RK) is the southernmost record. Other range extensions of montane birds from this latter site were Hill Prinia, on 31 October, and Grey-cheeked Fulvetta, 2 November (RK). Black-eared Shrike Babbler (many, during 1-2 November, RK) narrowed an apparent distributional gap between Doi Inthanon and Kaeng Krachan. A Dark-sided Flycatcher appeared in mangrove scrub at Rangjan on 5 October (AR,WS); with a Ferruginous Flycatcher at Doi Phu Kha on 26 October (NU) and another at Muniti Maharat (Pathumthani) on 26 October (PE). An immature or female Yellow-rumped Flycatcher was seen at Sap Fa Pha saltlick, Huai Kha Khaeng (Uthai Thani) on 7 September (WS) and a brown-headed male Sapphire Flycatcher photographed on Doi Ang Khang on 28 October (SK,KK) . There were two female Blue-and-white Flycatchers at Doi Phu Kha on 26 October (NU), and three different birds, said to be a male, female and first-winter male, at Mae Puh, Doi Ang Khang on 26 October (SK KK). A first-winter male Chinese Blue Flycatcher was found in a woodlot at Salaya (Nakhok Pathom) on 11 November (PDR).

Sulphur-breasted Warbler was noted at Doi Phu Kha on 26 October (NU), and was plentiful in Khao Yai during 31 October to 3 Nov ember (AJP,PDR). An Eastern Crowned Leaf Warbler at Mosingto, Khao Yai on 3 November (PDR) was presumably a late passage migrant. Single Lesser Whitethroats were reported from edges of a pine plantation, Km 34.5 Doi Inthanon, 25 October, with two more in paddies near Ban Arunothai (Chiang Mai) on 28 October (YM). Two White-chested Babblers at Ko Pratong on 11 September (WS) was a new record for the site.

A single Chestnut-cheeked Starling was seen in Chumphon on 31 October with two on 3 November (CN). There were from 8-17 Purple-backed Starlings present throughout 31 October to 24 November at the same site (CN). Chestnut-tailed Starlings were also reported from 31 October and 3 November (2); 10 November, (four birds showing characteristics of the race malabaricus) and 19 November (30 birds, including 4 malabaricus). A single Chestnut-tailed Starling was seen on 24 November (CN).

A non-breeding plumage Gould's Sunbird was seen at Doi Phu Kha on 27 October (NU).

Breeding records: Thung Song Hong (Bangkok) Coppersmith Barbet, pair excavating hole, 15 October (BM); Yellow-vented Bulbul nest completed 11 October; two eggs; two young 31 October (BM). Mahidol University, Phaya Thai (Bangkok): nest of Olive-backed Sunbird fledged two young on 26 November (SP)

Bung Boraphet (Nakhon Sawan): Cotton Pygmy-goose with brood of 14 ducklings, 9 September; Black Bittern nest and two young in scrub woodland, 17 August (SS)

Contributors: Kluey Bangphra, Kasetsart University Bird Club, Suchart Daengphayon, Mick Davies, Daoroong Davies, Robert DeCandido, M.L. Thoswan Devakul, Peter Ericsson, Dr. George Gale, Plaes Halsson, Anutin Janteva, Khanit Kanikul, Dr. Rungsrit Kanjanavanit (RuK), Dr. Suparat Kanjanavanit (SuK), R. Kennett (RKe), Suppalak Klabdee, Rattapon Klaichit, Mark Mallalieu, Yotin Meekaeo, Miss B. Mountfield, Porpol Nontapa, Andrew J. Pierce, Chatree Pitakpaivan, Pakawat Ponak, Chamaiporn Potipak, Sinad Prachumphandh, Dome Pratumtong, Kant Ratanajun, Arun Roisri, Philip D. Round, Apakorn Sae-tae, Wachara Sanguansombat, Jessada Sukpitak, Dr. Kaset Sutasha, Smith Suthibut, Thon Thamrongnawasawad, Sukanya Thanombuddha, Nick Upton, Kiat (surname unknown).

Compiled by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol



RECENT REPORTS
September – October 2003

Two immature frigatebirds over the coast off Tha Yang (Chumphon) on 10 October (RD, PDR et al.) were tentatively identified as Great Frigatebirds. Two Black Kites circling high above the emporium, Sukhumvit Road (Bangkok) on 21 September (PD) were perhaps the earliest arriving migrants. A male Hen Harrier was reported from Tha Yang on 23 September (SR), with, apparently, another passing on 11 October (WS). Five Booted Eagles, including two pale morphs, passed over Tha Yang during the Raptor Watch Festival weekend of 11–12 October (see Table below). The first Greater Spotted Eagle was seen on 17 October (RD) with four more at Kuiburi on the same day (MD).

Two Amur Falcons, one of which was an adult male, were seen over Doi Ang Khang (Chiang Mai) on 18 October (DM,DMo) with what was either an Amur Falcon or a Northern Hobby on Doi Inthanon on 20 October (PDR).

There were 15 Asian Dowitchers and probably 2000 Black-tailed Godwits on mudflat at the Tachin River Mouth (Samut Sakhon Mangrove Study Center) on 20 September (MM) and a dozen Great Knots at Khok Kham (Samut Sakhon) on 3 October (PE). A single Asian Dowitcher was also reported at Bang Pu (Samut Prakan) on 19 October along with 100 Brown-headed Gulls (NU) -- up from 28 on 11 October; PN).

About 40 Bridled Terns, including some chicks, were nesting at Ko Lorpee, 8 nautical miles NE of Narathiwat on 10 August (GC). 30 Roseate Terns were also seen in the same area, fishing offshore (GC). Two second-winter Heuglin's Gulls were present at Laem Phak Bia (Phetchaburi) on 5 October (DL,NU). Two Pied Imperial Pigeons flew over Tha Yang on 21 September (CN,SS,WS). A flock of at least ten Ashy Woodpigeons was seen on the summit of Doi Inthanon on 20 October (P & PS).

A flock of 350 Red-breasted Parakeets circling over cornfields east of Highway 304 (between Kabin Buri and Nakhon Ratchasima) near the village of Ban Ba Dan, on 7 September (BD), is a noteworthy concentration. A Chestnut-winged Cuckoo showed up in a garden at Saphan Mai (Bangkok) on 28 September (PE), with another at Doi Ang Khang on 16 October (PDR).

A Black-backed Kingfisher, a presumed passage migrant, was seen at Mosingto, Khao Yai on 16 September (KT). There was a Eurasian Wryneck at Wat Khao Takhrao on 3 October (DL,NU) while another, at Chumphon, on 10 October (RD) was probably the first record for the Thai-Malay Peninsula.

There was a Black-winged Cuckooshrike at Chumphon on 12 October (WS) and a Burmese Shrike and four Rufous Treepies at Bang Phra (Chonburi) on 19 October (NU). An immature Grey-backed Shrike was present on Doi Ang Khang on 18 October (DM, DMo, PDR). The first two migrant Black Drongos were seen in grassland at Khao Yai on 27 September (GG,PDR), and by 29 September there was a major influx (AJP). A leucogenis race Ashy Drongo was seen off Sukhumvit Road (Bangkok) on 8 October (BD). No Siberian Blue Robins were reported before 26 September (Khao Yai: PDR). The first Pale-legged Leaf Warbler was at Mosingto, Khao Yai, on 27 September (AJP). Two Arctic Warblers were also present at Khao Yai on 30 September (AJP) and the first Asian Stubtail was seen at Nam Nao on 17 October (NU). A Ferruginous Flycatcher appeared along the jeep track, Doi Inthanon, 20 October (PDR). Rufous-bellied Nilltava was seen on Doi Ang Khang on 18 October (SS,AW,WW) and a Vivid Niltava was reported from the same location on 17 October (DM, DMo). A female or immature Asian Paradise-flycatcher entered a garden off Sukhumvit Road around 12 September (BD).

Four White-shouldered Starlings entered a roost at Bang Khunthien (Bangkok) on 22 September (NU). Two flocks totaling 62 and 66 Purple-backed Starlings flew through at Tha Yang from 07:30–10:30 h on 21 September (CN,SS,WS), with. roughly 100 present at the usual roost near the sports ground on 11 October (many observers). A single male Chestnut-cheeked Starling was also present and was likewise (eventually) seen by the assembled happy throng. The first reported White Wagtail was from Khao Yai on 25 September (PDR). There were already "many" Crested Buntings on Doi Ang Khang on 18 October (SS,AW,WW).

Corrections: The "Milky Stork" first reported at Wat Khao Takhrao on 31 August seems probably to be a leucistic Painted Stork. Some black freckling is visible on the scapulars in photographs examines, while observers have reported that it possesses and all-dark underwing.

Breeding records:

Khao Yai: Female Crested Goshawk carrying nest material, 27 September (GG); two short-tailed, dependent young White-crested Laughingthrushes, 25 and 26 September (AJP,PDR).

Kaeng Krachan: Eared Pitta was photographed on the nest, presumably incubating, 17 September (DN/WCS).

Contributors:

Gawin Chutima, Mick Davies, Bob Dawson, Robert DeCandido, Peter Davidson, Peter Ericsson, Dr. George Gale, David Lewis, Mark Mallalieu, Daniel Mirecki, David Morrison (DMo), Dusit Ngoprasert/Wildlife Conservation Society, Porpol Nontapa, Andrew J. Pierce ,Philip D. Round, Pinit and Piyanipa Saengkaew, Surachai Rungkunakorn, Suthee Supparatvikorn, Nick Upton, Wachara Sanguansombat, Suthee Supparatvikorn, Kihoko Tokue, Anurat Wattannawongsawang, Watanawong Wongpan.

Compiled by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol


Raptor Watch 2003: Tambol Tha Yang, A. Muang, Chumphon

The Chumphon Raptor Watch Festival 2003 was a great success, with even more observers present than last year, and lots of birds and, of course, much happy socializing. The weather was hot with only a little rain. The birds came through very high for much of the time, but those who stayed till late afternoon were rewarded with some great views. The sheer number of Chinese Sparrowhawks was amazing, with one flock alone on 11 September estimated at 1100 birds, strung out across the sky. Most of those who were hoping to add Booted Eagle to their Thai lists were eventually rewarded by good views of this scarce migrant, though the great scarcity of Grey-faced Buzzards during the festival, in contrast to last year, was surprising.

With a number of different counts, from different observers, it gets hard to come up with one accepted set of totals. Below are presented three sets of counts received so far. Those provided by Robert DeCandido are the most authoritative, since he has managed systematic daily coverage since the end of September. The task of counting the large numbers of Blue-tailed Bee-eaters, passing throughout, was too great for one or two counters but Robert did count Black Drongos. Other migrants which came through included small numbers of Grey-headed Lapwings, Oriental Pratincoles, Richard's Pipits and Ashy Minivets.

We thank Robert DeCandido for his efforts in covering this migration. As ever, we owe our grateful thanks to Chukiat Nualsri and his staff at Tambol Tha Yang for their superb arrangements and hospitality.

Species 21-22 Sept.* 11-12 Oct. ** end Sept.-19 Oct***
Osprey

 

5

24

Oriental Honey-buzzard

23

1,467

13,912

Black Kite

 

5

102

Eastern Marsh Harrier

1

2

119

Pied Harrier

 

1

10

Chinese Sparrowhawk

1402

14,030

55,525

Japanese Sparrowhawk

940

413

3,398

Shikra

 

1

 

Accipiter sp.

1849

 

 

Grey-faced Buzzard

 

7

285

Common Buzzard

 

2

8

Greater Spotted Eagle

 

 

1

Booted Eagle

 

5

5

Common Kestrel

 

 

2

Eurasian Hobby

 

 

1

Peregrine Falcon

 

 

7

Black Drongo

 

 

5,231

Observers

*Chukiat Nualsri, Wachara Sanguansombat, Suthee Supparatvikorn

**Raptor Watch Festival 2003; numbers provided by courtesy of Chukiat Nualsri

***Robert DeCandido



RECENT REPORTS
July - September 2003

An Oriental Darter was seen at the Srinakarind Dam (Kanchanaburi) on 15 June (AS,PT,KY) and another at the Phasak Cholasit Dam (Lopburi) on 31 July (AN). Five Intermediate Egrets near Wat Khao Takhrao (Phetchaburi) on 24 August (PDR,NU) were unusually early. A single Grey Heron, the first for the autumn, was present at Laem Phak Bia (Phetchaburi) on 6 August.

The first presumed returning Chinese Pond Herons were 4 flying south in Vientiane Laos on 24 August (JWD) with a further 49 in the first 90 minutes after dawn on the following day; a flock of 30 south of Udon Thani on 26 August, and further singles along the railway line as far south as Khon Kaen (JWD).

Ponds near Wat Khao Takhrao held a total of 60 Painted Storks,11 Spot-billed Pelicans and 5 Black-headed Ibises on 8 August (MM); 204 Painted Storks (> 90% adults) and 23 Spot-billed Pelicans at on 24 August (PDR,NU); 150 Painted Storks, a single Milky Stork, 11 Spot-billed Pelicans and a single Black-headed Ibis on 31 August (DL,NU); and 46 Painted Storks, a Milky Stork and 56 Spot-billed Pelicans on 7 September (MM).

Two Chinese Francolins, 6–10 Rain Quails and threeYellow-legged Buttonquails were recorded along with the expected Barred Buttonquail at Bang Phra (Chonburi) on 13 September (DL, NU).

The start of autumn passage for Japanese Sparrowhawks at the Tha Yang (Chumphon) raptor-watch site was logged on 12 September, with small numbers that day and on succeeding days to 18 September (CN). Another, a juvenile, was reported from Bang Phra on 13 September (DL,NU).

There was a count of at least 70 Eurasian Thick-knees at the usual site at Pong Salot (Phetchaburi) on 24 August (PDR,NU) and 31 August (DL,NU). Four River Lapwings were seen on a river bank 10 km from the main entrance of Khao Sok National Park (Surat Thani) on 6 August (MM), while two Grey-headed Lapwings at the Samut Sakhon Mangrove Study Center on 13 September (MM,CP) is the earliest return date for the Central Plains/Gulf area. There were 22 Eurasian Curlews, 185 Whimbrel, a distant mixed flock of a further 90 birds of both species; two Bar-tailed Godwits and 62 Great Knot at Laem Phak Bia on 6 August (MM). Single Ruff were still present at Laem Phak Bia on 6 August (MM) and 14 August (KR,PDR) and a single Asian Dowitcher on mudflats at Khok Kham on 13 September (MM,CP). Three Common Redshanks photographed at Mae Hia (Chiang Mai) on 4 September (CK) was apparently the first record for the province.

Ko Saak, Hat Sairee (Chumphon) held 25 Bridled Terns and 22 Black-naped Terns on 6 July (CN). Three nests of Black-naped Tern with young were also reported.

A single Broad-billed Sandpiper was present at Kalong on 17 August (NU).

Pheasant-tailed Jacanas with both a bird incubating or brooding, and elsewhere, two nearly full-grown chicks, were seen at Ban Chalerm Prakiat (Samut Songkhram) on 24 August (PDR,NU). The first-reported Whiskered Terns were three at Wat Khao Takhrao on 31 August (RL, NU) with two Gull-billed Terns at Laem Phak Bia on 14 September (KR,PDR).

There were three Pied Imperial Pigeons at Ko Saak on 6 July (CN) and 15 at Aao Thung, Makham Noi (Chumphon) on 20 July (CN). The earliest noted passage of Blue-tailed Bee-eaters at Tha Yang, Chumphon was on 29 August, when at least 16 moved south. Small numbers were seen daily thereafter (CN).

A male Blue-rumped Pitta was found at the side of the trail near the waterfall, Khao Soi Dao on 23 July (AN). A single Burmese Shrike, a male, at Pong Salot on 31 August (DL,NU) was an early record Tiger Shrike was killed against a window in Khao Yai on 30 August (DP, SS). Other Tiger Shrikes, singles, were at Laem Phak Bia on 6–7 September (MM,SS,PDR) and 14 September (PDR,KR). A female incei Asian Paradise-flycatcher was seen at Laem Phak Bia on 6-7 September (MM,SS,PDR) and an immature on 13 September (PDR,KR). Generally, though, the site was rather quiet for landbird migrants.

An Orange-headed Thrush at Doi Tung (Chiang Rai) on 9 August (AN) is a new locality record.

The first Purple-backed Starlings, a flock of 46, were reported at the Chumphon Provincial Sports Stadium on 18 September (CN). There was a maximum count of 28 Asian Glossy Starlings at the same siteon 29 July (CN)

A male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher was reported at Kaeng Krachan on 28 August (per SK). Two more, one an adult male, were seen at Khao Yai headquarters on 30 August (DP,SS), with two at Laem Phak Bia (KR, PDR) and a single at Bang Phra (NU) on 13 August. The first Common Stonechat was reported from Bang Phra on 13 August (NU) and first Oriental Reed Warbler at Laem Phak Bia on 13 September (PDR, KR). There were also six different Pallas's Grasshopper Warblers in sedge-beds at the same site on 13–14 September (KR, PDR).

Late records

16 Whiskered Terns at Muang Boran (Samut Prakan) on 7 June (NU) seem to be late-departing migrants.

Breeding records:

Blue Pitta nest and six young (!), 1.5 m up in the fork of a trunk, Khao Yai, 19 August (NJ,KP). Eared Pitta nest with three young on a low bank, Ban Krang, Kaeng Krachan, 2 September (per SK)

White-browed Shortwing: male feeding a juvenile and a female entering a nest, Doi Inthanon, 6 August (AN). Pygmy Wren Babbler, carrying food for young, Doi Inthanon, 10 August (KW).

Contributors: J.W. Duckworth, Narong Jirawatkawi, Suppalak Klabdee, Chitapong Kuawong, David Lewis, Mark Mallalieu, Albert Noorlander, Chukiat Nualsri, Kamol Plongmai, Colin Poole, Dome Pratumtong, Kant Ratanajun, Philip D. Round, Apakorn Sae-tang, Somchai Sermsinchaiyakul, Poingsak termtana, Nick Upton, Krisakorn Wongkornwuthi, Kongroi Yimmongkol.

Compiled by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol



Critical shorebird wintering and staging area in the Gulf of Thailand threatened by a planned offshore causeway to southern Thailand. Part I: Wetland Wilderness Under Threat. || Part II: A Place in the Sun. By Philip D. Round. Bangkok Post, 24 August 2003.


RECENT REPORTS
April - August 2003

There were 25 free-flying Spot-billed Pelicans and eleven nestlings at the Dusit Zoo (Bangkok) on 27 April 2003 (JM). There were 20–30 Indian Cormorants near The Ancient City (Samut Prakan) on 6 July (NU), and a new nesting colony of Indian Cormorants at Khok Kham (Samut Sakhon) during July (RJ).

A remarkable "new" wetland site, Huai Ta Kao, in Huai Thab Than-Huai Samran Wildlife Sanctuary (Surin). held no fewer than 19 Oriental Darters, 8 Great Cormorants (overspill from the Cambodian breeding population?), four Indian Cormorants, two Brahminy Kites and an immature fish-eagle, thought to be a Grey-headed Fish Eagle when visited on 30–31 July (DP,AR,KS,WS). Another Oriental Darter and an Osprey were present at Palan Sua Reservoir, inside Phu Jong Na Yoi National Park (Ubon Ratchathani).

There were 60 Painted Storks, 11 Spot-billed Pelicans and 5 Black-headed Ibises at Wat Khao Takhrao (Phetchaburi) on 8 August (MM), and at least 110 Painted Storks on saltpans at Laem Phak Bia on 9 August (PDR, KS, SS, NU). A Greater Flamingo nearby may have been the same presumed escaped individual seen at Khok Kham last month (PDR, KS, SS, NU).

Two Black Bazas near the headquarters of Khao Soi Dao on 26-27 June (DP,AR,KS,WS) are surely indicative of breeding there. Another near the Khao Yai National Park headquarters on 20–22 June (DP,AR,KS,WS) marks the second successive year with a breeding season record for the park. Elsewhere in the Phanom Dongrak range in Ubon Ratchgathani Province, Black Bazas were reported from Yot Dom (one on 1 August); Phu Jong Na Yoi (five, 2 August) and Buntharik-Yot Mon Wildlife Sanctuary (two, 3 August; DP,AR,KS,WS). Five Rufous-winged Buzzards and two Red-wattled Lapwings were noted from Pha Taem (Ubon) on 5 August (DP,AR,KS,WS) while Rufous-bellied Eagle and Osprey were found in Khu Khan District (Sisaket) inside the Huai Sala Wildlife Sanctuary on 31 July(DP,AR,KS,WS). Siamese Fireback was noted in Phu Jong Na Yoi on 2 August (DP,AR,KS,WS). Bar-backed Partridges, a pair with "several" young were said to feeding on (presumably fallen) wild lychee fruit at Kaeng Krachan on 8 July (MR,WS). Two Ferruginous Partridges were seen at Kaeng Krachan, Km 16, on 12 July (ST).

An adult White-bellied Sea Eagle was seen hitting a juvenile Mountain Hawk Eagle in flight at Yangchum Lake, Kuiburi (Prachuap Khirikhan) on 12 June (MD,DD). A recently fledged juvenile White-bellied Sea Eagle, with some down still adhering, was seen in the same area on 5 July (DD,MD). Immature Lesser Fish Eagle was seen at the Rajaprabha Reservoir, Khao Sok/Khlong Saen (Surat Thani) on 27 May (MR,WS). A juvenile hawk-eagle, photographed at Promloke Waterfall, Khao Luang (Nakhon Si Thammarat) on 4 July (AJ) was almost certainly Wallace's Hawk Eagle.

A Peregrine Falcon showing characteristics of F.p. peregrinator was seen near Yangchum Lake on 30 June and was apparently still present on 2 August (MD).

A single Eurasian Curlew flying south over Muniti Maharat (Pathumthani) on 9 August (PE) was an unusual inland record. There were five Ruff at Laem Phak Bia on 9 August (PDR,NU) and a single Ruff and at least one Asian Dowitcher at Kalong on 17 August (PE). A single Bridled Tern was seen with Black-naped Terns at Ko Khrok, Pattaya (Chonburi) on 14 June (MR,WS). A breeding plumage River Tern was seen at Pasak Cholasit Dam (Lopburi) on 3 August (SW) but was not present on 5 August when searched for by SuT. This is only the second record of this near-extirpated nester on riverine sandbars in the past decade, making a grand total of three central plains records, all of which were in the wet-season.

A Little Cuckoo Dove flew past in mixed deciduous woodland in the foothills at Nong Ya Plong Hot Springs (Phetchaburi) on 2 August (PDR).

A juvenile Chestnut-winged Cuckoo was seen at Km 25, Doi Inthanon on 26 July (AJ). Indian Cuckoo was photographed near the Bala sector of Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary (Narathiwat) on 12 July (CP). Moustached Hawk Cuckoo was reported from forest inland of Yangchum Lake, Kuiburi on 1 August (DD,MD). A pair of Great Hornbills were photographed near the Dan Phaem Guard Station of San Pan Daen Wildlife Sanctuary, Pang Mapha District (Mae Hongson) on 26 May (PY). Most hornbills have been hunted out from much of the north-west, so this was a very welcome sighting. They were thought to be taking fruits of Polyalthia, and there was a seemingly occupied nest-hole nearby. A Rufous-collared Kingfisher was seen in forest in Kuiburi District on 1 August (DD.MD).

The earliest reported Common Kingfisher was at Laem Phak Bia on 10 August (AK).

A Tiger Shrike in adult plumage at Kaeng Krachan on 19 July (PS) was doubly unusual. It was about three weeks earlier than the previous earliest, and in addition had not yet undergone a post-breeding moult. A Crow-billed Drongo reported from Kaeng Krachan on 12 July (ST) was outside the usual range of dates for migrants.

At least 10 Blue Magpies, including some juveniles were seen at Phutthamonthol (Nakhon Pathom) on 5 May (MR,WS). Both Black-throated Laughingthrush (one) and three Greater Necklaced Laughingthrushes were seen at Phutthamonthol on 5 May (MR,WS).

A fresh-plumaged Asian Brown Flycatcher at Nong Ya Plong Not Springs on 2 August (PDR) was strongly streaked on the breast, and was presumed to be a resident or short-distance migrant siamensis. A second individual, a first-year, was at Laem Phak Bia on 10 August (PDR, PS). The first Yellow-rumped Flycatcher of the autumn, an adult male, was seen at Lampang on 9 August (BL).

The earliest Grey Wagtail was at Kaeng Krachan on 12 July (ST), with at least two Forest Wagtails at Mae Wong (Kamphaengphet) on 16 August (PDR). At least 10 pairs of Asian Golden Weavers were nesting around Phutthamonthol on 3 May (MR,WS). There were also about 20 Asian Golden Weaver nests and a pair of Red Avadavats near the Ancient City on 6 July (NU).

A colony of House Sparrows in the Na Jaluey District Market was said to have at least 60 nests, with an estimated 40–500 birds present (DP,AR,KS,WS).

Breeding records:

Khao Khieo (Chonburi): ST, 4 July: Yellow-vented Bulbul incubating; Vinous-breasted Starling feeding young in nest; Plain-backed Sparrow nest-building.

Kaeng Krachan: Rusty-naped Pitta nest and three small young at Km 18 (only 300 m elevation) on 27 July (per SK); Blue-throated Barbet excavating nest-hole, 12 July (ST); Great Slaty Woodpecker with two nearly full grown young in the nest, 12 July (ST); Green Magpie incubating 12 July (ST).

KMUTT, Bangkhuntien White-breasted Waterhen, two adults with two small downy, all-black chicks (GG, TS) 8 August.

Kha Pra Thaeo, Phuket, 25 May: (WS,MR) Red-throated Barbet at nest hole, 25 May; Greater Green Leafbird female carrying food.

Khao Sok, Surat Thani, 27 May, (MR,WS): Black and red-Broadbill adult and young, Asian Paradise-flycatcher, fledged juveniles; Pin-tailed Parrotfinches, fledged juveniles.

Budo (Narathiwat) Puff-throated Babbler nest and young, July (KW).

Bala Sector, Hala-Bala (Narathiwat) Chestnut-naped Forktail male keeping company with one recently fledged juvenile, July (GG,PDR).

Contributors: Mick Davies, Dawroong Davies, Peter Ericsson, George Gale, Anutin Janteva, Ayuwat Jianwattanakanok, Roongroj Jukmongkol, Amphaiwan Kitsatit, Suppalak Klabdee, Bengt Legnell, Mark Mallalieu, Jonathan Murray, Chatree Pitakpaivan, Dome Pratumtong, Mark Read, Arun Roisri, Philip D. Round, Pinit Saengkaew, Wachara Sanguansombat, Thommaso Savini, Worawan Simaroj, Kulapat Soralum, Kampol Sukhumalind (KaS), Smith Suthibut, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak, Sukanya Thanombuddha (SuT), Nick Upton, Kwanchai Waiphanyakam, Suppawat Wajakiat, Pathom Yimmongkol.

Compiled by Philip Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol


Asian Midwinter Waterfowl Census 2003

Counts of 28 wetland sites were conducted by over 22 observers during the Asian Midwinter Waterfowl Census, from 11 January to 9 February 2003. The geographical coverage was from the northern provinces of Lampang and Phetchabun, the north-east (Buriram), the lower central plain and parts of the inner gulf, in the peninsula from Prachuap Khiri Kan to Chumphon, Phangn-nga, Krabi and Nakhon Si Thammarat. This resulted in a total of 63,935 waterfowl of 80 species being counted.

Overall, this was an excellent effort: the response from BCST members and friends, and BCST office staff, who helped coordinate survey, was very praiseworthy. Special note should be taken of the submission from staff of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation staff in Buriram, for sustaining their annual coverage of key wetlands in Buriram Province including Sanambin and Huai Talat.

Globally threatened species counted were three Spoonbilled Sandpipers (Khok Kham), 7 Nordmann's Greenshank (Krabi), three Black-faced Spoonbills (Phetchaburi) and 10 Lesser Adjutants (Ko Pratong). The most numerous species counted were Lesser Whistling-duck (24,741), Brown-headed Gull (10,023), Little Cormorant (3899) and Purple Swamphen (1900). Also of note was the single largest count of Grey Herons ever made, 450 birds, on ponds around Phetchaburi. Another nationally scarce species was Painted Stork (34 birds).

Numbers of wildfowl, other than whistling-ducks, were rather low with only 755 Garganey, 188 Northern Pintail and 187 Cotton Pygmy-geese being counted. This reflects the fact that neither Nong Bong Kai and the Chiang Saen wetlands, nor Bung Boraphet -- both of which are very important for wintering ducks -- was counted. (Partial counts of a few scarcer species at both sites, which do not feature in this summary, were received earlier in the winter, however.) In future years, special effort should be made to count these sites more or less comprehensively during the January count period, especially in view of their importance for the globally threatened Baer's Pochard and Ferruginous Pochard. More widespread coverage of the inner gulf and the lower central plain would also have been desirable. The globally important concentration of Asian Openbills in the lower central plain was not featured, as neither breeding nor feeding areas were censused.

Contributors to the Asian Midwinter Waterfowl Census (with apologies to anyone omitted in error) were:

Dr. Panom Archarit, Suphawadee Burapunt and Kasetsart University Bird Club, Piyapong Chantipunta, Suchart Daengphayon, Vibul Deeprasertsit, Jon Dunn, Alec and Napat Gordon, Boonrod Kheowyoo, Kritsana Suriyo, and Ban Lad Witthaya School, Wasant Kiatthanomkit and Ban Nong Bon School Bird Lovers' Club, Chukiat Nualsri, Santana Pluemshoosak, Sathaporn Pothisakha, Dome Pratumtong, Philip Round, Chuchat Saengob and the Mae Moh Bird and Nature Club; Wachara Sanguansombat, Somchai Sermsinchaiyakul, Ouayphorn Sophasunthorn, Torsak Sunthraporn, Sukanya Thanombhuddha.

Compiled by Philip Round and Ms Bubphar Amget



RECENT REPORTS May -- early July 2003

A colony of 4–5 nests of Indian Cormorants near the Mangrove Research Center, 5 June (AJ). Five Lesser Adjutants were seen over Muniti Maharat (Pathumthani) on 27 April (PE). Genuinely wild, or loose birds from Safari World?

Brief excitement was occasioned by a Greater Flamingo which showed up on flooded salt-pans at Khok Kham (Samut Sakhon) on 2 July (SD,RJ, et al.) It had presumably escaped from captivity. All the primaries and secondaries appeared equally fresh, as if they had recently grown simultaneously, yet most of the secondaries on the right wing were missing, as if clipped.

A Peregrine Falcon, apparently showing the rufous underparts of the race peregrinator, was killing and eating Spotted Doves at Mae Hia (Chiang Mai) on 23 June (RK).

There were still ca. 300-400 Black-tailed Godwits on mudflats between Kalong and Rangjan (Samut Sakhon) on 25 May, with five Caspian Terns at Khok Kham (PE). Two Northern Thick-knees were seen at at Ban Pong Salong Tha Yang District (Phetchaburi) on 15 June (PE).

No Brown-headed Gulls remained at Bang Pu on 1 June, and there were only very small numbers of other birds (one Common Redshank and 8 Lesser Sand Plovers. (PN).

At least 150 Whiskered Terns, together with a few White-winged Terns, were still present off Samut Sakhon Mangrove Research Center on 31 May (PDR,PS,PV) and there were ca. 20 Common Redshank at Khok Kham on 2 July. (PDR).

Both Rain Quail and Rufous Treepie at Bang Phra, 25 May (NT). A Chestnut-winged Cuckoo at Salaya on 28 June (PDR) was an unexpected record, since this is outside the normal passage season, yet this species is typically a parasite of laughingthrush nests and should have no business in the central plains at this time of year.

A single Silver-backed Needletail was still present at Khao Yai on 29 May. (AJP).

Possible Red-naped Trogon heard at Km 17, Kaeng Krachan on 1 June. (AJ). Rufous-collared Kingfisher has been showing well at the same site, 1 June (AJ) and June. (SK).

Two Giant Pittas were heard calling Km 16, Kaeng Krachan, 1-3 June (MG) and a male seen, and photographed from a blind while coming to drink, late afternoon, on 27 June. (SK). A second bird, a presumed female, was heard calling across the road.

House Sparrow was reported from Aranyapreathet (Sa Kaeo) on 21 June. (PJ,NN).

Breeding records:

Doi Inthanon (ST): Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo with fledged young, Km 38, 16 May; White-browed Shortwing nest-building, summit, 15 May; one pair with nest and young and another with fledged young, 10 June; Slaty-bellied Tesia nest-building, Km 38, 16 May; Pygmy Wren Babbler with fledged young, Km 38, 10 June; Silver-eared Mesia nest-building, 18 May and another with fledged young, 9 June; White-tailed Robin nest and young, Km 34.5, 9 June; Verditer Flycatcher nest and young, Km 34.5, 18 May; Large Niltava nest and young, Km 38; Little Pied Flyatcher with fledged young, Km 38, 10 June.

Thap Lan (Nakhon Ratchasima: Large Woodshrike and two recent fledglings, 14 June (ST) Sakaerat (Nakhon Ratchasima) Scaly-crowned Babbler with two recent fledlings, 15 June. (ST).

Kaeng Krachan, 24–26 May (ST); 8 June (per SK); 15 June and 29 June (PE):

Scaly-breasted Partridge incubating 25 May and 8 June; Red-legged Crake incubating 6 eggs on 8 June; birds presumed hatched eggshells remaining, 15 June; Blue-banded Kingfisher incubating 25 May; nest with three chicks, 8 June and young still in the nest 15 June; Blue-bearded Bee-eater nest and young, Km 15,26 May; Green-eared barbet and fledged young, 24 May; Blue-winged Pitta nest and three chicks, 8 June; Blue Pitta, pair nest-building; nest 4 m up in the crotch of a trunk; Eared Pitta incubating 26 May but nest believed predated on night of 7-8 June); Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike nest and two young, 25 May; Black-naped Monarch nest and young, 25 June. Crested Jay, nest and two young, thought to be 8–10 days old, 29 June.

Lum Lukka, Rangsit, Khlong 5, Pathumthani (PE): Two pairs of Asian Golden Weavers nest-building, 4 June; Muniti Maharat, Pathumthani (PE): Nest and young of Small Minivet, 6 July; reportedly several birds participating in the feeding of the young.

Salaya (Nakhon Pathom) (IG): Common Tailorbird, nest-building in a Heliconia, 16 June; nest with four eggs 25 June; bird still incubating, 30 June. When revisited on 27 June it was noticed that one of the eggs slightly larger than the others, and was probably that of Plaintive Cuckoo. Plain Prinia nest and two young, 25 June.

Contributors:

Peter Ericsson, Mark Gilston, Ian Grange, Anutin Janteva, Panuwat Julawat, Dr. Rungsrit Kanjanavanit, Suppalak Klabdee, Nature Trails, Porpol Nontapa, Nomjit Nualnetr, Andrew J. Pierce, Philip D. Round, Dr. Pinsak Surasawasdi, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak, Porndeb Vivatassawin.

Compiled by Philip Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol


Planting mangroves: "reforestation", habitat conversion or habitat destruction?

Philip Round

Tree-planting is a popular, and high-profile activity in Thailand. Every rainy season, province governors or other prominent public figures, elected Members of Parliament, province or district councillors, village headmen, teachers, school parties, and private individuals, all participate. It's a good opportunity for the community and government officials to work together, meet old friends and make new acquaintances. Tree-planting is sometimes organised by, or with the active involvement of, the Royal Forest Department, though increasingly the impetus comes from subdistrict, district and provincial administrations. It may be funded from government funds, or through corporate donations. It's drilled into us from an early age that planting trees is praiseworthy and conserves or the environment. Not only do we have a pleasant day out, but we get the sense of doing something worthwhile, working hard in social activity for the public good. The questions of "Which trees should be planted?" "Where?"and "Why?" seldom get asked.

In recent years, we have seen a lot of planting of mangroves around our coasts. There is added sense of urgency, especially around Bangkok, where due to a combination of reasons, perhaps including the compaction of sediments due to over-extraction of ground-water, and reduced outflow from rivers due to the construction of dams upstream, the coastline has retreated by several tens or even a hundred or more metres in the past couple of decades. As we all know, but can scarcely bring ourselves to acknowledge openly, the threat of rising sea-levels means that the nation's capital city could be submerged beneath the sea in a century or so. And so barriers against flooding and increased coastal erosion are being considered. Long stretches of coast have already been embanked with concrete or boulders. But this is very expensive, and can alter tidal flow patterns or run-off and actually worsen coastal erosion in adjacent, unembanked stretches. Planting mangrove offers an alternative method of coast-protection which is gaining in popularity. Several sq km of mudflats in the provinces bordering the gulf have been planted with mangroves in recent years. Because this planting is carried out in a piecemeal, uncoordinated fashion, usually by district or subdistrict bodies, there is no one agency with precise data on the areas planted. But as birdwatchers, we have seen several important mudflats for birds planted over, from Laem Phak Bia in Phetchaburti to Bang Pu in Samut Prakan and elsewhere.

There has been little attention paid to the possible effects on mangrove planting upon the globally important mudflats of the Inner Gulf. These mudflats are the feeding areas of tens of thousands, probably hundreds of thousands, of migratory and resident shorebirds. Planting mangroves on open mudflats will deny access to these areas by the sandpipers, 'shanks, Black-winged Stilts and other birds which probe in the soft sediments for a variety of small prey, including molluscs, crustacean and annelid worms

As Paul Eftermeijer and Robin Lewis (1999) have pointed out, the term reforestation should never be used for planting mangroves on mudflats, since most such areas have never previously supported mangroves. Habitat conversion would therefore be more appropriate description of this activity. The mudflat habitat, already valuable due to its high density of benthic invertebrates that fulfill a range of ecological functions, and which incidentally supports large numbers of crab fishermen and shellfish collectors in addition to the migratory shorebirds, is being replaced by another. Eftemeijer and Lewis argue that the gains due to mangrove planting on mudflats are likely to be less than if the mangroves were planted in areas which formerly supported mangroves, but which have since lost them due to human activity. Most such areas have been turned into shrimp ponds or salt-pans, or are even now in the hands of private companies and land-speculators who hope to make a financial killing. It would be appropriate to reforest at least some of these areas, though it should be recognised that areas planted with just a few species, the usual forest department practice, will not resemble the formerly more diverse forests which have vanished into history. Of course, there are very good reasons why government officials do not want to involve themselves with such areas. They are afraid of coming into conflict with prawn-farmers. It is so much easier to use up your budget by planting on open mudflats, where you will "only" displace shorebirds (about which you know nothing in any case, so you do not worry!).

Unfortunately, we don't have too much information about densities of shorebird prey, such as polychaete worms, small molluscs and other invertebrates. Eftemeijer and Jukmongkol (1999) give some preliminary results of mudflat benthos sampling for a few areas only. We need to do many more surveys before we can determine which areas are most important for shorebirds, and what the impact of sacrificing some mudflat areas to mangrove plantations will be on shorebird populations in the gulf.

Although we can infer from what we know of shorebird feeding behaviour, that most species will not be able to exploit areas with dense cover or mangroves, we still do not know precisely what effects planting mangroves has upon mudflat productivity and the densities of various benthic invertebrates. Also, we don't have too much information about how planted areas are surviving in the inner gulf. Elsewhere, though, mortality of mangrove seedlings due to infestation by barnacles, wave action or sedimentation patterns is high. This means that in some areas, at least, planting mangroves may do nothing more than eat up budgets which might usefully be spent elsewhere. Nevertheless, there are some areas where the seedlings will survive, and these areas will be totally lost as shorebird feeding areas.

We should ask whether it is necessary to plant mangroves at all, given that, with time and unobstructed river outflows, mudflats will slowly accrete and mangroves will gradually colonise them. This process will stabilise the sediments and allow the mudflats to build up even further, so that both mangroves and mudflats will exist in a kind of dynamic balance. At the present time there is no sense of order or perspective: planting of mangroves is carried out wherever officials feel it is easy to do, while onshore, with no enforcement of zoning, developers are permitted to build factories and housing estates wherever they will, including areas with sea-frontage. This is really short-sighted, as in the future, as coastal erosion worsens taxpayers' money will be wasted in futile attempts to defend such areas from breach by the sea.

A continuation of current trends could lead to a bleak, sterile and birdless future for the gulf. Instead of the present rich mudflat ecosystem, due to rising sea-levels, all offshore areas could be either permanently under the sea, or blanketed in mangroves of one to three species, in just a few decades. Inland, concrete sea-walls and landfills will prevent the mudflats or coastal lagoons from "migrating" inland.

If we are really concerned about the future of Bangkok, we would do better to implement zoning, based on research, which would enable a comprehensive plan to be drawn up. This would enable decisions to be made about which areas should be allowed to remain as coastal swamps, so as to buffer tidal flooding; which areas are suitable for onshore development; which areas for biodiversity conservation, and whether some of these might be allocated for mangrove plantings.

The inner gulf of Thailand is one of a handful of shorebird sites in SE Asia of proven international importance, and possibly ranks along such sites as the Vietnamese Red River Delta and Hong Kong's Deep Bay in terms of the numbers and variety of shorebirds and other waterfowl it supports. The numbers of shorebirds using the gulf annually are thought to be in the region of 150,000 to 300,000 (Eftemeijer and Jukmongkol 1999; Round, 2000), with the populations of as many as 17 species of waterfowl being of international significance (>1% of the flyway population) (Round, 2000). It deserves much more attention and concern from both government and international conservation bodies than it has received up to present.

References

Erftemeijer, P.L.A and Lewis, R.R. 1999. Planting Mangroves on Intertidal Mudflats: Habitat Restoration or Habitat Conversion? Paper presented at the ECOTONE-VIII Seminar "Enhancing Coastal Ecosystem Restoration for the 21st century". Ranong and Phuket, 23–28 May 1999.

Erftemeijer P.L.A. and Jugmongkol, R. 1999. Migratory Shorebirds and their habitats in the Inner Gulf of Thailand. Wetlands International Publication No. 13. Wetlands International and Bird Conservation Society of Thailand, Bangkok and Hat Yai, Thailand.

Round, P.D. 2000. Waterfowl and their Habitats in the Gulf of Thailand. Paper presented at OEPP Wetlands 2000 Meeting, 2–3 February 2000.



RECENT REPORTS
March - May 2003

A dark storm-petrel, thought to be Swinhoe's Storm-petrel, was seen on the crossing between Mu Ko Surin and Khuraburi (Phang-nga) on 4 May (BBC,SR). Three juvenile frigatebirds over the sea off Khok Kham (Samut Sakhon) on 27 April were tentatively identified as Christmas Frigatebird (MM). (This also accords with last month's report from Bang Pu. Although originally reported as possible Great Frigatebird, photographs seem to indicate it was Christmas too.) Three or four Javan Pond Herons and a single Indian Pond Heron were reported from the Phuket Recycling Center on 26 April (IS), with another Indian Pond Heron at Prachuap Khiri Khan on 8 May (PE). There was a Schrenck's Bittern on Ko Surin on 4 May (BBC,SR). The highest count of Lesser Adjutants on Ko Pratong (Phang-nga) was 16 on 8 April (WS). Two Spot-billed Ducks were present on the Mekong River at Thabsangao, Pakchom District (Loei) on 4 May (MAA).

There were 22 Black Bazas in Khao Yai on 3 April (AJP); single Chinese Sparrowhawks at Ko Pratong on 12 April (WS), Doi Phu Kha (Nan) on 22 April, and five over Doi Ang Khang (Chiang Mai) on 23 April (AC,MD,PDR). Five Oriental Honey-buzzards flew over the Phanoen Thung Ridge, Kaeng Krachan (Phetchaburi) on 25 April (AR,WS,KS). There was a Common Kestrel on Ko Pratong on 10 April (WS); an Amur Falcon at Doi Ang Khang on 19 April (UT); a pair of Oriental Hobbies at Khao Khanab Nam (Krabi) on 2 May (AC,MD,YM,PDR) and a very dark-looking immature Peregrine Falcon at Salaya (Nakhon Pathom) on 21 May (PDR). Among non-migrant raptors, a Mountain Hawk Eagle was seen perched near Khlong E-Thao, Khao Yai on 17 May (GG,AP,PDR).

Black-tailed Crake was reported from ca. 300 m at Fern Resort, Mae Hongson by WH (per MM) on 18 April. This is the fourth locality for Thailand, and seemingly at a much lower elevation than any previous. There was a single Grey-tailed Tattler at Khok Kham on 27 April (MM), though Bang Pu (Samut Prakan) produced 14 Grey-tailed Tattlers, two Asian Dowitchers and a Great Knot on 4 May (MM). By 10 May there were no fewer than 23 Grey-tailed Tattlers at the high-tide roost at Bang Pu (MM) and an even more remarkable 27 on 15 May (AL). There were still at least 11 Sanderling at Laem Phak Bia on 28 April (AC,MD,PDR). Two Ruddy Turnstones were found on Hin Kong, Ko Surin on 21 March (PK) and at least two pairs of Malaysian Plovers on Ko Pratong on 7–9 April (WS). A pair of Beach Thick-knees showed distraction behaviour on Mu Ko Surin on 3 May (BBC,SR). There were 7 Small Pratincoles on the R. Mekong at Thabsangao on 4 May (MAA) while four Oriental Pratincoles flew south over the summit of Doi Inthanon on 4 May (AR,WS). Laem Phak Bia still held 25 Heuglin's Gulls, a single Lesser Crested Tern and six Great Crested Terns on 15 March (B), while 16 Lesser Crested Terns and one Great Crested Tern were still present at Paknam, Krabi on 2 May, along with a single breeding plumage White-winged Tern (AC, MD, YM, PDR). A single adult Roseate Tern was photographed with Black-naped Terns at Ko Stok, one of the Mu Ko Surin group, on 2 May (BBC,SR). There was a dark morph Pomarine Skua on the boat crossing between Khura Buri and Mu Ko Surin on 1 May (BBC), and another followed a flock of White-winged Terns off Prachuap Khiri Khan on 8 May (PE).

There were still 3 Speckled Woodpigeons on Doi Inthanon (KM 43) on 7 May (AR,WS). A grey morph Oriental Cuckoo was seen at Kamphaengsaen on 19 March (NT). An Indian Cuckoo calling at Mo-singto, Khao Yai on 18 April (AJP,PDR) is one of very few records for the park. Rusty-breasted Cuckoo was reported from Phang-nga town on 6 May (PE). Short-toed Coucal was seen behind the research station at Bala (Narathiwat), 6 May (ST). Five White-throated Needletails at Kaeng Krachan on 13 March (B) were new for the park list. Two more were seen on 26 April, along with 2 Silver-backed Needletails, the customary Brown-backed Needletails, ca. 50 Pacific Swifts and a single Sand Martin (AR,WS,KS). A single Silver-backed Needletail was also present at Kaeng Krachan on 14 March (B), while two were still at Khao Yai on 14 May (PDR). Swiftlets, presumed Himalayan Swiftlets, were vocalising and in early stages of primary moult at Doi Phu Kha (Nan) on 10–11 May (BBC) suggesting resident status.

No fewer than six Wrinkled Hornbills were seen behind the Research Station at Bala on 21 April (PE). White-bellied Woodpecker was seen on Ko Surin on 3 May (BBC,SR) while 6 Plain-pouched Hornbills were identified near Khuan Sai Toei, Ban Bang Tieo (Krabi) on 16 May (NT). A Lesser Yellownape between Nong Pugshee and Khlong E-Tao, Khao Yai, on 17 May (GG,PDR) was an unusual record for the headquarters area of the park. A female Giant Pitta was seen at Bala (Narathiwat) on 22 April (PE). The earliest report of Blue-winged Pitta was at Ko Pratong on 9 April (WS). There were ca. 10 Dusky Crag Martins at Doi Phu Kha on 10–11 May, most in wing-moult (BBC). Tiger Shrikes were noted at Ban Bang Tieo (Krabi) on 23 April (AO), 30 April and 1 May (AC,MD,YM); and at Kaeng Krachan on 24 April (three, AR,WS,KS); and 27 April (AC,MD,PDR). At least three House Crows were feeding at the Phuket Recycling Center on 26 April (IS). It seems that this unwelcome nest-predator is gaining a significant foothold in the south. Four leucogenis Ashy Drongos at the viewpoint, Km 32, Kaeng Krachan on 25 April (AR,WS,WS) were perhaps indicative of ongoing passage. A short-tailed fledgling Black-naped Oriole, with an adult in attendance, at Mahidol University (Bangkok) on 13 May (PDR), provides firm evidence of the breeding of this species in the Central Plain. (Previous verbal reports of the nesting of Black-naped Oriole were never supported by written accounts.) At least one Blue Magpie was still present at Salaya on 12 May (PDR). A remarkable nine Beautiful Nuthatches were seen on Doi Dong Ya Wai, Doi Phu Kha during 23–25 April (ST) and about the same number one week later, when they were feeding fledged young (CK, RK, SK et al.). Four Short-tailed Parrotbills were seen at Phu Soi Dao (Uttaradit) during 28–29 April (ST).

There were still two Grey-sided Thrushes on the summit of Doi Inthanon on 27 March (B). Three Chinese Leaf Warblers were singing, Doi Ang Khang, 23 March (B). Four Eastern Crowned Warblers at Ban Krang, Kaeng Krachan with another at Km 19–20 on 24 April (AR,WS,KS) and 4–5 Lanceolated Warblers along the road at Km. 29 on 26 April (AR,WS,KS) may all be indicative of ongoing passage. Aberrant Bush Warbler was taped singing on Doi Ang Khang in mid- to late April by three independent sets of observers (PDR et al.; NT and UT). The bird also responded to tape playback, leading to suspicion that it may well breed there. The taping of a singing Brown Bush Warbler on Doi Ang Khang on 20 April (UT) provides welcome confirmation of this species' presence, and also invites further speculation about its status. With Thailand's one specimen record of a purported Brown Bush Warbler, from some seventy years ago, proving to be a Russet Bush Warbler, the only evidence for Brown was a small number of sight records, most of which had to be treated as 'probables'.

A pair of Brown-breasted Flycatchers were present in the Hup Massa Jan gully, Mae Puh, Doi Ang Khang on 20 April (UT et al.) and 22 April (AC,MD,PDR). Breeding was suspected. The scarcity of records of this flycatcher may be due to the much reduced coverage of the northern mountains in the wet season. A Ferruginous Flycatcher was seen on the latter date (AC,MD,PDR) with Dark-sided Flycatchers at Ko Pratong on 6–8 April (WS); Kaeng Krachan on 24 and 25April (AR,WS,KS). The earliest Yellow-rumped Flycatcher was a male at Ko Surin on 23 March (PK), with other Yellow-rumped Flycatchers at Suan Rot Fai, Bangkok (male, 21 April, AR,WS,KS); Ban Bang Tieo on 23 April (AO), 29 April (two females; AC,MD,PDR), Kaeng Krachan, 24 April (male; AR,WS,KS) and Ko Surin on 3 May (BBC). Mugimaki Flycatchers were recorded at Kaeng Krachan (imm. male, 24 April, AR,WS,KS); Phu Soi Dao on 29 April (male, ST) and Suan Rot Fai (adult male, 21 April, AR,WS,KS). A male Blue-and-white Flycatcher was found on Ko Surin on 23 March (PK). Pygmy Blue Flycatcher (one male and one or two females) at Km 19.5, Kaeng Krachan, on 24 April (AR,WS,KS) was new for the park list. Migrant race (incei) Asian Paradise-flycatchers were seen at Kaeng Krachan on 24 April (AR,WS,KS) and 27 April (AC,MD,PDR). Fifteen Forest Wragtails were counted along the road between Km. 8 and Km. 20, on 24 April (AR,WS,KS).

A pair of Scarlet Finches on Doi Ang Khang on 23 April (AC,MD,PDR) was a late record. There were five Black-faced Buntings at Fang on 24 March (B). Three Yellow-breasted Buntings were present on Doi Ang Khang on 21 May (UT), while the bunting roost on that mountain still held 150 Chestnut Buntings and 2 Crested Buntings on 22 April (AC,MD,PDR). The Common Rosefinches which vastly outnumber the buntings, in midwinter, had gone, although a single bird was seen elsewhere on the mountain on 23 April (AC,MD, PDR)

Breeding records:

Doi Pu Kha, Nan Province: Feeding fledged young, Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, 27 April; Beautiful Nuthatch, 25 April (feeding a single young); Streaked Wren-Babbler, 23 April; Lesser Shortwing, 24 April; White-browed Shortwing, 24 April; Rufous-winged Fulvetta, 26–27 April; White-gorgeted Flycatcher 26 April; Large Niltava, 24–26 April. (All ST). Red-faced Liocichla with two short-tailed young fledglings, 11 May (BBC).

Doi Inthanon, Chiang Mai Province: Nest and young/feeding young in nest, Chestnut-vented Nuthatch, 21 April; White-browed Shortwing, 5 April; Green Cochoa, 20 April; feeding fledged young, Yellow-cheeked Tit, 5 April; Chestnut-crowned Warbler, 19 April; Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, 7 April (all ST). Ashy Woodpigeon pair nest-building on summit, 4 May; Little Pied Flycatcher male feeding a single fledgling, 4 May (both AR,WS).

Doi Pui, Chiang Mai Province: Fledgling cuckoo, thought to be Asian Emerald Cuckoo, being fed by White-tailed Leaf Warbler, March (NT).

Thung Song Hong, Bangkok (BM): Common Tailorbird nest and two eggs, April; second nest with bird feeding two nestlings, 9 April.

MU Salaya, Nakhon Pathom Province (PDR): nest of Green-billed Malkoha, 5–6 May (bird possibly then brooding small young; nest empty on 20 May); nest of Greater Coucal, 20 May; Black Drongo full-grown fledgling on 12 May. Small Minivet two full-grown juveniles, 20 May; Common Iora pair feeding three well-grown nestlings, 21 May; Pied Fantail (nest and one egg, 5 May; another newly completed nest, 6 May; Streak-eared Bulbul nest and two young, 6 May.

Kamphaengsaen, Nakhon Pathom Province, 10 May (ST): nest-building, Plain-backed Sparrow; incubating, Ashy Woodswallow; feeding fledged young, Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker, Black Drongo; Common Iora. Also Red-wattled Lapwing with chicks.

Ko Pratong, Phang-nga province (WS): Blue-tailed Bee-eater: possibly up to 40 pairs, some with chicks, nesting in ground-holes during April (WS). Single chick of Greater Coucal being fed near nest on 8 April; two nests of Oriental Pied Hornbills in Melaleuca trees, 10 April; Small Minivet feeding fledged young, 6 April; three nests of Large-billed Crow, each with three chicks, 8 April.

Ban Bang Tieo (Khao Nor Chuchi; AC, MD,YM, PDR): nearly full grown young Brown Wood Owl vocalising, 29 April; nest of Green Broadbill, with female incubating.

Bala Sector, Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary, Narathiwat Province (ST): Nest-building, Black-and-red Broadbill, To Mo, 2–6 May; Silver-breasted Broadbill, 3–6 May; Purple-throated sunbird, 4 May. Incubating, Blyth's Hawk Eagle, Samnak Song, 6 May and Bat Hawk, 2–6 May. Feeding young in nest, Red-bearded Bee-eater, Km. 16, 3 May; Rufous Piculet, To Mo, 3 May;Banded Broadbill, Km 15, 2–6 May; Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker, 5 May. Feeding fledged young, Raffles's Malkoha, 4 May; Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, 3 May; Grey-headed Flycatcher, 6 May; Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, 3 May; Rufous-tailed Tailorbird, To Mo, 3-6 May, Scarlet Sunbird, 6 May;

Pa Phru, Narathiwat Province (ST): Malaysian Blue Flycatcher, male and female feeding young in nest, 4 May; Ashy Tailorbird feeding fledged young, 4 May.

Contributors: Michael A. Allen, Big Bird Club/Surachai Rungkhunakorn (BBC), Birdquest/Dave Farrow (B), Anthony Collerton, Michael Duffy, Peter Ericsson, George Gale, W. (Bill) Harvey, Dr. Rungsrit Kanjanavanit, Dr. Suparach Kanjanavanit, Porntep Katsura, Chitapong Kuawong, Amorn Liukiratiyutkul, Mark Mallalieu, Yotin Meekaeo, B. Mountfield, Nature Trails, Andrew Owen, Anak Pattanavibool, Andrew J. Pierce, Arun Roisri, Philip D. Round, Surachai Rungkhunakorn, Wachara Sanguansombat, Kulapat Sornlarum, Ike Suriwong, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak, Uthai Treesucon.

Compiled by Philip Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol



Some deserved recognition for Tee and the Khok Kham Conservation Club!

UK's Birdwatch magazine January 2003 published a supplement, World of Birds 2003, which purports to list "The best 50 birds on the planet". There are so many wonderful birds in the world that this has to be a tall order, but one suspects that familiarity and ease of access may have figured in the reckoning. Be that as it may, three of the written accounts concerned birds that the writers had seen in Thailand. In addition to the more or less expected Gurney's Pitta, there was also Masked Finfoot (Krabi), and Spoon-billed Sandpiper, at Samut Sakhon. The writer recounted her joy at seeing the latter species with "Mr. T." in a last-minute attempt only shortly before flying home. The account for Spoon-billed Sandpiper goes on to say "Considering there were just two records for Thailand by 1984, the country has only recently become a serious top spot to catch up with this extraordinary bird at its seemingly regular winter haunt of Samut Sakhon. The extremely valuable resource of a friendly free, local guide cannot be faulted."

Well done, Tee, and other members of Khok Kham Conservation Club on behalf of birders everywhere. We value your keen eyes, the time you spend looking at waders, your hospitality, and also the level of concern you and other members of the local salt-farming cooperative display for the future of the site. The efforts of the latter to fight off illegal and polluting developments at Khok Kham (a textile factory is being built on the very ponds which supported one or more wintering Spoon-billed Sandpipers in 1999-2000) deserve wider coverage. Although a legal injunction was obtained to ban the ongoing construction, at time of writing building work had been resumed after being briefly suspended. Why is it that the government sector in Thailand, which supports so many officials supposedly paid to enforce the law, always seems powerless to act when unscrupulous developers and commercial interests trample on public interest or the environment?


RECENT REPORTS
March 2003

An immature frigatebird which circled over ponds at Bang Pu (Samut Prakan) for 10 minutes on 2 April was thought to be a Great Frigatebird (WK,WN). Photographs were obtained, but have not yet been examined. Bung Boraphet (Nakhon Sawan) held three Oriental Darters, three Spot-billed Pelicans, six Painted Storks and 11 Glossy Ibises on 9 March (SuT) and apparently 21 Glossy Ibises on 14 March (ST). There were 7 Chinese Egrets at Laem Pakarang (Phang-nga) on 21 March (ST). Sightings of an adult Malayan Night Heron at Ban Bang Tieo (Krabi) on 21 March (ST) and an immature in a Leucaena plantation at MU Salaya (Nakhon Pathom) on 22 March (AJP,PDR) were probably indicative of spring passage. A Black Bittern was also present at Salaya on 22 March (AJP,PDR). Javan Pond Heron and eight Cotton Pygmy-geese were reported from Laguna (Phuket) on 21 March (IS) while a breeding plumage Indian Pond Heron, was photographed at Huai Yang (Prachuap) on 6 April (PE).

Over 3000 Black Bazas passed north over Ban Laem (Phetchaburi) on 23 March (MM). This was the largest single spring count ever, and made in less than two hours in the middle of the day. Two Aquila eagles, probably Greater Spotted Eagles, moved through with the bazas while two others, thought to be Imperial Eagles, and three more Greater Spotted Eagles were seen in the vicinity (MM). There were also single Greater Spotted Eagle elsewhere in Phetchaburi at Wang Manao, Pak Tho District (RJ,PN) on 2 March and at Wat Khao Takhrao on 4 March (ST). An adult Grey-headed Fish Eagle was seen in the vicinity of an old nest on Ko Pratong (Phang-nga) on 10 February with a juvenile catching fish at a small pond in Melaleuca woodland on 12 February (WS). Bat Hawk was incubating at Bala, 25–27 March (RK). A pair of Crested Wood Partridges was seen on the main trail at Ban Bang Tieo on 21 March (ST).

480 Black-tailed Godwits were counted on salt-pans at Ban Bang Khun Sai, Ban Laem (Phetchaburi) on 2 March (RJ,PN,SP, SchP). A count of gulls and terns at Laem Phak Bia (Phetchaburi) on 8 March included two first-winter Pallas's Gulls,15 subadult and adult Heuglin's Gulls and 22 first winter large gulls, apparently conforming to two or three distinct form (one bird was much noticeably paler than others). There were also 13 Great Crested Terns and 19 Lesser Crested Terns (BB,MN,WS). A visit a few days earlier on 1 March, had also yielded an adult breeding plumage Pallas's Gull, 52 Great Crested Terns and 500 Common Terns (ST). A single first year Black-tailed Gull was present on both 1 March (ST) and 8 March (WS).

Over 39 Orange-breasted Pigeons were taking the fruit of a Carallia bracteata tree at Ko Pratong on 12 February, while a Red Collared Dove (scarce and local in the south) was seen on the same date (WS). A male Cinnamon-headed Pigeon at Ko Pratong on 11 April (WS) is the only confirmed record of this species in Thailand for over 50 years, and further underscores the importance of this locality for a range of nationally or globally threatened species. Pied Imperial Pigeons were reported nesting on Ko Fai Laeb, Laem Son National Park (Ranong) on 23 March (ST). Two Pale-capped Pigeons were observed in flight over Melaleuca forest on Ko Pratong on 9 and 12 February (WS).

A male Grey-headed Parakeet, at Km 8, Kaeng Krachan (Phetchaburi) on 20 Feb 2003 (UT) was new for the park list. A Chestnut-winged Cuckoo was at Sukhumvit Soi 101, Bangkok on 23 February (SJ) and another at MU Salaya on 29 March (PDR). The latter site also produced a Drongo Cuckoo at on 12 April (PDR). A rufous morph Oriental Scops Owl was photographed at Rangsit on 29 March (PE). A Javan Frogmouth was incubating at Bala, 25–27 March (RK) and another was heard calling at Tham Pha Phlong, at the base of Doi Chiang Dao in mid-March (JND). An earlier nest of Gould's Frogmouth at Ban Bang Tieo (Krabi) was thought to have fledged a single young (YM). There were two White-throated Needletails at Khao Yai on 17 and 18 April along with a minimum 70 Brown-backed Needletails and at least 6–7 Silver-backed Needletails (AJP,PDR).

A highly remarkable possible range extension was a probable Red-naped Trogon (bird seen briefly and call taped) at Km 33, Kaeng Krachan on 20 February (UT). With commendable caution, the observer is not claiming this record as definite, but considering the number of southern surprises Kaeng Krachan has produced, the proximity of the sighting to the species-rich and very moist forest along the upper Phetchaburi River, and the experience of the observer concerned, the record warrants serious consideration. A breeding colony of several thousand pairs of Blue-tailed Bee-eaters was discovered in Tak Bai District (Narathiwat) along Highway 42 on 27 March (RK). Only about 20 Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters remained at the roost near the Training Centre, Khao Yai on 19 April (PDR). Several hundred birds roost there during the winter months, November to March.

A male Rufous-necked Hornbill was seen at Chong Yen, Mae Wong (Kamphaengphet /Nakhon Sawan) 16–17 March (PE). There was a Eurasian Wryneck at Tha Ton (Chiang Mai) on14 March (PE) and a White-bellied Woodpecker at Ko Pratong on 9 February (WS). A male Giant Pitta was seen at Km 17, Kaeng Krachan on 19 February (UT). The Beautiful Nuthatches discovered on Doi Phu Kha (Nan) by ST were again seen (two birds on 25 March: UT). A report of Black-throated Tit nest-building near the Mae Uam Watershed Station, Km 35, Doi Inthanon on 7 April (ST) would, if accepted, be a new site record.

There was a Daurian Redstart male on Doi Ang Khang (Chiang Mai) on 15 March (PE). An Isabelline Wheatear reported at Km 17 Kaeng Krachan (MB, SuT) would be the first record for Thailand and only the second for SE Asia. Ferruginous Flycatcher at MU Salaya on 22 March (AJP,PDR) is one of very few sightings in the Central Plain. A female Green-backed Flycatcher was seen at Ban Bang Tieo on 20 March (ST). A pair of Mangrove Blue Flycatchers in the mangroves at Chai Pattana Foundation in Yaring (Pattani) on 27 March (RK) was the first ever east-coast record. Grey-bellied Tesia was present in the Tham Pha Phlong gully, Doi Chiang Dao on March (JND). Chestnut-cheeked Starling was again seen at the Municipal Sports Ground, Chumphon, along with 100 Purple-backed Starlings on 13 March (CN). A flock of 17 Rosy Starlings, including four bright adults, was roosting in coconut palms at Sam Phraya Beach, Khao Sam Roi Yot (Prachuap Khiri Khan) on 27 March (AC). A Brahminy Starling was also seen nearby on 28 March (AC).

Breeding records

Ko Pratong, (Wachara Sanguansombat and Arun Roisri): Collared Scops-Owl, one bird incubating 2 eggs in hole of Melaleuca tree (1.3 m. above ground); and Brahminy Kite incubating at nest on a Melaleuca tree on 8 Febuary; White-throated Kingfisher excavating on 11 February; a pair of Hoopoes copulating on 12 Febuary female Brown-throated Sunbird nest building, incorporating papery Melaleuca bark into the nest; an Oriental Pied Hornbill in hole-nest (5 m above ground) on 10 Febuary

Bangkok (B. Mountfield): Spotted Dove (active nest, February) Streak-eared Bulbul nest and 2 eggs which fledged two young (January); and another nest with two young (not known if fledged), January; another active nest (no details) February; nest and two eggs thought to have fledged two young, 13 March; juvenile being fed by adults, 29 March; Yellow-vented Bulbul nest and two eggs, which fledged two young (January); collecting nest material 31 March; Oriental Magpie Robin fledged juvenile with adults in attendance, 29 March; Olive-backed Sunbird fledged juvenile, 1 February.

Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary, Kanchanaburi (Sopitcha Tantitadapitak): Grey Nightjar incubating eggs, Nuey Thinuey 26–30 March; Brown Hornbill nest and young, Jakae Thong, 29 March; Plain-pouched Hornbill feeding young in the nest, Jakae Thong, 29 March

Doi Inthanon 6–7 April (Sopitcha Tantitadapitak): Yellow-cheeked Tit feeding fledged young; Mountain Tailorbird feeding fledged young; Purple Cochoa female carrying nest material; Small Niltava feeding fledged young; Ruby-cheeked Sunbird feeding fledged young.

Contributors:

Mikael Bauer, Bjorn Bengtsson, Andy Colthorpe, J. N. Dymond, Peter Ericsson, Roongroj Jukmongkol, Dr. Rungsrit Kanjanavanit, Wiwat Kasemkosin, Mark Mallalieu, Ms. B. Mountfield, Wicha Narangsi, Porpol Nontapa, Mikael Nord, Chukiat Nualsri, Andrew J. Pierce, Santana Pluemshoosak, Schwan Prapaithong (SchP), Arun Roisri, Philip D. Round, Wachara Sanguansombat, Ike Suriwong, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak, Sukanya Thanombuddha (SuT), Uthai Treesucon.



RECENT REPORTS
Late October 2002–February 2003

A dark storm-petrel, probably Swinhoe's, was seen on the crossing from Khura Buri to Ko Surin (Phang-nga) on 11 December (WS). Frigatebirds off Ko Bida, Ko Phi Phi (Krabi) were estimated at 40 Christmas Frigatebirds, 10 Lesser Frigatebirds and 10 Great Frigatebirds on 17 December (PA,JL). 14 Christmas Frigatebirds, two males and 12 females, were reported from the same site on 5 January (AC).

Two Great Cormorants, four Oriental Darters, and a Spot-billed Pelican were reported from Bung Boraphet (Nakhon Sawan) on 16 December (BBC). Most of the same birds were present on 4 January by which time the number of Spot-billed Pelicans had increased to two (DP,WS,SS). There was also a report of 3 Great Cormorants on 1 January (SoT) and two on 21 January (RJ,PaK). There were also 10+ Indian Cormorants on the latter date—a definite new distributional record—while darter numbers had risen to six individuals by 3 February (DP,WS,KuS). Two Oriental Darters were also present on the Kaeng Krachan Reservoir (Phetchaburi), 19 December (KB,PM,PP).

A Great Bittern was flushed from reeds about 5 km SW of Ban Laem (Phetchaburi) on 14 February (MM) and another reported from Rangsit Khlong 10 (Pathumthani) on 19 February (PE).

A total of 800 Cattle Egrets was counted in fields WSW of Ban Laem on 9 February (MM). Two Chinese Egrets were seen off Dawn of Happiness Resort, north of Krabi, on 16, 17 and 27 December, and four more off Krabi town on 18 December (PA,JL). A single Painted Stork flew across the Chao Phraya River, heading south west, at Nonthaburi on 25 January (SK) and there were 24 Painted Storks at Bung Boraphet on 3 February (SuK,DP,YS, WS, KuS). There were an estimated 5000 nests of Asian Openbill at Bung Boraphet on 4 January (DP, WS,SoS). Two Black-faced Spoonbills which appeared at Wat Khao Takhrao (Phetchaburi) on 21 January (SJ,SuK,YS) had increased to three birds by 24 January (ST) and an amazing six birds by 16 February (UK). Remarkably, two of these birds were associating as a pair and one was photographed carrying and apparently presenting nest-material to the other in late January (CT). So far as known, none was bearing either bands or colour-bands. There were three juvenile Black-headed Ibises at Bung Boraphet on 21 December (CK); 11 at the same site on 3 February (DP,YS, WS et al.); one at Khao Sam Roi Yot on 29 December (NU); seven at Wat Khao Takhrao, including two adults, on 31 January (AJP,PDR). Bung Boraphet produced 11 Glossy Ibises on 1 January (SoT), nine on 4 January (DP, WS,SoS) with five still present on 3 February (DP,YS,WS et al.).

Counts of 600 Northern Pintail, 8 Northern Shoveler , 5 Eurasian Wigeon and 550 Cotton Pygmy Geese were made at Bung Boraphet on 4 January. Nong Bong Kai, Chiang Saen (Chiang Rai) produced six Mallard, three Tufted Duck, one or two Common Pochard and 30 Ferruginous Pochard on 19 December (MM). There were two Ruddy Shelducks on the nearby Mekong River on 20 December (MM) and five Ruddy Shelducks and 50 Spot-billed Ducks on the Mekong River on 22 February (KR, KW). There was a possibly record count of 21 Tufted Duck, including 7 males, on Nong Bong Kai on 23 February (KR,KW). 56 Cotton Pygmy Geese were counted at Bang Khunthien (Bangkok) on 7 December (NU) This is the largest number anywhere in the vicinity of the city for a long while.

A report of no fewer than 6 Jerdon's Bazas overhead near the golf course at the Khao Laem Dam (Kanchanaburi) on 23 January (SR) is highly unusual. Two to five Black Bazas were seen daily on Ko Pratong (Phang-nga) during January 13-19 (WS). 428 Black Bazas over Chumphon Municipal Sports ground on 7 November (CN) must have been about the tail-end of the autumn passage. The Khao Yoi to Ban Laem area of Phetchaburi produced an unexpected crop of Aquila eagles. Following the sighting of 5 Greater Spotted Eagles scavenging dead fish on a newly drained pond on 27 January (P & PyS, WS) observations by MM during 1-22 February revealed at least 7 different Greater Spotted Eagles, (including one pale "fulvescens" morph), two Imperial Eagles, a juvenile and an older immature, and an immature Steppe Eagle There was a female Pied Harrier near Khao Yoi on 31 January (AJP,PDR) and a male on 7 February (MM). Several tens of Black Kites were seen at various sites in the Pak Tho to Ban Laem area in late January-early February, suggesting total numbers may be in the low hundreds (MM,AJP, PD, et al.). A single Black Kite on Doi Ang Khang on 26 October (LBC) was an unusual record. A Mountain Hawk Eagle was seen on Ko Chang during December (JS,LS). Oriental Hobby was reported from Mu Ko Surin on 6 December (GA,NS).

Male and female Hume's Pheasants were seen at Den Ya Khat, Doi Chiang Dao (Chiang Mai) on 6 January (SoT) and three more, including a single male, below the summit of Doi Pui (Chiang Mai) on 15 February (Wings). A male L.n. lewisi Silver Pheasant was reported from Khlong Klaew Waterfall, Bo Rai District (Trat) on 28 December (BBC). Two Black-tailed Crakes were seen at the Doi Inthanon campsite during January 9–10 (CK) and were performing reliably throughout the months of January and February (many observers). Another pair was present a little upstream. A Watercock near Chiang Saen on 20 December (MM) was an unusually late record for N Thailand. Three Beach Thick-knees, were found on Mu Ko Surin (Phang-nga) during 9–10 December: one on Surin Nua and two on Surin Tai (WS).

Grey-headed Lapwing was reported from Muang Kaew Golf Club, Km 8, Bang na-Trat (Samut Prakan) on 16 November (SPr). An amazing count of 368 Grey-headed Lapwings was made between Sena and Bang Sai Districts of Ayutthaya on 4 January (MM). About 45 birds were still present in the area on 2 February (PDR). Five more were seen 5 km SW of Ban Laem on 9 February, and 9 in the same general area on 14 February (MM) and there were 10 at Kaem Ling Nong Yai (Chumphon) on 11 January (CN et al.). Two River Lapwings were seen on the spillway of the Khao Laem Dam on 22 January (SR). There were 30 Red Knots at Khok Kham on 31 December (PA,JL). Khok Kham held a single Asian Dowitcher, three Great Knots and a Red Knot on 1 December (PN), and three Asian Dowitchers, 4 Great Knots, at least 6 Red Knots and a single Little Stint on 8–9 February (SD, SM, Wings). One to two Spoon-billed Sandpipers showed well throughout the winter period and there were reports of up to three different Spoon-billed Sandpipers in late January or early February (per SD). Three Nordmann's Greenshanks were photographed at Khok Kham on 7 December (PN) and there were 7 roosting on fish-traps at Krabi on 23 January (KingBird). There were 70 Ruff at the Laem Phak Bia Environmental Research and Development Project (Phetchaburi) on 26 February (ST), with 100 Great Knot and a non-breeding adult Pallas's Gull on the point on the same date (ST). A full juvenile Pallas's Gull was present at Bang Pu (Samut Prakan) on 8 December, along with a single adult Slender-billed Gull (AJP,PDR). There were four Slender-billed Gulls at Bang Pu by 26 January (DP,WS,SoS). A single Black-headed Gull on the Mekong River at Chiang Saen on 20 December (MM) was an unusual location. 13 Caspian Terns were counted at Khao Sam Roi Yot on 30 December (NU) and 25 near Wat Khao Takhrao on 7 February (MM). A report of 1000 Lesser Crested Terns on mud and sand-flats off Krabi on 14 December (PA,JL) would be the largest count ever made in Thailand. 2000 Common Terns was also estimated on the same date (PA,JL).

There were seven Orange-breasted Pigeons on Ko Pratong on 14 January (WS). Two White-bellied Pigeons were reported from Ban Krang, Kaeng Krachan National Park on 16 February (WW). A male Pompadour Pigeon appeared in a fig tree at Taling Chan (Bangkok) on 6 December (PS). Eight Pied Imperial Pigeons, 3 Green Imperial Pigeons and a single Pale-capped Pigeon were roosting on a wooded island off Hat Nopparat Thara Beach (Krabi) on 24 February (IS). Eight Pale-capped Pigeons were also seen on Ko Pratong on 14 January; two on 19 January (WS) and, most surprisingly, other singles at Wat Khao Takhrao on 1 February (SuK,WS) and Chong Yen, Mae Wong (Kamphaengphet) on 19 January (SoT). At the wintering stronghold in Chumphon, there was a count of 81 birds on 25 January (CN, SS et al.). A female Jambu Fruit Dove was seen at Khao Nor Chuchi (Krabi) on 19 December (PA,JL)

At least 15 pairs of Red-breasted Parakeets, one pair of Alexandrine Parakeets and a pair of Rose-ringed Parakeets were nesting at Wat Chalerm Prakiat (Nonthaburi) during late January to early February (SK, CT). Three Vernal Hanging Parrots in a coconut palm on the beach at Ko Mak (Trat) on 9 February (CT) was a slightly unusual habitat. A Chestnut-winged Cuckoo was seen in Krabi mangroves on 23 January (KingBird) and an adult Large Hawk Cuckoo at Mu Ban Krisadanakorn, Phutthamonthol 3 (Bangkok) on 1 January (AW).

A rufous morph Oriental Scops Owl showed up at Mu 8, Tha Yang Subdistrict, Muang Distruct (Chumphon) on 12 November (CN). There were ca. 1,500 Pacific Swifts at Ko Pratong on a single day, 13 January, but not subsequently (WS). A Blyth's Kingfisher was seen upstream of the Mae Fang National Park headquarters (Chiang Mai) on 20 February (PDR). This locality, like the only previous undoubted record more than 30 years ago, is in the Mekong Drainage. Eight Brown Hornbills (presumably A.n. tickelli) were seen at ca. 1800 m on Doi Khao Yai (Thung Yai) on 22 December (SoT). Great Slaty Woodpecker was reported from Huai Tha Kuaoy, Thai Prachan Park (Ratchaburi), at 460 m, on 16–17 February (ChK, SN).

A pair of Black-and-yellow Broadbills was seen in Thung Yai (Kanchanaburi), reportedly at 925 m elevation, on 25 January (SoT). A Golden-fronted Leafbird was seen at the unusually high elevation of 1560 m on Doi Chiang Dao on 16 February (SoT).

A lucionensis male Brown Shrike was seen in Chumphon on 11 December (CN) with another in Khao Yai on 13 February (Wings). Both leucothorax and stresemanni races of Black Bulbul were seen on Doi Phu Kha (Nan) during 22–26 February (SoT). A Crow-billed Drongo associated with bird waves at ca. 1700 m Doi Khao Yai on two or three occasions (SoT), 26 December. Male Silver Orioles were found at Phu Soi Dao (Uttaradit) on 3 December (SoT) and at the Huai Sai Leuang (Mae Pan Waterfall) substation of Doi Inthanon National Park (Chiang Mai) on 8 February (NB, PM,AP,NU et al.). These were both new localities and perhaps the first records for NW Thailand The Doi Inthanon bird remained until at least 16 February (per PC).

There were two Fire-capped Tits on Doi Inthanon, Km 31 on 27 November (GA, NS). 23 Fire-capped Tits in peach orchards on Doi Inthanon on found during the 8–9 February Inthanon Census organized by Lanna Bird Club (per RK, LBC) had risen to 80 birds by 20 February (AJP). Four Fire-capped Tits were present on Doi Pui on 10 February (KR,KW) and two on Doi Ang Khang (Chiang Mai) on 21 February (Wings).

Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler and two Black-throated Tits were seen on Doi Pha Hom Pok (Chiang Mai) on 19 February (KR,KW). Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler was also reported for Doi Khao Yai, the highest (1800 m-plus) mountain in Thung Yai Wildlife Sanctuary on 24 December (SoT). This site also produced new distributional records for Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush, Slaty-backed Flycatcher (male and female), Pygmy Blue Flycatcher (male) and Gould's Sunbird (male) during 24–26 December (SoT).

New distributional records from Doi Phu Kha (Nan) at 1870 m, were Black-throated Tit (15 birds), Spectacled Barwing (at least three); Red-faced Liocichla (eight) and Grey-cheeked Warbler (one seen daily, 24–26 February (SoT). Pride of place undoubtedly goes to three Beautiful Nuthatches from 1940 m on the same mountain on 8 February (SoT) since the only other record, from the summit of Doi Pha Hom Pok in 1986, has not been repeated in spite if numerous visits by a great number of observers.

An adult male Black Redstart, presumably the race rufiventris, only Thailand's second, appeared at Mae Jo (Chiang Mai) on 19 November (PT, RK). The bird was seen and photographed by a great many observers and was still present at the end of February (per RK).

Adult male rufilatus Orange-flanked Bush Robins were seen on Doi Chiang Dao on 19 January (KingBird) and on the summit of Doi Inthanon on 17 February (Wings). A Rufous-tailed Robin was reported from Doi Pha Hom Pok on 10 January (SoT). A male Green Cochoa was seen in an uncharacteristically open situation, even perching briefly in a pine tree on Doi Ang Khang on 22 February (Wings). Otherwise one or two Green Cochoas were showing well on the Inthanon jeep track during early to mid-February (many observers). A White-throated Rock Thrush (sex not reported) was seen at Phriu Waterfall, Khao Sabap (Chanthaburi) on 29 December (BBC) and another, a male, at an unexpected locality for this species, Den Ya Khat, Doi Chiang Dao on 7 January (SoT).

A male Orange-headed Thrush turned up at Wat Asokaram (Samut Prakan) on 22 November (SiJ), A single Chestnut Thrush on Doi Ang Khang on 20 January (KingBird) and two Grey-sided Thrushes on Doi Pui on 15 February (Wings) were the only records received of these annual or near-annual winter visitors. A pair of Grey-winged Blackbirds was seen on Doi Pha Hom Pok on 9 January (SoT) and two Black-breasted Thrushes on Doi Phu Kha on 10 February (SoT). A female Siberian Thrush claimed at the same locality on the latter date is a bit more problematical given the lack of previous midwinter records from northern Thailand.

A Blunt-winged Warbler reported from Tha Yang District, Chumphon on 25 January (CN) requires documentation since there are no previous records so far south in the peninsula. A Lesser Whitethroat was found at Km 30, Doi Inthanon on 27 November (GA,NS). Yellow-streaked Warbler was seen at Lum Bak Ngam, Nam Nao (Phetchabun) on 21 November (SoT).

Mugimaki Flycatchers were reported from 1700 m Doi Khao Yai, Thung Yai on 26 December (adult male; SoT) and Haew Suwat, Khao Yai (immature male, 11 February; Wings). A male Slaty-backed Flycatcher was reported from Lum Bak Ngam, Nam Nao on 24 November (SoT). Two more males were present on Khao Khiao, Khao Yai on 7 January (KingBird). Two Sapphire Flycatchers were seen at Den Ya Khat 26 Feb (R ?) and two male Chinese Blue Flycatchers at Khao Sok (Surat Thani) on 21 December (PA,JL).

The annual congregation of Spot-winged Starlings in flowering trees at the Thinuey Guardstation of Thung Yai Wildlife Sanctuary (Kanchanaburi) took place with 50 birds on 25 January (SoT). There were also eight mixed in with Chestnut-tailed Starlings at the Doi Chiang Dao Wildlife Research Station on 29 December (PK, PM,PP, TS). Chestnut-cheeked Starlings kept up a presence at the Municipal Sports Ground (Chumphon) on almost all winter, with a single male on 8 November, intermittently during 6–17 December, 5–6 January (CN); two males on 25–29 December (CN), one male and two females on 7 January (CN,WS) and a male on 5 February (CN,PDR,ST). At least two malabarica Chestnut-tailed Starlings were present at` Chumphon Sports Grround on 7 January and 5 February (CN, ST,PDR) and peak numbers of Chestnut-tailed Starlings reached 100 birds on 11 January (CN) — an unexpectedly large number for so far south. Four Purple-backed Starlings and 3 White-shouldered Starlings were also present, with at least 10 Purple-backeds being present for most of the winter (CN).

An immature Rosy Starling, presumably the same bird present earlier in the winter, showed up at Chumphon on 11 January (CN) and another was seen among White-vented and Asian Pied Mynas at Bang Pu on 26 January (DP,Ws,SoS). More Rosy Starlings were seen at Den Ya Khat, Doi Chiang Dao on 7 January (SoT) and at Mae Taeng Irrigation Project (Chiang Mai) on 20 February (Wings). The latter, a first-winter nearly fully moulted into adult plumage, was taking nectar with ca. 200 Chestnut-tailed Starlings in a Bombax tree and was still present on 22 February (LBC). These were the first records for northern Thailand. Three Common Starlings were reported from Bung Boraphet on 16 December (BBC); a single on 21 December (CK) and 1 January (SoT), and two on 29 December (CT) and 4 January (DP, WS, SS). A count of over 50 Asian Pied Mynas flying eastwards over paddies at Doi Saket on 16 February (Wings) is the largest number reported from the Chiang Mai area n the past couple of decades. This species has apparently declined greatly in northern Thailand since Deignan (1945) recorded it as "one of the commonest birds in the cultivated lowland districts of all provinces" in his Birds of Northern Thailand. A Rosy Pipit was present on paddies at Doi Saket on 14 January (KingBird) and there were up to 15 Citrine Wagtails on paddies at Km 25, Doi Inthanon, 17 January (KingBird) and seven on 19 February (Wings).

There were already three Black-headed Greenfinches on Doi Ang Khang on 26 October (LBC) and reports of a flock of 200 different birds there in mid February (PS). Six Spot-winged Grosbeaks were seen at Den Ya Khat, Doi Chiang Dao on 4 January (SoT) and a a male Scarlet Finch on Doi Ang Khang on 21 January (SoT). Red Avadavat was reported from Muang Kaew Golf-Club, Bang na-Trat Km 8, 16 November (SPr). There were probably two different Tristram's Buntings on Doi Ang Khang on 17 February (RK,SS et al.), at least one of which was still present on 21 February (Wings). There were ca. 200 Yellow-breasted Buntings at Lum Luk Ka, Khlong 9 (Pathumthani) on 5 February (PE).

Nesting records:

Doi Inthanon: A pair of Yellow-cheeked Tits nest-building on the Kiew Mae Paan Trail, 2100 m on 11 January (SoT). Great Tit carrying food by headquarters 14 January (KingBird)

Doi Pha Chang (Nan) pair of Great Tits nest building as early as 8 December (SoT).

Bangkok: A nest of Streak-eared Bulbul during December (BM). Oriental Magpie Robin: pair nest-building in a disused hornet nest under house-eaves, 26 January (PDR SR).

Khao Yai: Spot-bellied Eagle Owl pair copulating, late January (AJP); a male Orange-breasted Trogon incubating three eggs at on 11 January (KingBird) and five nests of Abbott's Babblers, most with young, during January-February (GG,AJP).

Thung Yai: Mountain Imperial Pigeon nest-building, 27 January; Lesser Yellownape pair entering nest-hole, thought incubating, 30 January (SoT); White-bellied Yuhina nest-building, 25 January (SoT); White-hooded Babbler feeding young in nest, 30 January. Velvet-fronted Nuthatch entering nest hole and incubating, 29 January (SoT).

Ko Pratong: A nest of Olive-backed Sunbird on 18 January apparently contained single young cuckoo nestling – species not certain (WS). Another nest with two eggs and incubating female was found on the following day, while a third pair was seen building on 19 January (WS).

Contributors:

Patrik Aborg, George Armistead, Wanchai Bunruitlakkana, Noppawan Bubpachat, Klos Bunthavee, Anuwat Chaisaeng, Pathomphon Charoenjai, Big Bird Club, Suchart Daengphayon, Peter Ericsson, George Gale, Sintuyos Jantharasakha, Siri Jaroenjai (SiJ), Roongroj Jukmongkol, Dr. Rungsrit Kanjanavanit, Preecha Karaket, Chaiyan Kasorndokbua, Chatchapong Khemsap (ChK), Uaiphorn Khwanphae, KingBird, Suppalak Klabdee, Surachai Kerdchai (SuK), Panot Krairojananun (PaK), Lanna Bird Club, Jonas Lundgren, Petch Manopawitr, Prapat Montientong, Miss B. Mountfield, Dr. Suwanna Mukachornpan, Porpol Nontapa, Sittichai Noochaikaew, Chukiat Nualsri, Puntipa Pattanakaew, Andy J. Pierce, S Praisan, Dome Pratumtong, Anchalee Promhuab, Kant Ratanajun, Philip D. Round, Sonapa Round, Surachai Rungkunakorn, Yuthana Sabong, Pinit Saengkaew, Piyanipa Saengkaew (PyS), Wachara Sanguansombat, Rina Seh, Somchai Sermsinchaiyakul (SoS), Kunlapat Sornrarum (KuS), John Speich, Lisbeth Strandmark, Naomi Sugimura, Thanyalak Sunthornmat, Suthee Supparatvikorn, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak (SoT), Sukanya Thanombuddha, Prapakorn Tharachai, Chanin Thienwiwatnukul, Nataya Udomwong, Nick Upton, Anurat Wattanawongsawang, Wimut Wasalai, Wings Inc., Krisakorn Wongornwuthi.

Compiled by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol



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