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Worldtwitch Thailand

2004 THAILAND BIRD REPORTS

Bird Conservation Society of Thailand Bulletin (BCST Bulletin)

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


RECENT REPORTS
December 2004 - January 2005

A Great Crested Grebe was reported on Nong Bong Kai (Chiang Rai) on 11 December (SW, per KI). Around 23 Christmas Frigatebirds and three Lesser Frigatebirds were seen off Ko Phi Phi (Krabi) on 14 December (ST). The recent spread of Asian Openbill continues, with the first contemporary records from Chiang Mai: 9 at Huai Thung Tao on 7 November (TB) and 13 on 6 December (TB). Historical occurrences from marshes south of Chiang Mai are mentioned in Deignan's Birds of Northern Thailand. There were 21 Black-headed Ibis on a pond at Wat Khao Takhrao (Phetchaburi) together with c. 600 Great Egrets, on 30 December (SN,KP, PDR,PS), with another 250 Great Egrets on partly drained ponds at the Laem Phak Bia Environmental Research and Development Project (Phetchaburi). A Black-faced Spoonbill showed up at the latter site on 10 January (PS). A pair of Common Pochards, 14 Tufted Duck and 14 Ferruginous Pochard were seen on Bung Boraphet (Nakhon Sawan) on 20 December (BBNHA/BBWRT, per KI). Roughly 100 Northern Pintail were present near Wat Khao Takhrao on 30 December (SN,KP, PDR,PS).

On Mu Ko Surin (Phang-nga), there was an Osprey on 24 December and two Grey-faced Buzzards on 23 December (PK). A migratory Peregrine Falcon again took up residence on a pylon, at Khlong Bang Kaew, Km. 8, Bang Na Trad (Samut Prakan) on 6 January (PK,PW), and a Merlin was seen at Mae Hia (Chiang Mai) on 9 January (CG, STh). A White-rumped Falcon was reported from Thinuey Guard Station on 19 January (AW,NCC).

50 Grey-headed Lapwings and 3 River Lapwings were seen at Takuapa (Phang-nga) on 5-6 December (YM). There were also 12 Grey-headed Lapwings at Rangsit on 3 January (JWKP). 28 Nordmann's Greenshanks were counted at Laem Phak Bia on 17 December (GD,UT). Two Spoonbilled Sandpipers and a single Dunlin were present at Pak Thale (Phetchaburi) on 9 January (PS).

A Eurasian Woodcock was seen at Thanarat Lodge, Khao Yai on23 December (KS). There were 37 Ruff at Laem Phak Bia Environmental Research and Development Project on 31 December (SN,KP,PDR) and 10 Pied Avocets on drained ponds at the same site on 11 January (PS). A Beach Thick-knee was again seen at the only known locality on Ko Surin (Phang-nga) on 17 December (ST).

There were eight Wedge-tailed Pigeons at Thinuey Guard Station, Thung Yai Wildlife Sanctuary (Kanchanaburi) on 18 December (AW,NCC). A male Large Green Pigeon and two Nicobar Pigeons were seen on Ko Surin on 25 December (PK)

A group of 7 Pied Kingfishers was seen near the Provincial Fisheries Station (Sa Kaeo) on 17 December (PW) and a single Crested Kingfisher at Lum Khlong Nguu, Thung Yai (Kanchanaburi) on 2 January (AJ,Pr S,SS).

A Racket-tailed Treepie in the interior of evergreen forest at Mo-singto, Khao Yai on 19 December (SN,AJP) was a new record for the headquarters area of the park, (and a complete surprise). Two House Crows were seen at Darn Sadao, Hat Yai (Songkhla) on 5 November (ST).

A shrike photographed at Mae Hia on 23 November (RS) was the first undoubted nominate race Long-tailed Shrike for Thailand . A regular flock of 20+ Long-tailed Minivets was seen around Huai Thung Tao during December, and they were also apparently joined by two Grey-chinned Minivets on 25 November (TB). Four Spot-winged Starlings, two of each sex, were seen at Thinuey Guard Station, Thung Yai Wildlife Sanctuary (Kanchanaburi) on 18 December, and a flock of 16–18 on 19 December (AW,NCC). There were two immature Rosy Starlings at Chumphon Municipal Sports Ground on 14 December (JND,MM,CN); four on 15 December (JND,MM,CN) and a truly amazing total of six on 20 December (CN). A male Chestnut-cheeked Starling was seen at Chumphon Provincial Sports Ground on 13 November together with two apparent malabarica race Chestnut-tailed Starlings (ST). Three Chestnut-cheeked Starlings entered a roost at Na Thung (Chumphon) together with 100 Chestnut-tailed Starlings (including three malabarica) and 8 Purple-backed Starlings (CN) on the evening of 15 December. Most remarkably, however, a Red-billed Starling, a new record for Thailand, showed up at Chumphon Provincial Sports Ground on 7 January and was still present on 11 January (CN). This means that, in theory, it is possible to see no fewer than 12 species of starlings and mynas while standing on the spot. By this time, the numbers of Rosy Starlings had risen to eight, and there were also five Chestnut-cheeked Starlings at the same site (CN). A flock of 35 Jungle Mynas at Takuapa, 5–6 December (YM) is possibly the largest flock of this rather scarce myna reported for some time. A Golden-crested Myna at Huai Thung Tao on 25 November (TB) was a new record for the site.

A Spot-necked Babbler was seen at Thinuey Guard Station, Thung Yai on 18 December (AW,NCC) and a Red-tailed Laughingthrush at Km 22, Doi Ang Khang (Chiang Mai) on 5 December (ST). One male Cutia was seen in a bird-wave on Doi Pha Hom Pok (Chiang Mai) on 3 January (ST).

One male and two female Purple Cochoas and c. 10 Green Cochoas were still present on the Doi Inthanon Jeep Track on 6 December (ST). In Khao Yai, male White-throated Rock Thrushes were seen around the bungalows near the Training Center, on 19 December (CW) and at Km 1 along the Khao Khieo Road, on 23 December (KS). There was another near the summit of Khao Soi Dao Tai (Chanthaburi), at c. 1400 m, on 9 January (SN,PDR). A male Common Blackbird by the Lumtakhong bridge, Khao Yai on 20 December (GD,EH, PS,UT) was only the second record for the park. Two more Common Blackbirds, an adult male and a first-winter male, were seen at Huai Thung Tao on 5 December (TB). A male Grey-winged Blackbird at Doi Pha Hom Pok on 1 January (ST). Two male Black-breasted Thrushes were present with a flock of Eyebrowed Thrushes on Doi Inthanon Jeep Track on 26 December (ST). An adult male Eyebrowed Thrush fed on fallen pikul fruits on a lawn at Mahidol University Salaya Campus (Nakhon Pathom) on 28 December (AN, PDR). There was a Grey-sided Thrush on Doi Pha Hom Pok on 31 December (ST). A Japanese Thrush (female, probably an adult) appeared at Pha Kluey Mai, Khao Yai on 4 January (AR,WaS), very close to the location where one was seen a year ago. Another, this time a male, was reported on the Mo-singto Trail, Khao Yai, on 10 January (per KS). A Scaly Thrush was also present at Pha Kluey Mai on 4 January (AR,WaS). A Rufous-tailed Robin, apparently photographed at Ban Krang, Kaeng Krachan over the New Year, was a new park record. The photograph was posted on a commercial web-page with neither date, detailed locality information, nor observer's name (per KS).

An adult male Mugimaki Flycatcher was seen at Khao Soi Dao Tai, 1400 m on 9 January (SDN,PDR). Two male niltavas on Doi Pha Hom Pok on 1 January (ST) were reported as Fujian Niltava and the description is currently being assessed by the BCST Records Committee. A female Cyornis flycatcher on the Mahidol University Salaya Campus on 5 January (AN,PDR) was thought to be a migrant/wintering Hill Blue Flycatcher, though the race was undetermined. A Yellow-vented Warbler was reported from a bird-wave in Phu Luang (Loei) on 27–28 November (ST). There were two Red-throated Pipits at Khlong Bang Kaew on 18 December (PK). Five male and two female Yellow-bellied Flowerpeckers were seen on Doi Pha Hom Pok on 31 December (ST). A male Collared Grosbeak at 2250 m on Doi Pha Hom Pok on 30 December (ST) was only the second Thai record. (The only previous was on Doi Inthanon during early 1986).

Two immature buntings photographed at Mae Taeng (Chiang Mai) on 11-12 December (AJ) were thought to be Red-headed Buntings -- a new record for Thailand. Still present on 18 December (RK). At least one Red-headed Bunting was still present on 25 December (ST). AJ also had at least one Black-headed Bunting at the same site on 7 October. The Black-headed Bunting was very worn, and showed signs of damage to the feathers of the crown suggesting a possible captive origin. It is therefore not yet clear whether some or all sightings of these species represent genuine vagrancy, or whether they are released captives. However, another Black-headed Bunting was photographed at Rangsit Soi 17 (Pathumthani) on 21 December (GD,UT).

Breeding Records:

A pair of Vernal Hanging Parrots were prospecting a next-cavity at Mo-singto on 19 December (GG,PDR). A Green Magpie was seen carrying probable nest material at Mo-singto, Khao Yai on 18 December (WS). Two White-browed Scimitar Babblers were carrying nest material at Mo-singto on 19 December (GG).

Contributors: Tony Ball, Bung Boraphet Non-Hunting Area and Bung Boraphet Wildlife Research Station (BBNHA/BBWRT), Nature Conservancy Club (NCC), Dr. Gerold Dobler, J.N. Dymond, Carol Goulden, Eric Hau, Krairat Iam-ampai, Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok, Dr. Rungsrit Kanjanavanit, Pornthep Katsura, Yotin Meekaeo, Mick Mellor, Dr. Amara Naksatit, Somchai Nimnuan, Chukiat Nualsri, John Parr (JWKP), Andrew J. Pierce, Korakoch Pobprasert, Arun Roisri, Philip D. Round, Pinit Saengkaew, Wangworn Sangkamethavee, Wachara Sanguamsombat (WaS), Ronayuth Sribanyaranond, Dr. Kaset Sutasha, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak, Sukanya Thanombuddha (STh), Uthai Treesucon, Paitoon Wisia (PWi), Pornchai Wisuthatarn, Chanpen Wongsiphreuk, .

Compiled on behalf of BCST Records Committee by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol.

The Work of BCST Records Committee is supported by Swarovski Optik KG.



RECENT REPORTS
October-December 2004

An Oriental Darter at Laem Phak Bia (Phetchaburi), 29 November (MF,AM,PDR), was a new record for the Environmental Research and Development Project site. There was a Great Cormorant at Huai Talat (Buriram) on 4 and 5 December Huai Chorakhe Mak (Buriram) on 5 December (P & PS). A Black Bittern showed at the Municipal Sports Ground, Chumphon on 2 November (CN). A Milky Stork and 40 Painted Storks were present at Wat Khao Takhrao (Phetchaburi) on 23 November (WC/SP/NT), and there were 18 Painted Storks there on 29 November (MF,AM,PDR). The two long-staying Milky Storks were still present at Huai Talat (Buriram) on 3 and 4 November (SS) together with 72 Painted Storks (WS,ST) but the Milkies had seemingly moved 22 km to another site, Huai Sawai (Buriram)on 4 and 5 December (P & PS). A major surprise, however, was an immature Black Stork which showed up at Huai Talat on 3 November (SS) and stayed until 8 November, when seen at nearby Sanambin (BK). This was followed by a (presumably) different individual at Fang (Chiang Mai) on 27 November (GS, per RK). There were 30 Black-headed Ibises at Wat Khao Takhrao 20 November (UK,JS,KS), 20 on 23 November (WC/SP/NT) and still at least nine on 29 November (MF,AM,PDR).

There were two Common Teals at Wat Khao Takhrao on 14 November (GI, MP, MW); three Northern Shovelers at Pak Thale (Phetchaburi) on 7 November (SM) and a Spot-billed Duck at Huai Talat on 10 November (ST). Two Ruddy Shelducks were seen on the Kaeng Krachan Reservoir (Phetchaburi) on 5 November (SJ); a single at Wat Khao Takhrao on 14 November (GI, MP, MW), with three on 29 November (MF,AM,PDR), and two more at Rim Khong, Chiang Saen (Chiang Rai) on 10 December (ST).

1000+ Black Bazas passed over Bang Khram (Krabi) on c. 22 October (YM) and 137 at Tha Yang (Chumphon) on 7 November (CN).

A pair of resident govinda Black Kites was seen standing on a nest at Kok Thai, Sri Mahosot (Prachinburi) on 18 November (CN). Single Chinese Sparrowhawks were seen at Tha Yang on 6 and 7 November (CN). 34 Japanese Sparrowhawks passed over Tha Yang on 6 November and 8 on 7 November (CN). A Short-toed Eagle was seen Kok Thai, Sri Mahosot on 18 November (CN). A Greater Spotted Eagle flew over Tha Yang (Chumphon) on 31 October (CN). Another, a first-winter, frequented a drained fish-pond at Wat Khao Takhrao, together with up to 300 Black Kites, on 20 November (UK,JS,KS), 23 November (WC/SP/NT, 25 November (RC,AP,RP,SS) and 27 November (SK,SM). Six or seven Greater Spotted Eagles left a presumed roost in the vicinity of Khao Yoi (Phetchaburi) on the morning of 29 November (MF,AM,PDR). A juvenile Steppe Eagle was seen near Thonburi-Pak Tho (Ratchaburi) on 6 December (TS) and another Greater Spotted Eagle at Thung Feua (Phetchaburi) on 6 December (TS). An immature Grey-faced Buzzard was stalking around on newly mown grassland, near the headquarters of Khao Yai National Park, apparently feeding on invertebrates, on 15 November (SN, PDR). Another was seen near Sri Mahosot on 18 November (CN). A Rufous-winged Buzzard photographed at Pong Salot (Phetchaburi) on 22 October (SR,ST) was a significant southwards range extension. Two Common Buzzards were reported from the hills around Prince of Songkhla University (Songkhla) along with c. 60 Black Bazas on 24 November (IS). A female or immature Amur Falcon was seen in flight at Laem Phak Bia on 15 November (PE). Common Kestrels were reported from Kaem Ling Nong Yai (Chumphon) on 20 September (CN), Khlong Bang Kaew, Km 8 Bang Na-Trad (Samut Prakan) on 31 October (PK) with possibly another, a male, on 21 November at Khlong Chuad Lak Khao, Km 10 Bang-Na-Trad (Samut Prakan; PK,PW).

Four Grey-headed Lapwings were seen near Pak Thale on 4 December (NRP,PDR). There was a count of 30 Malaysian Plovers in a flock, and 29 Sanderlings on the (now heavily vandalized and disturbed) sandspit at Laem Phak Bia on 27 November (PDR,SSo). There were also two Sanderlings at Khok Kham on 2 December (SD). A single Eastern Curlew was detected in the 250-strong Eurasian Curlew flock between Pak Thale and Laem Phak Bia on 20 November (UK,JS,KS) and 29 November (MF,AM,PDR). An Asian Dowitcher was still present in the same area on 20 November (UK,JS,KS), while at Khok Kham (Samut Sakhon) there were 32 at on 27 November (SK,SM) and 40 on 8 December (PDR, MU) and 41 on 11 December (JND, ISR). Seven Nordmann's Greenshanks were reported at Hat Nom Saaw, Khao Sam Roi Yot (Prachuap Khiri Khan) on 30 October (LE), and new record counts of 30 at Khok Kham on 17 November (SD); 21 between Laem Phak Bia and Pak Thale on 21 November (NB, WC; UK, JS, KS) and 22 on 23 November (WC/SP/NT). There were still 13 at Khok Kham on 2 December (SD) and 8 on 5 December (PDR). A single Green Sandpiper was seen at Pong Salot on 4 December (NRP,PDR). A Eurasian Woodcock at Bang Krang, Kaeng Krachan on 16 November (PE) was possibly a new record for the park. Interestingly a snipe (which species?) was also flushed from a wooded streamside at Ban Krang on the same day (PE).

There were eleven Great Knot at Khok Kham on 27 November (SK,SM); 15 on 2 December (SD); and c. 300 at Laem Phak Bia on 29 November (MF,AM,PDR) and 4 Decmber (NRP,PDR). There were 2 Red Knot and at least one Spoonbilled Sandpiper at Pak Thale, 4 November (PS); two Spoonbilled Sandpipers on 15 November (PE), three on 20 November (UK,JS,KS) and four on 25 November (RC, AP, RP, SS). At least one Dunlin was still present at Pak Thale on 29 November (MF, AM, PDR). A Red-necked Phalarope was found at Khlong Khone (Samut Songkhram) on 17 October (DD) while another, at Khok Kham on 27 November (SK,SM), and said to have first been found by SD "3 or 4 days earlier", was still present on 2 December (SD). There were five Ruddy Turnstones at Khok Kham on 5 December (PDR, MW, et al.).There were still up to 6 Pied Avocets between Laem Phak Bia and Pak Thale on 20 November (UK, JS, KS), and two on November (WC/SP/NT). A single Pied Avocet at Nong Harn (Sakhon Nakhon) on 19 November (MWo) was the first record from the north-east. 54 Eurasian Thick-knees were counted at Pong Salot on 22 October (SR,ST).

30 Caspian Terns were counted at Wat Khao Takhrao on 25 November (RC,AP,RP,SS) and 150 at Laem Phak Bia on 21 November (UK, JS, KS). 60 White-winged Terns at Khok Kham on 5 December (PDR, MW, et al.) was an unusually high midwinter concentration. There were five Heuglin's Gulls between Pak Thale and Laem Phak Bia on 20 November (UK,JS,KS); 16 on 29 November (MF,AM,PDR) and over 20 on 4 December (NRP,PDR). Two Pallas's Gulls, an adult and a first-winter, were also present on the latter date (NRP,PDR).

Eight Pale-capped Pigeons flew in to an area of Melaleuca scrub at Mu 2 Ban Bangjaroen, Tha Yang, on 23 October (CN). At least 20 Yellow-vented Pigeons fed in a fruiting fig at Km 33, Kaeng Krachan during 23 and 24 October (TS). Two male and two female Pink-necked Pigeons were seen at Wat Khao Takhrao on 25 November (RC, AP, RP, SS). What seemed to be a Short-eared Owl, a very rare winter visitor, and only Bangkok's second record, was flushed from a flowerbed by a passing cyclist at Suan Rotfai (Bangkok) on 28 November (DL).

A pair of Pied Kingfishers was seen at Pong Salot, 19 November (PK). An aberrant-coloured Stork-billed Kingfisher, with golden-brown wings was photographed at Khlong Chuad Lak Khao on 8 November (PW). A female Rufous-necked Hornbill flew over at Chong Yen, Mae Wong (Nakhon Sawan) 7 November (CD). A Eurasian Wryneck was seen at Khlong Bang Kaew, 10 November (PK).

About 20 Asian House Martins were seen at Nong Bua Daeng (Chaiyaphum) on 17 November (LM,WM). A remarkable concentration of at least 12-15 Green Cochoas and three Purple Cochoas were feeding on unidentified black fruits along the jeep track, Doi Inthanon, 7 November (UT).

There was a female White-throated Rock Thrush at 1200 m, and an Orange-headed Thrush at 1150m, at Khao Soi Dao (Chanthaburi) during 19-20 November (CD). Five Eyebrowed Thrushes were feeding in a fruiting fig at Kaeng Krachan on 24 November (TS). A Bluethroat was seen at Khlong Bang Kaew, 10 November (PK) and a brown-plumaged Orange-flanked Bush Robin at 600 m, Phu Langka National Park (Chaiyaphum) on 24 November (LM, WM) and both male and a female Daurian Redstart at Doi Ang Khang (Chiang Mai) on 27 November (MW et al.).

The first Chestnut-tailed Starlings appeared at the Chumphon Municipal Sports Ground on 27 October (two), and there were six, including one bright (apparently nominate race) bird together with a single Chestnut-cheeked Starling, a single White-shouldered Starling and 25 Purple-backed Starlings on 5 November (CN). A male Chestnut-cheeked Starling was again seen on 9 November and 10 November (CN). There were still 15 Purple-backed Starlings and 9 Chestnut-tailed Starlings, including one S. m. malabarica) at the same site on 10 November (CN). Thirty Hill Mynas were counted on Ko Surin (Phang-nga) on 17-19 November (CT). A single leucopsis race White Wagtail was present at Pong Salot on 4 December (NRP,PDR). Three male Red Avadavats were seen at Khlong Chuad Lak Khao, Bang Na-Trad Km 10 on 20 November (PW).

Late-submitted records

Some early (and previously unreported) counts of raptors at Tha Yang (Chumphon), following the earliest sightings of Japanese Sparrowhawks on the weekend of 8-9 September, were 22 Japanese Sparrowhawks on 15 September and 19 on 16 September; 11 on 18 September. There were three Chinese Sparrowhawks on 15 September (CN), 466 on 18 September, and 2086 on 26 September (CN). 120 Oriental Honey-buzzards were reported on 18 September, 172 on 26 September and 461 on 4 October (CN).

A single Grey-headed Lapwing flew south over Tha Yang on 18 September; 17 on 26 September and 7 on 29 September (CN). Eight Pied Imperial Pigeons flew over Tha Yang on 16 September. There was a Tiger Shrike at Na Thung (Chumphon) on 6 September (CN), and a possible superciliosus race Brown Shrike at Tha Yang, 3 October (CN). A single Purple-backed Starling was seen at Na Thung on17 September, while on 3 October, 203 flew south over Tha Yang (CN). There were 13 in the Municipal Sports Ground, Chumphon on 13 October (CN).

Breeding records

A breeding record already! Remarkably a pair of White-browed Shrike Babblers were seen collecting nest-material at Phanoen Thung, Kaeng Krachan on 17 November (PE). The same birds were seen (and photographed) taking turns sitting on a completed nest on 27 November (PE). This seems to be the first record of a forest bird nesting at this time of year, completely out of season.

Contributors: Wisnu Chotikapakorn, Ruth Cowdemo, Suchart Daengphayon, Charles Davies, Douglas Downard, J.N. Dymond, Peter Ericsson, Leo Evans, Max Finlayson, Greg Irving, Sukonta Jongoon, Dr. Rungsrit Kanjanavanit, Pornthep Katsura, Bruce Kekule, Suporn Kusolnumsanong, Uaiphon Kwanpare, David Lewis, Alan Martin, Yotin Meekaeo, Suwanna Mookachonpan, Lester Mulford, Wattana Mulford, Somchai Nimnuan, Chukiat Nualsri, Mariette Persson, Anongrat Phetsumrit, N.Roy Phillips, Stefan Pihl, Rungratchanee Pimathai, I.S. Robertson, Philip D. Round, Surachai Rungkunakorn, Pinit and Piyanipa Saengkaew, Greg Seymour, Dr. Samaisukh Sophasan (SSo), Dr.Jessada Sukpitak, Ike Sureiwong, Dr. Kaset Sutasha, Smith Suthibut, Taweewat Supindham, Sukanya Thanombuddha, Chanin Thienwiwatnukul, Nature Trails, Mahidol Unioversity Vertebrate Biology Class (MU), Paitoon Wisia. Dr.Kaset Sutasha, Mongkud Wongchai, Mongkol Wongkalasin (MWo).

Compiled on behalf of BCST Records Committee by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol


Sightings of Colour-flagged Waders

With increasing numbers of shorebirds now being banded along the East Asian-Australasian flyway, and with an ever expanding network of observers to look for them, leg-flagging is an increasingly valuable technique for elucidating patterns of movement, without the need for re-trapping of banded birds. A usually two-colour combination, which can easily be read in the field, is applied and one colour-combination is used per site.

BCST has received details of sightings of two leg-flagged Rufous-necked Stints sighted in the Inner Gulf during the past couple of months.

One, sighted by Chirdphong Termtanan at Ban Pak Thale, Ban Laem, Phetchaburi, Thailand (13°9'N, 100°3'E on 8 November 2004, seemingly bore a blue colour ring or leg-flag on the right leg. No ring was observed on the left leg. This accords with colour-marking used at Furen Lake, Nemuro City, Hokkaido, Japan (43°16'N, 145°27'E), which has used the flag combination Blue since August 1997.

The resighting was a distance of approximately 5468 km, with a bearing of 246 degrees, from the marking location.

Another, sighted by Suchart Daengphayon (Khok Kham Conservation Club)
at Khok Kham, Phanthai Norasingh, near Samut Sakhon, Thailand 13°30'0"N, 100°21'0"E on 16 October 2004, bore leg-flags as follows: LEFT leg: white flag on tibia (upper leg) above blue flag on tarsus; RIGHT leg: nothing/unknown on tibia (upper leg) above nothing/unknown
on tarsus.

This bird was flagged in Taipei-Kaohsiung (Taiwan), approximate co-ordinates 24°5'N, 120°24'E, which uses the flag combination White/Blue, sometime since 1998.

The resighting was a distance of approximately 2412 km, with a bearing of
244 degrees, from the marking location.

Please give waders a close scrutiny. It is important to record species, leg-flag colour(s) on upper leg (tibia) and lower leg (tarsus); whether right or left leg; whether any metal ring was observed; date, location and observer.

(Ringing details were received from the Australasian Wader Studies Group).


Environmental folly or environmental crime?

The Marine Department (Harbour Department) is undertaking development work at Laem Phak Bia that may irrevocably destroy the unique character of this unique scenically beautiful and nationally important nature conservation site. PHOTOS. A laterite road has been constructed out to the tip of the sandspit, and large boulders are being dumped offshore to construct breakwaters. Boulders are also being piled on to the tip of the sandspit itself. The precise nature of the development, and the rationale behind it, are unclear, although Khao Sod newspaper, when alerted by BCST members, revealed that a budget of 160 million baht (> ₤2,000,000) had been allocated for this work.

Possibly the department is using the excuse of counteracting coastal erosion as a reason for launching a massive unrelated development that has the ulterior motive of opening the area to mass tourism. Formerly a haven of peace and solitude, the sandspit at Laem Phak Bia, Ban Laem District, Phetchaburi Province, was only accessible either by boat, or by a 3.5 km hike along the beach from the nearest road access. Because of its relatively undisturbed nature, Laem Phak Bia supported 8-10 breeding pairs of the nationally threatened (and globally near-threatened) Malaysian Plovers at Laem Phak Bia before destruction of their habitatMalaysian Plover. It was also the only regular roost-site in the whole country for up to 30 taimyrensis Heuglin's Gulls, together with small numbers of Pallas's Gulls, and up to 54 Great Crested Terns and 9 Lesser Crested Terns. Perhaps of even greater importance than the birds was the site's scenic beauty, its uniqueness as a geological formation, delimiting the sudden transition from the mudflats and mangroves of the Inner Gulf, to the exposed sandy beaches that extend southwards down the peninsula. It supported a beautiful strandline flora of Ipomoea pas-caprae and Trianthema sp. and the marine mollusc fauna is also outstanding in its diversity.

Although there is a problem of beach erosion some 2 km to the south of the site, this might have been dealt at relatively low cost, without impacting the sandspit. There was certainly no need to undertake any construction activity at the tip of the sandspit itself, which has not suffered from any significant erosion during the past six years, and may even be accreting. In fact, there is a danger that by constructing breakwaters off the tip of the sandspit, erosion might be worsened.

In most countries, a site with the attributes of Laem Phak Bia would be regarded as a national treasure and established consultation mechanisms would exist to prevent inadvertent damage.

This is another example of the wasteful and dysfunctional nature of government in Thailand, whereby different departments, in different ministries, with overlapping areas of responsibility, are highly compartmentalized, and fail to liaise with each other. Neither the Office of Natural Resources, Environmental Policy and Planning, nor the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources Conservation, both of who have direct (and partly overlapping responsibilities) for wetlands and coastal area knew about this development until the alarm was raised by BCST. Bodies previously established to provide for liaison on environmental matters, such as the National Wetlands Committee, have been neglected under the administration of Prime Minister Taksin Shinawatra. Not even one meeting of Thailand's National Wetlands Committee has been called in the more than two years that have elapsed since bureaucratic restructuring led to the establishment of a new Ministry of the Environment. Paradoxically, less consideration is now being given by government to environmental matters.

BCST and other NGOs have sent letters objecting to this development to the Minister of the Environment, to the Phetchaburi Province Governor, to officials in the Office of Natural Resources, Environmental Policy and Planning, and also to the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources Conservation. Officials of the Harbour Department were "unavailable" when BCST officers called to present a letter objecting to the development.

On present evidence the damaging developments at Laem Phak Bia seem to constitute nothing less than a gigantic environmental crime, paid for, as usual, by taxpayers who have not been consulted. Destructive as this development is, it is only a sideshow to the main (and unrelated) event -- the proposed construction of a 47 km long motorway road-bridge across the Thai Inner Gulf, a Wetland of International Importance. Roundly condemned by local people, fishermen, NGOs, and even by many civil engineers, as destructive and wasteful, and yet to have its environmental impact competently assessed, the motorway project is being promoted by a cabinet with neither adequate knowledge of, or concern for, the environment, and for whom the bottom line is stimulating the economy by massive spending on infrastructure projects. Those civil servants with responsibility for environmental conservation are either unaware of the project's possible impact, or more likely, cowed into submission by an overbearing and anti-environment administration.



RECENT REPORTS
October-November 2004

This month's offering is weak on landbirds other than raptors. However, we have received many interesting shorebird records, mostly from the Pak Thale-Laem Phak Bia area of Phetchaburi. This is the second year running that small numbers of Dunlins have been detected in the Inner Gulf.

The Chumphon Raptor Watch Festival ran for the third successive year, thanks to the efforts of the local people and subdistrict council of Tha Yang, in Chumphon, together with Mr. Chukiat Nualsri. In addition, a team of counters, organized by Surachai Rungkunakorn visited the site and counted raptors on the weekends preceding and following the festival.

There were 39 Painted Storks and a single Greater Flamingo at Laem Phak Bia on 13 October (AR,WS). One of the streams of migrating raptors which converge at Chumphon may also be detected around Bangkok. Five or six Black Bazas were thought to be feeding in tall trees or bushes at Khlong Bang Kaew (Samut Prakan) on 22 and 23 October (PK), Approximately 40 flew SE at the same site on 25 October, at least three on 25 October (PK) and 13 more on 30 October (PK). A single Japanese Sparrowhawk also flew through on 23 October (PK).

A detailed accounting of Chumphon records for the two weekends preceding the 23-25 October Raptor Watch Festival, and for the festival itself, is given below. The first migrant Black Bazas were noted on 16 October (SR/ARRCN) and over 48,000. were recorded for the three days of the festival itself. Among the more significant records were a pale morph Booted Eagle at U-Tapao (Chumphon) on 16 October (SR/ARRCN) and a dark morph at Kaem Ling Nong Yai on 17 October (SR,SS,STh). A Short-toed Eagle passed over Nong Yai, 31 October (CP, SR, ST). Single Greater Spotted Eagles passed over Kaem Ling Nong Yai on 9 October and U-Tapao on 16 October (SR,SS,STh), with two at U-Tapao on 30 October (CP,SR,ST). (Full totals are not yet available for the weekend of 30-31 October).

An adult male Hen Harrier was reported from Kaem Ling Nong Yai (Chumphon) on 9 October (SR,SS) and there was another photographed at U-Tapao on 17 October (SR,SS,ST). A rufous peregrinator Peregrine Falcon was photographed at Khao Yoi (Phetchaburi) on 12 October (TS) and another, an adult presumed japonensis, photographed on an electricity pylon at Khlong Bang Kaew on 24 October (PW), was still present on 26 October (PK). A small falcon, almost certainly Northern Hobby, passed over Kaem Ling Nong Yai on 22 October (CN.PDR). A female or immature Amur Falcon passed over U-Tapao on the morning of 25 October (WS).

At least 191 Asian Dowitchers, 1,200+ Black-tailed Godwits and 40 Eurasian Curlew and 10 Great Knots were counted at Samut Sakhon Mangrove Study Centre on 10 October (AR,SS,WS). There were 220+ Asian Dowitchers, 134+ Black-tailed Godwits and 165+ Great Knots roosting on a pond at Khok Kham on 19 October (RD, NT). 200 Whimbrel were counted at Pak Thale on 10 October (SK, SM,MP) and 247 Eurasian Curlews at Laem Phak Bia on 31 October (PDR).

The Sharp-tailed Sandpiper reported last month at Khok Kham was still present on 5 October (WS,SS). The site still held 2 Dunlins and a Red Knot on 28 October (PS). A single Dunlin was reported from Pak Thale on 11 October (AR,WS), four on 12 October (TS) and at least seven on 13 October (two black-bellied, two non-breeding and three juveniles: AR,WS), and three on 31 October (SM,PDR,SS, et al.). 500 Rufous-necked Stints were counted at Pak Thale on 11 October and 11 Red Knots on 13 October (AR,WS). Two Spoonbilled Sandpipers, 3 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and 2 Nordmann's Greenshanks, reported from Pak Thale on 10 October (SR), could not be found on the following day. A single Nordmann's Greenshank was however seen on 25 October (SS) with three on 31 October (BK, SM, PDR, SS, et al.). The first Spoonbilled Sandpiper showed at Khok Kham on 27 October (SD, per RJ). Three probably five Spoonbilled Sandpipers were present at Pak Thale on 31 October (BK, SM, PDR, SS, et al.). Of three birds seen at close range, two were adults and one a first-year. Six Ruff and two Terek Sandpipers were seen at the Had Yai Water Treatment Plant (Songkhla) on 26 September (CN and WN); there was a single Ruff at Pak Thale on 12 October (AR,WS) and c. 10 on 31 October (BK,SM,PDR,SS, et al.). There were five Sanderlings at Laem Phak Bia on 12 October (AR,WS) and 27 between Pak Thale and Laem Phak Bia on 31 October (PDR). A Pied Avocet at Pak Thale on 10 October (RD, EL,SR) was followed by six at the same site on the following day (AR,WS), all of which disappeared shortly thereafter (per BK). Another Pied Avocet at Thale Noi (Phatthalung) on 25 October (LKC, CN and WN) was the first record for the Thai-Malay Peninsula.

There were already 25 Brown-headed Gulls at Bang Pu (Samut Prakan) on 17 October 2004 (PN). The number had risen to 720 by 23 October when 1+ Black-headed Gulls and a Slender-billed Gull were also present (PN).

At least 2,500 Common Terns and 35 Gull-billed Terns were counted between Laem Phak Bia and Pak Thale on 13 October (AR,WS) and as many as 70 Gull-billed Terns on 31 October (PDR). A second winter Heuglin's Gull was photographed at Laem Phak Bia before 24 September (ARe, per RJ), while two second winter Heuglin's Gulls were seen at Pak Thale on 11 October (AR,WS); 11, including 8 adults or subadults at Laem Phak Bia on 31 October (SM,PDR, et al.) and a juvenile Pallas's Gull on 10 October (SK, SM, MP). Four Great Crested Terns were reported from Laem Phak Bia on 12 October (AR,WS).

There was a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo at Khlong Bang Kaew, 26 October (PK). A grey morph cuckoo, thought to be Oriental Cuckoo, was seen at U-Tapao on 23 October (KSu).

An Orange-headed Thrush was eating figs at KU Kasetsart, Kamphaengsaen (Nakhon Pathom) 27-28 October (NI, KUKCBC). Siberian Rubythroat was seen at Khlong Bang Kaew on 26 October (PK). A juvenile Rosy Starling at the Chumphon Provincial Sports Ground, feeding on fruits with 10-15 Purple-backed Starlings, on 23-24 October delighted many visitors to the raptor watch. One of the same observers who gained experience of the Chumphon Rosy Starling then found another in Had Yai on 31 October (per CN).

A female or immature Asian Paradise-flycatcher was seen at Sukhumvit Soi 41 on 18 October (RD) and a male incei at Khlong Bangkaew on 28 October (PK).

Contributors:

Asian Raptor Research and Conservation Network (ARRCN), Lim Kim Chye, Bob Dawson (RD), Nattawut Inthawaree, Kasetsart University Kamphaengsaen Campus Bird Club, Pornthep Katsura, Boonrawd Khieoyuu, Suporn Kusolnamsanong, Evie Landry, Suwanna Mookachonpan, Chairatna and Weranut Nilnond, Porpol Nontapa, Chukiat Nualsri, Manthanee Pairatchavet, Chatsuda Pongsuwanin, Akadech Repaichit (ARe), Arun Roisri, Philip D. Round, Surachai Rungkunakorn, Pinit Saengkaew, Wachara Sanguansombat, Taweewat Supindham, Dr. Kaset Sutasha (KSu), Smith Suthibut, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak, Sukanya Thanombuddha (STh), Nature Trails, Paitoon Wisia.

Tables:

Numbers of raptors and other diurnal migrants at Chumphon (Muang District)

Numbers of shorebirds on salt pans and other ponds, from Ban Pak Thale and Laem Pak Bia, Ban Laem District, Phetchaburi, 31 October 2004

Compiled on behalf of BCST Records Committee by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol



RECENT REPORTS
September - October 2004

We continue to incorporate records from the Mekong, collected by Will Duckworth (JWD), Roland Eve et al. during late September-early October, along an approximately 227.5 km stretch of the Mekong River, from Vientiane upstream to Paklay, in the lower part of Xaignabouli Province, Lao PDR. Only the last 67 km lie entirely in Lao: for the lower 160 km of the stretch covered the river forms the Thai -- Lao border, adjacent to the Thai provinces of Loei and Nong Khai. Relatively little is known about the wet season bird fauna of the Mekong and other major rivers. The most striking absence was that of Small Pratincole, none of which were recorded during the current survey, due to the inundation of many sandbars. Yet this is such an abundant nester in the dry season. Where does it go in the wet season? There do not appear to be records of any significant concentrations of Small Pratincoles whatsoever at this time of year.

A count of 15 Great Cormorants at Wat Khao Takhrao on 4 September (SR,STh) gives rise to suspicions that this species is either about to recolonise Thailand, or perhaps has already done so. (An earlier count, by AR and WS, of 20 Great Cormorants together with 160 Indian Cormorants, at the same site on 27 April 2004, went unreported in this bulletin.) 67 Spotbilled Ducks were counted along the Mekong between Paklay and Vientiane (JWD, RE). The first Eastern Marsh Harrier was reported from Khlong Bangkaew, Bang Na-Trad Km 8 (Samut Prakan) on 24 September (PK). A Japanese Sparrowhawk was seen to capture and eat a frog on migration at Chumphon on 19 September (SR/ARRCN). Two Hume's Pheasants, either eclipse or immature males, were seen on the road, ca. 0.5 km before the Den Ya Khat substation, Doi Chiang Dao (Chiang Mai) on 7 October (AJP).

There were two River Lapwings at Mae Taeng Irrigation Project (Chiang Mai) on 1 October (SN,AJP,PDR), and a single bird was present with two Grey-headed Lapwings on 3 October (LBC). No fewer than 130 River Lapwings and 16 Grey-headed Lapwings were counted between Paklay and Vientiane (JWD,RE). Two more Grey-headed Lapwings were seen at Khlong Bangkaew on 24 September (PK), while another at Khao Yai on 25 September (CD) was only the park's second record. Khok Kham (Samut Sakhon) held a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper on 3 October (SD) and two Dunlins on 6 October (PN). There were about 100 Asian Dowitchers and at least 34 Eurasian Curlewson mudflats in front of the Samut Sakhon Mangrove Research Station on a rising tide on 10 October (PDR,SRo). There were two Pied Avocets at Laem Phak Bia on 18 Sepotember (TT) A single Great Thick-knee was seen along the Mekong between Chiang Khan and Pakchom (Loei).

32 Great Crested Terns were counted at Laem Phak Bia on 19 September (DL). A juvenile Parasitic Jaeger photographed on Bung Boraphet (Nakhon Sawan) on 11 September (DP, AR) is the first inland record of this species. An Oriental Cuckoo flew over the Thanarat Lodge, Khao Yai on 25 September (CD) and there were two more at Mae Taeng on 1 October (SN,AJP,PDR).

Four Black Hornbills, two adults and two juveniles, were seen in four days' observations from the 36m observation tower at Phru To Daeng (Narathiwat) during 25-28 August (TD). Evidently this nationally endangered species is still clinging on in this now badly disturbed and degraded peat swamp forest fragment.

There was a Hooded Pitta at Tham Pa Plong, Doi Chiang Dao (Chiang Mai) on 2 October (CD). Male and female Fiery Minivet were sent at Phru To Daeng during 25-28 August (TD) and three House Crows in Muang District, Phuket on 5 October (OBSERVER?), where there is evidently now a small population established around the municipal rubbish tip.

43 Plain Martins (most between Chiang Khan and Pakchom) but only 18 Wire-tailed Swallows were counted along the Mekong (JWD,RE). There was a Crow-billed Drongo at Kaem Ling Nong Yai (Chumphon) on 19 September (SR/ARRCN). Both Oriental Reed Warbler and Black-browed Reed Warbler were seen at Khlong Bangkaew, 20 September (PK) while a Thick-billed Warbler was reported from Ban Mae Sa Mai, Doi Suthep (Chiang Mai) on 6 October (AJP). Two Dusky Warblers at Mae Taeng on 3 October (LBC) was the first record received for the autumn. One of the "Golden-spectacled Warbler" constituent species (probably Plain-tailed Warbler) was noted from Khao Yai on 26 September (CD). Four Blue Rock Thrushes and two Red-throated Flycatchers were seen at Khao Yai on 24 September (CD) and there was a first-year female Siberian Blue Robin at Mae Taeng on 3 October (LBC). Eleven Jerdon's Bushchats were counted along the Mekong between Paklay and Vientiane (JWD,RE). A Yellow-rumped Flycatcher was eating caterpillars in the canopy of a Delonix regia tree off Suthep Road (Chiang Mai) on 4 October (PDR). Single female/immature Asian Paradise-flycatchers were seen at Kaem Ling Nong Yai on 25 September (SR/ARRCN) and Muang District, Samut Sakhon on 23 September (PC,RJ). Over 50 Purple-backed Starlings were feeding with Chestnut-tailed Starlings (no White-shouldereds?) in a fig tree at Ban Bor Wittayakorn School, Bang Bor, (Samut Prakan) on 18 September (VK). Latterly and most excitingly, there was a report of an immature Black-headed Bunting in paddies at Cho Lae (Chiang Mai) on 7 October (AJ) which, if accepted, may be only the second Thai record.

Breeding records: Bang Khunthien (Bangkok): White-breasted Waterhen and three one-third-grown chicks, 23 September (GG).

Khlong Bangkaew, Bang Na-Trad Km 8, Samut Prakan (PK): Little Grebe hatching, 11 September; Little Grebe with small chick at second location, 24 September. Bronze-winged Jacana, three small chicks, 11 September.

Table of Records of visible migration from Muang District, Chumphon.

Contributors: Asian Raptor Research and Conservation Network (ARRCN), Lanna Bird Club (LBC), Prasert Cha-unphan, Suchart Daengphayon, Charles Davies, Thoswan Devakul, Roland Eve, Dr. George Gale, Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok, Roongroj Jukmongkol, Pornthep Katsura, Valaiporn Kerdket, David Lewis, Somchai Nimnuan, Andrew J. Pierce, Dome Pratumtong, Arun Roisri, Philip D. Round, Sonapa Round (SRo), Surachai Rungkhunakorn, Sukanya Thanombuddha, Thiti Tunaree.

Compiled on behalf of BCST Records Committee by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol



RECENT REPORTS July - September 2004

This month, we have included records of migrants from the Lao shore of the Mekong, at Vientiane, where Will Duckworth is currently based. These provide a number of useful first dates for autumn migrants.

Ten Great Cormorants and 23 Oriental Darters were present on the Huai Ta Kao Reservoir, Huai Thab Than-Huai Samran Wildlife Sanctuary, (Surin) on 24 July (DP, AR, WS). Two Asian Openbills also flew over. A single immature Great Cormorant remained at Laem Phak Bia (Phetchaburi) on 22 August and 4-5 September (SN,PDR,PS et al.). Two adult Milky Storks were associating with a flock of 37 Painted Storks (31 adults and 6 first-years) at Huai Ta-lad Non-Hunting Area (Buriram) on 25-26 July 2004 (DP, AR, WS). According to rangers, the Milky Storks had been present throughout since first being sighted by DP in November 2003. There were 157 Painted Storks roosting on salt-pans at Laem Phak Bia on 22 August (WS et al.). Two juvenile Black-headed Ibises at Lum Luk Ka (Pathumthani) on 27 August (PE) may perhaps have come from a nearby safari park.

Four Grey Herons and 19 Great Egrets were found around Huai Sa-neang Reservoir, Muang District, (Surin) on 24-25 July 2004 (DP, AR, WS). The earliest presumed migrant Chinese Pond Heron at Vientiane was on 22 August (JWD), with more than 200 flying south per day on 28 and 30 August (JWD). A migrant Little Heron appeared at Vientiane on 4 September (JWD) and a Purple Heron on 12 September (JWD). Spot-billed Duck was seen at Vientiane on 6 September (though Spot-billed Ducks are apparently present throughout the wet-season upstream at Sangthong; JWD)

Two Black Eagles were watched displaying at Km 20, Kaeng Krachan (Phetchaburi) on 29 August (CD). Three Brahminy Kites, including one juvenile, and a single Osprey were present at Huai Ta Kao Reservoir, Huai Thab Than-Huai Samran Wildlife Sanctuary on 24 July (DP, AR, WS). The first apparently migrant Oriental Honey-buzzard was at Vientiane on 12 September (JWD), with a probable Japanese Sparrowhawk at Vientiane on 2 September (JWD). The first Japanese Sparrowhawks were picked up on migration at Chumphon on 8 September, and 29 flew south in one hour, late afternoon on 9 September (CN, per RD). 86 Chinese Sparrowhawks flew south, in several flocks, over Vientiane on 13 September (JWD); there was a Pied Harrier on 12 September (JWD) and a Northern Hobby, 11 September (JWD).

There were 22 Grey-headed Lapwings at Vientiane on 13 September. No fewer than 27 River Lapwings were present on wet areas, paddyfields and reservoir margins at Huai Sa-neang Reservoir, Muang District, (Surin) on 24-25 July (DP, AR, WS). The site also held a single Common Sandpiper and 4 Little Ringed Plovers.

There were also two River Lapwings on the R. Mekong off Vientiane (where they do not breed) on 24 August (JWD). The first Pacific Golden Plover at Vientiane was noted on 28 August (JWD) with two at Khlong Bangkaew, Ban Na-Trad Km 8 (Samut Prakan) on 3 September (PK).

100 Eurasian Curlews, an Asian Dowitcher and 200 Great Knots on salt-pans and ponds at Laem Phak Bia on 22 August (WS et al.), and 140 Eurasian Curlews, 510 Whimbrels and 320 Great Knots at the same site on 4 September (SN,PDR, PS, et al.). There were also 5 Bar-tailed Goldwits, 11 Terek Sandpipers and 30 Gull-billed Terns on the latter date (PDR,PS, et al.) Four Common Snipe at Khlong Bangkaew on 3 September (PK).

There were 153 Eurasian Curlews, 28 Whimbrels and over 50 Asian Dowitchers among more than 1,000 Black-tailed Godwits at the Samut Sakhon Mangrove Study Centre on 7 September (SD,RJ).

A few (<5) Whiskered Terns were already present at Laem Phak Bia on 21 August (SN,PDR,PS et al.), with numbers building up in earnest by early September. There were over 30 Gull-billed Terns and 2 Caspian Terns at the same site on 4 September.

Four Pink-necked Pigeons were seen at Soi Wacharapol, Sai Mai (Bangkok) on 28 August (SJ). Lesser Cuckoo adult, Doi Ang Khang, 23 August (ST). There was a Common or Oriental Cuckoo at Vientiane on 7 September (JWD); a moulting juvenile, (probably) Oriental Cuckoo near Mae Taeng (Chiang Mai) on 19 September (AJ, per RK), and a seemingly migrant Drongo Cuckoo at Vientiane on 11 September (JWD). Three or four resident race Oriental Scops Owls were heard, and a rufous morph taped and photographed at Sap Sadao, Thap Lan (Nakhon Ratchasima) on 28 August (SR,STh).

The first-noted Black-capped Kingfisher was at Vientiane on 11 September (JWD); Eurasian Wryneck on 13 September, Sand Martin on 6 September and migrant Black Drongos on 14 September (JWD). A Slender-billed Oriole was seen at Phu Khieo (Chaiyaphum), where resident, on 1 August (ST).

An amazingly early Bluethroat was at Vientiane, on 29 August (JWD) while a Blue Rock Thrush appeared on 14 September (JWD). The earliest migrant/dispersant Stonechat was at Vientiane on 24 August with many present by 28 August (JWD).

A first-autumn Brown-streaked Flycatcher was photographed at Saphan Mai (Bangkok) on 16 August, and remained until 22 August (PE). The earliest-reported migrant-race Asian Brown Flycatcher was from Vientiane on 14 September (JWD), and Dark-sided Flycatcher, Doi Inthanon, 25 August (ST). The first Yellow-rumped Flycatcher was an immature at Laem Phak Bia on 22 August (SN, PDR, PS et al.), with two more females or immatures the same day at Saphan Mai (PE); one at Vientiane on 25 August (JWD); and two at MU Sai Yok Campus (Kanchanaburi) 20 September (GG,PDR). Adult males were reported from the Samut Sakhon Mangrove Study Centre on 7 September (SD,RJ) and Khao Yai on 16 September (AJP). There was an incei Asian Paradise-flycatcher at Vientiane on 5 September (JWD), and another, a female or immature, at Khlong Nongbua, Km 8 Bang Na-Trad on 12 September (PK). A Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler was at Vientiane on 3 September (JWD) with three more (thought to be all race rubescens) at Laem Phak Bia on 5 September (SN,PDR,PS et al.). Other earliest reports were Thick-billed Warbler at Vientiane on 15 September, and Oriental Reed Warbler on 14 September (JWD). Meanwhile, an Acrocephalus photographed at Mae Taeng (Chiang Mai) on 19 September (AJ, per RK) seems to be northern Thailand's first Manchurian Reed Warbler -- a first-autumn bird. Arctic Warblers and Eastern Crowned Warblers were both in evidence at Vientiane on 3 September (JWD). There were two Arctic Warblers at Samut Sakhon Mangrove Study Centre on 7 September (SD,RJ) and two at Khao Yai on 16 September (AJP).

A Brown Shrike was already present at Vientiane on 22 August, with many by 28 August (JWD), and singles at Khlong Bang Kaew on 3 September (PK) and Laem Phak Bia on 5 September (SN,PDR,PS et al.). Tiger Shrikes were seen on Doi Inthanon, 24 August (ST), Vientiane, 5 September (JWD), the Samut Sakhon Mangrove Study Centre, (two on 7 September; SD,RJ), and at MU Sai Yok on 20 September (GG,PDR). The first-noted migratory Richard's Pipit was at Vientiane on 31 August (JWD), and Forest Wagtail on 4 September (JWD). There were already many Yellow Wagtails at Khlong Bangkaew, Ban Na-Trad, on 3 September (PK). Six Gould's Sunbirds on Doi Inthanon, (2 at Km 38 and four more on the summit) on 24 August (ST) leave one wondering whether the species is resident there. Are there any undoubted nest-records for this species in Thailand?

There were 130-140 Red Avadavats (including many males in completely red plumage, and 40+ Chestnut Munias ( mostly juveniles, bit including 10 adults) at Huai Chorakhe Mak Non-Hunting Area (Buriram) on 25-26 July 2004 (DP,AR, WS). 23 Java Sparrows were counted at Soi Wacharapol, Sai Mai, Bangkok on 10 August (SJ). Approximately 7 Asian Golden Weavers at the Laem Phak Bia Environmental Research and Development Project on 22 August (SN, PDR,PS, et al.) was a new record for the site.

Breeding records:

White-breasted Waterhen, nest-building, Sai Mai, Bangkok, 10 August; incubating, 19 August (SJ). Nest and four eggs, Laem Phak Bia, 23 August (JEM, PDR, PS et al.) Crested Finchbill feeding fledged young, Doi Ang Khang, 21 August (ST); Plaintive Cuckoo fledged from nest of Common Tailorbird on 1 August, Thung Song Hong (Bangkok) (BM); Baya Weaver, males collecting nest-material, Sai Mai, Bangkok, 10 August (SJ).

Contributors: Suchart Daengphayon, Robert DeCandido, Charles Davies, Will Duckworth (JWD), Peter Ericsson, Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok, Somneuk Jirasakanon, Roongroj Jukmongkol, Dr. Rungsrit Kanjanavanit, Pornthep Katsura, Miss B. Mountfield, Jonathan Murray (JEM), Somchai Nimnuan, Chukiat Nualsri, Andrew J. Pierce, Dome Pratumtong, Arun Roisri, Philip D. Round, Pinit Saengkaew, Wachara Sanguansombat, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak, Sukanya Thanombuddha (STh).

Compiled on behalf of BCST Records Committee by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol.



RECENT REPORTS
July-August 2004

Oriental Darter, two Great Cormorants and a single Osprey were seen at Se Yad Reservoir (Chachoengsao) on 29 June (AR, WS). A Spot-billed Pelican at the Chulabhorn Dam (Chaiyaphum) on 13 July (L & WM) was said to be a long-term resident, which flies in on a more or less daily basis for free hand-outs of food. There were eleven Spot-billed Pelicans on Bung Boraphet (Nakhon Sawan) on 1 August (MU), some of which were roosting in the Asian Openbill colonies on the lakeshore. According to Wildlife Research officials at the site, there is now a more or less year-round presence of Spot-billed Pelicans, perhaps giving hope for eventual breeding there.

A Rain Quail was heard calling in paddies on the southern shore of Bung Boraphet on 2 August (MU).

There were two Red-legged Crakes on the road between Lum Jung Wat and Bor Thong Guard Station, Khao Ang Ru Nai, on 28 June (AR,WS). About 70 Common Reshank flying southwards in two flocks over Bung Boraphet on 31 July (MU) were probably indicative of ongoing migration. There were already 10 Long-toed Stints at Laem Phak Bia on 23 July (JM,PDR), and two Sanderling and a Terek Sandpiper were seen on 24 July (JM,PDR). Four Small Pratincoles flew over Bung Boraphet on 1 August (MU). A Eurasian Thick-knee was seen in Muang District, Kanchanaburi on 6 August (PE). There were three non-breeding plumage White-winged Terns at Bung Boraphet on 31 July (MU).

A pair of Pink-necked Pigeons and a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo were both seen Bung Boraphet on 1 August (MU). A male Streak-throated Woodpecker was seen at Jakae Thong, Thung Yai West (Kanchanaburi) on 13 July (ST).

Hooded Pitta with two recently fledged juveniles, at Mo-singto, Khao Yai, c. 800 m, on 12 July (WS/KYADP) was a new nesting record. An Orange-bellied Leafbird was seen at the unusually low elevation of 300 m, Ban Krang, Kaeng Krachan on 19 July (ST)

Five Black Bulbuls showing the characteristics of the migrant race stresemanni were seen near the Chulabhorn Dam (Chaiyaphum) on 13 July (L& WM). Burmese Shrike, Muang District, Kanchanaburi on 6 August (PE). Orange-bellied Flowerpecker was photographed at Ban Krang, Kaeng Krachan on 19 July (ST)

Breeding records:

Huai Nam Dang (Chiang Mai): Green Cochoa, nest and chicks, 21 June (DP,AR).

Mae Wong, Kamphaengphet Province (ST): Orange-bellied Leafbird feeding fledged young, 19 June; Hill Prinia feeding fledged young, 19 June.

Mo-singto, Khao Yai: Eared Pitta, male and female with a single fledged juvenile, 17 July (SN/KYADP); Great Iora, pair nest-building, 16 and 17 July (GG/KYADP); Puff-throated Babbler nest and two young, 17 July (SN/KYADP); Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush, nest and 3 eggs, 18 July (AJP/KYADP).

Dulu, Thung Yai West, Kanchanaburi Province (ST): Black-and-red Broadbill nest and young, 12 July; Green Broadbill male and female feeding young in the nest, 11 July; Blue-winged Pitta incubating 11 July; Hooded Pitta incubating six eggs, 12 July; Eared Pitta nest-building, 12 July; Crow-billed Drongo feeding fledged young 12 July.

Sesavo, Thung Yai West, Kanchanaburi Province (ST): Silver-breasted Broadbill nest and young, 14 July.

Khao Ang Ru Nai, Chachoengsao Province (Lum Jung Wat Guard Station: AR,WS): Malayan Night Heron and 2 or 3 chicks in nest over the road between Lum Jung Wat and Bor Thong Guard Station, 27-28 June. A pair of Black-and-Red Broadbills nest-building 27-28 June 2004; Stripe-throated Bulbul collecting nest material, 27-28 June, White-rumped Shama collecting nest material, 27-28 June.

Kaeng Krachan (ST): Ban Krang, nest and young of Spot-necked Babbler, 16-18 May; Dusky Broadbill incubating, Silver-breasted Broadbill incubating, 17 July; Stripe-throated Bulbul feeding fledged young, 19 July; Km 25 Black-throated Laughingthrush nest-building, 18 July ; Km 28:Little Cuckoo Dove, male and female incubating, 19 July; Km 30 Black-crested Bulbul incubating, 5 June

LATE RECORDS:

47 Caspian Terns , 160+ Indian Cormorants and no fewer than 20 Great Cormorants roosting on the bund of a fish pond near Wat Khao Ta Khrao, (Petchaburi) on 27 April 2004 (AR,WS).

Contributors: Dr. George Gale, Khao Yai Avian Diversity Project (KYADP), Lester and Wattana Mulford, Jonathan Murray, Somchai Nimnuan, Andrew J. Pierce, Dome Pratumtong, Arun Roisri, Philip D. Round, Wangworn Sankamethavee, Mahidol University Ornithology Class Trip, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak.

Compiled on behalf of BCST Records Committee by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol.



Refinery could herald the destruction of the Thai Gulf

[BCST press release, 23 July 2004]

The attempted construction of a major petroleum refinery on coastal land in Ban Laem District, Phetchaburi, by the Siam Gulf Petrochemical Company, could be disastrous for the ecology of the Inner Gulf of Thailand. Local people from Tambol Bang Kaew, most of whom are either inshore fishermen or salt-farmers, and whose livelihoods would be threatened, are in the process of fighting the company, and are preventing it from moving heavy machinery into the site. The villagers' previous leader, Mr Boonsom Nimnoi, was shot dead while opposing the project in 2002.

The company has claimed that the Thai government's Office of Environmental Policy and Planning has approved the Environmental Impact Assessment for the project, enabling it to go ahead.

The Inner Gulf of Thailand is a Wetland of International Importance. Together with the coastal hinterland of the Chao Phraya Delta, it supports no fewer than 18 globally threatened bird species and a further 9 globally-near-threatened species. The concentrations of at least 35 shorebirds and other waterfowl qualify as of International Importance.

The immediate area surrounding the site of the proposed petrochemicals complex supported the globally endangered Spoonbilled Sandpiper (16 birds) and Nordmann's Greenshank (12-14 birds) during winter 2003-2004, possibly 10% of the world population of each species, among the many thousands of other shorebirds, when surveyed by Bird Conservation Society of Thailand during winter 2003-2004. Two or three Black-faced Spoonbills have also frequented the area in the past two winters, while the adjacent paddy zone inland held 10 Greater Spotted Eagles and 4 Imperial Eagles, both of which are globally vulnerable.

The complete absence of any land-use zoning in Thailand's coastal provinces implies that the devastation of the entire Inner Thai Gulf would inevitably follow any refinery development. Four years ago a private company purchased 10 sq km of coastal land in Bang Kaew and neighbouring Ban Pak Thale in order to develop an industrial estate associated with this petrochemicals complex.

The government's proposed development of a 47 km long road bridge and motorway, spanning the gulf between Samut Sakhon and Phetchaburi, will further increase the development pressures on these areas.

BSCT made representations to the Thai Government's Office of Environmental Policy and Planning as soon as it became aware of these proposals, in 2001, but received no reply.

The villagers of Bang Kaew are fighting a lone battle against a background of disinterest, apathy and ignorance from those Thai government agencies charged with protecting the environment. Thailand ratified the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 1998, but has shown no inclination to incorporate wetland conservation in its development strategy.

The present industrial development is only the latest in a long sequence of environmentally damaging activities in Thai wetlands. The industrialization of the gulf seaboard to the east of the Chao Phraya river mouth took place over twenty years ago, and resulted in Samut Prakan becoming the single most congested, polluted and corruption-prone province in Thailand.

For further information, please contact: Bird Conservation Society of Thailand, tel. 02-691-5976


RECENT REPORTS
June to early July 2004

A total of 55 Spot-billed Pelicans, including 5 juveniles, at Wat Khao Takhrao (Phetchaburi), and 100 Painted Storks (3 juveniles) at nearby Laem Phak Bia on 26 June (MM, CP) significantly advances our knowledge of the arrival times of these presumed dispersants from The Great Lake of Cambodia. Javan Pond Herons, nesting with Cattle Egrets in the crocodile enclosure at Bung Chawak (Suphanburi), had well-grown nestlings on 3 July (SN,PDR). There was a single Grey Heron at Laem Phak Bia on 26 June (MM,CP). A Purple Heron, at Khlong Bangkaew, Bang Na-Trat Km 8 (Samut Prakan) on 15 June (PK), and three more at the Bang Rak peatswamp, Ko Samui (Surat Thani) on 14 June, are possibly indicative of nesting at both localities. A male Cotton Pygmy-goose was present at Bang Rak peatswamp on 14 June (UT), while Purple Swamphen, Common Moorhen and Black-winged Stilt were also seen. Two Black Bazas at Huai Phu Rakam, Mae Nam Phachi Wildlife Sanctuary (Ratchaburi) on 15 May (CK), indicates probable resident status, as does a sighting of two juvenile Shikras on Ko Samui, 15 June (UT). However, a probable dark morph Booted Eagle at Pong Salot (Phetchaburi) on 26 June (MM,CP) was completely unexpected, as there was no previous indication that any birds might over-summer. A Black Eagle over the Tham Badan Guard Station of Erawan National Park (actually close to Sai Yok Noi Waterfall; Kanchanaburi) was a welcome sight on 5 July (SN,PDR). Two White-browed Crakes were seen at Khlong Bangkaew on 6 June (PK). There were already 11 Eurasian Thick-knees at Pong Salot (Phetchaburi) on 26 June (MM,CP).

Violet Cuckoos were noted at Ban Krang, Kaeng Krachan (Phetchaburi), on 30 May (a female; PK), and on 4 July (a juvenile photographed being fed by a male Ruby-cheeked Sunbird; CP). A Blue-tailed Bee-eater was feeding young on Ko Samui on 14 June (UT). Three Wreathed Hornbills flew over the Sai Yok Campus of Mahidol University (Kanchanaburi) on 5 July (SN,PDR). Two Buff-rumped Woopeckers were seen near Ban Krang, on 30 May (PK).

There were still 5 Barn Swallows at Khlong Bangkaew on 15 June (PK) and, as in previous years, there were sightings of small numbers throughout the month. A single occupied nest of vernayi race Striated Swallow was under observation on the MU Sai Yok Campus on 28 June and 5 July (SN,PDR). A Straw-headed Bulbul on Phuket, 19 June (IS) was presumably an escaped captive. Spot-necked Babbler was added to the list of birds known from Mae Nam Phachi when seen at the Huai Tongkinjao on 16 May (CK). A male Orange-headed Thrush was seen on Khao Khieo, Khao Yai on 15 June (RK) and a nest with two young, with both adults in attendance, was found on Khao Laem, Khao Yai, at 1260 m elevation on 18 June (NK/HPT). This significantly extends the known range of breeders. The species was previously thought to be only a winter visitor at Khao Yai.

Amazingly, following on from unexpected early June records of this species reported in the previous issue, two Black-browed Reed Warblers were still present in the Bang Rak peatswamp, Ko Samui on 16 June (UT).

The first return for a landbird migrant was Grey Wagtail at Kaeng Krachan on 4 July (CP). Ten Chestnut Munias on a dirt-bike riding area near the Prince of Songkhla University Phuket Campus (Phuket) on 21 June (IS) were joined by two White-headed Munias on 25 June (IS).

Breeding records:

Khao Yai: Blue Pitta, nest and four young, 18 June (AJP); another nest with three eggs, 18 June (WS); Ashy Bulbul adult with recently-fledged young, 20 June (PDR); female Siamese Fireback with c. 6 small chicks, 20 June (L&WM); fledged, full-grown young Coral-billed Ground Cuckoo, 21 June (L & WM).

Thung Song Hong (Bangkok:) Yellow-vented Bulbul nest and two chicks, probably predated; adult found dead nearby, 17 June. Plain Prinia nest and two eggs, 27 May; nest later abandoned during incubation; second nest with two chicks, 27 June (BM).

Mae Nam Phachi ( Ratchaburi) Black-naped Monarch nest and three eggs, 16 May (CK)

Contributors: Narong Jirawatkawi/Hornbill Project Thailand, Pornthep Katsura, Rittichai Kensungnoen, Chatchapong Khemsap, Mark Mallalieu, Miss B. Mountfield, Lester and Wattana Mulford, Somchai Nimnuan, Andrew J. Pierce, Chatree Pitakpaivan, Colin Poole, Philip D. Round, Wangworn Sankamethawee, Ike Suriwong, Uthai Treesucon.

Compiled on behalf of BCST Records Committee by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol.


Illegal road construction in Doi Inthanon National Park

by Philip Round

Photos

The construction by local villagers of a dirt road inside Doi Inthanon National Park, with the knowledge of, if not exactly the blessing of, national park and other government officials, throws the problem of parks and people into sharp profile.

The Karen village of Ban Muang Ang lies in the dry dipterocarp forest zone on the lower slopes of Doi Inthanon National Park. It is situated about 3 km off the main access road into the park, and supports a few hundred souls. The access to this village is well-known to birdwatchers, as there is a c. 20 year-old wooden suspension bridge across the Nam Mae Klang at that point. From there, a footpath ascends the ridge, leading ultimately to Muang Ang village. This has long been used as a birdwatching trail, in the absence of any proper nature trails in this zone, and provides the visitor with a good introduction to the birds of dry dipterocarp woodland. Woodpeckers are well represented, with both flamebacks, both yellownapes, White-bellied Woodpecker and Black-headed Woodpecker, as well as the diminutive Grey-capped Woodpecker, among others. Smaller birds include Common Woodshrikes, Black-hooded Oriole, Black-winged Cuckooshrike, Chestnut-bellied and Velvet-fronted Nuthatches, and wintering Rosy and Long-tailed Minivets. Bamboo brakes in the stream valley hold Grey-headed and, occasionally, Blossom-headed Parakeets. Black-backed Forktails and wintering Little Herons live on the stream, while Lineated Barbets, Hill Mynas, Blue Magpies, Eurasian Jays, Rufous Treepies, Green Magpies, White-crested and both Lesser and Greater Necklaced Laughingthrushes enliven the scene. Raptors include Black Baza, Shikra, Crested Serpent Eagle, Rufous-winged Buzzard, Collared Falconet and the scarce and enigmatic White-rumped Falcon. In the absence of any easily accessible, and good quality, plains dry dipterocarp, it is as good a birding area as you can find. There is, however, quite a bit of disturbance. Here, as elsewhere, the villagers burn the forest undergrowth. Nests of hole-nesting birds are robbed of their young, the nest-hole first being enlarged so as to enable the nest-thieves to gain access to the nest-cavity. And, of course, there are the frequent gun-shots that indicate illegal hunting, which are part of the soundtrack accompanying any visit to a protected area in the north of the country.

Roughly ten years ago, the Muang Ang villagers, using picks, started to upgrade the footpath to a motorcycle trail. This did not seem too threatening, and though some of us felt disquiet at the time, we kept our peace. It did, however, make birding marginally less pleasurable and slightly hazardous, as one's morning stroll was interrupted by the passage of motorcycles from time to time. Overall, though, there was not much damage to the habitat or the national park from upgrading the footpath to the only marginally wider motorcycle track.

Early in 2004, however, the disturbance escalated. The Muang Ang villagers widened their motorcycle track so as to make a road passable by pickup trucks. Any larger trees that had the misfortune to be in the course of the road were ring-barked, so as to kill them while the smaller trees were cut outright. Further burning took place along the sides of the road so that, in places, there is a now a cleared strip 30-40 m wide through what used to be forest. Is it pure coincidence that in the past year, the White-rumped Falcon territory has disappeared?

The villagers lack the resources to build a bridge across the stream (and cutting and transporting large logs to make the bridge would almost certainly be pushing the park officials' goodwill too far) so instead they have constructed a concrete ford across the stream bed, and below the existing suspension bridge, that will allow passage of vehicles during drier parts of the year.

This road construction, inside a national park, is undoubtedly illegal, and with good cause. National Parks, along with Wildlife Sanctuaries, are Thailand's front-line defences against the erosion of biodiversity. There is massive popular support for national parks, which receive millions of visits per year from the general public. Pretty much everybody is agreed that the parks are a good thing. Even if you asked the Karens of Muang Ang village, they would probably accept that, on balance, Doi Inthanon National Park should be maintained. If the watershed area was not protected, at the very least Muang Ang village would probably be suffering from lack of water in the dry-season water. Yet here, as elsewhere, there are many issues of conflict among the many disparate groups with an interest in national parks. I believe the term beloved of the park management and community forestry lobby is "stakeholders". We are, all of us, stakeholders in Doi Inthanon National Park, whether we visit it once per year, or whether we visit every weekend; whether we live inside or outside its boundaries; whether we visit it to watch birds or whether our main concern is providing for our families through agriculture within or adjacent to its boundaries.

There is a large body of opinion that holds that, where villagers can provide evidence that they lived in an area before a national park was established, they should be allowed to remain. This is generally regarded as a right, not as a privilege. Such a view appears to be of relatively recent origin, and is coloured by the general recognition that, worldwide, even the most remote areas hold indigenous peoples. It is not always true, though, that local people living in parks are indigenous, ancient inhabitants. In fact, this is the exception rather than the rule in Thailand and much of SE Asia. Genuine hunter-gatherers, "the Spirits of the Yellow Leaves," the phi thong leuang, and the Sakai (orang asli in Malay) are all but extinct. Most inhabitants of forest areas are fully integrated into the cash economy. Such peoples have long moved around in search of farmland, in some cases moving hundreds of kilometers, in order to grow cash-crops. Neither the presence of people in a park, nor planted fruit trees or other crops are necessarily evidence of long and continuous use or residence. While the Karen certainly have a greater right to be regarded as indigenous inhabitants of Doi Inthanon than do the lowlanders, or even the Hmong, both of whom colonized the park relatively recently, the blanket use of prior occupancy as an indicator of land-rights leads to some logical absurdities. If prior occupancy automatically granted right of abode, then Thailand would have no meaningful parks at all. Certainly Khao Yai, which once had large and thriving villages in what is now the headquarters area, could never have been established, and the same holds true for most other protected areas. Under such a policy, villagers and slash-and-burn farmers would be the arbiters of what should or should not be conserved, not biologists, planners, conservationists or the general public.

It could be argued that when the Karen colonized the village now known as Ban Muang Ang, they were content to walk to and from their houses to the main road. They did not use, or have access to, motorcycles, far less pickup trucks, so why should they expect to be able to use them now? Those who argue for peoples' and forests' co-existence are mostly mute on the subject of the escalating desires and expectations of villagers living in the forest. Of course, they will want road access. Today a dry-weather track will do; tomorrow, it will be mains electricity and other amenities, and the day after tomorrow perhaps a blacktop road as well. It is hard to argue with someone who maintains that road access could save the life of a wife in childbirth, or a sick child. But these are good reasons why we should not regard prior entry into a National Park as granting inalienable rights of tenure, as ultimately, the park will cease to exist as a natural or semi-natural habitat. Living inside a National Park is not a right, but a privilege, and it comes with certain obligations. If National Parks are to have any meaning at all, then everybody must obey the National Park laws - not just the visitors. The law cannot be applied selectively.

But if the costs associated with the establishment and maintenance of a National Park are at present borne disproportionately by local people, then perhaps we should find a way to share these costs more equitably among the wider community. For those villagers who consider that road access and electricity are more important than the privilege of living inside a National Park, then perhaps resettlement outside the park, under generous terms, could be offered as an alternative.

Where would the money for compensation come from? Well, the money already exists, and it comes from you and I, from the entrance fees we pay every time we enter a park. The Department of National Parks (DoNP) makes enormous sums of money on gate receipts, rent of accommodation, and sale of goods and services in the areas under its aegis. At present, none of this money goes to benefit local people, and precious little goes to pay the salaries of park staff, or to benefit conservation at all. Instead, it disappears into central government coffers, and remains more or less unaccounted for. If it returns to the park, it is in the form of new buildings, restaurants, and grandiose facilities, designed to make yet more money for the parks department through catering to an ever greater number of tourists. Instead of using tourism revenues destructively in this manner, we should instead use them to benefit conservation. At least part of the money from gate-receipts could be used to compensate villagers living inside parks, and to support those who would voluntarily accept resettlement outside protected area boundaries.

The issue of local people living inside national parks will not go away. A continuation of the status quo (avoidance of directly considering the problem--favoured by government officials) is bound to lead to the steady erosion of biodiversity in all of Thailand's protected areas. The problem of parks and people needs to be addressed. Firstly, local park management boards need to be established. These would allow for genuine participation in management by local people living in and around parks, alongside government officials. In order to ensure that neither the money-oriented Department of National Parks, nor vested local business interests are enabled to subvert the conservation objectives of national parks, national and local nature conservation NGOs would also need to be represented on park management boards. Such a tripartite system-- local people, officials, and national nature conservation NGOs--would accord formal participation to to all as stakeholders, provide a forum for discussion of key management issues, and the implementation of solutions.

Precisely because such a system would deprive DoNP of its exclusive nominal control over its "empire", and force some sort of financial accountability upon it, the department will fight tooth-and-nail to oppose its establishment. Sooner or later, though, the parks department will be deprived of its exclusive control, whether it accepts this gracefully, or whether it remains reactionary to the end: social pressures will demand it. The chief danger at present is that the present system, instead of evolving gently into a balanced, genuinely participatory, conservation-oriented system, involving park management boards, could be toppled and replaced by something much more dangerous--a business oriented, tourism development-at all-costs ethos led by popularist politicians, businessmen and the much-touted "CEO Province Governors" favoured by the present administration. Bird Conservation Society of Thailand and the handful of other "dark-green" conservation NGOs should seize the initiative and lobby for the establishment of conservation-oriented local management boards for every national park before it is too late.

This year Thailand is hosting the world conference of IUCN. This presents an ideal opportunity for the conservation lobby to remind the world of the problems confronting Thai parks, of the government's reluctance, and DoNP's inability, to address them.

In the meantime, the villagers of Ban Muang Ang and a thousand other communities inside Thailand's national parks are quietly and unobtrusively doing what they will always do -- seek to better their lives and increase their living standards, free of government interference, as far as possible. The trouble is that you and I, and other park users, are paying for this in the currency of lost birdwatching opportunities, vanishing wildlife and degraded forests.



RECENT REPORTS
May-June 2004

A juvenile Great Cormorant and an Indian Cormorant were both present at Laem Phak Bia (Phetchaburi) on 15 May (SK, ST) and 40-50 Indian Cormorants flew over at Laem Phak Bia on 5 June with up to four Indian Cormorants feeding or loafing on ponds in the project site (SN, PDR, PS). Seven Painted Storks were seen in flight over salt-pans at Laem Phak Bia on 22 May (PDR).

Both Lesser Fish Eagle and Wallace's Hawk Eagle were among birds listed by CT from the Pha-to Watershed Station (Chumphon) during 5-7 June. Two Bat Hawks were found at a new locality, in Pha-to District (Chumphon) on 7 June (AJ,CN). They were seen carrying nesting material to a large tree near a river, and were said to be mobbing anyone who approached the nest tree.

At least 10 Grey Plovers were still present at Laem Phak Bia on 22 May (PDR), with 40 Rufous-necked Stints, all in non-breeding plumage, on 6 June (PDR). There were 20+ Eurasian Curlews and two Terek Sandpipers at Mahachai Mangrove Study Centre (Samut Sakhon) on 15 May (SK). No fewer than 51 Great Crested Terns and three Lesser Crested Terns were still present on the end of the sandspit at Laem Phak Bia on 22 May (PDR), together with 650 Common Terns and about 60 Little Terns. Some Common Terns in breeding plumage showed the black bills characteristic of the race longipennis. There were three Caspian Terns at Laem Phak Bia on 5 June and a single on 6 June, with 4 Whiskered Terns on the latter date (SN,PDR,PS). Singles each of Brown-headed Gulls and Black-headed Gull were present at Bang Pu on 29 May (PN).

Some Yellow-vented Pigeons were seen eating figs, Km 19, Kaeng Krachan 18 May (ST). There were two Mangrove Whistlers near the Mahachai Mangrove Study Centre on 15 May (SK), and one was heard singing at the Laem Phak Bia Environmental Research and Development Project on 5-6 June (SN,PDR,PS). A Striped Wren Babbler at Khao Nor Chuchi on 11 April (SK) was the first sighting of this rare lowland forest specialist at the site for over a decade. It had been feared possibly extinct there. Surprisingly, singles of both Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler and Oriental Reed Warbler were still present at Laem Phak Bia on 5 June and there were two Black browed Reed Warblers on 6 June (SN,PDR, PS). An Arctic Warbler was in the grounds of Nailert Park Hotel (Bangkok) on 21 April (MM); Asian Brown Flycatchers appeared in the British Embassy grounds on 23 April and 24 April (two: MM). A Mugimaki Flycatcher was present at Nailert Park Hotel on 22 April with another in the British Embassy grounds on 23 April and two on 24 April (MM). There was a Forest Wagtail in Nailert Park Hotel on 21 April (MM).

Breeding records:

Bung Boraphet, 7 May (SK): Small Pratincole nesting colony of 30+ birds; Greater Painted-snipe 3 nests, with birds incubating; colony of 20 nest-building Streaked Weavers.

Laem Phak Bia: Hat Chao Samran, Malaysian Plover ten pairs (most still with eggs but two pairs with chicks) 22 May (MY, PDR); Black-winged Stilt 4-5 birds incubating, 6 June; Red-wattled Lapwing adult plus three newly-hatched chicks, 5 June; Asian Pied Myna feeding young in the nest, 5-6 June (SN,PDR,PS).

Kaeng Krachan: Black-and-red Broadbill, nest-building (Khao Pakarang, 17 May); Silver-breasted Broadbill incubating (one pair) 16 May; nest-building (one pair, 18 May); Spot-necked Babbler (nest and young, 16-18 May; ST); Oriental Pied Hornbill, recently fledged young food-begging, 29 May; Greater Racket-tailed Drongo one recently fledged young, 29 May (PDR).

Khao Nor Chuchi: Gould's Frogmouth nest and chick, 2-3 May (SK); Hooded Pitta nest-building, 22 May (ST); Brown-streaked Flycatcher adult feeding two recently fledged young, 22 May (ST).

Late additions: Ajarn Pramoj Waithyakul sent the society some records from Mae Sarieng (Mae Hongson) where he has lived for a number of years. The most significant of these was a Chestnut-cheeked Starling, associating with a flock of Chestnut-tailed and Purple-backed Starlings on 23 March.

Contributors: Anutin Janteva, Suppalak Klabdee, Mark Mallalieu, Somchai Nimnuan, Porpol Nontapa, Chukiat Nualsri, Philip D. Round, Pinit Saengkaew, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak, Chirdphong Termtanan, Pramoj Waithyakul.

Compiled on behalf of BCST Records Committee by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol.


Malaysian Plover census

In the course of carrying our fieldwork for her doctoral dissertation, Mai Yasue has been surveying nesting Malaysian Plovers and Little Terns on the coast in Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan Provinces. She has found a total of 58 nests of Malaysian Plovers at her three study sites, 24 nests at Khao Sam Roi Yot alone.

Preliminary indications are that nesting success is fairly low, with broods of young chicks disappearing, presumably having been predated. Peak nesting was from late April to the end of May, though the first chicks in both species were observed in the last days of April. The earliest fledged Little Terns were seen in late May.

  Number of nests found
Locality Laem Phak Bia Khao Sam Roi Yot Bo Nok
Malaysian Plover 11 24 23
Little Tern   50  


RECENT REPORTS
March - May 2004

Two shearwaters, tentatively identified as Streaked Shearwaters, were seen on the crossing between Ko Surin and Khura Buri (Phang-nga) on 20 April (AS). Several hundred frigatebirds off Ko Bida, Phi Phi islands (Krabi) on 12 April included 6-10 Christmas Frigatebirds among the Lesser Frigatebirds (GD). A male Great Frigatebird was reported between Krabi and Ko Phi Phi on 16 April (SR). There was at least one Oriental Darter near the Queen's Resort, Thung Kamang, Phu Khieo (Chaiyaphum) during 15-28 March with three on 16 March (DP,AR,WS); two at nearby Bung Mon on 22 March (DP, AR, WS) and one at Bang Phra (Chonburi) on 9 May (PE). Four more were reported from Nong Thung Thong Non-Hunting Area (Surat Thani) on 12 March (PK), and a single bird was at Kaem Ling Nong Yai (Chumphon) on 8 and 14 April (CN). The last few years has seen a remarkable upsurge in sightings, and presumably numbers, of darters possibly resulting from better protection at breeding colonies, either in Thailand or Cambodia. A single Chinese Egret was reported from Krabi River Mouth on 24 March (PK) and 13 April (GD). Breeding plumage Indian Pond Herons were seen at Kapoe (Ranong) on 6 April (PK) and Huai Yang (Prachuap Khirikhan) on 26 April (PE) and a Javan Pond Heron at Hat Sai Ree (Chumphon) on 23 April (CN).

There were two (seemingly resident) pairs of Black Bazas at Thung Kamang, Phu Khieo (Chaiyaphum) during 15-28 March (DP, AR,WS),. No fewer than 147 Chinese Sparrowhawks were counted at Kaem Ling Nong Yai on April (CN). A report of a male Hen Harrier (same date and locality) is subject to the same concerns applying to most other records, in the absence of a confirmatory photograph. The hills around Doi Mae Salong (Chiang Rai) proved a good point to observe raptor passage during a birdwatching camp set up for hilltribe children by LBC, with 6 Oriental Honey-buzzards, a Crested Serpent Eagle and 8 Chinese Sparrowhawks and 17 Accipiter sp. during a half-hour's observation on 12 May. Two hours on 2 May produced 6 more Chinese Sparrowhawks, 31 Accipiter sp. 6 Common Buzzards and a Black Baza. The cream of the crop was two male and one female Amur Falcons on 1 May (LBC). North-West Thailand has a virtual monopoly of this species for both the spring and autumn passage, it seems.

There were five Silver Pheasants on the trail to Bung Pan, Phu Khieo, on 22 March (DP,AR,WS). A lewisi race Silver Pheasant was seen near the summit of Khao Soi Dao Tai (Chanthaburi) on 13 April (WS) with a single Chestnut-headed Partridge at 1,065 m on 14 April (WS).

Seven Common Sandpipers on the TAT Pond at Khao Yai on 21 April (PDR) were presumably passage migrants since they were not seen on the following days. There were still 56 Whimbrels at Bang Pu (Samut Prakan) on 25 April (PN); 27 Asian Dowitchers at Krabi River Mouth on 16 April (SR), with two Nordmann's Greenshanks there on 13 April (GD). Three Great Knots were seen at Ao Chalong (Phuket) on 19 April (IS). A single Dunlin, in breeding plumage, was photographed at Pak Thale (Phetchaburi) on 1 May (PN). Grey-tailed Tattlers at Bang Pu had increased from one bird on 7 May to four just two days later (PN). There were also 26 Rufous-necked Stints at Bang Pu, where this species is seldom seen, on 9 May (PN).

The Indian Skimmer at Laem Phak Bia, reported in the previous issue of Recent Reports remained until 21 April but was not seen thereafter (per TD). A single Beach Thick-knee on Ko Surin Tai on 6 May (PDR,ST) was near the same locality where one or two birds have been seen by other observers in previous years. Indeed, photographs of the species now feature on promotional literature for this marine national park. A first-winter Black-tailed Gull was still present at Laem Phak Bia on 19 April (RK,TD), and 27 Brown-headed Gulls (down from 3,291 on 3 April) remained at Bang Pu on 25 April, (PN). Only a single Brown-headed Gull remained on 7 May (and none was seen on 9 May (PN). Two Parasitic Jaegers were reported on the crossing to Ko Similan on 11 April (AD, J&JG, AL) and three pale morph Pomarine Jaegers on the crossing to Ko Surin 21 April (PE).

Eight or nine White-bellied Pigeons were logged feeding on fruit along the road between Sala Prom and Thung Kamang, Phu Khieo on 18 March (DP,AR,WS). A Wedge-tailed Pigeon was seen, and heard calling, at the unusually low elevation of 350 m, Huai Thung Tao (Chiang Mai) on or before 6 May (precise date not mentioned: AB). A Large Hawk Cuckoo in a garden at Saphan Mai (Bangkok) on 10 May was an unusually late migrant (PE). Coral-billed Ground Cuckoo was seen on a trail near the Queen's resort, Phu Khieo, on 26 March (DP,AR, WS).

There were up to 7 Silver-backed Needletails with ca. 40 Brown-backed Needletails at Bung Mon, Phu Khieo on 22 March (DP, AR, WS) and perhaps as many as 20 Silver-backed Needletails appearing daily, late afternoon, at the TAT Pond, Khao Yai, among an estimated 200 Brown-backed Needletails on 21-24 April (PDR). The birds typically visited in small groups, making two or three passes over the pond before flying off, so it was difficult to keep track of precise numbers. They were joined briefly by a single White-throated Needletail on 24 April (TD, RK) and two on 25 April (WC, PM, WP, PDR). A single White-throated Needletail had previously been seen on 15 April (AD, J&JG, and AL). A Grey Nightjar was photographed in Kaeng Krachan, near Ban Krang, on the morning of 18 April (CP). At least 3 Blue-throated Bee-eaters, a scarce passage migrant in Khao Yai, were present among c. 10 Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters on 25 April (WC, PM, WP, PDR).

There were at least three Hooded Pittas at Mo-singto, Khao Yai, on 22 April (PDR, WaS) with two birds still in the area during 16-17 May (GG, KP, PDR). Although this species nests at lower elevations in the park, such as at Haeo Narok, it is only a passage migrant in the headquarters area. Another Hooded Pitta was heard on Ko Surin Nua on 5 May (PDR), and a Blue-winged Pitta on Ko Surin Tai on 6 May (PDR). Two Blue-winged Pittas were reported from the Sai Khao Nature Study Centre, Khao Soi Dao on 10 April (ST). Blue-rumped Pittas were seen at 1,500 m on 13 April and 1,200 m on 14 April in Khao Soi Dao, (WS,CT). There was a single stanfordi race Rosy Minivet identified among Brown-rumped Minivets at Phu Khieo on 17 March (DP, AR, WS).

Black-naped Orioles remained up to 26 April, but were not heard thereafter (PDR). Black-browed Fulvettas were observed from 900 m to 1,200 m in Khao Soi Dao, 12-14 April (WS, CT). A White-throated Rock Thrush was present at Thung Kamang, Phu Khieo on 15 March (DP, AR, WS) with a single Scaly Thrush at the same site on 15-20 March (DP, AR, WS). Two Siberian Thrushes (one male, one female) were feeding on Ficus at 960m, Khao Soi Dao on 11 April, with another bird, a female, at 1,450 m on 12 April (WS, CT). Probably four different Green Cochoas were seen on Khao Soi Dao Tai during 12-14 April (WS, CT). A single (presumed migrant) Hair-crested Drongo was still present in the Khao Yai headquarters area on 25 April (GG, AJP); single Two-barred Warblers and Pale-legged Leaf Warblers also remained on 25 April (PDR). A Dark-sided Flycatcher showed up in a garden at Saphan Mai on 30 April (PE) and. a single Ferruginous Flycatcher at 1500 m in Khao Soi Dao on 13 April (WS). A female Yellow-rumped Flycatcher was seen at the Sai Khao Nature Centre, Khao Soi Dao on 10 April (STh); with males at Khao Phanom Bencha (Krabi) on 12 April and Khao Yai on 14 April (AD, J&JG, AL). There were five Mugimaki Flycatchers (three adult males, one first-year male and one female) in the same tree at the Khao Soi Dao waterfall together with a male Blue-and-white Flycatcher on 10 April (WS,CT). Males of both Mugimaki Flycatcher and Blue-and-white Flycatcher were reported from Khao Yai on 14 April and 15 April respectively (AD, J&JG, AL). A male Japanese Paradise-flycatcher at Mo-singto, Khao Yai on 22 April (AJP) was, so far as known, the first record for the park. Coincidentally, another male was photographed in a garden at Nakhon Chaisi (Nakhon Pathom) on 20 April (SR). The latest date for Purple-backed Starlings at Chumphon was 16 April (15 birds, CN) down from a maximum of 120 birds, together with two Chestnut-cheeked Starlings on 16 March (CN).

Numbers of Olive-backed Pipits at Khao Yai gradually diminished after 21 April, with only a single bird noted on 25 April (PDR). A Forest Wagtail was seen on Ko Surin on 4 May (PDR) and single Yellow Wagtails on 5 and 6 May (PDR,ST).

Breeding records:

Salaya (Nakhon Pathom): Oriental Magpie Robin, nest and three eggs, 11 May (PDR); Brown-throated Sunbird fledged, more or less full-grown young (PDR).

Kaeng Krachan: Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush nest and young, 12 April (PE)

Khao Nor Chuchi (YM): nest and single young of Gould's Frogmouth, 1-3 May

Khao Yai (KP): Black-throated Laughingthrush nest and two young, 15 May

Khao Soi Dao (WS,CT): Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo feeding two fledged young, and another pair with one nestling, 12-14 April; Indochinese Green Magpie pair carrying food, 12-14 April; Blue-winged Minla collecting nest material, 12 April; Dark-sided Thrush nest, 11 April.

Tambol Na Tung, Muang District, Chumphon: occupied nest of White-bellied Sea Eagle, 21April (CN),

Contributors: Tony Ball (AB), Wichian Chinwong, Lanna Bird and Nature Conservation Club, M.L. Thoswan Devakul (TD), Gruff Dodd, Andrew Duff, Peter Ericsson, Dr. George Gale, John and Judy Geeson, Dr. Rungsrit Kanjanavanich, Prach Kongthong, Ann Lawson, Phairot Maomiti, Yotin Meekaeo, Porpol Nontapa, Chatree Pitakpaivan, Korakoch Pobprasert, Waraporn Potisorn, Andrew J. Pierce, Dome Pratumtong, Arun Roisri, Philip D. Round, Surachai Rungkunakorn, Anuwat Saisang, Wachara Sanguansombat, Wangworn Sankamethawee (WaS), Ike Suriwong, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak, Sukanya Thanombuddha (STh), Chatchai Thanupran.

Compiled on behalf of BCST Records Committee by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol.



RECENT REPORTS
March - April 2004 (plus additions from late February 2004)

A Christmas Frigatebird was reported off Khok Kham (Samut Sakhon) on 3 April (per KKCC). Four Great Cormorants were present on the wastewater ponds of the Laem Phak Bia Environmental Research and Development Project (Phetchaburi) on 10-11 April (MM,PDR) with at least three still present on 15 April (many observers). An Indian Cormorant reported from Krabi on 8 April (JH) was the first record for the Thai-Malay Peninsula. There was a single Oriental Darter and no fewer than 26 Glossy Ibises at Bung Boraphet (Nakhon Sawan) on 23 March (SK), continuing the trend of steady increase in the population there. Where do these ibises come from and where do they nest? There were also no fewer than 92 Black-headed Ibises at Thale Noi (Phatthalung) on 25 March (PS). Two Black-faced Spoonbills were still present at Laem Phak Bia on 1 April (PDR) but seemingly not thereafter.

A breeding plumage Javan Pond Heron was seen in Krabi on 17 March (AO) and two Malayan Night Herons near the Orchid Waterfall Camspite on 27-28 March (SK). A Chinese Sparrowhawk flew low across the road at Kaeng Krachan on 12 April (PE) and a Greater Spotted Eagle and a dark morph Booted Eagle were both slightly inland of Pak Thale (Phetchaburi) on 1 April (PDR). A Northern Harrier (sex not mentioned) from Samut Prakan on 9 March falls into that great grab-bag of harriers claimed at various times, as this species, but which lack adequate evidence, photographic or otherwise, to document them. Most cannot be treated as other than "possibles" under these circumstances. There was a male Pied Harrier at Khlong Rabom (Chachoengsao) on 27 March (MM). A male Crested Wood Partridge was seen at Krung Ching on 4 April (ST).

Two Slaty-legged Crakes on the Mosingto Nature Trail in Khao Yai on 4 1April (AB,CJ) is an exceptional record. There was a single Oriental Plover at Khlong Rabom Reservoir on 27 March (MM) and a Pied Avocet at Bung Boraphet on 23 March (SK). Three Nordmann's Greenshanks, three Terek Sandpipers, 30 Great Knot and ten Bar-tailed Godwits were among waders present at Khok Kham on 21 February (SD/KKCC), with three Asian Dowitchers on 6 March (SD/KKCC). Three Spoon-billed Sandpipers were seen at Pak Thale on 30 March (CH, RD, PN); there were two Spoon-billed Sandpipers at Khok Kham on 21 February and 6 March, and a single up to 3 April (SD/KKCC). A breeding plumage Little Stint was photographed on filtration ponds at Laem Phak Bia on 15 April (SK, PDR, SS,SmS et al.). There was a Grey-tailed Tattler at Krabi on 6 April (JH).

Two major rarities were a Black-bellied Tern at Bung Boraphet on 7 April until 10 April (WRD per SS), and an Indian Skimmer, probably only the fourth record for Thailand, at Laem Phak Bia on 14 April (RJ,PN, CP). Alas, the news of the tern was not released, but the skimmer put on a fine performance and was seen by many people. So far as known it is still present at time of writing (20 April).

A Chestnut-winged Cuckoo was present at Mo Singto, Khao Yai, on 2 April (AP). A nisicolor Hodgson's Hawk Cuckoo was reported eating the young of Grey-headed Flycatcher at the Thi Dong Guard Station, Thung Yai Wildlife Sanctuary (Kanchanaburi), on 21 March (ST). Pictures of both Indian Cuckoo and grey morph Oriental Cuckoo from the Orchid Waterfall Campspite, Khao Yai, were posted on a commercial web-page on 5 April. An Indian Cuckoo was also present on Ko Mun Nork (off the coast of Rayong) on 4 April (SK). A grey morph Oriental Cuckoo photographed in Suan Rotfai (Bangkok) was present from 3 to 9 April ( per SK). There was a rufous morph cuckoo, presumed Oriental, at Mahidol University Salaya Campus (Nakhon Pathom), on 14 April (PDR), and a Drongo Cuckoo in the British Embassy Grounds (Bangkok) on 19-20 April (MM). A Coral-billed Ground Cuckoo was sadly, picked up dead, struck by a car, in Khao Yai on 4 April (per WYB). Buffy Fish Owl was seen every evening at Krung Ching Waterfall, Khao Luang (Nakhon Si Thammarat) on 3-5 April (ST).

Four Silver-backed Needletails were still present at Khao Yai on 27-28 March (ST), and two White-throated Needletails, exclusively a passage migrant, put in an appearance on 10 April (AM). There were two spring-passage Blue-throated Bee-eaters at Laem Phak Bia on 15 April (PDR) and a Ruddy Kingfisher on Ko Mun Nork on 6 April (SK). Two Crested Kingfishers were seen on the northern part of the Huai Kha Khaeng River (Uthai Thani), at ca. 800 m elevation during the period 9-14 April (TD).

A Blue-winged Pitta was already present at Khao Nor Chuchi (Krabi) on 15 March (AO).

A Common Iora at the Training Center, Khao Yai on 22 March (AP), and two Yellow-vented Bulbuls in a grassland along the start of the Khao Khieo Road on 9 April (AP) seem to be the latest in a long line of open-country/disturbed habitat colonists to the Khao Yai headquarters area. A male Fire-capped Tit displayed to a female, erecting the feathers on his crown, on Doi Inthanon, 3 March, and copulation ensued (CH).

A Scaly Thrush was still present at Khao Yai on 12 April (AM). An Eyebrowed Thrush which flew past observers looking at the skimmer on 17 April (MM,CN et al.) was probably a first for the Laem Phak Bia Project Area. Another Eyebrowed Thrush was seen on Ko Mun Nork on 5 April (SK). A male Siberian Thrush and a Grey-sided Thrush showed up at the Thi Dong Guard station, Thung Yai on 21 March (ST). There was a Siberian Blue Robin on Ko Mun Nork on 4 April (SK) and two first-year males in mangrove scrub at Laem Phak Bia on 11 April (MM, PDR).

Among wintering birds, Sapphire Flycatcher was seen at Den Ya Khat, Doi Chiang Dao on 6 March (ST). Otherwise there was a rich crop of flycatcher passage migrants. Single Ferruginous Flycatchers were present at the Thi Dong Guard Station of Thung Yai on 23 March (ST); at Suan Rotfai (Bangkok ) from 27 to 30 March (SK); Kop Mun Nork on 5 April (SK) and at Km 38, Doi Inthanon on 13 April (JWKP). Two male and one female Yellow-rumped Flycatchers and an adult male Mugimaki Flycatcher were at the Orchid Waterfall Campsite, Khao Yai, on 27-28 March (SK). The same area held two male and two female Yellow-rumped, and an adult male Mugimaki on 2 April (PDR, SS). A male Mugimaki Flycatcher was still present on 6 April (PDR), with two more males and one female at Mosingto, Khao Yai on 10 April, and two males, and two females on 12 April (AM) and a further adult male on 20 April (AP). A first-year male Mugimaki Flycatcher, was in the grounds of the British Embassy on 14 April; a female in Nailert Park (Bangkok) on 15-16 April and 19-20 April with another, a (first-year male) there on 17 April (MM); A first-year male Mugimaki Flycatcher was also present at Salaya on 17 April (PDR).

Two more male Yellow-rumped Flycatchers were seen at the Training Center in Khao Yai on 31 March (TS), with a female at Mosingto, Khao Yai on 10 April; a male on the following day (AM) and singles (sex not mentioned) at Ko Mun Nork on 4 and 5 April (SK) There was also a first-year male at Laem Phak Bia on 10 April (MM, PDR) and one or two male Yellow-rumped Flycatchers at Nailert Park on 17 April.

An elisae (Green-backed) Flycatcher at Khao Nor Chuchi on 5 April (YM, per AM) may have been a wintering bird. Another, a male, in Nailert Park on 15 April (MM) was presumably a passage migrant. Male Blue-and-white Flycatchers were recorded from Khao Yai (part of the Khao Khieo massif in Huai Kha Khaeng) on 19 March (AP) and from The Orchid Waterfall Campsite on 27-28 March (two birds apparently one each of green-blue cumatilis and darker blue nominate cyanomelana races; SK). A further male Blue-and white Flycatcher, thought probably to be a first-year male cyanomelana, was present on Ko Mun Nork on 5 April (SK). A female Blue-and-white Flycatcher was seen on the Mo-Singto Nature Trail on 5 April (PDR) and another elsewhere in Khao Yai on 12 April (AM). A male Japanese Paradise-flycatcher on Ko Mun Nork on 4 April (SK) is a very scarce or under-recorded passage migrant bird through the eastern part of the country.

There were three Thick-billed Warblers in song, Lumphini Park (Bangkok) on 17 April (MM). Roughly one third of an incredible concentration of c. 240 Dusky Warblers in and around the grassy filter beds at the edges of the mangroves at the Laem Phak Bia Environmental Research and Development Project, on 10-11 April were actively moulting inner wing and tail feathers and therefore were presumably not on active migration (MM,PDR). Arctic Warblers were reported from the British Embassy grounds on 14 April (MM) and in Nailert Park on 17 and 19 April (MM).

There were two Forest Wagtails at Salaya, on 14 April and three on 17 April (PDR); and a further bird in the British Embassy grounds on 17 April (MM).

A remarkable range extension, if accepted , would be a report of two Pale-footed Bush Warblers from the Sesavo area of Thung Yai on 14, 20 and 22 March (ST). The habitat was open evergreen/dry dipterocarp savanna at 850 m. Twelve Black-throated Parrotbills were found at 1800 m on "Doi Khao Yai", Thung Yai Wildlife Sanctuary during 15-19 March (ST). Other species reported from this little-known mountain were Lesser Shortwing, Large Niltava, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Mountain Tailorbird, Dark-backed and Rufous-backed Sibias, Pygmy Wren Babbler, Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler, Blue-winged Minla, Silver-eared Mesia and Rufous-winged Fulvetta. Gould's Sunbirds were seen commonly at 1500-1800 m on Doi Khao Yai during 15-19 March (ST).

A Common Rosefinch was seen in a forest clearing at Mosingto, Khao Yai on 7 April (AP) is one of very few records for the park.

Breeding records:

Soppong (Mae Hongson; CH) Lineated Barbet, copulation observed on two days, 5 March; Coppersmith Barbet, copulation observed, 5 March; Black Baza, courtship flights, involving calling and "pendulum flights" 5 March; Asian Barred Owlet copulation observed, 6 March.

Doi Chiang Dao (ST): Grey-headed Flycatcher feeding young in the nest, 5-7 March; Giant Nuthatch said to be nest-building (carrying nest material or excavating?) on 6 March; Doi Chiang Dao (Tham Pha Phlong; CH); Shikra, occupied nest on a clump of epiphytic ferbs 20 m up; male and female in attendance, 29 February; Golden-fronted Leafbird nest-building, 29 February; Grey-throated Babbler nest-building, 28 February (CH).

Doi Inthanon Summit (CH) Blyth's Leaf Warbler nest-building, 3 March.

Bung Boraphet (Nakhon Sawan) Savanna Nightjar with one chick, 23 March (SK)

Thung Yai (Doi Khao Yai; ST): Mountain Hawk Eagle, young in nest at 1700 m, 15-18 March; Rufous-necked Hornbill two nests with young, 1700 m, 15-18 March and Great Hornbill one nest with young, 21 March; Lesser Shortwing feeding fledged young, 18 March; Grey-headed Flycatcher feeding fledged young, 18 March.

Thung Yai (Thi Dong Guard Station area; ST) Brown Hornbill one nest with young, 800 m, 22-24 March; Silver-breasted Broadbill incubating, 750 m, 24 March.

(Sesavo area; ST) Chestnut-tailed Starling, young in the nest, 14-20 and 22 March.

(Dong Song area; ST) Red-headed Trogon incubating, 21 March.

Laem Phak Bia (MM,PDR) Red-wattled Lapwing nest and four eggs, 11 April; Asian Pied Myna, full-grown juvenile, 10 April (MM,PDR).

Khao Yai: Hill Myna (young in nest, 22 March; ST); Slaty-backed Forktail feeding a chick along the stream near the Orchid waterfall, 27-28 March (SK); Banded Broadbill carrying nest-material, 3 April (PDR); Ashy Wood Swallow incubating, 4 April.

Salaya Pied Fantail, full-grown fledgling food-begging, 14 April; Oriental Magpie Robin, nest and three young, 14 April (PDR); full-grown fledgling, 17 April.

Kaeng Krachan: Bronzed Drongo associating with a complete but empty nest; Black Drongo sitting on nest; Great Necklaced Laughingthrush feeding a single fledged young, 12 April (PE).

Khao Luang (Nakhon Si Thammarat). At Krung Ching Waterfall (ST) Grey-throated Babbler feeding two fledged young, 3 April; White-crowned Hornbill nest and young, 3 April; Black-and-yellow Broadbill feeding young in nest, 4-6 April; Great Iora incubating, 4-5 April; Hill Myna nest and young, 4-5 April; Black-naped Monarch incubating, 4-5 April. Grey-and-buff Woodpecker with a fledged young, 6 April; Spectacled Spiderhunter feeding fledged young, 6 April; At Krung Nang Waterfall, Red-throated Barbet both male and female excavating, 4-5 April; Black-bellied Malkoha nest and young, 5 April; Thick-billed Pigeon nest building, 6 April.

Contributors: Adam Bowley, Warren Y. Brockelman, Khok Kham Conservation Club, Suchart Daengphayon, Bob Dawson (RD), Thoswan Devakul, Peter Ericsson, Christopher Hines, John Howes, Charlie Jackson, Suppalak Klabdee, Mark Mallalieu, Andy Mears, Patty O' Neill, Porpol Nontapa, Aaron Ofner, John W.K. Parr, Dr. Anak Pattanavibool, Chawal Prapaithong, Philip D. Round, Pinit Saengkaew, Tommaso Savini, Suthee Supparatvikorn, Smith Suthibut (SmS), Sopitcha Tantitadapitak, Wildlife Research Division, Department of National Parks (WRD).

Compiled by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol on behalf of BCST Records Committee



RECENT REPORTS
February - March 2004

Although the most unusual record presented below, a possible Goliath Heron, outshines everything else in terms of rarity value and unexpectedness, in fact it is the results of recent searches for wintering Aquila and other eagles that most deserve our attention in this issue. As top avian predators, with large winter territories, eagles are of outstanding conservation importance, and at least two species which winter regularly in Thailand, Imperial Eagle and Greater Spotted Eagle, are globally threatened. Moreover, because of their dependence in winter on "unimproved" rice paddies and other open lowland habitats, including marsh, their survival is intimately linked with a fast-disappearing lifestyle. It is unfeasible to set aside a large enough protected area to conserve these species, yet land-management practices that would enable them to survive in farmland are actively discouraged by the play of market forces and by governments. Unless there is a major change of emphasis from planners and policy makers both the small rice-farmer and the wintering eagles could be lost from Thailand. More resources need to be directed towards protecting, and providing incentives for, the maintenance of traditional lifestyles, including the cultivation of single-crop rice.

We owe a special debt of thanks to Mark Mallalieu, the chief observer who has searched for, photographed and counted eagles over a huge area of the Central Plains during this and the previous winter. He estimates that he has personally seen the remarkable total of at least 45 different Greater Spotted Eagles in the Central Plains between Phetchaburi and Nakhon Sawan during this winter alone.

A single Oriental Darter was present at Kaem Ling Nong Yai (Chumphon) on 25 February (CN), with two more, both immatures, on a reservoir by a paper mill at Khlong Rang, Sri Mahapos (Prachinburi) on 13 March (MM,SN,PDR) and 24 March (JM,PDR).

24 Spot-billed Pelicans soared high overhead, 5kms south of Tha Tako, east of Bung Boraphet (Nakhon Sawan) on 21 February (MM) and there were 17 Painted Storks 3 kms north of Phanom Sarakham (Chachoengsao), on 18 February (MM). A probable Goliath Heron, reportedly seen at ca. 1 km range in the marsh at Khao Sam Roi Yot on 7 March (RC, RH, JFJJ) is the most remarkable record received in a decade or so. The observers must have felt very frustrated to have been able to watch it for such a short time, and at such a great range. A photograph was said to have been obtained, but has not yet been provided for scrutiny. One or more local observers looked for the bird on the following day without success.

The two Black-faced Spoonbills reported earlier were still present at Laem Phak Bia (Phetchaburi) on 15 February (NU), 6 Mar (RC,RH,JJ), 13 March (PE) and 20 March (PD, MM,CS). There were no fewer than 17 Black-headed Ibises at Wat Khao Takhrao (Phetchaburi) on 15 February (NU) and a single bird along with three Ruddy Shelduck and about 80 Northern Pintail there on 25 February (Wings).

Northward raptor passage at Chumphon was apparently evident from 1 February, when 20 Oriental Honey-buzzards, two Grey-faced Buzzards, a single Black Baza and eight Japanese Sparrowhawks moved north (CN). There was another Grey-faced Buzzard, 53 Japanese Sparrowhawks and 15 Chinese Sparrowhawks and 75 Accipiter sp. on 14 February; six Oriental Honey-buzzards, six Grey-faced Buzzards, 37 Japanese Sparrowhawks, five Accipiter sp. and a Black Baza on 28 February (CN).

Significant numbers of wintering Black Kites were found in Nakhon Sawan Province, with 35 at Ban Tung Talae Sai, (just NE of junction of Highway 32 and Highway 11), and 15-20 at Ban Tung Sawang, on 1 March (MM). Further south, at Sri Mahosot (Prachinburi) 253 flew out of a roost in trees among paddy lands on 17 March (MM). The largest roost seems to have been in the Khao Yoi area of Phetchaburi, with a reported 500 on 21 February (SK).

There were four Rufous-winged Buzzards around Ban Tung Sawang (Nakhon Sawan) 20 February, and three there on 29 February (MM). A juvenile White-bellied Sea Eagle was photographed near Khao Yoi on 21 February (SK). A single Short-toed Eagle was seen over paddy stubbles at Sri Mahosot on 18 February (MM), and two on 13 March (MM,PDR). There was a pale morph Booted Eagle at Ban Tung Sawang on 20 February (MM). This increasing coverage of paddy stubbles by a single observer (MM) has also turned up significantly more Greater Spotted Eagles and other Aquila then previously suspected. There were 11 Greater Spotted Eagles including one "fulvescens" pale bird around Sri Mahosot on 8 and 18 February; (and ten including two "fulvescens", leaving a roost at this site on 3 March). Elsewhere, in Nakhon Sawan, there were 8-15 Greater Spotted Eagles at Ban Tung Sawang on 20 February (with eleven seen at a roost on the evening of 18 February); three at Tha Tako 21 February and three at Ban Thung Thale Sai on 1 March. There was also a single bird at Khao Sam Roi Yot on 2 March. There was an adult Imperial Eagle at Sri Mahosot on 8 February; an immature 3 kms west of Phanom Sarakham (Chachoengsao) on18 February; an immature at Ban Tung Sawang on 20 February, with a different (older) immature there on 29 February, and also one Steppe Eagle. Two Steppe Eagles, one juvenile and one sub-adult, were photographed near Khao Yoi on 21 February (SK).

At least 16 Eastern Marsh Harriers were counted between Ban Sang and Sri Mahosot on 8 February; male Pied Harriers were seen SE of Ban Sang on 8 February, at Sri Mahosot on 18 February and at Phanom Sarakham on 17 March (MM). A possible female Hen Harrier was reported from near Laem Phak Bia on 21 February (SK).

An adult migrant race Peregrine Falcon was seen and photographed at Soi 119, Bang Pu (Samut Prakan) on 8 March (CT,ST), where it rested on a pylon during the entire day. Two Peregrine Falcons were seen SE of Ban Sang and a third at Sri Mahosot on 8 February (MM) and13 March (MM,SN,PDR). There were also singles at Ayutthaya on 19 February; at Tha Tako on 28 February and Ban Tung Sawang 29 February. Common Kestrels were noted at Sri Mahosot on 8 February (two); one at Ban Tung Sawang 20 February and .one at Tha Tako on 21 February (MM).

A "small group" of Silver Pheasants on Doi Ang Khang on 19 Feb (MB,JR) provides further confirmation of the resilience of this species, in being able to survive on this largely deforested mountain which, moreover, is still subject to a high level of hunting. A Baillon's Crake was photographed at Soi 119, Sukhumvit Road, Bang Pu on 28 February (SK) while a Black-tailed Crake was found near Huai Tung Tao, (Chiang Mai) at an unusually low elevation (TB).

Up to 5 Pied Avocets were reported along the Pak Thale-Laem Phak Bia road, 15 February (PK,NU) and 20 March (PD,MM,CS). There were 40 Grey-headed Lapwings at Lum Luk Ka (Pathumthani) on 22 February (PE), two at Sukhumvit Road, Soi 119 on 28 February (SK); 15 on muddy levelled rice fields at Ban Tung Talae Sae (Nakhon Sawan), 1 March (MM) and 10 near Sri-pa-chan (Suphanburi) on 6 March (OK). 300 Grey Plovers were counted at Laem Phak Bia on 2 March (MM), while two Oriental Plovers appeared on grazing land at the edge of Lat Krating Reservoir, Sanam Chai Khet (Chachoengsao) on 17 March (MM). There were c. 50 Little Ringed Plovers at Khloing rang on 24 March (JM,PDR).

1,500 Black-tailed Godwits at Sri-pa-chan on 6 March (OK) is by far the largest number ever recorded on inland waters. Three Spoon-billed Sandpipers were still present at Pak Thale on 7 February (PC); two on 20 March (PD, MM,CS), while a single bird at Khok Kham continued to show well throughout February. A detailed and accurate record count of 600 Great Knots at Laem Phak Bia on 2 March (MM) pre-dates the expected spring passage maximum, usually in mid to late April. On 13 March (PE) and 20 March (MM, CP,CS) numbers of Great Knots had declined to a more usual figure of 300. Two Red Knots were also present on the latter date (MM,CP,CS). Six Nordmann's Greenshanks at Laem Phak Bia on 6 February (PK,WS,) had increased to nine on 8 February (Wings) and 21 February (SK); 12 on 6 March (RC,RH,JJ) and 14 on 13 March (PE). A flock of 180 Spotted Redshanks was counted south of Hat Chao Samran (Phetchaburi) on 2 March (MM). There were 8 Ruff in flooded fields in Uthai District (Ayutthaya) on 19 February; and 28 at Pak Thale on 2 March (MM) and 36 from Pak Thale to Laem Phak Bia on 20 March, along with two Red-necked Phalaropes (PD,MM,CS).

A Small Pratincole was seen along the Mae Kok River at Tha Ton on 20 February (MB,JR) and there were at least 20 Small Pratincoles on the reservoir at Khlong Rang (Prachinburi) on 13 March (MM,SN,PDR). Two Northern Thick-knees were seen among dry paddy stubbles, Ban Tung Sawang, 28 February (MM).

Two adult and one first-winter Black-tailed Gulls, and three adult Pallas's Gulls were recorded on 15 February (NU). The latter included an adult in breeding plumage that has been present since at least December 2003 and which, on 25 February, was seen with five first-winter Pallas's Gulls, 21 Heuglin's Gulls and a paler grey-mantled adult gull, thought to be Mongolian Gull (Wings).

A flock of over 30 White-bellied Pigeons was reported from Thung Yai Naresuan, together with Wedge-tailed Pigeons, during 24-25 January (ST). There is no reliable last date for the Pale-capped Pigeons wintering at Thung Khaw (Chumphon), but according to CN the birds were thought to have largely gone by mid-February.

A pair of Alexandrine Parakeets was seen at Rangsit (Pathumthani) on 12 March (PE); a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo at the Provincial Sorts Stadium, Chumphon on 13 February (CN); an immature Large Hawk Cuckoo at Salaya (Nakhon Pathom) on 29 February (PDR) and an immature or rufous morph Cuculus cuckoo, presumably an Oriental Cuckoo, in paddies near Phanom Sarakham on 13 March (MM,PDR).. A Grey Nightjar was found at Bang Khram (Krabi) on 2 March (YM).

Rufous-collared Kingfisher (a female) was again seen at Kaeng Krachan on 25 February (Wings). A Rufous-bellied Woodpecker was reported from a new locality and unexpectedly high elevation at Den Ya Khat, Doi Chiang Dao, on 16 February (MB,JR). Two White-throated Bulbuls were seen at 800-900 m at Om Koi (Chiang Mai), a new locality, on 4 February (ST).

There was a record count of 20 Grey-sided Thrushes on Doi Pui (Chiang Mai), on 14 February (Wings). Two Scaly Thrushes, a Grey-sided Thrush and a male Black-breasted Thrush were all seen at Mae Puh, Doi Ang Khang on 21 February (Wings). Both the Japanese Thrush and the Rufous-tailed Robin in Khao Yai were still present on 14 February (SK), while the number of Orange-headed Thrushes feeding close by the Japanese Thrush had risen to four by that time (SK).

A Purple Cochoa was reported as heard singing on Doi Inthanon on 5 March (RC,RH,JJ). A male White-throated Rock Thrush was seen at Mo-singto, Khao Yai on 17 March (PDR).

There was a male Mugimaki Flycatcher at the Orchid Waterfall Campsite, Khao Yai, on 8 February (PE); a female Green-backed Flycatcher at Bang Tieo (Krabi) on 13 February (YM) and a male Ultramarine Flycatcher on Doi Inthanon, Km 31 on 6 February (ST). Single male and female Chinese Blue Flycatchers were seen at Ban Krang, Kaeng Krachan, where there is presumed to be a wintering population, on 23 February (Wings). Three Eastern Crowned Warblers at Ban Krang, Kaeng Krachan on 25 February (JD) are towards the north of the Thai wintering range of this species. A Yellow-vented Warbler was reported from Thung Yai Naresuan on 14 January (ST).

A single Purple-backed Starling was seen among Chestnut-tailed Starlings at Rangsit on 9 February (Wings). At Chumphon, two Purple-backed Starlings on 13 February had increased to four by 22 February and 60+ by 24 February (CN). A single Chestnut-cheeked Starling was present on both the latter dates (CN) while an immature Rosy Starling was seen among over 100 Purple-backed Starlings at Laem Phak Bia on 14 March (SK). A White Wagtail was at Lum Luk Ka on 22 February (PE).

House Sparrows were said to be common and breeding in villages in the three-crop (irrigated) rice area east of Bung Boraphet, on 20 February (MM).

Five Red Avadavats were seen in overgrown fish-ponds 5 km SE of Khao Yoi on 31 January (MM) and 30 Chestnut Munias at Soi 119, Sukhumvit Road, Bang Pu, on 28 February (SK). There was a single Spot-winged Grosbeak, a female, at Km 34.5, Doi Inthanon, 8 February (ST), with 40 at Mae Fang National Park (Chiang Mai) on 16 March (PE); and a female Scarlet Finch on Doi Dong Ya Wai, Doi Phu Kha (Nan) on 6 March (PS, STh). There were Five Crested Buntings and a female Black-faced Bunting at Mae Taeng Irrigation Project, 19 February (Wings), with four more Black-faced Buntings in paddies near Fang (Chiang Mai ) on 16 March (PE).

Breeding records

Doi Inthanon: Grey-cheeked Fulvetta, nest and three eggs, 18 February (Wings).

Thung Yai: Pair of Hoopoes at occupied nest, 24 January (ST); Green Magpie, nest-building, 24 January (ST).

Bang Pu: Little Grebe with chick(s), 8 March

Doi Ang Khang: Long-tailed Minivet carrying food, 20 February (Wings).

Salaya, Nakhon Pathom: Streak-eared Bulbul nest-building, 29 February (PDR).

Khao Yai: pair of Striped Tit Babblers nest-building, 16 March; White-bellied Yuhina feeding fledged young, 16 march (PDR)

Ban Krang, Kaeng Krachan: two pairs of Silver-breasted Broadbills nest-building, 24-25 February (Wings).

Chumphon: Female Olive-backed Sunbird on the nest, 14 February (C~N).

Contributors: Tony Ball, Matt Brady, Rommert Cazemier, Pathomphon Charoenjai, Jon Dunn, Roelf Hovinga, Justin J.F.J. Jansen, Suppalak Klabdee, Patcharee Komolphalin, Ouaiphorn Kwanphae, Mark Mallalieu, Jonathan Murray, Yotin Meekaeo, Somchai Nimnuan, Chukiat Nualsri, James Restivo, Philip D. Round, Wachara Sanguansombat, Pramote Sitthanomai, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak, Sukanya Thanombuddha (STh), ChaninThienwiwatnukul, Nick Upton, Wings.

Compiled on behalf of BCST Records Committee by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol



Waders at Pak Thale

27 February 2004: In response to a WorldTwitch reader's request for directions to Pak Thale, Phil Round writes as follows:

Pak Thale is part of a large coastal strip of salt-pans and ponds extending southwards from Ban Laem District town to Hat Chao Samran, which lies on the coast near Phetchaburi. If you go to Phetchaburi town, follow signs for Ban Laem and then navigate your way southwards along the coast, scanning the salt pans and ponds for bird concentrations. The road has recently been fixed up on most sections, and since it runs parallel with the coast, is pretty easy to follow. The precise location of shorebird and gull/tern concentrations depends upon the use to which ponds and pans are being put at any particular time, and the concentration around Pak Thale itself has long since dispersed. There were one or two Spoon-billed Sandpipers there in early February, and 300 Great Knot, nine Nordmann's Greenshanks and two Black-faced Spoonbills about 6-8 km further south, near Laem Phak Bia (north of Hat Chao Samran). Ponds at the latter site held 6 Pallas's Gulls, 21 Heuglin's Gulls and a single, paler adult "LWH gull" thought to be mongolicus on 26 February. The concentrations of small Calidris, including the Spoon-billed Sandpipers, appear to favour salt-pans which are not in use, but which are dappled with shallow surface water.


RECENT REPORTS
November 2003 - early February 2004

Two Great Crested Grebes were recorded at Nong Bong Kai, Chiang Saen (Chiang Rai) on 3 December (WS,NS) and during 24-25 January (LBC). An Oriental Darter at Kaem Ling Nong Yai on 1 January (CN,FV) was the first record for Chumphon. The Chinese Egret reported last month was still present at Laem Phak Bia on 3 January (NU). A Black Stork circling low over the Mosingto Reservoir, Khao Yai on 16 January (AJP), and seen again on 3 February (MB, JR,RT), was actually the second record for the park. The Milky Stork seen earlier at Huai Chorakhe Mak (Buriram) was still present on 31 January (SSi). Black-faced Spoonbill appeared in Ban Laem District (Phetchaburi) for the second successive year, with one bird on on ponds near Laem Phak Bia on 31 December (SBG) and two on 9 January (NI) and 10 January (KingBird), both of which were still present on 5 February (SSu). Two escaped Greater Flamingos in salt-pans along the road between Ban Pak Thale and Laem Phak Bia were seen on 23 December (AR, WS,KS) and again on 14 January (DP,AR,WS). According to WS, the signs of the wings having been clipped could be seen, with the flight-feathers regrowing evenly, and leaving no room for speculation about their status.

The Chiang Saen area held 63 Spot-billed Ducks, a single Northern Shoveler, two Eurasian Wigeon, 21 Ferruginous Pochards and 2 male and four female Tufted Ducks during3-8 December (WS,NS). By 24-25 January the same area on yielded 300 Spot-billed Ducks, 660 Northern Pintails, 5 Eurasian Wigeons, 6 Northern Shovelers, 30 Common Teals, 20 Tufted Ducks, 41 Ferruginous Pochards, (but only two Baer's Pochards) and 3 Ruddy Shelducks (LBC). Two Mandarin Ducks and a Long-billed Plover were seen on the Mekong River during the same weekend (LBC). There were 600 Northern Pintails, a large count for the Lower Central Plain, on fishponds 5 km SE of Khao Yoi (Phetchaburi) on 31 January (MM). 754 Lesser Whistling-ducks were counted near the Queen Srisuriyothai Memorial, Bang Ban (Ayutthaya) on 3 or 4 January (GC). Six Ruddy Shelduck were still present on a pond at Wat Khao Takhrao (Phetchaburi) on 23 December (BK).

The details received for a possible Eurasian Sparrowhawk at Khok Kham on 9 November (YW) were insufficient to be completely confident of the identification. Separation of Eurasian Sparrowhawk from Japanese Sparrowhawk has to be one of the harder tasks with which field observers are confronted. All that can be said is that a few Eurasian Sparrowhawks do certainly occur at least as far south as Bangkok, among a much larger number of Japanese Sparrowhawks. Another Eurasian Sparrowhawk was reported from Nong Bong Kai, a much more plausible locality, on 7 December (WS,NS).

A Black Eagle was seen at Nae Haeo National Park (Loei) on 25 December (ST).

Maxima for eagles wintering in the Khao Yoi area during late December to January were six Greater Spotted Eagles on 24 January; four Imperial Eagles and two Steppe Eagles on 11 January and a single Short-toed Eagle on 7 January (MM). Two dark morph Booted Eagles were seen in the same area on 14 January (DP,AR,WS), with singles on 11 and 24 January (MM). The largest single count of Black Kites during this period was 88 on 11 January (MM).

A Grey-headed Fish Eagle was seen on Ko Pratong (Phang-nga) on 12 January (YM). A photograph of a female Amur Falcon near Thaleban (Satun) around 05 December, (no accompanying details) was pasted on the web (per RK). Eurasian Kestrels were reported from Suan Rotfai (Bangkok) during December and January (DL) with another at Bang Khae (Bangkok) on 27 January (PDR). An apparent peregrinator race Peregrine Falcon was photographed on a ledge at the Amity Hills Hotel, Chiang Mai on 10 January (RK).

8-9 Siamese Firebacks, including at least three males, were seen near the La-Leang-Roi-Roo Guard Station, Dong Yai Wildlife Sanctuary (Buriram) on 13 January (DP,AR,WS). One male and two females were also seen on the road near The Orchid Waterfall Camp Site, Khao Yai, on 31 January (CT). Two Common Cranes were found at Nong Bong Kai on 31 December (JWKP) and remained until 6 or 7 January (per SAT). There was a single Water Rail at Nong Bong Kai on 4-8 December (WS,NS) and two on 24-25 January (LBC). A dead Slaty-legged Crake was found at Bang Khram (Krabi) on 3 February (YM).

165 Pheasant-tailed Jacanas were counted near Muang Boran (Samut Prakan) on 1 January (NU). Two Grey-headed Lapwings were also present, with 29 more Grey-headed Lapwings between Ban Laem and Khao Yoi on 2 January (MM).

The Mekong River between Chiang Saen and Chiang Khong held 29 River Lapwings, 1000+ Small Pratincoles and 43 Spot-billed Duck when covered by IR in mid-December. Most of these birds were counted closer to Chiang Khong than Chiang Saen.

A count of at least 1,500 sand plovers, mainly Lesser Sand Plovers, was made near Rassada Harbour (Phuket) on 4 December (GC). A Pied Avocet was reported at Wat Khao Takhrao on 23 December (BK), with another at Bang Pu on 3 and 5 January (PN). There were three Red-necked Phalaropes along the Pak Thale-Laem Phak Bia road on 23 December (AR,WS,KS). A single Dunlin and at least two Spoon-billed Sandpipers were still present at Pak Thale on 2 January (MM); two Spoon-billed Sandpipers, a single Long-billed Dowitcher and an Asian Dowitcher on 10 January (KingBird), and a single Spoon-billed Sandpiper and three Asian Dowitchers on 24 January (DL,NU). A new record count of 16 Spoon-billed Sandpipers was made on 25 January (KK,RM,HP,RW). However, thereafter the concentration of waders at Pak Thale seems to have dispersed, with only a single Spoon-billed Sandpiper there on 5 February, and much smaller numbers of Rufous-necked Stints and other species (PDR). A single Spoon-billed Sandpiper also showed up at Laem Phak Bia on 13 January (WS), while in Samut Sakhon, the Khok Kham birds were also still present, with one on 8 January (DP,AR,WS) and two on 2 February (SSu).

A single Eastern Curlew was still present with 250 Eurasian Curlew at Pak Thale on 24 December (MM). There were four Ruff at Pak Thale and least 31 Ruff on the Laem Phak Bia wastewater lagoons on 5 February (PDR), with300 Great Knot on nearby salt-pans (SSu). A Spotted Redshank was reported from Kaem Ling Nong Yai on 1 January (CN,FV) and there were apparently still 7 Nordmann's Greenshanks at Pak Thale on 14 January (DP,AR,WS). Five more Nordmann's Greenshanks and two Great Knot were found at Bor Nok (Prachuap Khiri Khan) on 25 January (AJP). A Wood Snipe on a wet, open area at 1200 m, Doi Pha Hom Pok on 6 January (IR) is one of very few records of this rare winterer. A Eurasian Woodcock was seen on the road to Doi Lang, Doi Pha Hom Pok on 28 and 29 November ((JWKP, MP, IR, TCY).

A single Common Black-headed Gull (age not mentioned) was present at Jo Thong Dam, Nong Bong Kai on 5 November (WS,NS). There were 41 Heuglin's Gulls, 6 Pallas's Gulls and 192 Caspian Terns along the Pak Thale-Laem Phak Bia road on 23 December (AR,WS,KS). A first-winter Black-tailed Gull flew north off Hat Chao Samran (Phewtchaburi) on 10 January (KingBird) and presumably the same bird was seen at Laem Phak Bia on 24 January (DL,NU). 50 Great Crested Terns, two Lesser Crested Terns, 19 Heuglin's Gulls and a first-winter Pallas's Gull were counted at the Laem Phak Bia sandspit on 3 January (NU), and 40 Heuglin's Gulls, 4 Pallas's Gulls, 10 Great Crested Terns and 2-3 Lesser Crested Terns on 24 January (DL,NU).

About 10 Orange-breasted Pigeons at the Firestation Viewpoint, Khao Yai, on 9 January (KingBird) was an unusually large number for this site. A single male Pompadour Pigeon was also present (KingBird). No fewer than 36 Pompadour Pigeons were feeding on the fruits of Carallia bracteata at La-Leang-Roi-Roo, Dong Yai Wildlife Sanctuary on 12 January (DP,AR,WS), and a White-bellied Pigeon was seen at Na Haeo on 26 December (ST). There were 16 Pale-capped Pigeons at Thung Kha (Chumphon) on 1 January (CN,FV). An adult hawk cuckoo at Kaem Ling Nong Yai on 24 January was tentatively identified as a Common Hawk Cuckoo was seen (CN).

Three Black Hornbills at Sri Phang-nga National Park (Phang-nga) on 17 January (IS) is towards the northern end of the range of this species. A pair of Crimson-breasted Woodpeckers was seen on Doi Pha Hom Pok on 2 January (ST)

A Giant Nuthatch was seen at Doi Pha Hom Pok on 31 December to 2 January (ST) with another along the Arunothai Road, Doi Ang Khang, on the weekend of 17-18 January (LBC). Ten Black-throated Tits were seen on Doi Lang, 29 December (JWKP,MP,IR,TCY) and a Fire-capped Tit at Doi Pha Hom Pok on 2-3 January (ST).

Two good, much photographed and long-staying rarities, both at Khao Yai, were a Rufous-tailed Robin at the Kong Kaeo Camp, Khao Yai, on 7 January (KK) and a female Japanese Thrush at Pha Kluey Mai, on 11 January (TN, SP, PS, SS). Both birds were performing well on 31 January (many observers). The same wet spot at Pha Kluey Mai which held the Japanese Thrush also had no fewer then three Orange-headed Thrushes on 31 January (PDR). A Scaly Thrush was seen on Doi Pha Hom Pok on 2 January (RK); a Black-breasted Thrush on 3 January (RK) and a Grey-sided Thrush on 1 January (ST). A first-winter Dusky Thrush of the nominate race T.n. naumanni, also known as Naumann's Thrush, apparently photographed in Phu Hin Rong Kla (Phitsanuloke) on 20 December by "Warrios" was posted on a commercial web-page. This is the first Thai record of this distinctive subspecies, which is generally a shorter-distance migrant than Dusky Thrush, breeding somewhat to the south of it, and wintering, as a rule, farther north (though extreme vagrancy, as far afield as western Europe, is known). A Common Stonechat was seen on Ko Pratong on 12 January (YM); both male and female Blue-fronted Redstart at Doi Pha Hom Pok on 3 January (ST). A male Purple Cochoa was reported from Doi Pha Hom Pok on 1 January (ST)

A male Mugimaki Flyactcher was seen at 1350 m, Nae Haeo on 26 Dceember (ST); a male Chinese Blue Flycatcher in the grounds of Juldis Khao Yai Resort on 5 January (KingBird) and a female Pygmy Blue Flycatcher on the Doi Inthanon Jeep Track on 26 December (DP,AR,WS). A Spot-winged Starling showed up in a flowering Bombax at Mae Hia (Chiang Mai) on 15 January (RK), while 27 Spot-winged Starlings at the Thinuey Substation of Thung Yai Wildlife Sanctuary (Kanchanaburi) during 31 December to 3 January (MNS) increased to 64 by 19 January (DP,AR,WS).

Grey-cheeked Warblers were reported from Na Haeo (Loei) on 26-27 December at 1300 m with another at Doi Pha Hom Pok, 2000 m on 1 January (ST).

An Eastern Crowned Warbler at Mosingto, Khao Yai on 15 January (AJP) was one of very few midwinter records for the park of a species which generally winters more in forest of the lowlands, in the peninsula, and perhaps in the south-east. Yellow-vented Warbler was reported from 1300 m, Na Haeo on 26 December (ST). Ten Short-tailed Parrotbills were seen at 1190 m, Na Haeo on 28 December (ST) and a pair of Cutias at Doi Pha Hom Pok on 2 January (ST). Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler was seen near the A-Frame Houses, Doi Pha Hom Pok on 2 January (DP,AR,WS); a flock of 11-12 Red-tailed Laughingthrushes were near the summit of Doi Pha Hom Pok on 1 January with two male and one female Yellow-bellied Flowerpeckers feeding on small black berries nearby (DP, AR,WS).

A male Scarlet Finch was seen at 2000 m on Doi Pha Hom Pok on 7 January (IR). One or two Black-faced Buntings were at the Mae Taeng Irrigation Project (Chiang Mai) on 17 January (KingBird).

Breeding records

Muniti Maharat (Pathumthani): Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker nest and two chicks, 17 January, (PE). The woodpeckers were being harried by a pair of Chestnut-tailed Starlings, perhaps themselves in search of a nest-hole.

Mo-singto, Khao Yai: Heart-spotted Woodpecker, courtship-feeding, 31 January (PDR); Abbott's Babbler nest-building, 23-25 January (KP); White-browed Scimitar Babbler, nest and three eggs, 25 January (SN); Striped Tit Babbler nest-building, 31 January (AJP);

Mae Hia (Chiang Mai): Common Moorhen one tiny chick and three well-grown young, 26 December (WS).

Salaya (Nakhon Pathom): Streak-eared Bulbul nest and eggs, 31 January (SN); Common Tailorbird nest-building, 31 January (SN); Abbot's Babbler; White-browed Scimitar Babbler.

Thung Song Hong (Bangkok): Coppersmith Barbet - pair began excavating on 15 October fledged two young on 12 December (BM).

Contributors: Matt Brady, Gawin Chutima, Save the Bird Group (SBG) Lanna Bird Club (LBC), Peter Ericsson, Nopparat Intajai, Dr. Rungsrit Kanjanavanit, Khanit Kanikul, Boonrawd Khieoyuu, KingBird, Kamol Komolphalin, David Lewis, Mark Mallalieu, Yotin Meekaeo, Richard Mielcarek, B. Mountfield, Somchai Nimnuan, Thanit Nonthasuvarn, Porpol Nontapa, Chukiat Nualsri, John W.K. Parr, Mukda Parr, Howard Parsons, Andrew J. Pierce, Somphol Plaito, Dome Pratumtong, James Restivo, Iain Robertson, Arun Roisri, Phatomsak Sakchaisirikul, Wachara Sanguansombat, Suwannee Sirisespakdi (SSi), Malayan Nature Society (MNS), Kulapat Sornrarum, Suthee Supparatvikorn, Smith Suthibut, Ike Suriwong, Nunthida Suthumwong, Sopitcha Tantitadapitak, Ryan Terrill, Chanin Thienwiwatnukul, Nick Upton, Filip Verbelen, Rob Wardle, Yusapol Wonglertwit, Tan Cheng Yam.

Compiled by Philip D. Round and Roongroj Jukmongkol


Chicken Flu

Dare we hope that, by the time this is published, the worst of the Asian chicken flu might already be behind us? Or, perish the thought, might the worst happen, and the influenza develop into a full-scale pandemic affecting global humanity?

At time of writing, it is good to be able to report that statements of government ministers in the face of this major threat to Asian economies, and to public health, have been mostly rather reasonable and restrained. Most have resisted the calls to make migratory birds scapegoats for a problem which owes its origin to changing human behaviour, and ever-increasing global commerce, not the behaviour of migratory birds which has evolved over tens of thousands, even millions, of years

The willingness with which journalists and some members of the public have jumped to conclusions about migratory birds being behind the spread of the H5N1 virus, in the complete absence of any corroborating evidence, is highly alarming. So far as can be determined, this disease is spread from chicken to chicken, not from migrant waterfowl to chicken. And no wonder, when there are (or were) an estimated 9 billion domestic chickens in China -- greater by a couple of orders of magnitude than the sum total of migrant waterfowl of all species in all of Asia! Given the fact that large numbers of chickens and fighting cocks are transported across borders in Asia without imposition of legal controls, it is surely specious to focus on migratory wild birds as being behind the disease transmission.

The geographical spread of the virus does not appear to suggest transmission by migrant birds, since the first cases appear to have been detected in Indonesia last August, and have been recorded progressively farther north since then. This is exactly the opposite pattern one might expect if the virus was being carried by migrating birds.

Ill-informed commentators have even suggested that Open-billed Storks might be responsible for the spread despite there not having been any instance where the virus has been isolated from a wild bird. And this in spite of the fact that Open-billed Storks do not undertake any north-south migration. If they move at all, the may move east-west, though it appears that only a proportion of the population disperses at all. And as for ducks or other migrant birds, where and when do migrant waterfowl and domestic poultry meet and interact? The truth is they don't. Many migrant bird populations are already declining and those that remain go about their lives trying to avoid man-dominated landscapes as much as possible.

How do we account for reports of dead birds around some waterbird colonies? In any year where large numbers of birds congregate at breeding colonies, it is not unusual to find a few birds that have either died of natural causes, accidents, disease or parasites. Just because people are looking, and actually finding them this year does not mean that these birds have died from the chicken flu. In addition, local people in some areas are already known to actively and illegally poison waterbirds with agricultural chemicals, so perhaps they are now poisoning additional birds under the mistaken impression that it will save their chickens.

It of course possible that the virus has a wild reservoir among migratory birds. But even if this is the case it remains to be seen how, if at all, there was transmission between wild birds and domestic stock. In fact, the reverse might equally be the case -- that wild birds could be in danger of contracting infection by a new strain of virus, which first evolved among domestic fowl. The latter are pumped full of hormones and antibiotics, and kept under conditions of incredible stress and crowding, and under conditions which might encourage the emergence of a new strain of a widespread and prevalent virus.

Perhaps because SARS was thought to have been transmitted to man through the consumption of civet meat (and the Ebola virus possibly through the near-cannibalistic consumption by humans of their only close living relative on the planet, the chimpanzee) Dr Liz Bennett of Wildlife Conservation Society has focused on the vast, illegal trade in wild birds, as both pets and for food, as something which could contribute to the spread of disease. Hundreds of thousands, even millions, of birds are trapped and hunted across Asia, including Thailand, each year. If, by any chance, wild birds are a reservoir of a viruses which may be transmitted to poultry, we need not look farther than Bangkok's own Chatuchak Market, where every week, expensive fighting cocks and ornamental fowl are offered for sale along with significant numbers of wild birds (including hornbills, a great variety of songbirds from China and from around Thailand, and, even, last year, a Giant Pitta) under conditions which are hot, under-ventilated and highly unsanitary. This same scene is repeated at numerous venues throughout Thailand. In addition, practically every fresh-food market in the provinces offers slaughtered wild-caught birds for food. Tens of thousands of migrant Watercocks and White-breasted Waterhens are dazzled and netted annually for food by people in southern Thailand. Could avian flu find its way to domestic stock through capture, or consumption by man, of wild birds?

It is sensible to be cautious, and perhaps one way to lessen the threat of possible future outbreaks of chicken flu might be to crack down on this vast illegal trade in wild birds and other wildlife.

In other countries, in previous years, such as in the Netherlands and in Hong Kong, outbreaks of chicken flu have been effectively controlled through culling of domestic fowl, without any need for the ecologically damaging slaughter of migratory birds, Let us hope that sane heads will prevail in Thailand, too. Let the wild, migratory birds continue to inhabit our wetlands and forests, undisturbed by human greed and bloodthirstiness.


What has happened to Baer's Pochard?

Is Baer's Pochard in deep trouble? Up to around 1990, you could take it for granted that a visit to Bung Boraphet in midwinter would produce 100 or more Baer's Pochard. On two successive days in January 1989, no fewer than 596 were counted -- 426 on Bung Boraphet and another 170 on a wetland in neighbouring Phitsanuloke province.

But how many counts of more than 30 birds have there been in the past decade? Precisely none, in spite of the much increased visitation of key wetland sites by birdwatchers in search of rare birds, and especially the increased coverage of the Chiang Saen Basin, in the far north, where Baer's Pochard ought to turn up in significant numbers.

Results are already coming in from this year's Asian Waterfowl Census, again without more than a very few Baer's Pochards being recorded. While ducks do have a propensity to move around among waterbodies, selecting those sites best suited to avoid human disturbance, it is highly unlikely that significant numbers of Baer's Pochards are being overlooked.

If the change in numbers represents a genuine decline, and not merely a shift to some undiscovered wintering areas, then Baer's Pochard populations wintering in SE Asia are in freefall. There is an urgent need to mount comprehensive coverage of all known wintering sites. Besides those mentioned above, these include Bung Khong Long (Nong Khai), Nong Harn Kumpawapi and Nong Hua Khuu (Udon Thani), Nong Lahan (Chaiyaphum), and the Buriram Province Wetlands, (Huai Tala, Huai Chorakhe Mak, Sanambin and Nong Sanoh).

Baer's Pochard is listed as vulnerable in the Asian Bird Red Data Book.



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