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2004 THAILAND BIRD REPORTS
Bird Conservation Society of Thailand Bulletin (BCST Bulletin)
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
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
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
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
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
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
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).
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
The Work of BCST Records Committee is supported by Swarovski Optik KG.
An Oriental Darter at Laem Phak Bia (Phetchaburi), 29 November
(MF,AM,PDR), was a new record for the Environmental Research and Development
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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).
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
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
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
Compiled on behalf of BCST Records Committee by Philip D. Round and
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
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
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)
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.
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
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
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).
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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).
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
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
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.
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
Compiled on behalf of BCST Records Committee by Philip D. Round and Roongroj
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
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)
Huai Nam Dang (Chiang Mai): Green Cochoa, nest and chicks, 21 June
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
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
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
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
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
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).
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
Illegal road construction in Doi Inthanon National Park
by Philip Round
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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).
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
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
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
||Laem Phak Bia
||Khao Sam Roi Yot
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
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
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
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,
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).
Salaya (Nakhon Pathom): Oriental Magpie Robin, nest and three eggs, 11
May (PDR); Brown-throated Sunbird fledged, more or less full-grown young
Kaeng Krachan: Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush nest and young, 12
Khao Nor Chuchi (YM): nest and single young of Gould's Frogmouth, 1-3
Khao Yai (KP): Black-throated Laughingthrush nest and two young, 15
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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).
Doi Inthanon: Grey-cheeked Fulvetta, nest and three eggs, 18 February
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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).
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
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
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
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
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
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.