Thursday, January 31, 2008
29th January, 2008, Doi Inthanon, NW Thailand
My last day's birding dawned bright and clear - an answer to prayer! Up at the summit at dawn it was chilly, but at least there was no fog.
On the summit trail birds materialized in waves out of nowhere, and then were suddenly everywhere, leaving me scarcely knowing where to look!
Some common bird wave participants were Yellow-bellied Fantails, Yellow-cheeked Tits and Rufous-winged Fulvettas.
This leaf warbler appeared briefly in front of me. It seems to have a different head pattern (especially the eyestripe and lores) from the one I photographed on the 26th, so maybe it's the other one of the White-tailed/Blyth's pair!
The real treat was the presence of some thrushes. Wintering thrushes are difficult to see except as brief fly-overs. Here though, there was a large flock - perhaps 30-40, feeding in the dense undergrowth. Most were only visible as they were disturbed by some workmen. I managed to identify Grey-sided and Chestnut, and got a few snaps of the latter.
I was able to get a few 'improvement shots' of birds I photographed on the first day. Here's a Chestnut-tailed Minla grappling with a large fruit in a manner reminiscent of a tit. The weird orange background is actually the sphagnum bog in the early morning light!
A Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush defending his territory with his loud, distinctive song - "RRRREEEEP-ee-cheep"!
And a Dark-backed Sibia in front of a popular mobile phone company advert!
After a few hours I decided to go down the mountain in search of warmer temperatures!
I caught up with both male and female Grey Bushchats by the roadside.
I decided to spend my last few hours in the hide at Mr Deang's. In contrast to yesterday, the stream in front of the hide was birdless for over an hour. Then finally several birds arrived at once.
The male Hill Blue Flycatcher is obvious enough, but did you notice the Dark-sided Thrush on the left?
Here's a slightly better pic of the flycatcher...
... and of the thrush. Watching the thrush feeding, it was easy to understand why this species is difficult to see. It moved across the ground extremely slowly, and would spend long periods completely motionless. Once it found a good spot for food, it stayed in exactly the same place for an hour and a half, digging and removing leaves and root wads, and even small branches, in order to extract the grubs that were underneath. Eventually it had dug a very noticeable hollow, completely cleared of debris.
Mmmm - looks delicious! Who'd like to try some? Check out those rictal bristles. Perhaps it should be called 'Bearded Thrush'!
What do you do while watching a stationary bird for an hour and a half? I experimented with different camera settings! This is one taken without flash, handheld, at 1/15th of a second!
One more pic of my 'old friend', the female Siberian Blue Robin.
Right at the end of my time in the hide, a surprise! After sitting in the hide over several days, I thought I had seen everything that frequented this particular spot. Then, this male Lesser Shortwing suddenly popped out of the undergrowth. That's the great thing about birding - you never know what you're going to see!
A nice end to my Thai trip!