Quest For a Living Bluethroat

A couple years back, when I was just getting interested in birds, one morning we found a bird which had hit our window. It was an incredible beauty, I had never seen one alive before. I had to search to find out the species. It was a male Bluethroat. How I wished I could have witnessed it alive.

The deceased Bluethroat. 25th January 2019.

A recent spot that I have been visiting is Pathumthani Rice Research Center, and I learned not too long ago that Bluethroat has been spotted there. The visits in which I knew it was there, I was just doing my normal rounds and hoping to see it. I have learned that that approach doesn’t work that often in birding.

A sad first encounter. 25th January 2019.

It took a few times to learn where it was located. Today I was going to see if it was at the spot I learned of. The timing was less than ideal, midday, burning hot sun. I decided to walk down the area in which there is usually is someone with a blind. It wasn’t long until I found it! I was amazed at how small of an area it consistently sticks to. I decided the brief sighting was not enough. I had to get some pictures.

They are rather shy and prefer to stay out of sight, but they also like to come out at brief intervals. I crawled along the ground and moved slowly into the spot I knew it was near. I used a light amount of playback, and eventually landed the pictures. Earlier, I was told the Bluethroat at Rice Research didn’t sport a blue throat, I wouldn’t have minded either way but I was very much happy that this bird was a male with a blue throat.

What a stunning beauty. My first photograph of a living Bluethroat.
19th January 2022.

It was an incredibly rewarding experience, to find one and then proceed to get photos. Many believe you need to use a blind, and more extremists may believe you need to bait the bird with mealworms. None of that is necessary with good fieldcraft – as I was told by Nick Upton. While my pictures aren’t perfect, they are a good representation of the effort I made to get the shots. Burning hot sun, no shade, crawling along the dirt – although that part wasn’t even necessary, I eventually got up into a crouched position.

Coming out briefly to scout the area. 19th January 2022.

The lighting was not ideal, as previously mentioned, but none of that matters. I finally found my living Bluethroat and could document it with some half decent images. The Bluethroat was the cherry-on-top to the day as it had already been eventful. With plenty of raptor action. Including not one, not two, but three Black Kites spanning both subspecies; Black-winged Kite and juvenile Pied Harrier. And of course, how could I forget, two Barn Owls roosting, I don’t know if they fledged and came back to roost at their nest, they look basically adult now. More on them in a future post, as I met all the chicks a few weeks back, so stay tuned.

All images © 2021 – 2022 hamsambly


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