Forest Wagtails at the Park

Having missed Forest Wagtail on my previous visit to Phutthamonthon, today I thought it would be a good day to revisit. Recent sighting of many interesting birds like Himalayan Cuckoo and Chestnut-winged Cuckoo made the proposition even better.

Forest Wagtail is a bird belonging to the Motacillidae family of Wagtails. The plumage is very distinct and attractive. They are the only Wagtail to nest in trees and prefer forested habitats, hence the name. While not the main purpose of the visit, it was in the back of my mind as it’s a likely bird to stumble upon if I am thorough and patient enough. The White’s Thrush is still staying at the park too, but I didn’t have much hope of seeing this elusive bird.

Walking into the park, aiming for the bamboo area, it was nice to come across a flock of Olive-backed Pipits. Continuing onwards, I reached the bamboo area and sat around for a while incase of White’s Thrush. Nothing. I did managed to pick out four of the roosting Oriental Scops-Owls in one of the bamboo clumps.

Olive-backed Pipit. 8th February 2022.

Next I made a loop around an area with big trees. I saw that Common Flameback had been reported fairly recently and I thought it would be a good area to check. After the Kaeng Krachan trip I was much more confident with Woodpeckers. I was surprised that I came across a female Common Flameback within a 20 minutes or so. It was hard to get a picture as it flew between the trees rapidly before settling down out of sight.

Common Flameback. 8th February 2022.

Continuing on a loop around the park, I took a rest beside one of the flowing water-bodies. I saw a Gray Heron with a decent sized fish in its beak. Not too much else happened apart from seeing a Shikra circling over the forest on the other side. The air was filled with many different bird sounds.

Gray Heron with takeaway lunch. 8th February 2022.

Walking a few more minutes I found a shaded place in a bamboo area where there seemed to be a lot of bird activity. It was midday by now, so it was a good spot to sit around. Here there were plenty of Flycatchers, Large Hawk-Cuckoo and Racket-tailed Treepie (with its Great Racket-tailed Drongo friend). Sitting still I noticed some movement in the nearby leaf-litter. It was a Forest Wagtail! It was very beautiful, walking around foraging. At one point it was joined by a curious Malaysian Pied Fantail.

Forest Wagtail foraging in the bamboo area. 8th February 2022.

After a while sitting around here I decided to head for the car, which is probably a 3km walk from here. Crossing a wooden bridge, I saw another Forest Wagtail that had just been bathing. Watching it, it flew back down and starting having another bath.

In the water. 8th February 2022.
Bath time. 8th February 2022.
Forest Wagtail. What a bird! 8th February 2022.

An eventful day, especially for Forest Wagtail. A few 100 metres down the road I came across a Golden Tree Snake wrapped around what seemed to be an Oriental Garden Lizard. The snake I once described as cute and harmless was choking out the lizard, with its limbs exploding with bare-flesh on display. I have pictures and video if you want. Before leaving I made an effort to see an Owlet, today, a Spotted Owlet was showing.

Spotted Owlet was gone seconds after the picture. 8th February 2022.

Next to the carpark and statue is a large area of manicured lawn. The position of the sun was favourable so I made an effort to photograph one of the Paddyfield Pipits commonly found on the grass. There was also a Black Drongo perched in a tree on the edge of this area. This is exactly where you’d expect it, as it lives at the edge of forest and in open areas.

Paddyfield Pipit in perfect light. 8th February 2022.
Black Drongo. 8th February 2022.

While still no sighting of White’s Thrush, it was a great day at the park. With over 60 species spotted, but, forget the numbers. Time with nature and birds is time well spent.

All images © 2021 – 2022 hamsambly

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