Today was a gloomy day in Bangkok, with plenty of isolated rainfall. Not wanting to go far, I went for a brief visit to the Department of Public Relations Park. Situated in Phaya Thai district, it’s considered part of central Bangkok. An interesting park that is very small but continuously proves itself as an excellent spot for birdwatching.
I have been aware of the Peregrine Falcons being spotted around here but was yet to encounter them. Having these Falcons on my mind in recent visits, I kept my eyes peeled with special focus placed on the tall radio masts. David Gandy had said they used them as a pluck-perch after a kill. Funnily enough, my first encounter with a Peregrine happened to be on the radio mast at Phutthamonthon park.
First surprise of the visit was a White-throated Kingfisher, before this I hadn’t encountered any species of Kingfisher here, so it was a very welcoming sight. At this time, it was drizzling and the skies were dark. It was perched in a dark corner so the photo didn’t come out so well. Not long after, I heard the soothing whistles of Scaly-breasted Munia and found them sheltering in a bush.
There were a surprising amount of Black-naped Monarchs around, I think they actually out-numbered the common Malaysian Pied Fantails today. If you stand still and watch, the ones I have witnessed at the PR department are quite in-your-face and not shy as they pursue insects. They won’t give you any easy chance at a photograph though, as they are constantly on the move. I also encountered a few Ashy Woodswallows which were briefly perching on the lower part of the radio masts.
Continuing along the path, looking up, I was amazed to see a Peregrine Falcon flying overhead. It flew over from the east towards the radio mast. There wasn’t just one, there was a second one alongside it. I made a beeline to the tower to see if I could get any good pictures. One was much higher up and the other was lower, but still high.
Apart from the fact they perch high up in the tower, pretty much invisible to the naked eye, the tower acts as a metal maze in terms of getting a clear shot. I navigated around the tower and found a much better angle of the second Peregrine Falcon on the structure.
The Large-billed Crows were hanging around much lower down on the tower and didn’t mess with the Falcons on this visit. Just before I left I witnessed the Peregrines fly off. It was incredible to see them glide off the tower with their wings spread, gaining speed with a tuck. For a quick spot of birding near home it couldn’t have been better.
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