Chinese Sparrowhawk Bangkok Encounter

Yesterday, I encountered my first distinct migrants of this ‘spring’ migration, which tends to start in late March. That morning, Bangkok’s first record of Marten’s Warbler was found at the PR patch. Initially it was listed as Alström’s and I thought I might pop in a see if I could find it. I only found a pair of Yellow-rumped Flycatchers but was happy with this observation.

Adult male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher at PR, 4th April 2022.

Feeling that the migration was in full-swing, today I checked the local park. As soon as I got there, there was action. High above, alongside the Asian Openbills, was what I recognised as a Chinese Sparrowhawk. This was due to the colouration and black wing-tips. The Accipiter research had been successfully absorbed to make this fast ID.

Chinese Sparrowhawk soaring above Chatuchak, Bangkok. 5th April 2022.

Another new sighting for the park was the brief glimpse of a Collared Kingfisher flying past. Continuing around the park, there was life everywhere. Snakehead fish were surfacing in the pond, swifts flying above, dragonflies below.

Striated Heron with a dragonfly kill. 5th April 2022.

I looped around to check on the White-breasted Waterhen family. Sadly it seems something had killed one of the chicks. I suspect it’s the gardener’s cat which seemed to be living at the park for the past few months. Again, common sense should be applied. Cats belong indoors so they don’t decimate the local wildlife.

Sad sight of the dead chick. 5th April 2022.
Adult providing for the remaining chicks, hopefully they can avoid being killed by the resident cat. 5th April 2022.

Leaving the area, I continued down the stretch with huge trees. I sighted the same species of migrants from yesterday. A pair of Yellow-rumped Flycatchers, there were two males in their beautiful contrasting yellow plumage.

Yellow-rumped Flycatcher. 5th April 2022.

Next, I decided to do a 15 minute check at the neighbouring park, just before leaving the current park, there was an Asian Barred Owlet perched super low in a tree – around 5m off the ground.

Avoided any disturbance with the low-perched Owl. 5th April 2022.

I was not expecting what came next. Definitely my favourite encounter of 2022. It was likely that it was the same Chinese Sparrowhawk which was soaring a couple hours prior. It had come down to a patch of trees that I wanted to check out.

Incredible Chinese Sparrowhawk! 5th April 2022.

It wasn’t sticking to the perch, it flew quickly to another and then went high up to the canopy. It was also calling loudly over the bike path (Later I read they are ‘rarely heard’ but this one was very vocal). After a few minutes, it took flight once again and off it went. I was very excited to see it, today was the first day I have seen Chinese Sparrowhawk (it’s a passage migrant) and I managed to snap great photos.

Female, by the yellow eye and rufous washed streaking underparts. The orangey cere is important for separating from Shikra. 5th April 2022.

All images © 2022 hamsambly

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