Back in Pak Chong

It had been a month or more since I was last at our land in Nakhon Ratchasima, since then, our garden is coming along nicely as well as our house there. The past visits, I always went to Khao Yai National Park but this time I felt more lazy, or no sense of urgency for that. I spent all my time birding around our land and I had excellent results. The surrounding area has a lot of farmland, teak forest and scrub that is easy to navigate.

My first lifer, Brown Prinia.

I wasn’t expecting Brown Prinia, and after asking a few people, it seems to be a great find. Always sparsely distributed and around here it was even ‘unreported’ on eBird. To make it even more special, this individual was incredibly confiding, singing fearlessly as I walked around it for a better angle. Singing can be heard here.

Probably testament to how new to birding I am, I was yet to see Yellow-eyed Babbler. It is such a cool looking bird and the description on eBird as a ‘Prinia on steroids’ is of course a massive draw. The first evening I thought I had them but didn’t get a good enough look, when searching on the 2nd day I ran into 2 flocks and got some nice snaps.

My first photo of YE Babbler
This one was with 2 others about 200m from our home.

My third lifer for the day (yesterday) was Horsfield’s Bushlark. I spotted it walking along the gravel road just before it hopped the fence over to the cultivated land. This was my 2nd session of birding of the day and it actually included all 3 lifers, it started at around midday as there was some cloud cover. Eventually I heard thunder on the horizon and cool breezes arrived a couple of hours into the exploring.

Horsfield’s Bushlark

As you could expect, there were loads of birds about and I had 3 Shikras, I was tricked into thinking the 3rd was a Grey-faced Buzzard but it was just a juvenile Shikra without a tail.

Male Shikra in flight.
Shikra perched.
Shikra without a tail.

Now is exciting for birding since all of the northbound migrants heading through the country, I didn’t really need another reason to bird but that’s another reason to be obsessive right now. The next morning there were reports of Narcissus Flycatcher and Siberian Thrush at a nearby hide but it was fully booked. Instead, I went to see the endemic Rufous Limestone Babblers of Saraburi’s limestone karst. Before leaving I was deceived by this Oriental Honey Buzzard

That’s no Mountain Hawk-Eagle.
Very friendly Rufous Limestone Babbler.

The monks at this practising temple were very friendly and helpful. Upon arriving back in Bangkok and resting for a bit I went for migrant hunting with the usual group at Chulalongkorn University. Last time we had great views of the newly arrived Yellow-rumped Flycatcher. Today we had Bangkok’s season first Mugimaki Flycatcher.

Yellow-rumped Flycatcher from March 29th.
Today’s Mugimaki.

It was a very fun short trip to Pak Chong, stay tuned as the coming month will likely be action packed with exciting birds.

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