Past couple days have been action packed, earlier in the week I was invited by my friend to join them at Bueng Boraphet. Recently I have been birding a lot with them and it’s always nice to have good company when in the past, I was doing most of my birding by myself. We were targeting the, beautiful and very rare in Thailand, Baikal Teal. A single drake had been reported from a few days before we went. It was a good experience and the day went well. Garganey made up 95% of the ducks, the 4.9% being Lesser Whistling-Ducks. I believe it’s very late for wintering ducks so most of them have already left, I was hoping for Northern Shoveler but I guess next year. It didn’t take us too long to locate the Teal after we found the Garganey, credit to my friends as I wasn’t much use, but I admit 5:30am wake-ups aren’t usually my thing.
The Garganey were very flighty, this made it very hard to observe the Baikal Teal as it was in their flock 99% of the time. As soon as the Garganey took flight, the Teal obviously would too, making for another taxing search to find the correct group and pick out he Teal. When it was alone, the Garganey would fly in, in their 100s, making it very hard!
We finished up at around lunchtime, they headed off to HHK Wildlife Sanctuary while I made my way home to Bangkok. The drive was smooth sailing apart from nearly running out of fuel near Bangkok. I credit Boss black coffee for making the journey home safe. I had already planned my next trip, joining my ‘hide friend’ from bumping into them 2-3 times at the hide at Kaeng Krachan, on Tuesday, for campsite nesting birds, and Eared Pitta at the hide in KKC.
Since I had already shifted to early wake ups from Nakhon Sawan trip, this morning on Monday, I headed to Benjakitti before driving to Phetchaburi in the afternoon. I was totally unprepared for what would happen when I got there. Walking across to check the magical Dog Park, I saw a stunning kingfisher flying along the khlong. It was unmistakable, the rufous colour and pink back. It was the rare passage migrant: Ruddy Kingfisher. I spend the next 2 hours trying to photograph this stunning rare bird. I got so many sightings of it flying, even perched in my face, but my camera was not up, so I knew lifting it would flush it and it flew off after 2 seconds anyway. I was rather defeated, but I accepted it, and cherished the rare sighting, without the photo. In the park I was pointed to a trio of Spotted Owlets out in the tree, I think it was a gardener since they are often much nicer than the often power-tripping guards.
Whilst it was a bit hard leaving the site where I saw the Ruddy Kingfisher behind to explore the rest of the park, I was rewarded. Not long into the wetland area, I got another patch tick with one I had been trying to locate here for a few weeks: Crow-billed Drongo.
By the time I reached the Bittern zone, I was behind 2 hours due to the Ruddy. This meant it was already close to midday and it was too hot to wait for the Cinnamon and Black to show. I was going to check the large trees in the shade for Yellow-rumped Flycatcher. This was unsuccessful, so I told myself, one last check for Ruddy Kingfisher and I head home. I walked along the khlong with little to no expectations and I found it. It didn’t move. It stayed perched for 5 photos and then was gone. My spring migration was made in this moment.
Now I’m waiting for more incredible birds in Kaeng Krachan National Park, stay tuned!
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