Saturday, March 21, 2009

Rare Thrushes(?)

The dumping area in the back of the luxurious Royal Project's restaurant at Doi Angkhang(ดอยอ่างขาง) has become famous within Thai birders for a few years now. The reason is simple...there are rare birds, the thrushes! Last two weeks I spent the weekends going back to visit the thrushes there again and, surprisingly, they were much tamer than before. There were about 10 Black-breasted Thrushes(Turdus dissimilis), 2-3 Eyebrowed Thrushes(Turdus obscurus), 2 Grey-winged Blackbird(Turdus boulboul), 1 Dark-sided Thrush(Zoothera marginata) and a migrant black-billed Blue Whistling Thrush(Myophonus caeruleus caeruleus). These birds used to be very scarce in the past, but right now they are regular visitors of the restaurant!

A (subadult?)male Black-breasted Thrush; note black spots

An immature male or a non-breeding male(?); note the buffish scales on its head

A very typical female Black-breasted Thrush

I was a bit surprised to find that the commonest one was the Black-breasted, which was once a very rare winter visitor to Thailand. I remember myself 5 or 6 years ago went to twitch this bird at the Sri Sangwan Waterfall, at the base of Doi Angkhang, and finally found a single female sleeping on the fruiting tree. Just that I was so so happy that I had to draw it beautifully in my sketchbook. It's a little hard to believe that one day this rare species will become so easy to see like this. The dumping area was much more open comparing to 2-3 years ago. When I first arrived at the place, I was wondering how can those shy thrushes come down to the exposed ground like this. But what I saw after that was a view of these thrushes hopping all around the place, with many others flying up and down the trees, and some were just standing bravely on the rocks. It's a bit crazy and gave me a dizzy feeling. Anyway, it's a good new, isn't it?

A non-breeding male Grey-winged Blackbird

And a female

Another superstar of the dump place was a pair of Grey-winged Blackbird. It is an irregular winter visitor to montane forests in N Thailand. This time is a great chance to see this rare species, not only a male or female, but both together. The male bird was shy, and quite difficult to take photos. I have to say that I'm not very satisfied with the results, but there is no more chance for me, since the winter has already gone and these birds will very soon fly back to their homelands. Though the male bird was shy, his mate wasn't at all. That's why I was able to finish her in a few minutes lol. Another interesting species was the small Dark-sided Thrush, which I saw on my second visit. In the past, the only certain place to see this uncommon resident thrush was at Doi Inthanon(ดอยอินทนนท์) summit. But, again, in these recent years, it can be found here also. Next winter I may not be able to visit this place, even though how much I'm gonna miss these birds because I have another big dream to fulfill. I'm going to Hokkaido!

An adult Dark-sided Thrush

A migrant subspecies Blue Whistling Thrush(Myophonus caeruleus caeruleus)

1 comment:

Thaibirder said...

Every single shot is clean and artistic!