Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lanius schach schach

Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach) is a common resident bird throughout Thailand but the two nominate races are the black-headed L.s.longicaudatus of central plain and L.s.tricolor of northern hills. The grey-headed L.s.schach seems to be first recorded just a few years ago during winter in Mae Hia, Chiang Mai. The individual showed up for 2-3 consecutive winters. I unexpectedly found this individual in the evening of September 19th. The bird was perching on a dead branch by Mae Taeng River. I had to observe it from the bridge which was quite far away from the bird. After I reported about it, another bird photographer from Chiang Rai also submitted a photograph showing a very beautiful male L.s.schach he photographed from Chiang Rai Airport earlier this year (23 February). The bird has much neater plumage with more black on forehead than the one I found here.

Long-tailed Shrike race Lanius schach schach

Apart from the L.s.schach above, there was also a juvenile L.s.tricolor calling on the other side of the river. L.s.tricolor is the nominate race of northern Thailand. It has distinct black head contrasting with white throat and rufous body. Its upper mantle is grey, unlike the nominate race of central Thailand, L.s.longicaudatus, which also has a much longer tail.
Juvenile L.s.tricolor; note black head, grey upper mantle

Lots of egrets fly back to their roost in the upper stream of the Mae Taeng River (above) every evening. The two main species being Little Egret (left) and Cattle Egret (right) with a lesser number of Intermediate Egret, Black-crowned Night-Heron and Great Egret. I also photographed a young Brown Shrike eating a big cricket at Muang Chum on the same evening. There were far more many Brown Shrikes than Long-tailed Shrikes at the moment, but they were really difficult to get a decent photo. Lots of Chinese Pond-Herons have arrived as well, not to mention about the Wood Sandpiper.

Juvenile Brown Shrike eating a big cricket
Non-breeding Chinese Pond-Heron

A pure flock of Wood Sandpiper


Phil said...

I like your shrike selection A. The Brown Shrike got a large tasty meal with the cricket I think. A flock of Wood Sands is very impressive and I just love the landscape shot. all that blue really works well.

Chris said...

Wow that's a nice selection of shrike you got there... Beautiful pictures of beautiful birds... Still amazed by the diversity you are presenting in your two last messages! That's incredible!

Unravel said...

Thanks a lot Phil and Chris for your kind comments!