Monday, March 7, 2011

Twitchers at Nam Kham

Well, it was back in February 9th, only 2 days after my arrival back at home in Thailand. I headed right to Nam Kham Nature Reserve in Chiang Rai Province with Nuk, one of my birding colleagues, in search of the 2 rarities which appeared to be regular visitors to a waterhole inside the nature reserve area. These 2 rarities are White-tailed Rubythroat (Luscinia pectoralis tschebaiewi) the mascot of the nature reserve, and the Chestnut-crowned Bush Warbler (Cettia major). However, we've also been informed that the former has been absent from the waterhole for quite a while, as there was one bird photographer who put out worms in hope of attracting the bird, the worms instead brought out 2 aggressive male Siberian Rubythroats (Luscinia calliope) which finally made the shyer White-tailed Rubythroat disappeared. Mealworms are prohibited within the reserve area since then.
Male Siberian Rubythroat (Luscinia calliope)
Dusky Warbler (Phylloscopus fuscatus)

Baikal Bush Warbler (Bradypterus davidi); female/non-breeding?
Common Sun Skink (Eutropis multifasciata)
Another male Siberian Rubythroat (Luscinia calliope)
We arrived at Nam Kham around 8 o'clock and went straight into the Cettia Hide, where both of the rarities were found. We were welcomed by the common stuff like Baikal Bush Warblers, Dusky Warblers and of course, Siberian Rubythroats. I didn't try the Rubythroat Hide, which is further in the reeds, since I didn't know that another rarity, the Chinese Bush Warbler (Bradypterus tacsanowskius) has just been found a few days earlier at that hide. We waited in the Cettia Hide until around 3:30pm, when the Chestnut-crowned Bush Warbler made its first appearance at the waterhole. It was already dark at that time, since the waterhole is located deep in the middle of reeds. The bird was very skittish at first and didn't come down to the waterhole. It later disappeared and showed up again at 4:00. This time it came down to the waterhole, but was chased off shortly after taking bath by the male Siberian Rubythroat. It appeared again at 4:30 and this time it took a really long bath before flying back into the reeds by itself.

Chestnut-crowned Bush Warbler (Cettia major)

Baikal Bush Warbler (Bradypterus davidi); heavily spotted breast (male?)
So we failed to see the male White-tailed Rubythroat, but at least we've got to see the great Chestnut-crowned Bush Warbler. These two birds were extremely rare before Nam Kham Nature Reserve was established. With extensive research and well protection, a great number of rare species is constantly reported from the area. The nature reserve is now a private area owned by Dr. Rungsrit Kanjanavanit, the chairman of my local bird club, Lanna Bird and Nature Conservation Club (LBNC), but is normally open for birders and researchers.

All videos captured by Nuk; apologies for my noisy shutter sound


Phil said...

A great post with brill pics of birds that would get British twitchers foaming at the mouth, especially that male Siberian Rubythroat. I dont think twitchers over here have tried meal worms yet, just throwing rocks, MP3s and bush bashing, but give them time. I like the dusky too, a bird that can be seen over here, well sort of for such a skulker.

Stu said...

Officially jealous about the Rubythroat!

Ari said...

Great catch Ayuwat, especially love to see the Siberian Rubythroat.

Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok said...

Thanks all for the comments!
Phil> We have all those habits over here too. Latest trick would be the air chase away all unwanted birds that come and pick up worms that you intentionally put out for the target birds. It's sad to see where birding has gone to...

Madibirder said...

Love the Rubythroat. You're well rewarded for your effort Ayuwat.

Russell said...

Wow! That first ruby-throat photo knocked me over. The lighting and pose is just perfect. Excellent photographs.

Chris said...

I've seen the news of this morning and hope that you are safe! i was qiote worried about you and Stu and send you the best for the difficult time to come for your country!

John said...

Some great shots of some very desirable birds !

Pity about the photographer and the worms - it's becoming more of an issue here in HK, too

Charounette said...

I was away and have just caught up on a full series of what happened in Japan. Hope you and your friends are alright.

This little bird makes me think of my favourite little bird here "mésange bleue", no idea of its name in english.

Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok said...

Thanks a lot everyone for your concerns!
I just came back from a 9-day trip to Malaysia and will be flying back to Japan in a few days. Luckily the small city of Beppu wasn't affected by the incident at all.