Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Paintbox

February 16, 2011 saw me packing up my equipment in a hurry before getting up in Mr Mark's car headed to Chiang Dao as early as 6 in the morning. What made both of us hurried there was a flock of the extremely beautiful and scarce Pin-tailed Parrotfinches (Erythrura prasina), which a few local photographers had discovered about a week before. The last time I saw this species was already almost 10 years ago at Na Haew National Park in Loei Province. That time, it was a very big news among Thai birders, as huge flocks of more than 100 or 200 birds gathered together to feed on bamboo seeds. It was a surely once-in-a-lifetime experience for me to see the birds in that huge number. All the bamboos around the national park area just amazingly began to produce seeds and die altogether at the same time. This phenomenon suddenly attracted the scarce and nomadic parrotfinches to come and enjoy the feast. This time, they didn't come to feed on bamboo seeds though, but they came to enjoy the salt lick instead.

A flock of Pin-tailed Parrotfinches (Erythrura prasina)
Female birds have duller plumage
We arrived at the place where the birds were found at around 7am. It was still pretty dark as the sun rises much later during winter. There was a large area of salt lick next to the place where we parked the car. Mr Mark tried walking into the salt lick area to check if there's anything around or not. He suddenly rushed out to get all his gear shortly after entering the salt lick as he finally found the birds very easily! I then followed him into the salt lick, and in front of us were plenty of these colourful parrotfinches hopping all over the ground. We decided to set up a hide near the place where the birds were seen. After a short while, the birds came back in a good number. I counted about 30 individuals. Most of them were female though. I tried to focus on the males as they were much more strikingly beautiful with their superb combination of blue, green, red and yellow and their bright scarlet elongated tails. Someone even commented that they look like they just came out of the paintbox! We enjoyed our time taking photos of them in excitement until the sun rose up high above our head and the last bird finally made its way into the forest at around 11am, then we packed our things and left the area with huge smiles of success on our faces.

4 comments:

Stu said...

What a great looking bird.........

Mei Ling said...

Would have loved to experience this phenomenon.

Phil said...

Good post title - I see what you mean, and it does indeed look like a cross between a finch and a parrot. It must have been a great experience to see all those birds and it may not happen again for a number of years I guess.

Charounette said...

Long while no stopping by but never forget this beautiful little nature corner you share. Never seen so painted looking bird before, too clearly colourful to be real!