Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chestnut-capped Babbler

These photos were taken on the same day as the Racket-tailed Treepie below. The Chestnut-capped Babbler (Timalia pileata) seems to be a local "star" for my local patch. Though widespread and not uncommon, there's actually a few places where these birds are 100% guaranteed. Here at Mae Taeng River, it is now one of the most numerous little brown jobs. Its population seems to have increased from the past, when its close relative Yellow-eyed Babbler (Chrysomma sinense) used to be much commoner. These two species prefer similar habitats, open grasslands and riverbeds, so it is likely that they've always been competing to each other. I still remember how difficult to see a Chestnut-capped Babbler back then when I started birding, and now they're almost everywhere.

Chestnut-capped Babbler (Timalia pileata)
I came across a flock of about 7-8 birds shortly after I photographed the treepie. It was a family flock consisting of 2 parents and at least 5 fledglings. It was the first time for me to see and photograph the juvenile birds. They have much paler look; paler chestnut cap, paler greyish neck and pale yellowish gape. They always moved together in the same order; parents first, then the kids. After I photographed the family, I moved on the next location, a small muddy track near the Thai Yai temple on the opposite side of the river, I came across another pair of Chestnut-capped Babblers, marking the new range of its distribution. The habitat here is quite different from the former location, being mainly cultivated areas and very close to human.

One of the two Chestnut-capped Babblers from the new spot
Grey Pansy (Junonia atlites)
Apart from the babbler, there were also several interesting species including the Cinnamon and Yellow Bittern, which were seen flying around everywhere. These birds are numerous, but almost impossible to see when they're on the ground. The Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis) is the less common one. I was quite lucky when a juvenile bird came landing on a grassy dike in front of me. Normally these birds would immediately run into thicker grass, but this young bird was kind enough to hang around for a few minutes. Maybe it was stunned and didn't know what to do. There were also many Wood Sandpipers (Tringa glareola) in the rice fields but they were all skittish as usual. A young female Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) was also seen for the first time for this fall migration.
Juvenile Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis)

1 comment:

Chris said...

That chesnut-capped babbler is a splendid bird and you got amazing shots of it! Wow thatðs for sure a sighting! One day I have to travel out of Iceland ;-)