Saturday, December 27, 2014

Black-faced Spoonbill at BPL

On 23rd and 24th December a single Black-faced Spoonbill was seen at Boeung Prek Lapouv associating with a flock of Black-headed Ibis. First sighting was in a ploughed area near a village called Dei Leuk. The second sighting was in a natural inundated area not far from the village Banteay Sleuk.

Sightings of Black-faced Spoonbill at BPL have occurred before, in December 2010 and February 2012. Most sightings in and around BPL have been of birds within Black-headed Ibis flocks. The bird was spotted as it was the only one in the flock resting with it's bill tucked in under a wing. Just a few days before Simon Mahood had mentioned how lazy they seem to be in the daytime, more often than not seen catching a nap than actively foraging. With this in mind the Spoonbill stood out in the Ibis flock, of which all other birds were in full foraging mode.

Other sightings:
- 156 cranes counted at a single foraging site. There are more than that in BPL at the moment, as will become clear from the monthly site counts which took place this morning.
- Hundreds of Painted Storks and Asian Openbills and several large groups of Black-headed Ibis
- Perhaps as many as a thousand Garganeys
- A juvenile Peregrine Falcon, likely attracted by the presence of so many Garganeys

December is a good month to visit Boeung Prek Lapouv!


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Kampot over Pchum Ban

Hired a motorbike from Lucky Lucky Motorcycle shop on Monivong, Phnom Penh. Paid 13 USD per day, and the owners were very nice. They made sure I got a good motorbike that could go up the mountain. My plan was to try photograph the Chestnut - headed Partridge and then if possible, Mangrove Whistler and Ruddy Kingfisher.

Drove to Salt pans with Simon Mahood on 22nd evening and was able to photograph the Stints.

23rd disappointing drive up to Bokor; no Wreathed Hornbills, Great Hornbills or Chestnut - headed Partridge. No birds on the CHP trail. Went back to the salt pans alone and photographed the Marsh Sandpiper and possible Curlew Sandpiper.... if I am right!!

Lots of Common Sandpipers and Lesser Sand-plovers and Ringed Plovers also seen in the salt pans.

24th morning took a boat to  Trapeang Sangke CPA and found a Ruddy Kingfisher!!
Photos from the trip below:
                                          Blue - eared Barbet (Bokor)
                                         Thick-billed Green-pigeon (Bokor)
                                         Marsh Sandpiper (Kampot salt pans), with Simon
                                         Red-necked Stint (Kampot salt pans), with Simon
                                         Long-toed Stint (Kampot salt pans), with Simon
                                         Curlew Sandpiper (?) Kampot salt pans
                                         Ruddy Kingfisher (Trapeang Sangke CPA)
                                         Ruddy Kingfisher (Trapeang Sangke CPA)
Ashish J I John.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary in the wet season

I spent two weeks around various parts of Kulen Promtep. This was for my research, with very little opportunity for birding, but had some chances to observe birds in a type of habitat I rarely visit (deciduous forest). The forest is very wet and green at this time of year. All birds seen were resident species, with the possible exception of one (see below).

Best place to start is with the woodpeckers! Species seen included:
1) Grey-capped Pygmy
2) Rufous-bellied
3) Spot-breasted
4) Black-headed
5) Common Flameback
6) Greater Flameback
7) Rufous
8) Great Slaty

Other deciduous forest species:
- Giant Ibis (along trail to Veal Bromet)
- Indian Spotted Eagle (Veal Bromet)
- Rufous-winged Buzzard
- White-browed Fantail
- Brown Prinia

Other large waterbirds:
- Lesser Adjutant (seen almost daily, sometimes soaring in small groups)
- Sarus Crane

Other raptors:
- Oriental Honey Buzzard
- Crested Goshawk
- Chinese Goshawk (potentially: not minute, dark primary tips forming clear patches, flying due south)
- Crested Serpent Eaglesss


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

ATT and Stoung in May

Conditions at ATT were generally still nice and dry although there was a storm one of the afternoons we were there. Cranes (close to 200) were spending more time in the wetland than previous months and so did we. 4 Black-necked Storks were also present in the wetland and a Short-toed Snake Eagle flew over once. A male Bengal Florican was seen in the ricefield area just north of the wetland. These ricefields were actively being ploughed yet we came across an Oriental Pratincole "nest" with one egg.
Also in the ricefields we came across a victim of the heavy tractor traffic, a Copper-head Trinket Snake.
Many hundreds of Barn Swallows were still present in the wetland in front of the WCS office.

At Stoung it rained on the two consecutive evenings we were there. 50 or so Comb Ducks were seen feeding on rice spill in harvested dry season ricefield and 17 cranes were present as well. It was nice to see a female Greater Painted Snipe displaying, which consisted of raising wings for several seconds to flash bright white underwings while making the hooting sound described in Robson as blowing over an empty bottle.

Disclaimer: all nest photos I have put on the blog are not a result of active searches, but from coming across them by accident while doing fieldwork and making photos purely for the sake of documenting natural history. No harm was caused to the birds in any way and nests were left undisturbed as they were when found.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Prek Ksach 10 April 2014

Sarah I spent an enjoyable couple of hours at Prek Ksach in the late PM.

The only notable birds were one Blue-eared Kingfisher and at least three calling Blue-winged Pittas, deep in the scrub. I assume they're staying to breed since they were around the previous week too. About 12 Alexandrine Parakeets were flying around, this is thought to be a feral population.

Simon Mahood

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A birding visit to Cambodia (Part II)

Kampot saltpans, 11 and 12 April PMs with Rob Overtoom, Nigel Eustace and Neil Furey

The habitat mosaic of the saltpans just east of Kampot town provided very pleasant birding grounds.

Best amongst the series of usual shorebirds was an Asian Dowitcher, although a glimpse just before dusk was a rather frustrating lifer. Nice were waders in near-breeding plumages such as Pacific Golden Plovers, Red-necked Stints and Curlew Sandpipers.

Bokor NP, 12 April AM with Rob Overtoom

A relatively productive birding visit for that time of the year, with 48 species harvested. The foothills were full of calling Blue-winged Pittas, a nice Blue-bearded Bee-eater a little further up, dipped on the Spot-bellied Eagle Owl (too late perhaps) and at mid-altitude, two wished species -- Large Scimitar Babbler and Banded Kingfisher -- were calling but could not be brought into views. On the plateau tea farm area, a Black Eagle granted us with repeated appearances (once really close) and a study of a white-eye concluded on the first record of Everett’s White-eye since the specimen collected in 1927 at the same site by Delacour and Jabouille. Lifer and bird of the day!

Prey Nup mangrove, 13 April with Rob Overtoom, Nigel Eustace and Neil Furey

Tuktuk and kayak birding, along the mangrove/cultivation edge and in the mangrove creeks respectively yielded 51 species. Crippling view of a Ruddy Kingfisher, two male Little Bronze Cuckoos ruffling over a mate, and a last-minute treat of wonderful views of a male Copper-throated Sunbird (lifer) were the highlights. The mangrove was really bird poor, and mostly enliven by an unmatched density of Pied Fantails.

Kampot river estuary, 13 April PM, with Rob Overtoom, Nigel Eustace and Neil Furey

High tide was just over, and starting to recede when we reached the estuarine mudflats at the day’s end. Small groups of a few regular species, although Cambodian firsts for me were 8-10 Common Terns (ssp longipennis) and a single Little Tern. Three Ruddy Turnstones were also hanging around.

Prek Ksach, 15 April, with Roland Seitre

Compared to my visit two weeks before, the big disappointment was that the Asian Golden Weaver colony had been overtaken by House Sparrows! Five Chestnut Munias were spotted though, so the site is probably the best bet to see that rare species in Cambodia. Of note was an active nest of Pied Bushchat: a straw-made cup nestled/lodged under a ploughed soil lump!

Sen Monorom plateau and Dak Dam, 16 to 20 April, with Roland Seitre and family, and Senglim

I spend the last week of my trip with wildlife photographer and major handbooks' contributor Roland Seitre, who I had met in Cambodia back in 1999. Birds everywhere were absurdly shy and nearly always 'unphotographiable', with the relative exception of our guest house compound, touristic parkings and Seima headquarters!!

Many species were busy breeding and I don’t list them here. Of distributional or status interest were a Bar-backed Partridge heard at the border post, Pale-capped Pigeon and Grey-headed Parakeet found fairly common around Sen Monorom, Speckled Piculet at O’Ramis and near Dak Dam, one Maroon Oriole near Dak Dam and calls matching those of Ratchet-tailed Treepie heard at two occasions but birds never showed for confirmation. A grey morph Black-headed Bulbul was also noteworthy. Unexpected was a Streaked Wren Babbler (ssp rufiventer) near Sen Monorom, the 2d record for the northeast. Local subspecies included klossi Blue-throated Flycatcher (widespread), germaini Black-throated Laughingthrush (O’Ramis), johnsi Black-throated Sunbird (O’Ramis) and possibly the first confirmation of nigricapillus Burmese Shrike, and supposed peracensis Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo (racket extending up to mid-shaft). The form of Ashy Bulbul looked more like the hildebrandi than the expected (based on distribution given in Robson’s guide) remotus subspecies.

Best lifer – and the bird of the trip – was a pair of gorgeous Silver-eared Mesias near Dak Dam on 16/4. The birds responded to playback on two subsequent visits, but did not want to show, to the great dismay of my companions.

Seima PF, 20 to 22 April, with Roland Seitre and family, Senglim and local guide Thoang

Time remaining was short to properly cover Seima PF, and unstable weather (rain or threatening sky in PM and even once in early AM) further shrunk our birding walks. The much sought-after and tricky Orange-necked Partridge gave me an UTV (untickable view) on the ONP trail after call playback on 21/4 PM. Nice consolation price was an at libitum and short-distance observation of a pair of Siamese Firebacks (they did not detect me!). The next morning on the O’Pam trail, several looks at Pale-headed Woodpeckers gave me trouble matching them with the Robson plates. Five other species of woodpeckers were around, including a family of Great Slaty Woodpeckers. ONPartridge was also heard calling.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Anlung Pring, late April

I visited Anlung Pring for a few days from 25-27 April. There were quite a few Oriental Golden Plovers (~30) and all in breeding plumage. What a difference from the drab camouflaged outfits they wear otherwise. Black-winged Stilts were breeding. A nest with one egg found, most likely of this species and will post the photo later. Oriental Plovers in full breeding mode here too. Some Long-toed Stints which were also getting slightly more colourful. Around a hundred Black-tailed Godwits using the site regularly to roost. Finally, a flock of nine Chestnut Munias in ricefields not far from Anlung Pring itself.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Stoung and a bit of Chikraeng

Made a short visit to these sites over the weekend (19-20 April). Reng from the Prolay CMC and his brother brought us out on their motorbikes. Most rice has been harvested now. Some of the birds seen:
-Sarus Crane. Only found one family of 3.
-Florican. Many sightings daily, including displaying males, several females and a subadult male
-Painted Stork. At least 3 possibly a distant flock of around 40 also this species, but didn't scrutinize closely.
-Comb Ducks. At least 30 in a small wetland north of the old road in Prolay.
-Red Avadavats. A flock.
-Oriental Pratincoles. Lots, but mentioned here as there were several cases of juvies seen. One found in a trapeang, still living, but barely. Another in much better condition.

-Small Buttonquail. Equally lots, but encountered a bird followed by a chick and Reng stopped to take a look, right next to one which had decided to stay put...

A Pied Harrier, Peregrine and a few Barn Swallows still present
A Chestnut Munia south of Chikraeng


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A visit to Cambodia (Part I)

Here are some noteworthy records and highlights of my birding visit to Cambodia.

Phnom Penh 26-29 March
Nothing to declare, apart that I found Red-collared Dove to be more present and conspicuous around
No migrant flycatchers around, at my great disappointment...

Prek Ksach (Ly Youngpat bridge) area, 28 March AM, with Howie Nielsen
Best finds amongst a good 61 species were a gorgeous Chestnut Munia and a starting colony of Asian Golden Weavers

Of interest also: the sandhill occupied by Small Pratincoles last year was covered with a pioneer shrub and very territorial (and thus strongly suspected to breed) Oriental Pratincoles.

Prolay grasslands, 29-30 March
10+ males and two females Bengal Floricans to start with the star-bird.
Asian Pied Starling parents with a juveniles.
Manchurian Reed Warbler apparently still present
And, of personal interest (lifer), numerous Small Buttonquails (how did I never see them before???)

Phnom Kraom, 1 April, with some Osmose staff & guides
A good diversity of birds (52 spp) but nothing really special.
An Himalayan-type Cuckoo, great view of Greater Painted-snipes, and Baya Weavers buzzing to prepare their nests.

Angkor Wat, east gate and forest, 3 April
Nice, quiet, beautiful but bird-poor early morning walk, only 15 spp.
Nicest were a male White-throated Rock-thrush and a Black Baza.
The guard reporting a large moat-landed bird lead to the discovery of a drying Oriental Darter, always a pleasing sight.

Trip and survey in Areng valley on 4-7 April, with Suy Senglim, Kongsang Ratanak, Howie Nielsen and Adrian Stoeger.
Complementary bird survey done at the request of the NGO Mother Nature, advocating against the planned dam (expected to flood 10,000 to 20,000 ha and displace 600 people). A great birder-photographer-sound recording team, producing 129 spp (only 53 previously recorded).
Conservation concern species included regular sightings of Great and Wreathed Hornbills, calls/sights of Green Peafowls, a Grey-headed and a Lesser Fish Eagle along the river, and a lone Oriental Darter. No finfoot guys, although we were close to the site of the previous records.

From a more birding/ornithological point of view, a fruiting tree had a festival of species, including a tantalizing flycatcher (cf Howie) and a male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, several Black-and-red Broadbills preparing nest along the river, two appearances of Indochinese Green Magpie and much-appreciated female then male Blue-and-white Flycatchers.

Around Boeng Veal Samnap, 10 April AM, with Howie Nielsen
Taking the Naga ferry crossing and turning south failed to find access to the floodplain lake...
So motorbike-based bush-countryside birding was only partly satisfying, with consolations being crippling views of a Spotted Owlet, a single Chestnut-tailed Starling and two Ashy Wood Swallows building their nest in a palm tree.

Takeo town, 10 April PM, with Rob Overtoom
A quick evening visit at a pagoda and reservoir near town brought in various sightings of interest, namely: 1 tentative Peregrine Falcon in town, 10-15 Streaked Weavers nest-building in coconut and bamboo trees at Wat Tom and 8 Small Pratincoles at the reservoir.

Phnom Tamao, 11 April, with Rob Overtoom
A slow start but finally great birding morning with 56 spp recorded. Highlights were 2 Lesser Adjutants (yeah), calling Blue-winged Pittas and oddities such as 2 Vinous-breasted Starlings and a lone Hill Myna. Possible parakeets too... For Simon, the Cambodian Tailorbird was lured out of the forest as well as the bush near a lake.

Second part to come later, hoping I could upload some of Senglim, Ratanak and Rob's photos to decorate this boring text in the meantime...


Monday, April 14, 2014

Ang Trapeang Thmor, early April

Although it had rained recently it was dry while we were at ATT from 7-11 April. Noticeable was a decline in shorebirds. Most of my time was spent in unsuitable habitat, but visited the northern edge of the reservoir and not even Little Ringed Plover was present. Many Oriental Pratincoles that were clearly starting to breed and aggressive towards anyone entering their territory. Unfortunately a few local boys were using this behaviour to practice their slingshot aim. Luckily they missed. Black Kites were gathering in groups and displaying, and saw a pair of Chestnut-tailed Starlings chasing away a Rufous Treepie.

A Pied Harrier was still around, as was a Greater Spotted Eagle

Other significant birds:
A male Bengal Florican near the small forest patch at the northern edge of the reservoir
Probably the same individual Black-necked Stork as seen last month, northern part of reservoir
Sarus Cranes, 190 seen in ricefields and 20 in north reservoir

Personally interesting sightings:
Spot-breasted Woodpecker
Purple Sunbird
Peregrine Falcon
Common Hoopoe

Also a group of 7 Eld's Deer and an Agamid, probably the Garden Lizard Calotes versicolor

What seemed like a python, but more likely a Russel's Viper, was seen crossing a track along the top of the embankment of one of the new channels being built north of the reservoir (near Samraong village). We immediately turned our motorbikes around to take a closer look, but it had already disappeared. It may have slipped down into the channel which was full of water...
Also, Comb Ducks, around 40 in both the northern section of the reservoir and in still unused ricefields, where many small ponds and waterlogged ditches were forming again.

Robert van Zalinge

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Kirirom 6th April 2014

Quite birdy today, although didn't find the desired bird.

All the same there was a decent pile of birds such as Blue-eared and Moustached Barbet, Drongo Cuckoo, Black-winged Cuckooshrike, great views of Blue-beardy Beater etc.

Simon Mahood and Sarah Brook

Preh Ksach 5 April 2014

A Blue-eared Kingfisher was a surprise. Also one Small Pratincole over. Cambodian Tailorbird of course.

Simon Mahood and Sarah Brook

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Black-faced Spoonbill at ATT

A SVC birding group found a Black-faced Spoonbill on Tuesday 11 March at the Ang Trapeang Thmor large waterbird roost. I was working at the site and visited on Friday afternoon. The spoonbill was still present, roosting in a tree slightly separate from the crowd of storks, pelicans, cormorants & egrets. Below are some photos taken through a telescope. Sophoan from SVC has made some better photos, which will be uploaded to their facebook page.

Black-faced Spoonbill has only recently been confirmed in the floodplain of the Bassac River (Mekong Delta) with sightings in 2011 and 2012 reported in BirdingASIA 19. There have been spoonbill records from the Tonle Sap floodplain, but there was confusion about the species. It now seems clear that this species will on occasion move up to this huge inland lake and wider floodplain, to which ATT is adjacent.

Other significant sightings from ATT:
- Black-necked Stork, a single bird seen first in dry/harvested ricefields and then northern edge of the wetland on the 14th
- Short-toed Snake Eagle, a single bird hovering over ricefields
- Hainan Blue Flycatcher, a male seen along the path to the roost
- White-browed Crake, near the roost this time
- Red-throated Pipit (large flocks of 10-20 birds seen here, at Stoung and in Boeung Prek Lapouv within the same week)

Also found a beautifully patterned feather at a Sarus Crane roost which could be of a Tyto Owl
At Anlung Pring a week earlier I was finally able to make some photographs of one of the twenty plus stints among the redshanks and sandpipers. I believe these to be Long-toed Stints.

Rob van Zalinge

Monday, February 24, 2014

Visit to Ang Trapeang Thmor

I visited Ang Trapeang Thmor last week for several days. Water levels are still very high. We also had a spell of rain and cool, overcast weather for a day, which was a nice relief from the increasing heat.

Birding highlights were:
Greater Painted Snipe (2, one male and one female seen on different days in different locations)
Common Coot, 2
Himalayan cuckoo, 1
White-browed Crake, 1 in wetland near WCS office (plus several seen at Ang Kamping Puy in Battambang on the way back) - I think here with me it's a case of now having recently seen this species I'm suddenly starting to spot them everywhere.
Ruddy-breasted Crake (1 crossing the dam at dusk)
Black-winged Stilts (group of around 30 flying from "WCS wetland" towards the reservoir)
Eastern Marsh and Pied Harriers (photo below is of what I believe is a female Pied, confusion with Western Marsh Harrier is possible if only seen well from above)
Black Kite (several, both migrans and lineatus)
Greater Spotted Eagle (at least 1 seen on different days)
Kestrel (1 female, probably Common)
Chestnut-tailed Starling (2, along southern dam wall) - I don't know if this species has been recorded at ATT before? A pair was nesting in a pylon as I've observed them do in Takeo.
Lanceolated Warblers (2, same days/locations as Greater Painted Snipe)

And of course Sarus Cranes! with the largest number seen at a single location being 139.

It was great to occasionally stumble on groups of Eld's Deer in the area north of the reservoir (a group of 15 seen on one day)
Plenty of snakes around too, with a huge banded snake seen entering it's lair underneath a solitary tree in ricefields (not a good place to escape the midday sun!) and a viper in one of the forest patches, caught in a discarded fishing net on the main track. None of the group was brave enough to release this poor individual, but we did drag it off the track so that we wouldn't run over it...
If you've ever wondered what the eggs of Zebra/Plaintive Dove look like.. they're pure white

Robert van Zalinge

Friday, February 7, 2014

A new and easily accessible Cambodian Tailorbird site

Quite a few people have asked me to send them information on where to see Cambodian Tailorbird. As reported on this blog recently, Ashish and I have found it at Oudong, which is a fairly popular tourist spot 40 km from Phnom Penh and known to most tuk tuk drivers.

However over last weekend Ashish saw Cambodian Tailorbird at the Genocidal Center, also known to tuk tuk drivers as the Killing Fields. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Phnom Penh, and is easily reached by tuk tuk, or by following the map below. Ashish saw the bird at point 13 on the audio-tour. I guess you could pause your personal audio tour of the killing fields at that point and then tape the bird in. James Eaton heard the birds at this site in October 2012.

It’s worth just sitting back and thinking about this for a minute. Up until 2013 there was an undescribed bird species inhabiting one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cambodia, within the limits of the capital city. Could there really be other undescribed bird species in other equally accessible parts of the world?

Simon Mahood 7 February 2014

Monday, February 3, 2014

White-browed Crakes

Thanks to Robert’s post of 4th Jan an afternoon  trip (1/2/14) to Preak Kasach/Preak Pnaov armed with the search image of a bird I’d barely heard of before yet alone seen.

With remarkable ease good views of 2 white-browed crakes. No wryneck or grass owls but an enjoyable hour or so at the site and lots of birds. 
Not sure where the best place people go now is but we took the road towards the new golf development and then past the no entry sign (fortunately in Khmer only) onto the dyke which runs more or less parallel to the main road and offers good views in the afternoon light.

Tom Gray

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Black-headed Bulbul grey morph at Angkor Wat

25 January 2012

Sophoan (of SVC) and I and three special guests were watching a fruiting tree just outside Ta Phrom around noon. I was enjoying an obliging Blue Rock Thrush of the scarcer and rather good looking philipensis taxon when Sophoan declared that she had a bird that she could not identify! Hearing those words I knew it had to be something good, and it was: a grey morph Black-headed Bulbul!

I've only seen one of these birds before, a very brief view at Santuk (Kompong Thom) in October 2012. Incredibly, we saw at least 3 or 4 together in the fruiting tree, and this time I managed some poor quality photographs.

Based on the pattern of black-tipped tail feathers this is a different individual to the one in the first photograph. 

I'm not sure about this one, but the tail pattern indicates that it might be a third bird. 

I can only find a handful of photos of these grey morph birds on the web, three from Assam, India, and one from Thailand. For a species which is common and easy to photograph this really is a very small number. I have not heard of any reports of more than one bird seen together, nor of any other records from Cambodia. HBW says "Grey morph was once locally fairly common in NE India, and remains regular in Java; it is commonest morph on Bawean I, and only morph on Maratua I." Actually, the birds on Maratua Island are completely grey, quite unlike the 'grey morph' birds, check out these:

If you've ever seen this morph, anywhere in Asia, I'd be interested to know - leave a comment at the end of the page.

Simon Mahood

Eurasian Wryneck resighting

The wryneck is still hanging around at Prek Ksach!

Here's a picture of two Blue-tails content enough to remain seated


Monday, January 20, 2014

Yellow-breasted bunting(s)

A visit to the (former?) golden weaver lake just south of Kratie on 11-12 Jan pm produced a surprise. At least 250 yellow-breasted bunting going to roost in grassland south of the lakes main dyke.
The bunting were observed from c. 17h10 on both evenings and came into roost in numerous waves.
Recently up-listed to Endangered, on the basis of rapid declines, this record may represent the largest flock recorded of the species in Indochina in recent years! Worryingly there were signs of fishing nets set to catch passerines in the area though none seemed active.
Back in 2005 I’d regularly see 25+ bunting a day in the Kompong Thom florican grasslands but (per Si Mahood) there have been very few recent records from these sites.
Also around the area (no weaver) but 5+ red avadavat, chestnut-winged cuckoo plus expected wetland birds (spot-billed duck, 3 kingfisher spp., loads of barn & red-rumpled swallow, purple gallinule).

A quick trip down the Mekong (Stung Treng to Sambor) produced the expected – 100s of small pratincole, river lapwing, great thicknee, Mekong wagtail, lesser adjutant, wooly-necked stork, grey-headed fisheagle. Not many rivers left in south-east Asia where you can still see such a collection of species with minimal effort!

Tom Gray

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Plovers and other birds at Anlung Pring and Boeung Prek Lapouv

In a recent trip to Anlung Pring there were several species of plover foraging on a mudflat. The plover shown below is confusing. It's legs seem to orangey for Little Ringed. However, it's bill is too long and slender for a Common Ringed Plover. Some people I contacted said CRP others LRP.

In the Oriental Bird Club Image database the closest picture is the following which is of a Little Ringed.

Final conclusion: Little Ringed Plover with orangey legs

Below a picture of a Kentish Plover that was feeding in the same area. This bird was also ID'd as such by another birder.

Also at Anlung Pring were what I estimate to be 500-600 Garganeys. A week later in Boeung Prek Lapouv there were what must have been over one thousand. From far we saw a wheeling flock of what I thought must be shorebirds, but on closer inspection they proved to be Garganeys. Water levels are unusually high this winter.

Further notable records (personal opinion) :
- 29 Sarus Cranes at AP and perhaps over two hundred at BPL (I didn't do a complete count as there were many small groups scattered around the site)
- What I believe were 9 White-shouldered Starlings fly by at AP
- 2 Black-winged Stilts at AP and a flock of around 15 seen at BPL
- 12 Black-tailed Godwits at AP
- Around three hundred Painted Storks at BPL
- At least thirty Black-headed Ibis at BPL
- Over fifty Asian Openbills at BPL
- 6 Comb Ducks at BPL

BPL is very good for waders this year. There was a lot of burning last year and the site is much more open and coupled with the high water is suppressing vegetation growth. Didn't get a chance to really go birdwatching here, as I rarely do. If someone is interested in covering this site well soon I'm sure it will be both productive and interesting! 

Robert van Zalinge

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Assorted late autumn birding 2013

Assorted sites in and close to Phonm Penh late 2013

Shamefully, I (Simon Mahood) went birding and didn't blog about it. To rectify this tragic situation here are some photos of birds wot I sawed.

The first lot are a bunch of pictures of a female Stonechat at Prek Ksach. Probably because I wasn't forcing myself to count the birds I failed to really notice anything else on this occasion. However it was a beautiful fresh day, sunshine and bright colours, as the photos illustrate. Of course they aren't sharp, but they give a feel for just what a great day it was to be wandering around a construction site.

Most week-days Sarah and I take Zeke the dog down to Koh Pich, in Phnom Penh, so that he can swim in the Mekong and run in the sand before we go to work. This has resulted in remarkably few birds of note, although I once saw Chestnut-capped Babbler. There's usually a few Oriental Reed-warblers around, looking really big.

During the early winter I recorded a Blue Rock Thrush once and a Stonechat once, although prinias, like this Yellow-bellied, are the more usual fare.


Prek Ksach

Prek Ksach 12 January 2014

Sarah and I took Zeke the dog to Prek Ksach to do an AWC count. As always when you force yourself to count things, you find that there were more things than you would have thought otherwise, testament to how much you ignore when not forced to identify everything. There's a clear message in there somewhere, something about trying so hard to find the wood that you fail to notice the trees, when its the trees that make birding enjoyable when there isn't any wood to be found, conversely the wood might actually be in the trees, so it's always worth paying them close attention. Anyway, it was much more enjoyable than Oudong (which had neither wood nor trees), but that's not saying much.

Purple Gallinule 4
Grey Heron 10
Oriental Darter 7
Bronze-winged Jacana 33
Pheasant-tailed Jacana 42
Cotton Pygmy Goose 225
Pond Heron sp 7
Snipe sp 1
Lesser Whistling Duck 72
Moorhen 10
Osprey 2 (my first record for the site)
Little Cormorant 10
Purple Heron 3
Spot-billed Duck 2
Watercock 1 female
Great White Egret 1
Gargany 7
Little Grebe 6
Great Cormorant 18
Cinnamon Bittern 1
Barred Buttonquail 3

Some Cambodian Tailorbirds were vocalising as the bulldozers destroyed the scrub and started filling my favorite lake with sand.

Here's some photos of one of the Ospreys and the Watercock.