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