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