Lanceolated Warbler ⌗ Thai Lifer 373

Taiga Flycatcher
Ficedula albicilla

Soon after dawn this morning I watched an Osprey fly past, about 100 metres away. I was thinking:” What a scruffy, unattractive looking bird” and then it threw itself down into the reservoir, splash. It plucked an unlucky fish out of the water and flew off with the prey in its talons for a breakfast perch. For me a sublime moment and a joy to be able to watch these wild birds in their natural habitat doing their thing.

On arrival at Huay Mai Teng reservoir this morning a much more elegant female Pied Harrier was almost curtseying as she quartered the grass near the reservoir’s edge. There was a lot of bird activity and it felt good to be alive and out there in the middle of it without a care in the world.This time I was in the southern half of the reservoir on walk about; scope and tripod left in the car. Grey Heron, Purple Heron, a few aerial Small Pratincoles, lots of Zitting Cisticolas zooming around, plenty of warbler sounds from the scrub and good numbers of Rain Quail audible but not so visible. So I approached a bush with an amount of bird movement. To my joy I picked out a Lanceolated Warbler, unmistakable on account of its streaking and this was confirmed by its very distinctive call. Another lifer, no less.

And then it just went bird brilliant. Lots of Richard’s Pipits on sound, flight and location, a preference for longer grass; lots of Rain Quail, views of about 15 and some a little bit more sustained than others allowing the recognition of at least one male, lots of Oriental Skylark, at least 12, some Indochinese Bushlarks and one unidentified Quail species and one Olive-backed Pipit.

I was a happy man when I got back to my truck. I decided to set up and take my chance with the digiscope rig.  I got one shot of a Taiga Flycacther. There were two of them having lots of fun but they were a distance away so a difficult shot. But what a joyful couple of hours’ birding.

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