Thanks to HRH King Bumibhol’s 84th birthday today I had the luxury of a midweek day off. So I decided to check out the Wat Khao Takhrao area in Phetchburi first thing this morning. I approached it with a certain degree of diffidence as my last trip here ended in ignominy. I am glad to say I made it home with no drama. I checked out the Gadwall site on my approach but there was no evidence of any birds whatsoever in the area. At the big pond there were a lot of ducks, probably 2,000 Garganey and significantly lower numbers of Northern Pintail. Who knows what else might have been in there but light conditions were really difficult: strong, harsh light, and of course the birds were out in the middle. There was a lot of raptor activity, a few Black Kites and a couple of Pied Harriers, but nothing unusual. I took a gentle stroll through Khao Yoi back to the Phetkasem Road and the most notable sight was the number of Black Kites, perhaps 25 in total; perhaps this is due to the fact that the harvesting of the rice crop has begun. No doubt the numbers will increase significantly in the next couple of weeks.
The photographic highlight was this Plaintive Cuckoo which I took for an Ashy Drongo until closer examination: this is the male and it’s not a bird I see a lot of.