Ratchaburi Rice Paddy

A couple of hours in the rice paddy threw up some great birds this afternoon. Pride of place must go to a Greater Spotted Eagle, a first for the patch. At times it few so close its yellow bill was clearly visible. At times like this I feel privileged as I doubt whether anybody else in Ratchaburi was aware of this bird’s presence. There was plenty of human activity in the rice paddy but none of it was interested in this magnificent bird.

Rice is being sown at the moment in the paddy so as well as increased human activity there is also an increase in the amount of water sluicing around the fields and irrigation system. Domestic ducks are still present in places. I learned recently these ducks are an important part of the strategy of minimising rice predation by apple snails. Anyhow there were also a lot of Black Kites around mixed up in large flocks of Openbills and Cattle Egrets; the latter are starting to show their distinctive yellow breeding plumage. Overhead a number of Oriental Pratincoles announced their presence by their distinctive warble-like call as they flew over.

A couple of Eastern Marsh Harriers put in an appearance and were joined by a Black-shouldered Kite. These are the first Eastern Marsh I have seen this “winter”. A solitary Common Kingfisher and Oriental Reed Warbler rounded off a splendid afternoon.

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