Dusky Warbler at Huay Mai Teng

Green Bee-eater 22.09.13 Huay Mai Teng Reservoir
Green Bee-eater 22.09.13
Huay Mai Teng Reservoir

I had another outstanding day’s birding at Huay Mai Teng Reservoir today. Encouraged by yesterday’s raptor flight I thought I would devote the day to a raptor count and see what the final tally was. Well the tally from 0745h to 1500h when I decided to go home was 1 Chinese Sparrowhawk – the only other raptor was a resident Black-shouldered Kite. After yesterday I was expecting a procession of Oriental Honey Buzzards and sparrowhawks. Nothing quite like bird watching for producing the unexpected.

But I had a cracking day’s birding nevertheless and only gave up because I was tired. This, you could say, was my first big birding day in over 6 months. Of course the birds didn’t disappoint. i saw two Rain Quail but pride of place has to go to a Dusky Warbler which I located in an area that I thought would produce Yellow-rumped Flycatcher. It has the same species of tree in which Dave Gandy finds lots of flycatchers and other migrants at Suan Rot Fai in Bangkok. So I had a stroll through a cluster of these trees on the south side of the reservoir, at the end of the track that produced two Chinese Francolin yesterday.

I could hardly believe my eyes – first up was an Asian Brown Flyctcher, then I got an unmistakable male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, which scarpered as I approached, and the Dusky Warbler was jumping around in the lower part of the same tree.It stood still long enough for me to get a good look at it including its supercilium. I thought to myself – it’s got to be one of those brown phylloscopus warblers… the way you do!

Black Drongo 22.09.13 Huay Mai Teng Reservoir
Black Drongo
Huay Mai Teng Reservoir

It’s a lifer, so obviously I have some reservations about making the call, but, on reflection and now I have had a good read of the literature,  I am pretty sure it fits the bill – an unintentional pun – unmistakably phylloscopus, it couldn’t be locustella ( too brown with no russet or streaking on the breast) or acrocephalus ( these would be presumably in reeds and much closer to water). I don’t know Radde’s Warbler either, which might be the most likely alternative, but I would say Dusky because it was really small and the bill was quite slim. It didn’t hang around once it saw me.  A further reservation was that it might be too early for Dusky Warbler to be this far south; however Dave Gandy has seen it in SRF at the end of September, so I am not persuaded that it is unusually early.

I only got a partial view of the Yellow-rumped Flycatcher but enough – it really has the most brilliant colouring – I got the blue against the yellow rump on the back and the white supercilium. The male in particular is quite unmistakable. There were also some Taiga Flycatchers making their distinctive sounds.

Elsewhere lots of birds – I need  tally my figures but lots of species. I saw two Rain Quail and heard at least twenty, if not more. A Pied Kingfisher put on an aerial display before swooping down on its unsuspecting prey, a lot of Whiskered Tern, a Long-tailed Shrike, many Brown Shrike, lots of Indochinese Bushlark, many Yellow Wagtails, a solitary Black Bittern, good numbers of Paddyfield Pipits and Green Bee-eaters, a few Oriental Pratincoles and Little Grebes – but no Black WInged Stilts. A male  Asian Golden Weaver sporting full breeding plumage was an unexpected surprise. I also had  unidentified cuckoo species.

It’s been fantastic to be able to get out birding again this weekend and I am showing no adverse reactions. I am also feeling much more optimistic about the long term viability of Huay Mai Teng.

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