For most of this afternoon’s trip to Huay Mai Teng Reservoir I was depressed from taking stock of the habitat destruction and connecting this to, at best, being able to hear the occasional Rain Quail calling in the distance. This was compounded by the complete absence of Small Pratincoles. I am sure the praticoles are there or thereabouts: the question is where and the supplementary question from this is whether they are breeding.
At times it felt like being in a war zone, a scene of devastation really, with land cleared where once there had been thick scrub, that hacked down and set alight, in effect razed to the ground. This scrub supported lots of Ioras, Prinias, Indian Nightjars, Munias, Sparrows, Green-billed Malkoha and Flycatchers……and there have been sightings of Rain Quail, Chinese Francolin, Long-tailed Shrike, Burmese Shrike, Chestnut-headed and Yellow-eyed Babbler and even Maroon Woodpecker and Eurasian Thick-knee in and around this area. There was even an excellent drive-in location for Rain Quail. The venerable Little Green Bee-eater is the volume species now.
Yet there were still some good birds today – an Osprey, a couple of Darters in the air, a Kestrel floundering around in a ploughed field, a Eastern Marsh Harrier did a bit of quartering, an nearby a Black-shouldered Kite was doing its famous hover and plunge routine. A Taiga Flycatcher flirtatiously cocked its black tail at me and flew off and a Long-tailed Shrike circled around. Late in the afternoon I got great views of a Thick-billed Warbler in the scrub and a solitary Oriental Pratincole flew over. There were also some interesting sounds, possibly a Black-browed Reed Warbler.
A flash of a Kestrel jumping around in the furrows got me out walking butit scarpered before I could get on it. An Eastern Marsh Harrier doing a bit of quartering was a surprise. Over the reservoir I watched an Osprey eye up a late afternoon snack but It didn’t plunge due to disturbance. So as the afternoon progressed my spirits lifted as there were plenty of good birds about.
My mission today was to try to get a location for Rain Quail and the good news is that I managed this late in the day. I flushed five of them from where I used to see them regularly. That really pleased me and so I know to approach this area much more gingerly from here on in. As if by cue a pair of Savanna Nightjars started to “twerp”. This development really helped to lift my depression. I should stay there is still a lot of untouched habitat here so I think we have some way to go yet.
So some time soon I’ll try to get some shots of these fine birds presuming they are going to stay in the same area.
that seems to be hanging