The best thing about birding today at Huay Mai Teng reservoir was just being there reasonably early in the morning. There were no Pied Harriers in the roost but I didn’t get there until 0700h so I imagine they had already gone out for the day! The presence of two other birders staking out a Bluethroat was also a very pleasant surprise. I have seen Bluethroat here before too and this would be about the right time for it to reappear here.
I usually have this place all to myself so great to see these guys. The worst thing was being suckered by an Eastern Stonechat which had me thinking I was on to a female flycatcher of some description! It was behaving like a flycatcher too, perching on a branch and then taking off after prey and returning to the same spot. I’m happy being suckered! Nearby a Thick-billed Warbler was deep in the scrub – it wouldn’t show long enough for me. However with this area now being fully accessible I fancy getting in among the reed beds to check out those little brown jobs.
The most important bird today was a Black-collared Starling in a freshly ploughed field near the road leading to the southern side of the reservoir. I’ve seen this species here before but it is not common in the area. Having checked the roost I felt comfortable for the first time in over a year heading out into the vast area of flat land that forms the southern reservoir. The roads were dry and drivable and I was rewarded with masses of Rain Quail calling (none seen), a female Barred Buttonquail and its solitary brood having a dust bath on the track, and further along toward the water, two Oriental Skylarks, 32 Small Pratincoles, 4 Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, 2 very large Grey Herons and lots of Wood Sandpipers and Oriental Pratincoles. There were also decent numbers of Richard Pipits as well as one Red-throated Pipit and two Olive-backed Pipits.
I have some guests next week who have booked up at the new hotel on the north shore of there reservoir so I’m going to try and spend Saturday with them. It will be wonderful to have a whole day birding here and it will be really interesting to see what is about.
I should add a brief foray to the Laem Pak Bia sandpit last Sunday with my nephew and my family was joyful bit a little bit disappointing from a birding perspective: three Chinese Egrets, a handful of Malaysian Plovers and a Whimbrel. My nephew swears he saw whales further out in the Gulf which wouldn’t surprise me altogether as I know up to eight Bryde’s Whales have been seen in the area in recent weeks. We also stopped at the beach at Ban Bang Gao where there were lots of Sanderlings and Malaysian Plovers on the sand and the first Brown-headed Gulls had arrived.