A few years ago Nick Upton advised that he had heard a Sibe calling at Huay Mai Teng. I thought I had caught a glimpse of one a few years earlier. Today on my first visit this year I had fantastic views of three, two males and one female. Both males were unmistakable showing red on the throat and I just sat in the truck and watched.
Initially I thought the bird, which flew up from the ground to a nearby branch was a Taiga Flycatcher as this is an area where they are usually plentiful and easy to see. It cocked its tail as if to confirm it was a Taiga but this was not right. There was no black to be seen on the trail nor the usual white sides. I had a side view at this point and noted the white supercilium and the ends of the black and white moustache. Reasonably long thin bill holding prey. Then it turned and showed its rather washed out red throat. I was thrilled.
I stayed and watched and noted a lot of Yellow-eyed Babblers coming in to feed on a fruiting tree. A Grey-breasted Prinia came in very close to the truck with a fair amount of activity from Common Ioras. As I scanned the ground I picked out another male Siberian Rubythroat this one sporting a much darker red throat and closeby a rather plain female emerged.
A couple of Vinous-breasted Starling then put in an appearance, a new patch record for this otherwise common species. This had me positively buzzing as I thought there might be possibilities of rarer ground foraging starlings and thrushes on migration. I was startled by a Common Snipe which touched down about twenty feet away and did a fantastic job of hiding itself by standing motionless.
The three Small Pratincoles on the water edge were almost inconsequential. In fact Oriental were present in much greater numbers with lots of Little Ringed Plovers, Yellow Wagtails and Wood Sandpipers. There was a distinct absence of any evidence of Rain or other quail.
I had to get back to the small wood and on the drive back noted one Blue-throated Bee-eater, presumably a passage migrant. Another beautifully plumaged bird. Overhead an unidentified smaller raptor hovered.
There was no evidence of any raptors on the ground in the roost area. There was not much happening in the Rubythroat area so a quick spin brought me to the spectacle of a female Pied Harrier being very effectively mobbed by a small number of Black Drongos. This led to me switching back to the roost area where other than an Oriental Pratincole and a few Red-wattled Lapwing there were no other birds in view. And then a magnificent male Pied Harrier flew over – always a great moment.
On the way out I had a great view of a juvenile Lesser Coucal and close to it a pair of Yellow-rumped Bulbuls were tending a nest.
The water level today was probably the lowest I have ever seen. It’s extremely hot here right now with highs approaching 40° C. There’s been rain but we really need a sustained downpour. Unfortunately I noticed a floating platform made of oil drums which is now moored in the quieter, less accessible side of the reservoir. This is also where most of the good birds can be found. A concern.
But no complaints today. Simply stunning.