Monday, November 14, 2011
SW Thailand, 29th Sep - 16th Oct 2011 (2)
male Olive-backed Sunbird
Thara Park - a couple of minutes walk along the esplanade - was (although small and well-used by the local community) often productive, especially first thing in the morning. The park incorporated planted stands of mature trees (good for warblers and orioles), flowering shrubs (good for sunbirds and flowerpeckers), a playing field encompassed by a racetrack (good for pipits and waders), and fruiting shrubs (good for everything, especially starlings).
Eastern Crowned Warbler
Most interesting, however, was a small stream along the park's southern edge with a thin strip of remnant mangrove and scrub, between the running track and the romany shacks. Hardly worthy of a second glance in passing, it almost always held small numbers of migrants, and on one morning in particular was almost magical.
The morning of the 6th October looked good, with warm sunshine following a night of torrential downpours. Migrants were scattered throughout the park, and a couple of hour's relaxed birding from dawn included fifteen Eastern Crowned Warblers, at least six Arctic Warblers, fifteen Brown Shrikes, five Asian Brown Flycatchers and lots of sunbirds (including Ruby-cheeked) alongside the various resident / expected species....
... and the majority of them were crammed into barely ten metres of scrawny mangrove by the outflow, and all at close quarters. But that was just the quantity - within the above, an Everett's White-eye, an Asian Paradise Flycatcher and a juvenile Tiger Shrike also fed frenetically after seeking refuge for the night. Quite a cast within a few paces of footpath....
While not quite matching the above, various other visits over the fortnight produced plenty of entertainment, with Pacific Golden Plovers and Paddyfield Pipits at close range on the running track, Asian Glossy and Purple-backed Starlings, omnipresent Brown Shrikes, Olive-winged and Yellow-vented Bulbuls, Black-naped Orioles and a Yellow-rumped Flycatcher alongside many common species.
female Olive-backed Sunbirds
Not a bad temporary local patch for a few days, especially while birding took a back seat to, well, staring vacantly at cloudless blue skies while floating in the Andaman Sea....