Champions of the Flyway!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bangkok's wetlands, 6th Nov 2011

Asian Golden Weaver

We returned to a Bangkok apparently functioning just as chaotically as before, but with walls of sandbags along lower lying streets, many shops and official buildings still boarded up (and sometimes armed-guarded), and the bizarre sight of endless thousands of tightly parked, temporarily abandoned cars on all available flyovers and motorways above the anticipated flood levels.

juvenile Scaly-breasted Munia (another one for the photographic shit-list)

The following morning, and a few hours birding were scheduled in before heading on again soon after, at two local sites; one new, and one familiar. First up, Neil and I visited an urban wetland known as Muang Boran fish ponds, hidden behind a particularly claustrophobic and disadvantaged neighbourhood.

Asian Pied Starling

A lack of research on my count meant I was unprepared for the conditions - locals gunning down the only (very narrow) path on mopeds, the disadvantageous morning light, and the constant attentions of barking stray dogs didn't exactly make for a holistically pleasant experience; and when the mist nets containing birds in various states of decay out on the marsh came into view, it was time for me to leave.

Yellow-bellied Prinia

In the limited time spent there, the site did, however, provide some good birds (and even a couple of lifers), including Asian Golden Weaver, Lesser Coucal, Yellow-bellied Prinias, Ruddy-breasted Crake, both Bronze-winged and Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, numerous Siberian/Asian Stonechats (see following post), White-browed Crakes, Yellow Bitterns, Striated Grassbird & Black-headed Munias.

immature Black-headed Ibis

Which was a silver lining, and the variety of species was impressive for a place so close to the urban wastes; but for similarly sensitive souls in town with time to spare for birding, it's probably best omitted from the short-list (next time I'll most likely stick with Suan Rot Fai and Bang Poo).

Dusky Warbler

And with a final hour to spare, we dropped in at Bang Poo once again - the first time being way back in early October, before our southern Thailand and Malaysia travels - located conveniently close to the fish ponds, and once again there was plenty of interest there.

Plain Prinia

A good variety of expected species (including Golden-bellied Gerygones, Oriental White-eyes, Painted Storks and Asian Open-bills) were on show, and a scarcity in the shape of a Black-headed Ibis, feeding on the main pool in front of the hide, was an unexpected bonus. Just before leaving, a skulking Phyllosc eventually gave itself up, revealed as a Dusky Warbler (which turned out to be the only one of the trip); a nice duo to bookend our Bangkok adventures.

Next stop - the North; far from grim.....