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.
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.
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).
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.
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.....