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Thailand Day 6 Kaeng Lawa Lake and area

15th February 2023

The idea in goin to Kaeng Lawa, as well as other species, top of the list that I wanted to see was male Pied Harrier and I got him!

The other species that I was hoping to also see were, although I’ve seen them both in the UK, Yellow-breasted Bunting and Oriental Pratincole. I’m not one for seeing new species but I was twitching also a Falcated Duck and Baikal Teal that have been present in the area for last week or so. Both males and probably the only chance of catching up with these two ducks until I venture further east. However, I had a problem, the above species I had no idea where to go to see them. The only thing that I was goin on was what it said, or the lack of it, from Ebirds. It took me about 30 mins ride south from Khon Kaen and I overshot the turning I should of taken. A quick look on the map and I took a right and ended up following a very quiet narrow road. The sun was just rising and immediately birds were in very good numbers. Taking my time on the scooter, after covering some six miles and I had already seen, 4 Black-winged Kite, 2 Pied Bushchat, 6 Indochinese Rollar, Amur Stonechat and Wagtail and my first new species, 2 Indochinese Bushlark. Although by the end of the day I had given up counting them. The road bared to the right but as I could see the lake ahead of me, I took a dirt track that lead to a dead end. Here, I kicked a mix of different flarva wagtail and Waders and waterbirds were not in short supply. There was a cool breeze and in the dull skies above, 3 Oriental Pratincole flew overhead and appeared to come down nearby. Ideal! But it got better. I discovered 13 together in a field! For the next three hours, as usual, I just walked a very small patch and it turned out to be an awesome place. As well as the pratincole, there were some 10 Black-browed Reed Warbler, 10 Bluethroat, 6 Dusky Warbler, 4 Long-tailed Shrike, 30 Wood Sandpiper, as well as other species of wader in smaller numbers and 6 Chestnut Munia. I didn’t want to leave as I was having a great time.

The Sun very briefly showed first thing and I didn’t see it again until mid afternoon

The only other Oriental Pratincole that I have seen, was the Norfolk individual back in the early 90’s, 94 maybe?

There were up to 4 of these belters, Long-tailed Shrike

Black-browed Reed Warbler

Spotted Redshank with Wood Sandpiper

Brahminy Kite

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater

There all kinds of mix match flave wagtails

Dusky Warbler

Amur Stonechat

I was kicking Bluethroat on almost every step

Like Nepal, I noticed that Kingfishers appear to have slightly long bills than those back home

The Water Buffalo were keep an eye on me

The Ebird hotspots are all on the west side of the lake. I was on the east but early afternoon I was on the former side scanning the bodies of water for ducks as the two mega ducks were hanging out with Garganey. On the side of the road was a male Pied Bushchat. I jumped off the scooter and turned around to see a male Pied Harrier crossing the road at head hight in front of me!! I got back on the scooter and tried to follow it as it double backed and came across the road from where it came from. I ran across the fields in hot pursuit but it was way gone into the distance where I lost it. As a result, I gave it ten minutes birding where I was and as I approached a row of tall trees, a flock of 70 ticking bunting flew high into them. No way, Yellow-breasted Bunting! There were 150 on Ebirds but I think that was a long ways from this lot up road. Unfortunately the buntings stuck to the canopy and all I could get were record shots. I was ready to go home as I was more than happy in what I had seen and that’s what I did. I thought I would return the same way as I came, takin my time, scanning the bodies of water. And it didn’t take long until I was finally on some 60 Garganey with also 11 Pintail and 18 Cotton Pygmy Goose on a large flooded area. They were all a long ways off and I found myself balancing myself on the very narrow dirt paths in between the paddy fields as I tried to get closer. As a result I bumped into Long-toed and Temmink’s Stint, Grey-headed Plover, Amur Wagtail, Pacific Golden Plover, Pin-tail and Common Snipe and 3 more Oriental Pratincole. An Eastern Marsh Harrier put most of the ducks up and after another scan, I couldn’t find the two species of duck that I was hoping for and returned back to the road.

The stunning male Pied Harrier flying away from me

Unfortatly, the flock of 70 Yellow-breasted Bunting never come down from the tops of trees

Eastern Marsh Harrier

Amur Wagtail

It was now gone 16.00 and I really wanted to get back to my digs before dark. As usual, I pulled over and checked out what looked like an ideal spot for a crake maybe. Whats the first thing I see, a Dusky Warbler. Theyare all over the shop. Immediatly after the warbler, Ruddy-breasted Crake! Sneaking around following a grassy path, I can see a Bluethroat with my naked eye ahead of me and lift my bins up. Shit! That ain’t no Bluethroat, it’s a bloody Siberian Rubythroat and a male as well!! Where did that come from? What’s it doin here? I really wasn’t expecting to turn up a rubythroat in the middle of the marsh sharing the same path with Bluethroats. It was out in the open showing well but I was hidden behind a large bush, with viewing obscured by branches, so not to flush it. It flew deep into cover but it was while I was on a Thick-billed Warbler, that I spotted it on the edge of some cover. 2 Yellow-vented Bulbul flew into view to add to my life list with the rubythroat. I spent a long time in search of the latter species but I gave up and got back to Khon Kaen just after dark. Only my second day here and at the moment, I don’t know which way to turn as it’s so good and can only get better.

And what a beauty! A stonking male Siberian Rubythroat! I was so hoping to connect with one of these on this trip but I never thought it would be in the middle of a large marsh

A couple of Bluethroat shared the same path as the rubythroat

there were up to 4 Thick-billed Warbler in the area and alkl of them showed extremely well

Black-browed Reed Warbler were in good numbers

Yellow-bellied Prinia

Author: Kris Webb 10

I love to throw sticks at trees! I also can’t get enough of music! I also blog about my observations on Scilly and wherever I go around the world and what’s sometimes on my mind. I’ve visited over 30 countries and some more times than once. I’ve worked and volunteered in Nepal, USA, Peru, Gambia, Costa Rica, 3x Australia, and refugee camps in Palestine The profile image is one I took while in Palestine of a brave Israeli holding high the Palestinian flag in front of the Israeli Offensive Forces during protests in Belin

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