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Sept Sojourn in nth west Cambodia

Birding around the township of Siem Reap was fairly unproductive except for Common Mynas, Prinias and Asian Palm Swifts. It was the wet season and birds had ample opportunities to forage and drink where they pleased. Interestingly, parrots lingered around the large old trees near some of the Angkor temples.
tree roots
When we took the ferry across the great lake, Tonle Sap, towards Battambang, I did see several waterbirds. Finally, upon returning to Siem Reap I hired a bird guide, Nara Deoung, via CBGA.  Nara was brilliant! With a dawn start, we rode a short distance from our hotel  (south) to paddy fields and ponds that stretched to the edge of the great Tonle Sap waterway. 9 Lifers in one morning! Nara could identify the calls immediately and quickly had his scope set-up for better viewing.
Low Mount Phnom Krom

Phnon Krom (digiscope shot)

Lotus farmers

Lotus farms at the foot of the hill

Phnon Krom meaning “low mountain” referred  to a 140m hill with some ancient ruins. Nearby was this vast marshland with lotus farms and birds. Later approx 15 mins from town and slightly south east was Kuk Chreav Rd which teemed with Openbills and Pratincoles and several Snipes.

Our guide Nara from CBGA  I’d like to recommend this organisation as a eco-friendly and respectable conservation-minded company.
An afternoon visit to Kbal Spean, 12 km north of Banteay Srei temple provided some forest habitat. An opportunity to bird and visit the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB), which was the first nature conservation centre in Cambodia. Most animals arriving at ACCB have been rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. (Usually, soft release techniques with post-release support and – where appropriate and possible – monitoring are applied. ) Individuals that belong to certain endangered species or are not fit for release may be transferred to the breeding section.
Pangolin ( their scales are used in chinese medicines)

Pangolin is hunted for the “traditional medicine” trade. 

Greater Adjutants were a successful breeding pair
Adjutant Greater 1

Adjutant Greater part of a captive breeding program

Some animals, birds in particular, were too traumatised or unfit for releasing or breeding.
Fish eagle Grey headed

Grey-headed Fish-eagle

Spot-billed Duck Phnon Krom  (flyover)

Indian Roller                 ”  ”

Lesser Coucal              ”  ”     Lifer
Plaintive Cuckoo          ”  ”

Blue-tailed Bee-eater   T. Sap

Alexandrine Parrots    Bantrey Screi Temple
Red-breasted Parrot      Ta Prohm Temple

Red Collared Dove      Phnom Krom
Spotted Dove                         ”    ”
Peaceful Dove                        ”     ”

Bronze-winged Jacana 1      ”       ”   Lifer

Pintail Snipe ?   Kuk Chreav Rd (I can’t be sure as Common Snipe look very similar) Lifer

Sandpiper, Wood      ”      ”
Sandpiper, Common   ”     ”

Black-winged Stilt        Phnom Krom

Plover Little ringed        Kuk Chreav Rd
Plover Pacific Golden           ”     ”   with some old breeding colours

Stint Long-toed ? Apparently.  ”   ” I had difficulty identifying him

Oriental Pratincole 1000+    ”     “

Whiskered Tern 6   T. Sap

Asian Openbill 23       Kuk Chreav Rd

Wooly necked Stork 1     distant photo outside ACCB
Stork Wooly necked
Milky Stork 1     T.Sap    (flyover)

Little Cormorant    Phnom Krom
Great Cormorant    ”     ”
Indian Cormorant    ”     ”            Lifer
Oriental Darter    T. Sap

Spot-billed Pelican 1    T.Sap     Lifer

Pelican Sotted-bill juvenile


Yellow Bittern  1      Phnom Krom
Cinnamon Bittern 1   ”    ”             Lifer
Black Bittern 3          ”    ”

Great Egret                 ”    ”
Intermediate Egret     ”     ”
Little Egret                    ”     ”
Cattle Egret                   ”     ”

Chinese Pond-Heron     ”     ”

Black-shouldered Kite  1   ”     ”
Shikra                       outside ACCB
Brahminy Kite

Brown Shrike    Phnom Krom

Southern Jungle Crow (formally called the Large-billed Crow)

Drongo ? or Treepie flying through flooded forest on Tonle Sap

White-vented Myna           Phnom Krom     Lifer

White-shouldered Starling  ”     ”     Lifer


Passage migration through Cambodia

Yellow vented Bulbul             ”   ”

Prinia plain                               ”   ”

Chestnut-capped Babbler       ”   ”    Lifer

Chestnut capped babbler

We were right next to them but so hard to see in the thick foliage. Calling constantly.

Sparrow, Plain backed             ”     ”   Lifer

sparrow plain backed

Not my image. But I want to remember how yellow it was.

AsianBrown Flycatcher           ”      ”

Swift, Asian Palm

Bushchat Pied      Kuk Chreav Rd    Lifer

Paddyfield Pipit

Scaly-breasted Munia

Weaver nest(s) no activity


A play date with Wendy

Wendy Chin and Burney

Before departing Langkawi, Wendy Chin and I had  mentioned hooking-up for a morning of birding. Before long, the time to depart Rebak Marina and consider travelling south was upon us. As if by telepathy, Wendy contacted me the very day we had moved to Telaga Harbour on the main island of Langkawi, to repair the refrigerator and refuel the yacht before possibly departing. The weather wasn’t promising but we both had a morning free on August 3rd. Yippee, a play date with a fellow birder.

Wendy Chin

Wendy chasing buterflies

Cloud lingered heavily over the mountain rain near our harbour but whilst it rained on the port town of Kuah where Wendy lived, it was dry on the north west corner. Though we were caught out exploring some new mangrove territory with a light downpour. When it totally socked-in we abandoned play for another day.


Hornbill Great (H by Wendy)

Kingfisher White-throated

Koel Asian

Coucal Greater


Bee-eater (heard but not identified)

Swiflet Edible Nest

Pigeon Orange-breast  Green

Dove Spotted

Waterhen White-breasted

Lapwing Red-wattled

Lapwing Red-wattled 2

Kite Brahminy

Sea-eagle White-bellied

Heron Little (Striated)

Crow Large-billed

Oriole Black-naped

Drongo Ashy

Drongo Ashy

Drongo Racket-tailed

Myna Common

Swallow Barn

Bulbul Yellow vented

Tailorbird Common

Sunbird Brown-throated

Pipit Paddyfield

Pipit Paddyfield 1

Munia Scaly-breasted

Munia Scaly breasted

Munia White-headed * New bird

Munia White-headed

Birds of Begnas and Rupa, Nepal

Cattle Egret

If you move your “mouse” over some images the caption appears.

L = Lifer. First sighting on my Life list

H = Heard only not sighted

Egret Cattle

Kite Black

Kite Black

Vulture White-rumped L

Shikra L

Pigeon Common or Rock

Dove Spotted

Green Pigeon, Orange-breasted

Parakeet, Rose-ringed

Cuckoo, Common Hawk (H)

Cuckoo, Eurasian (H)

Koel, Asian

Koel Asian

Coucal Greater

Owlet Collared (H)

Kingfisher, White-throated


Barbet, Blue throated

Barbet, Coppersmith L

Barbet, Great L

Yellownape Great L

Woodpecker, Fulvous-breasted L

Woodpecker Grey-headed L

Long-tailed Broadbill L

Eurylaime psittacin Psarisomus dalhousiae Long-tailed Broadbill

Long-tailed Broadbill

Minivet, Crimson


Minivet, Long-tailed L

Drongo Spanged

Drongo Black

Drongo Lesser-racket-tailed

Magpie, Common Green L

Treepie, Grey

Crow, House

Crow Large-billed

Bulbul, Black-crested

Bulbul Himalayan L

Bulbul, Red-vented

Bulbul Red-whiskered

Tailorbird, Common

Laughing Thrush, White-crested L

Myna Jungle

Robin,  Oriental Magpie

Sunbird, Crimson

Munia Black-headed ( formerly called Tricoloured)?

Sparrow House

Pipit, Paddyfield

Bardia National Park Birdlist

  • Those marked with an asterisk * were (also) seen within the Wild Trak Adventure Lodge grounds

L is a Lifer

(H) is heard only

[click on the photo tile for captions]

Peafowl,  India  Peacock and Penhen


Stork Woolly-necked

Stork Woolly-necked L

Stork Painted  (on the Babia River) L

Asian Openbill


Adjutant Lesser L

Ibis Red-naped (was called Black Ibis) L

Heron, Indian Pond

Egret Little

Cormorant Little


Eagle, Crested Serpent

Sparrowhawk Eurasian L

Buzzard Long legged  (Rufous morph) L

Hawk Eagle, Changeable

Waterhen, White-breasted * (breeding)

Lapwing, River L

Lapwing, red-wattled

Pigeon, Common *

Dove, Spotted *


Green Pigeon, Orange-breasted  L

Dove, Emerald *

Parakeet, Alexandrine L

Parakeet, Rose-ringed * L

Cuckoo Large Hawk (H)

Cuckoo Indian (H)

Koel  Asian *

Coucal Greater*

Owl, Mottled Wood L

Until last year it had never been recorded in Nepal. This large owl with a noticeable white bib and rufous patches had big dark eyes and no ear tufts. Although we only saw one, another called nearby.

Roller, Indian L


Kingfisher Stork-billed

Kingfisher Common L

Kingfisher White-throated *

Bee-eater, Chestnut-headed *

Bee-eater, Blue-tailed *

Bee-eater Green L

Hornbill Indian Grey L

Hornbill Great

Barbet, Brown-headed (H)

Barbet, Lineated


Woodpecker Slaty Grey  L

Goldenback, Great

Pitta Indian L


Iora Common

Minivet, Scarlet L

Drongo, Lesser Racket-tailed

Drongo, Greater Racket-tailed

Drongo, Black *

Drongo White-belly L

Oriole, Black-hooded (H)

Paradise- flycatcher, Asian (male and female) L

Treepie, Rufous * L

Crow, Indian Jungle *

Crow, House *

Tit, Great * L

Martin, Plain L

Bulbul Red-whiskered *

Bulbul Red-vented * L

Bulbul Black-crested L

Prinia, Plain L

Tailorbird Common *

Babbler Jungle L

White-eye, Oriental

Myna, Jungle *

Myna, Common*

Starling, Asian Pied *

Starling Brahminy (breeding)* L

Robin, Oriental Magpie

Sharma, White-rumped

Sunbird Purple * L

Sparrow, House *

Weaver Baya *

Wagtail, White-browed L


Approx.  72 species of which 30 were new birds, Lifers, L.



Other sightings:

Barking Deer  (H)

Swamp Deer

Spotted Deer

Hog Deer

Red Cotton Bug

Rhinosaurus Unicornus ( Bardia NP was given several Rhinos from Chitwan N P. They now have 40 living in the area, we saw 4, one of which was a juvenile while on a jeep trip.

Royal Bengal Tiger ( Possibly 85 Tigers with 2 recent cubs)

Asian Elephants

Crocodile, Mugger

Crocodile, Gharials

Turtle, Indain Soft-shell

Lizard, Monitor

Lizard, Garden *


Frog, Skittering *

Frog Indian Pond *

Fish, Golden Masheer

Langur, Grey

Common Langur river

Leaping Langurs




Birding in Nepal part 1

When the buses are on strike and you are caught between destinations, what do you do?

Bird watch from your hotel room. We had hoped to travel from Kathmandu to Bardia National Park in the far west corner of Nepal but found ourselves barely midway. Whilst the surrounding area was scorched flat agricultural fields, I still found enough to keep me amused. For a day at least.

Satun coastal regions

March became hotter and more dusty as the area became dryer. Being Spring, some birds were seen carrying nesting material. Mornings were often heralded with a call and response from a pair of Koels. In trying to preserve a sense of sanity, the occasional bir d walk was essential. Living on a board while it was hauled out on land is called “being on the hard”. Well, yes it’s hard on the hard. Noise, smells, grit, sanding dust, painting chemicals, soldering sparks, needle guns chiseling rust out of steel hulls, people shouting instructions over the noise… Serenity, now!!

PSS sign
Exploring the area near the PSS compound included slightly wooded agricultural plots near the river in Che Bilang and visiting both the neighbouring mangroves around the shipyard and Tammalang Pier (indeed boardwalks with shelters were provided which made access through that area easy). Mangroves throughout Satun, are extensive along much of the province’s western coastline. Apparently those mangroves protected it from the worst of the effects of the tsunami in 2004/5.

Crab eating macaques

Mangroves and monkeys

WBSE flying Thailand



Woven between various subsidence crops and wild grasses were small rubber tree plantations and the ever-present palms for palm oil.

Rubber tree latex cups 3

Latex dripping into cups

Palm Oil

Red berries crushed for palm oil

Little Egret

Brahminy Kite
White-bellied Sea Eagle


Feral Pigeon
Spotted Dove
Zebra Dove
Red-collared Dove

red collared dove

Red-collared Dove

Greater Coucal

Koel female 1

Koel female

Pale-rumped (Germain’s) Swiftlet

Collared Kingfisher

Golden-bellied Gerygone

thai birding

photo from

Brown Shrike

Ashy Drongo
Malaysian Pied Fantail
Large-billed Crow


Yellow-vented Bulbul

Pacific Swallow

Common Tailorbird (ssp Maculicollis)

Common Tailbird maculicollis

Common Tailorbird

Ashy Tailorbird


photo from

Oriental White-eye

White-vented Myna
Jungle Myna
Common Myna
Oriental Magpie Robin
Asian Brown Flycatcher

flock of unidentified Bee-eaters hawking at dawn

Red-wattled LapwingLapwing red-wattle


Thale Ban National Park

Thailand, Satun province.valley and lake sign

Only 2km from the Malaysian border, Thale Ban N. P. shared many birds and wildlife with Malaysia. A valley running through the mountainous border area hosted a lake possibly created by an earthquake which ultimately dammed the streams. This provided a marshland area for secretive birds like the Yellow Bittern. The valley was reported also to be part of the migratory pathway for thousands of raptors flying south in October and north in March. However that did not occur while I visited for days in early March.

glandular frog

Home to the Glandular Frog, the watery habitat resounded with their call similar to yapping puppies. One local actually referred to the frogs as “water dogs”. Gibbons sang from thick forests higher up the steep slopes while quiet Grey Leaf Monkeys moved around tree top branches closer to the lodges. Macaques regularly descended to the ground but usually preferred to pluck berries from palms or trees.

Bird watching trains one to be constantly vigilant for movement. Casting one’s eye both over the ground as well as around tree canopy and open blue skies. Admittedly not every movement was a bird; insects, butterflies and falling leaves often trick us. (Once upon a time I would joke with Maxwell Smart imitation:”Ah, the old leaf bird trick” but since there are indeed lovely green species of Asian birds called the Leafbird, I can’t make that same joke, in South-east Asia. ) While scanning high branches, I saw the local squirrels and tiny chaps called .Kratae which may or may not be a tree shrew. Their piping squeak sounded almost bird-like however they manner by which they could grip the bark of a trunk and eat with their forefeet was truly acrobatic.

Conversely, thinking I was seeing a tiny rodent scampering along a branch, I focused my binoculars on what resulted in…..a pair of birds hopping along and down the tree trunk like a dark coloured Sitella. It was my first Nuthatch, a pair of beautiful Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch (I think). Alas, no photo as it was poor light.

Whilst the lake area had several boardwalks and viewing shelters, a trail ventured further into the forest. It was definitely a nature trail since there was no real graded track, only tree roots and buttresses to assist the steep inclines. Typically, the thicker the forest, the fewer the number of seen birds. Nevertheless, it was pretty with mosses and ferns, fungi and various plant species. However, while much was similar to Australian rainforest the lawyer cane was ferocious.

wait a while




With dusk approaching it was a surprise to hear the call of a Nightjar, though not a single owl hooted during my visit.

valley and lake sth

View from the bungalow looking south.

Bittern Yellow
Waterhen White-breasted

Pond Heron Chinese

Nightjar Long-tailed (H)

Buzzard Oriental Honey

Cuckoo Plaintive

Thrush Chestnut-capped
Bulbul Red-eyed
Bulbul Black-headed
Bulbul Yellow vented

Barbet Red-throated

Barbet Blue-eared


Barbet, Blue-eared 


Barbet, Red-throated






Woodshrike Large
Flycatcher Dark-sided
Flycatcher Brown streaked

Flowerpecker Orange-bellied
Nuthatch Chestnut-bellied

Swift Asian Palm
Swallow Pacific

Swallow Pacific

Swallow Pacific

Woodswallow White- breasted

Grey Leaf Monkeys
Gibbons singing (H)
Little creature in photo Thai “Kratae”
Glandular Frogs “water dog”
Lace monitor
Draco leaping lizard



Flycatcher Darksided

Flycatcher, Dark-sided