Just a few hundred metres from the area where I photographed the Spot-breasted Laughingthrushes in the earlier post, there’s another feeding area where many interesting birds showed up. It was an open area surrounded by tall grass and some middle sized trees. The main target for me at this area was the beautiful male White-bellied Redstart which really put up a great show for all of us.
The White-bellied Redstart is one of the scarce robins found on high mountains in northern Thailand. I’ve only seen a male bird once and it was extremely shy. I’ve seen the female several times though. This time, because of the meal worm that had been constantly put out by birders, the bird was extremely tame and would come up to just a few feet from where I was sitting!
At first, it popped out from the bush and perched at the edge of the grass looked out for the food.
Then it came running around on the ground to enjoy the meal worms.
The small orange patch at the tail base can be seen occasionally when the bird cocks or fans its tail.
Here’s a proof that it was completely fearless of human!
At the same area, a female Slaty-blue Flycatcher also put on a great show unlike the shy male at the other feeding station. It has a habit of staying in low and thick vegetation unlike most ficedula flycatchers and regularly cocks its tail like a robin.
Silver-eared Laughingthrush was also numerous at this feeding station.
Once they were full, they’d just rest and preen each other on nearby branches.
Another species of laughingthrush that came to the feeding area was this noisy and less colourful White-browed Laughingthrush. There were more than 5 of them and everytime they arrived at the area, they’d make such loud noise that it’d scare away other small birds.
I still prefer them perching among natural habitats though. The rocks and tree trunks that were set up for photography somehow make the photos look fake and boring.
Another photo of the White-browed Laughingthrush at extremely close range. Note the pale rufous vent.
While I was enjoying the birds at the feeding station, someone came and told me that Himalayan Cutias were found nearby, so I had to rush out to get a good view of this rare bird. Before Doi Lang was discovered, this bird was extremely rare and mysterious. It could be found on only a few mountains in northern Thailand. But now it can be seen regularly at Doi Lang. I had a great view of 2 males and 1 female foraging among lush epiphytes on high canopy. The photo above shows one of the male birds.
Next to the area where the Himalayan Cutias were found, we had a brief but great view of this female Siberian Rubythroat. Its rufescent tail base is pretty striking.
There’s also another female Siberian Rubythroat at the feeding area where the White-bellied Redstart was staying. This one looked a bit different though. It didn’t show a quite distinct ‘moustache’ like the other bird, so we were really puzzled when we first saw it.
Another photo of the individual at the feeding area where the White-bellied Redstart was staying. It lacks the ‘moustache’ which is typically the identification key for female Siberian Rubythroat.
Some more photos of the male White-bellied Redstart in different light and setting. The first one was with flash and the second was without flash.
No wonder why it got the name ‘white-bellied’!
A couple more shots with filling flash to open up the feather details in the dark area.
Before the day ended, I had a great view of this Spot-breasted Parrotbill which was also just nearby the feeding station. It was perching and singing for more than 10 minutes! Unfortunately, the light was coming directly from behind its back, so I just had to use the flash to get the detail of the plumage. It wasn’t an ideal condition for me but I can’t complain, the bird was already too kind to give me a great view like this.