Warbler’s Time

Late March is definitely the best time for Little Brown Jobs in Thailand! Before taking on their long-distant journey back to the breeding grounds, these elusive brown little birds would start practising their remarkable songs which are rarely heard in this part of the world. During my last visit to Chiang Rai, I stayed at the beautiful Chiang Saen Lake where I photographed many photos of the elusive Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler and Black-browed Reed Warbler last year. Both species were showing exceedingly well once again. I’m sure that Chiang Saen Lake is the best place in Thailand to see them!

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Singing Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler

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I noticed this Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler singing in thick vegetation very early in the morning. After a few playbacks, it came up really close to where I was sitting and started to sing its melodic song right in front of me. The song sounds more similar to an Acrocephalus reed warbler’s song rather than a Locustella warbler’s since all other Locustella warblers in Thailand have weird monotonic insect-like songs.

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Black-browed Reed Warbler with Water Parsley

After the grasshopper warbler was gone, I continued my effort to photograph the more numerous Black-browed Reed Warblers. Despite being way more abundant, they didn’t respond to playbacks as much as the grasshopper warbler. Photographing them wasn’t as easy as it seems, but in the end, I could get some satisfying shots with the beautiful Water Parsley (Oenanthe javanica) which were blooming all over the marsh.

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This individual seems to be partially leucistic.

But there’s a specific area where these Black-browed Reed Warblers seemed to favour. It was a small corner with medium sized sedge right next to the house where I was staying. At least 3 Black-browed Reed Warblers showed up there at once, as well as a Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler which came up to preen and sunbath.

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Too bad, the above shot which shows the full body of the Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler is so blurry because the speed was low and the bird was walking up the stalk really fast. Otherwise, I would’ve got my best photo of this species that I like.

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This individual has already completed its moult making it look very neat.

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What a cute looking reed warbler!

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Another set of a curious Black-browed Reed Warbler to end this post. It’s always fun for me trying to get photos of these birds that are mostly overlooked because of their drab plumage and shy behaviour. I’m now already planning for a reed warbler photography trip next spring. This time, I’ll be focusing on the scarcer ones like Blunt-winged, Blyth’s, Paddyfield and hopefully Large-billed Reed Warbler at Nam Kham Nature Reserve.

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