During late March, I regularly visited my local patch, Cho Lae in the morning to take photos of the numerous Bluethroat. I first spotted several birds while wandering through the new chilli pepper plantation, then I set up a feeding area on a track where they seemed to favour locating between the chilli plantation and rice field. The birds were quick to accept the presence of a hide and came to the feeding area just within half an hour or so. They then became regular visitors afterwards and I got to photograph them very easily from the hide.
The birds were very active during early morning and occasionally sang their long and slightly weird song. The song is composed of high-pitched tunes mixing with some strange insect-like sounds similar to those of the Acrocephalus reed warblers’ songs. The call however was a loud, thin and hight-pitched metallic sound regularly heard throughout the morning.
Even though it was already late March, none of the birds that showed up at the feeding area was in the beautiful breeding plumage. I saw one male bird in the field with complete blue and rufous throat though but it didn’t seem to be interested in coming close to the hide. Interestingly, when I visited Chiang Saen during the same week, most of the birds have already moulted into full breeding plumage.
The feeding area didn’t only attract the Bluethroats, a pair of Pied Bush Chats was also one of the regular visitors and the most dominant. They’d chase away any bird that came close to the area while they were there. I still don’t get it why the Bluethroats had to be so afraid of the bush chats when they are much larger.
Other birds which showed up around the hide included some wary Stejneger’s Stonechats which always got chased by the Pied Bush Chats as well, some Eurasian Tree Sparrows, Scaly-breasted Munias, a pair of Plain Prinias, a nesting pair of Zitting Cisticola, several Black-winged Stilts and a female Pied Harrier which often patrolled the area during early morning.
It’s a reward for getting up early to be among such beautiful atmosphere. I felt so much at home looking at the distant haystacks in the mist over the green rice fields. It’s the feeling that I’d been missing for 6 years while living abroad.