Suan Rot Fai: 26 April 2015

Suan Rot Fai (Wachira Benjathat Park) is probably the only good birding site in Bangkok accessible by public transportation. Following the news of a female Japanese Thrush, a rare migrant in Thailand, by David Gandy on Saturday, I made a brief visit to the park on Sunday morning.

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Javan Pond Heron moulting into breeding plumage

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The first male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher of the day

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Adult Indian Roller

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Immature Indian Roller begging to be fed

Only within 10 minutes after entering the park, I came across a male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher near the area where Thailand’s first Hartert’s Leaf Warbler was found. This colourful bird had long been one of my bogey birds until the spell broke some years ago and now I see it every once in a while. A walk around the park didn’t produce anything much afterwards.

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Female Japanese Thrush

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Another male Yellow-rumped Flycatcher

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The identity of Drongo Cuckoos in Thailand isn’t conclusive. This one could either be a Square-tailed or Fork-tailed Drongo Cuckoo. Despite the names, the difference is only in millimetres.

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Female Plaintive Cuckoo in hepatic morph

I later met David for the first time near the place where I initially found the flycatcher. He told me that the Japanese Thrush was still showing this morning but it was extremely skittish. We were later joined by Krit and Natthaphat who took me on a long walk around their usual birding spots. Later, David sent us a message saying that the thrush was now showing well. We quickly headed to the place where he was and as soon as we arrived, we spotted it foraging in the dark undergrowth in a bamboo grove. I didn’t put much effort on photographing it since I’ve seen and photographed this species several times before in Japan, but this is only my second time seeing it in Thailand.

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Immature Indian Cuckoo enjoying the abundant worms and caterpillars

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I was happy to get this shot showing the underwing pattern.

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Streak-eared Bulbul and the Golden Shower; look closer at the flowers, you’ll see what the birds were here for.

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Another shot of the female Plaintive Cuckoo

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An ugly Common Myna; I have no idea why it looked like this but it isn’t too unusual.

Next to the area where we watched the Japanese Thrush, there’s a flowering Golden Shower tree with lots of butterfly caterpillars and worms. The tree attracted many birds, particularly Streak-eared Bulbuls. A pair of male and female Yellow-rumped Flycatchers also visited the tree. Krit said that he saw an Indian Cuckoo coming to feed on caterpillars earlier in the morning but it was very shy. After Krit and David left, I decided to try and wait for the cuckoo. After a while, the Indian Cuckoo came dashing in. It seemed to be an immature bird judging from the rusty mottling feathers on neck sides and buffish fringes on the wings. Even though it was quite big, I could hardly get any clear views of it. Most of the time, it would hide among branches and leaves making photography very difficult. It stayed on the tree for over half an hour before flying out around 11am. It was also getting hot, so I decided to leave the park afterwards.

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