This morning I woke up, checked the weather and thought it should be a good day for raptors migration. Doi Kham is a temple located on top of a small hill just on the outskirts of Chiang Mai city. From the temple, the vast Chiang Mai-Lamphun plain can be seen. It is one of the best places to observe raptors migration.
I arrived at Doi Kham a little after 8 AM. There were not too many people since it was quite early. Normally, the temple is packed with visitors. After getting my equipment ready, a flock of about 20 Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters appeared from the west, circled around then headed south. I love how their colourful plumage contrasts to the blue morning sky.
After few minutes, raptors began to appear flying over from north to south. Starting with 2 Chinese Sparrowhawks, a juvenile Shikra then an adult Buteo buzzard which came circling up from the hill below the temple. Mark Andrews suggests that it looks like ‘japonicus’ race or Eastern Buzzard which migrates through mainland China. However, it looks much different from ‘japonicus’ normally seen in Japan.
It was a surprise that we didn’t see any falcon passing through. Few days earlier, I observed several Eurasian Hobbies, Peregrine Falcons and a Common Kestrel. Amur Falcons were also reported in quite a good starting number, but today was really an accipiter day! It was nice to see 3 Besras passing through, 2 adults and 1 juvenile.
However, almost no raptor was seen after 9 AM. I guess they have all gone up too high in the sky that we couldn’t detect them. So instead of waiting patiently, I turned my attention to the Ashy Woodswallows and Asian Palm Swifts which were abundant around the temple. The palm swift was a real challenge for BIF. Luckily, I managed to get some surprisingly good shots.