Saturday, 31 December 2011

Have a great 2012 all!

Black-eared Kite (Neil Kumar)
I would like to thank everyone who tuned in to my blog during 2011 and I hope that you will continue to do so during 2012.

I also wish you all a very safe, prosperous and bird-filled 2012.

Remember: keep looking up and always expect to see everything and nothing - that way you will never be disappointed.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Great....a Black-headed Gull

A sample of the 3,000 or so Brown-headed Gulls
TUB looking for the elusive Pallas' Gull
There's a Pallas' out there somewhere
This afternoon, I journeyed to Bang Poo, just outside Bangkok to try and locate a Pallas' Gull or two. This species used to be referred to as Great Black-headed Gull back in the day when I was a pup. Indeed, I've always wanted to see a GBH gull ever since I was a kid, although my dream has always been to find one in the UK. To put its rarity into prospective, the only accepted British record to date stems back to 1859 when a bird was found at Dawlish Warren, Devon I believe.

I came to Bang Poo on the recommendation of Thailand's biggest lister and Regional Rep of the Wetland Trust, Phil Round. Bang Poo, in the Samut Prakan province, is a favoured spot for Thai daytrippers who visit the pier to feed the multitude of gulls that accumulate there. On my arrival I was confronted by sight of nearly 3,000 Brown-headed Gulls variously loafing on the water close to the pier or squabbling over scraps thrown at them by the giggling sightseers. Meticulously sifting through them I found around six Black-headed Gulls which are locally scarce. The Brown-heads were slightly bigger with a more solid build, broader wings and more ponderous flight. I spent three hours examining every gull both near and far. No GBH. Plenty of winter plumaged Common and Whiskered Terns, Great Egrets, Pond Herons (either Javan or Chinese), Little Cormorants, Barn Swallows, a few passing Brahminy Kites and a solitary Osprey. But no GBH.

How many Black-headed Gulls make a Great Black-headed Gull?

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Christmas Day in Bangkok

Red Collared Dove
This is my first 'hot' Christmas, as the ex-pats like to call it and I must say that it's rather strange not to be on native soil tucking into some mince pies in front of the telly. Instead, I indulged in a near all day feeding frenzy broken only by a two hour massage and bouts of serious siesta-ing.

I poked my head out of the door only once to watch a wintering Yellow-browed Warbler work its way around a neighbouring tree and to try and picture the above featured dove using my bins as a long lens.

Tomorrow, my birding hat will come back on again as I will be visiting a spot called Bang Poo.

More to come from your Asia correspondent.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

A Fantastic Christmas wished to all!!

Merry Christmas from Thailand!
Brown Shrike (Dave Gandy)
Black-faced Spoonbill
Dave Gandy & TUB staking out a vagrant Chinese Blue Flycatcher in Bangkok (P. Hayhurst)
Malaysian Plover
Butterfly sp

Sunrise at Hua Hin
'Heuglin's' Gull
Pheasant-tailed Jacana

Sunday, 18 December 2011


A sluggish monitor!
A closer shot
After months of waiting I've finally began the first day of my holiday in Thailand. The plan is not to go mental with the birding and to try and get some rest.

Fat chance of that!

So far I have had a few ticks including Chinese Pond Heron and Peaceful Dove plus a lovely view of the same Kingfisher species that I see back in England. Tomorrow morning, I'll be doing a spot of urban birding in Bangkok before heading south to the beach and near the spot were the last of the Spoon-billed Sandpipers hang out.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

TUB Christmas present ideas No.2

It's got to be - hasn't it?

I think that this a superb book that would look good on any coffee table. For me it's more of a art book than a field guide and it may take some getting used to, but it's an absolute beauty!

Perfect Crimbo present for the art minded birder.

Monday, 12 December 2011

TUB Christmas present ideas No.1

You might think that this book is an odd choice as one of my plugs for Christmas, but hear me out.

Firstly, it's written by Clare Evans, a south coast based birder who happens to be a very lovely person. However, the best reason to buy this book is the fact that it really is a useful tool. I'm the worst when it comes to managing my time and I'm steadily swamped by the day. I've dipped into this book and have taken on some of the hints that she has suggested when it comes to prioritising emails, the work/pleasure mix and timetabling.

All good stuff, I can assure you. This book would make a great stocking filler for any you busy bees out there.

Tune in tomorrow for another prezzie idea!

Friday, 9 December 2011


Wood Pigeon (Russell F Spencer)
Hello again!

All I want to talk about right now are Wood Pigeons - and for two main reasons. Firstly, I got myself into the Guinness World Records Book the other day by getting 226 people to immitate the song of this delightful pigeon using swannee whistles.

Secondly, on a rare visit to The Scrubs this morning, I saw around 700 heading over high from the northeast. They twinkled in the blue skies. A gorgeous sight.

Look at your neighbourhood Wood Pigeon in a different light.