Rose-ringed Parakeets at Photaram

9 12 2015

I got to see  the recently reported Rose-ringed Parakeets at Wat Ban Khong   ( วัดบ้านฆ้อง)  in Photaram, Ratchaburi, this evening. They were clearly audible and in fact it took about twenty minutes of waiting before a pair came into view. What a beautiful sight especially as the rose ring on the male was clearly visible as he stretched his head forward. They really do have perfect camouflage agains the trees in the temple. Finding the temple was simple, a twenty minute drive from work, and a very helpful monk knew exactly what we were looking for as he said ‘nok gay-o’ to us which is the bird’s Thai name.

It looks as if a feral population is in the process of establishing itself here. Parakeets of any kind make popular caged birds and there can be little doubt these are the offspring of ‘escapees’ or ‘releasees’, birds freed as an offering as part of merit making. There are some significant populations of feral Rose-ringed Parakeets in some big cities, for instance in London, specifically in and around Richmond Park. That they can survive the European winter is indicative of how highly adaptable Rose-ringed Parakeets are. This article is highly informative about populations in California and makes the point that Rose-ringed Parakeets  have little difficulty in finding each other because they are so vocal!

This small population needs monitoring so that its status can be evaluated. The vocalisations suggest there were more than the two I saw today. Interesting to have this situation on my doorstep. Of course this goes into my records as a tick and a review of the list shows this is my first lifer in 2015!





Pied Harriers at the ready

7 12 2015

My recent walking forays into the rice paddy here in Ratchaburi have been a cause of great concern, specifically the absence of male Pied Harriers. It’s been the same at the reservoir – no evidence of any action in last year’s roost or elsewhere, but I’ve hardly been persistent at this site in recent months so no matter.

Over the last few weeks I’ve seen a single female and a juvenile but not until this evening, a glorious sun-drenched evening with a very pleasant cooling breeze, has the male been good enough to put in an appearance. In fact there were two close together so no possibility of them being the same bird. Four Easter Marsh Harriers were on the premises too, plus one female Pied.

Last week my harrier hopes were boosted as I was caught short at the beginning of an almighty storm. Unfortunately light conditions were awful but it put seven harriers up into the sky at a distance though I was unable to make out any species. This was simply a signal that harriers were back in numbers. Tonight was final confirmation.

One solitary Brown Shrike was conspicuous by it being the only instance of this species seen today. They are normally ubiquitous. This is really a reminder to keep my eyes open in future visits.

News reaches me this evening via Facebook of three Rose-ringed Parakeets in nearby Photoram. Should be less than a thirty minute drive so there might be an after school twitch en famille. There’s also a Northern Lapwing up north, where else (!), and I am hoping this bird sticks around as I would love to add it to my Thai list. I have happy memories going back twenty-five years when I tagged along with a birder friend to Valley in Anglesey, Wales. There we watched huge flocks of plain Lapwing, as they are known in the UK. A memorable visual feast for this then non-birder. If memory is correct we headed later that day to see Chough at South Stack.