News and Information on Birding Sites Throughout Thailand and the Andaman

Phuket lost its appeal as a birding destination two or three decades ago, but that doesn’t mean that a little general birding can’t be enjoyed, especially if you aren’t picky about seeing some of the “usual” stuff.

James and Lucy, two visitors from the UK, were in town for a day and wanted a morning out around Phuket to see some birds. Having never been to Phuket, everything was new which made even the simplest of birds a joy to behold.

We opted to skip out on the moody forests of Khao Prataow and Bang Kanun and instead visit a coastal forest near the airport. We arrived at Muang Mai Plantation at around 7.30 with the weather slightly cloudy and humidity at an all-time high.

Casuarinas are always a hit with birds in the morning, usually because they are tall and perfect for sunbathing on those grey mornings. Coppersmith Barbet, Common Iora, Ashy Minivet, Streak eared Bulbul and Brown throated Sunbird were some of the birds we found feeding or perched among the boughs of the beach pines.

A pair of lovely Indian Rollers were perched on a dead coconut tree and a flock of Pink necked Green Pigeons flew back and forth looking for food.

A few White breasted Waterhen were seen crossing the road and we even caught a glimpse of what most likely was a Barred Buttonquail dashing into the underbrush.

No cars are allowed into the property so we made the trek on foot, stopping first at the stakeout for Brown Winged Kingfisher. The tide was far out and with no water in the canal, the bird was nowhere to be seen. A Common Kingfisher sitting in the stream would have to suffice for us.

In another pond we found a pair of Collared Kingfishers and a mix of egrets as well as a few Common Redshanks and two Common Greenshanks.

A small patch of broadleaved trees was busy with activity and we found Greater Racket tailed Drongo, Crow billed Drongo and a few Common Iora hawking for insects. A handsome Black Baza made a brief stopover to see what all the fuss was about.

Down at the freshwater pond we found two Grey Herons and around two dozen Lesser Whistling Duck.

On the way out we encountered a Common Buzzard flying around the casuarinas.

In hindsight I felt that the day was rather quiet by my standards. For one, the mudflats were completely void of life. -Absolutely no waders! (I was worried because we were supposed to be doing a report for the Asian Waterbird Committee and who is going to believe me when I say that there were ABSOLUTELY no waders around?) We also failed to find many of the common open country species like bee eaters, pipits and wagtails. Despite this, it was a very productive day and in the end we chalked up a list of 64 species. –Not too bad for a morning of birding on Phuket!

A full list of birds seen will be posted, along with this report, under the Trip Reports tab in the near future.

Categories: Featured, Field Report

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