Saturday, October 16, 2010

Raptors watching in Chumphon from 16th October – 25th October 2010 (Part 3)

Raptor watch Site - Khao Dinsor Maueng Pateu, Chumphon

It is about 30 minutes drive from chumphon town with the coordinates 10° 37" 882' North and 99° 16' 49" East.

This place is also known as Pencil Hill as it was previously a graphite mine. From the Khao Dinsor viewpoint sign on the left is about 1km very steep and winding road head up hill to the parking place. Then one need to trek up hill on a nicely pave concrete trail into the forest. There are a number of observations shelter along that provide shelter from rain and sun. It’s last observation shelter is at 352m asl.

It is such a daily 45 minutes challenge for me for 9 days trek up Khao Dinsor with my camera gears, 1.5 litter of waters, lunch pack to the second shelter of 300m asl. I have to make numerous stop to rest and when I reached my destination observation hut my clothing are soaking wet with sweat. Nevertheless despite all these in my own judgment Khao Dinsor is the best raptor watch site cause some occasion raptors could just fly beside you or just right to you. This watch site allow me to see more than the 4 common variants of raptors back in Tanjung Tuan and Scot Hill Malaysia.

At Khao Dinsor I managed to see their eyes colour, their beautiful feathers marking. It is indeed an amazing sight to me for observing them fly pass to concurred many more thousand km to reached a safe place for wintering.

Whenever I walk on Khao Dinsor trail I wish to say thank you for those who labour to made this concrete trail. Every piece of rock and others materials are hand carry up. Every observation hut are well plan as well. It is there for me whenever I need to sit down to rest before scaled to 300m asl.

This is the view from the second last observation hut.

Let me share out some of the species we saw.

Oriental Honey Buzzard
This species comes in different appearance (pale, dark, rufous)

This individual have a full crop.

Due to wear and tear some are in this condition.

Japanese Sparrowhawk.

This species are normally fly very high at Tg Tuan. We could have mistaken the Grey-Faced Buzzard as one. The benefits of raptor watching at Khao Dinsor is we managed to see them very near. I hope I manged to ID them correctly cause it is much more easier to ID them in the field by noticing them the pattern of their flight.

Chinese Sparrowhawk
I truly enjoyed to watch them at Khao Dinsor cause some individual are very low. They behave the same pattern I observed in Tg Tuan, they move in flocks.

Black Baza
This species normally can be seen at the tail end of raptor migratory. For a couple of days since we were there, it is our common statement " I wish to see the Black Baza tomorrow.." Our first sighting of Black Baza came after most of my Malaysian friends left for home. I and few birders jump for joy at Khao Dinsor summit with the 1st bird that came in at about 10:15am on 24th October.

On 25th we saw at least 22,000 Black Baza. In thai it is called King Kar

Once a while we notice some abnormal species

We may think that Black Kite is a residence species but some do migrate.

This species is lifer to me. Saw a number of them.

Common Buzzard
I have yet to see Common Buzzard in flight in such a distance.

Eastern Marsh Harrier
This species is my lifer too. They have owl looking face.

Grey-Faced Buzzard
They are many appearance of this species. The marking underneath would makes one confused them as Japanese Sparrowhawk.

Common Kestrel
This bird is very far. It is my lifer. Mr See alerted me to watch out for one strange one that fly by.

Crested Serpent Eagle
We notice a few CSE also in migratory flight pattern.
The last time I saw Osprey very near is in year 2004 at Perlis State Park. We have a few individual at Khao Dinsor

Pied Harrier
The female bird makes me think that I have had an encounter with Hen Harrier. Thanks to Dr Chaiyan who pinpoint to me the ID field marks.

This species have yet to occurred in Malaysia. Where do they wintering after all there are so many of them fly past Chumphon, Thailand ?

The surrounding of Khao Dinsor is raptor perfect place for overnight/a stop-over. We encounter this bird at Earth's camp. Earth's camp is a small resort about 5 mins drive to Khao Dinsor.

Black Drongo
Beside raptors we saw Black Drongo, Ashy Minivet, Blue Tailed Bee Eater, Blue Throated Bee Eater, Chestnut Headed Bee Eater, Fork Tailed Swift also use Khao Dinsor as their migratory path.
Dear Raptors I bid you all good and safe journey.

This is what greeted us on my last day as I descending from Khao Dinsor on 25th of October. Rainbow reminds me of
Genesis 9:8-16
And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

I have a good time raptor watching at Chumphon, thank you Oon Teik and Aun Tiah for taking us there. Wish to thank those new and old birders friends that I have make during this trip.
Thank you so much for your company.


Andrew said...

So AWESOME!!! Great photos!

terence said...

Your western Marsh is a eastern marsh Harrier. By the way some of the Easterm Marsh is a Pied Harrier

How r u lately susan.

Happy birding

Wong Chor Mun said...

Hi Terence,

Thanks for dropping a note at my blog. I'm fine. I hardly out in the field this year it is due to the sudden surge of office assignments/task.

BTW what is the field ID mark to determine the sub-species of Marsh Harrier from the European aka Western from the Eastern.
In those that I ID as Eastern Marsh which one you think it should be Pied ?
I really need to learn from you.


terence said...

By the way I just saw the status you put in Shikra that the bird is yet to occur here. There is actually record of Shikra in Malaysia. I have seen 2 individual before.

It can be very rare here but one or two do make their way here.

Wong Chor Mun said...

Hi Terence,

I re-tag the harrier after being alert by you.. Thanks

jack jack said...

Late to the party as usual, but I am indebted to you as I follow your blog and learn as well as take note of the logistics in visiting these exotic places with equally exotic birds. Keep up the good work and God bless.

Geoff Lim said...

Hi Chor Mun, your photos of the raptors are great! They're a great help in ID-ing these "difficult" birds!