Friday, January 04, 2019

Pond Herons in January

Is it fanciful to think that Javan and Chinese Pond Herons (Ardeola speciosa/bacchus) might be separable in the depths of  'winter'. Both are in non-breeding plumage and by all accounts are inseparable. But...

A bit of background:
https://bangkokcitybirding.blogspot.com/2014/02/pond-herons.html

Here are some photos from Lumphini Park, Bangkok.




The difference in appearance of the last two is striking and the colour balance of the first two match what was seen in the field.

At the moment this is just kicking around the idea but as the linked article above suggests perhaps it is worth giving some more thought.

Lumphini Park - The Usual Suspects

It's January so we find ourselves back in Bangkok visiting friends before heading off to explore more of the region. Despite very little sleep over the past few days, thanks to some wonderful New Year celebrations with friends in the UK and a couple of relatively comfortable but ultimately sleepless flights via Muscat, I decided to check out my favourite little slice of green Bangkok.

The park was quite busy with a holiday atmosphere lingering. There has clearly been another cull of the Water Monitors here as numbers were right down on last year. As a result fish and terrapin numbers appeared to be higher. Some work restoring grassy areas meant a lot of disturbed wet ground, proving very popular with the starlings, mynas and other birds.

The usual birds showed well. Notable differences from previous visits at this time of year were larger numbers of Ashy Drongos and more Black-naped Orioles (in both cases I usually only see one or two but the former into double figures and maybe 6 or so of the latter). Other good birds included an Intermediate Egret and a smart adult Black-crowned Night-heron. I'm tentatively identifying the Pond Heron pictured below as Javan based on the colour showing in the neck feathering. Early acquisition of breeding plumage or retained from previous season?

A very cool, cloudy day and light rather poor which made photography challenging with my trusty Canon SX50HS bridge camera but a few passable shots.

Edit: Updated the list below to include extra species seen following morning, which included White-breasted Kingfisher which is unusual for the park and my first White-breasted Waterhen here.

Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus

Asian Pied Starling Gracupica contra


Intermediate Egret Ardea intermedia

Javan Pond-heron Ardeola speciosa

Oriental Magpie-robin Copsychus saularis

Malaysian Pied Fantail Rhipidura javanica

Water Monitor Varanus salvator
Complete list for this brief first visit:
Feral Pigeon
Spotted Dove
Zebra Dove
Asian Koel
Germain's Swiftlet
Asian Palm-Swift
White-breasted Waterhen
Asian Openbill
Intermediate Egret
Little Egret
Javan Pond Heron
Chinese Pond Heron
Striated Heron
Black-crowned Night-Heron
White-throated Kingfisher
Coppersmith Barbet
Brown Shrike
Black-naped Oriole
Ashy Drongo (pale leucogenis type)
Malaysian Pied-Fantail
Large-billed Crow
Streak-eared Bulbul
Yellow-browed Warbler
Asian Brown Flycatcher
Oriental Magpie-Robin
Taiga Flycatcher
Black-collared Starling
Asian Pied Starling
Common Myna
Great Myna
Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker
Olive-backed Sunbird
Eurasian Tree Sparrow