Cinnamon Bites.... July 6, 2016

Not being able to get away to Kaeng Krachan as planned last weekend, I opted to spend a couple of hours around my local rice fields. The rice was just being harvested, so there was a fair bit of activity going on with Munias being the most in abundance. I noticed a head pop up from the threshed rice, which I immediately identified as a Cinnamon Bittern. The Cinnamon Bittern is one of those birds that I have only briefly seen before, with limited chances of getting a decent shot. I snapped off a few shots of the distant head only to then notice another and then another. Cinnamon Bitterns seemed to be popping up all across the field. It kind of reminded of the arcade game where heads pop up, which then you have to hit with a mallet…… 

Cinnamon Bittern
Cinnamon Bittern

Up and down they bobbed until a brave one appeared in the open. The brave lad seemed to encourage the others, as within five minutes I managed to count fourteen at one time. There must have been over twenty in the one field as they kept appearing and disappearing. I am not really sure about the Cinnamon Bittern’s courtship behavior, but there did only seem to be one female that was attracting the attention of all the males. Everywhere she flew the males would follow, then luckily she landed reasonably close to me so I could get a few half decent shots. After about 30 minutes they all seemed to disappear into the rows of cut rice straw. It seemed that I had been extremely lucky and arrived at just the right time.

Cinnamon Bittern
Cinnamon Bittern
Cinnamon Bittern

After the Bitterns had gone, a single male Watercock appeared followed by a pair of Black-shouldered Kites which gave a nice aerial display, hovering and diving for prey, although I didn’t see them actually catch anything. The next afternoon I return to the same spot, but nothing was about… It really must have been one of those “right place, right time days”…


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