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  • Brian Hewitt

Ratchaburi Raptors April 30, 2016

A short, one day trip to my little known National Park in Ratchaburi last week turned up a few nice surprises for me. On arrival, a pair of Blue-bearded and 4 or 5 Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters were flying sorties picking off their breakfasts from the air. I was hoping to get some Pitta action, but strangely none were calling. The main lake in the park is almost dry now with the small puddles remaining being crammed with Egrets, Pond herons and Cormorants. The drive up to the weir crossing was eerily quiet with nothing really seen or heard. Parking up at the weir, I decided to make the walk up to the third stream crossing. Just as crossed the weir I disturbed a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo from his morning drink at one of the last remaining puddles.

Chestnut-winged Cuckoo

The walk to the stream also appeared fruitless other than a few Scarlet-backed Flowerpeckers and a single Oriental Honey Buzzard

Driving back to the first stream crossing I stopped by the old toilet block to search for Woodpeckers and Piculets, but again nothing!! Soaring above me, I had some nice views of a Crested Goshawk and a Crested Serpent Eagle 

Crested Goshawk
Crested Serpent Eagle

Finally back down at the lake I had a final hunt for some Pittas or anything else, when an Oriental Honey Buzzard flew straight across in front of me and seemed to take a dive at the Cattle Egrets. He circled the lake a few times and then disappeared out of site

Oriental Honey Buzzard

So, although it wasn't really a very productive day in terms of birding, seeing 4 different birds of prey at the same location really made the trip worthwhile. I still maintain this National Park has great birding potential, but just needs a little more exploring. I will be back there again next week for a few days if anyone is interested in joining.

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