Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

August 9, 2012

Siem Reap to Battambang

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 2:07 pm

Battambang, Cambodia.

I thought it was going to be a pleasant boat trip across Tonle Sap Lake and up the Stung Sangker river to Battambang. But. The wind was blowing hard and I was sitting on the wrong side of boat and getting sprayed. Up along the river I took a few photos of some birds.

Oriental Darter
Oriental Darter (Anhinga melanogaster)

There were lots of Oriental Darter along the river. Also lots of bee-eaters, crows, bee-eaters, as well as heaps of weaver nests in the rushes along the river.

Black-crowned Night-heron
Black-crowned Night-heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)

THen the boat broke down. The driver tried to fix it but it would not kick over again. They never maintain their machinery, change oil, fuel or air filters, so buses and boats are always breaking down. After a while the adventure became boring. Luckily another boat came along so I jumped ship and got a life to Battambang.

brush seller
Brush seller

This lady was selling brushes and assorted objects.

bamboo scaffolding
Bamboo scaffolding

All through South-east Asia they use bamboo for scaffolding. I am not too sure how safe it is, but I am not getting up on it.

Construction Worker
Construction worker

This guy was sifting sand for cement.

No Littering
Litter

Litter is a major eyesore in Cambodia. They just throw crap away into the streets and the water-ways. They are not bitter about litter.

Peace Naga
Naga sculpture

This sculpture was made out of old bits of weapons and is a symbol and hope for peace to a war-torn country.

Dental work
Dental work

Do you need any dental work done? Look at those shiny teeth.

A nice hair cut
Nice hair-cut

I want a hair-cut like this one. I especially like the curls. Advertising for a men’s barber. Very effective.

August 7, 2012

Lake Baray Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 2:21 pm

Lake Baray, Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Lake Baray is north of Siem Reap, towards the air port. There is a road that goes around the perimeter and there are lots of great bush along that road. I went with my bike driver. I only had a couple of hours there but I saw a couple of great birds and I think it might have good potential for birding.

Pink-necked Green-pigeon
Pink-necked Green-pigeon (Treron vernans)

This photo shows both the male and female Pink-necked Green-pigeon (Treron vernans). The male with the pink neck is on the left. The female has a gray-green crown and nape. I also spotted some Asian House-martin (Delichon dasypus) and a solitary Oriental Darter (Anhinga melanogaster) flying overhead.

Dark-necked Tailorbird
Dark-necked Tailorbird (Orthotomus atrogularis)

The Dark-necked Tailorbird (Orthotomus atrogularis) is similar to the Common Tailorbird but has a blackish lower throat and upper breast. The tail is much shorter and has a yellow vent.

Racket-tailed Treepie
Racket-tailed Treepie (Crypsirina cucullata)

I thought this was a drongo at first, but luckily I looked at the Racket-tailed Treepie (Crypsirina cucullata) on another page of Robson. It is all black with long spatulate-shaped tail. They can be confused with drongos when the tail is worn but they can be identified because of their short thick bill(do not confuse with Crow-billed Drongo) and light blue eyes.

Crested Myna
Crested Myna (Acidotheres cristatellus)

Other places to go around Siem Reap include Phnom Kulen and Kbal Spean which has the Angkor Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, a rescue center for birds and animals.

Lake Baray Bird list

Pink-necked Green-pigeon (Treron vernans)
Asian House-martin (Delichon dasypus)
Oriental Darter (Anhinga melanogaster)
Dark-necked Tailorbird (Orthotomus atrogularis)
Racket-tailed Treepie (Crypsirina cucullata)
Crested Myna (Acidotheres cristatellus)

Bakong Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 5:35 am

Bakong, Siem Reap, Cambodia.

I had to have a bike rider today because you cannot hire a motorbike in Siem Reap. Another example of the Tuk-tuk Mafia in action. It is hard to explain that you want to go and photograph birds and not to see things like this.

Bakong Wat
Bakong ancient temple

There. I got a photo of an Angkor Wat temple ancient thingie. Now, can I go bird-watching, please? I went to Bakong, which is about twenty kilometers east of Siem Reap. I was hoping for some birds but I saw nothing. Just a Little Cormorant (Phalacrocorax niger) and a Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier).

Monks at Bakong
Monks at Bakong

And there is the obligatory photo of the monks. They were yelling out Hello something or other. Most unholy-like of them I am sure.

Little Cormorant
Little Cormorant (Phalacrocorax niger)

I did manage to get a photograph of a Little Cormorant (Phalacrocorax niger). There were a pair of them in the moat surrounding the temple/castle.

butterfly
butterfly

The other thing that was around the moat was this lovely butterfly. I did spot a Yellow-vented Bulbul as well. Slim pickins, fo sho.

crocodile at farm
crocodile at farm

This crocodile is destined to become a belt or a handbag. My driver suggested we go to a crocodile farm and I relented because I was so frustrated by the lack of birds.

lizard
lizard

Fortunately I also saw this little lizard that looked like it could be some kind of dragon lizard because of its spines on the back.

lizard
Close-up lizard

Here is a close up of him, but you cannot see the spines along the back so well. doh! I do not know where I am going this afternoon. Some lake out to the north. I am not expecting much after the latest outings.

Bakong bird list

Little Cormorant (Phalacrocorax niger)
Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier)

August 6, 2012

Siem Reap

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 2:03 pm

Siem Reap, Cambodia.

I arrived in Siem Reap about midday and got a motodup to my guest house. Siem Reap is really busy and there are lots of tourists about. More than I have seen anywhere else in Cambodia, which is understandable, I guess. I find groups of tourists to be immensely amusing.

Spotted Dove
Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis)

But then again, I am a bird-watching nerd. ha ha. This afternoon I trotted off to the Royal Gardens in Siem Reap city, hoping to see lots of birds. But it was not to be. There is hardly anything in the gardens. I did hear what I thought were Olive-backed Sunbirds along the river.

squirrel
squirrel

Oh, and I did see a squirred coming down a tree right near me. A bit too close, actually because he did not fit into the frame.

fruit bats
fruit bats

There were some more fruit bats up in the trees. One of the tuk-tuk drivers told me that Khmer people eat them. During the bad years of the war, Khmer people ate whatever they got their hands on – mice, frogs, snakes. And had to eat thin rice soup with lots of water to stretch out the rice supply. A lot of people fled to the country-side and hid in the forests and hills, whilst others fled to Thailand when Vietnam invaded.

Korean tourist
Korean tourist

There were quite a few bus-loads of Korean tourists with their tour guides. They would come along, look up at the bats, and then take photos, get back on the bus, and away to the next item on their agendas.

burning incence
smoking incence

This is some incence burning outside the temple near the garden. There were people with birds in cages outside the temple selling them. I was pretty disgusted. Maybe Buddha needs to come back and throw the money-changers out of the temple.

Siem Reap Bird List

Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis)
Red-collared Dove (Streptopelia tranquebarica)
Common Myna (Acidotheres tristis)

Birding Kampong Thom 2

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 6:05 am

Kampong Thom, Cambodia.

For the first time I hired a guide to take me around the outskirts of Kampong Thom. It was a waste of money. I saw very few birds. The problem was that most of the grasslands and scrub around the lake has been put under rice cultivation. Thus driving out all the birds. No habitat, no birds.

Oriental Pratincole
Oriental Pratincole (Glareola maldivarum)

This is a non-breeding adult Oriental Pratincole (Glareola maldivarum). I saw two of these, one just flying over some rice fields and another flying above a flock of Cattle Egret. I thought it was a large swallow or swift at first until I had a deeper look and the tell-tale russet underwing-coverts gave it away.

Cinnamon Bittern
Cinnamon Bittern (Ixobrychus cinnamomeus)

This Cinnamon Bittern (Ixobrychus cinnamomeus) flew past at a distance. It is not a yellow bittern, because it did not have white underwing-coverts. Also flying past were a couple of Asian Openbill (Anastomus oscitans) and a solitary Black-crowned Night-Heron ( Nycticorax nycticorax).

Large-billed Crow
Large-billed Crow (Corvus japonensis)

Or is this a Jungle Crow (Corvus macrorhynchus)? It is hard to separate them and the taxonomy is messy. There were about three of them on a road near the rice paddies. On the way back I came across a large flock of Cattle Egret (Bubulcus coromandus), who were feeding on a field, probably looking for frogs and snails perhaps.

House Swift
House Swift (Apus affinis)

These House Swift (Apus affinis) were darting in and out under the bridge just near my hotel.

Kampong Thom bird list

Crested Myna (Acidotheres cristatellus)
Asian Openbill (Anastomus oscitans)
Black-crowned Night-Heron ( Nycticorax nycticorax)
Oriental Pratincole (Glareola maldivarum)
Cinnamon Bittern (Ixobrychus cinnamomeus)
Large-billed Crow (Corvus japonensis)
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus coromandus)
House Swift (Apus affinis)

August 5, 2012

Birding Kampong Thom

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 5:28 am

Kampong Thom, Cambodia.

Kampong Thom has got some interesting birds in the area. But I am here in the wet season and I am thinking that they will not be around. I went out along the river at Kampong Thom this afternoon, mainly to see the bats roosting in some big trees near the Governor’s residence.

drying rice
Drying rice

The rice is laid out to dry in the street and they are turning it with wooden rakes.

Kids bagging rice
Kids bagging the rice

These kids were bagging the rice after it had dried.

fruit bat
fruit bat

There were three big trees full of these bats roosting during the day.

dove in flight
dove in flight

Probably a Peaceful Dove, but impossible to tell. Its an art shot. 🙂

Black-winged Myna
Black-winged Myna (Acidotheres melanopterus)

This is a new bird for me. They were high up on the trees near the bats. They are relatively easy to identify with white body, black wings and yellow bill, facial skin and legs. The juvenile is duller and streaked with grey.

Yellow-vented Bulbul
Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier)

I have not seen one of these for ages. They have a distinctive black eye ring and mohawk and yellow vent.

Red-collared Dove
Red-collared Dove (Streptopelia tranquebarica)

This one is an adult male with its distinctive reddish chest and wing-coverts.

Kampong Thom bird list

Common Myna (Acidotheres tristis)
Black-winged Myna (Acidotheres melanopterus)
Red-collared Dove (Streptopelia tranquebarica)
Rock Pigeon (Columbia livia)
Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier)
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

August 3, 2012

Kompong Cham

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 2:21 pm

Kompong Cham, Cambodia.

I got stuffed around something chronic this morning getting from Kratie to Kompong Cham. I waited an hour for my minivan and they eventually took me to the market to wait for a minivan to fill up. I chucked a spack and they chucked me in a share taxi and ended up in Death Race Cambodia. But it was quick.

washing the brahmin
Washing the Brahmins

These dudes were washing the cows down at the river. The poor cows were so emaciated, they needed a good feed, not a wash!

washing the bike
Washing the bike

Everyone washes their motor-bike down by the river at the ramp. They even did this at Kratie as well.

floating kampung
Floating Kampung

This floating village was about a kilometer out of town. Some of the houses had some pretty good furniture in them. I bet the rent is cheap. Some of them have television, of course. I wonder where they get their power?

a load of charcoal
A load of charcoal

They use charcoal in their brazier cookers. I guess this is where they buy it. Not many use gas which is bizarre.

charcoal bcu
Close up of the charcoal

It looks pretty cool.

Scaly-breasted Munia
Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata)

Late in the afternoon I went for a walk along the river. There were not a lot of birds which was disappointing. But there was a mega-flock of Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata). Some of them were possibly race subundulata with bolder, blacker scaling.

Zebra Dove
Zebra Dove (Geopelia striata)

I got a great shot of this Zebra Dove (Geopelia striata) showing the stripes and the pink belly. I never noticed the pink belly before. doh!

Pied Fantail
Pied Fantail (Rhipidura javanica)

I was stoked to get this Pied Fantail (Rhipidura javanica) out in the open on a fence. They are so difficult to get a shot of in the trees because they are always darting around so quickly through the branches.

a flock of cormorants
cormorants

This large flock of cormorants flew past but I could not tell what they were. Probably Little Cormorants.

Kompong Cham bird list

Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata)
Zebra Dove (Geopelia striata)
Common Myna (Acidotheres tristis)
Pied Fantail (Rhipidura javanica)

Bird Resources

Peaceful Dove taxonomy controversy

August 2, 2012

Birding the Mekong

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 8:59 am

Mekong River Trip, Kratie, Cambodia.

I hired a motor-bike this morning for $5 a day and chucked three liters of petrol in it, so all up it cost me $8. I headed north along the Mekong to Kampi Rapids, where you get the boat the see the dolphins.

Setting Traps
Setting the traps

This is not my boat, it went past us as we arrived at the dolphin watching spot.

Chinese Spot-billed Duck
Chinese Spot-billed Duck (Anas zonorhynchus)

A couple of ducks flew past while we were waiting for the dolphins to appear. I had wanted to see the Mekong Wagtail, but realised that its rocky islands would be submerged because it is the wet season. doh!

Mekong Dolphin
Mekong Dolphin

These dolphins are endangered and there are not many of them left. Hopefully tourism will save their them from extinction. “The Irrawaddy dolphin, Orcaella brevirostris, is a euryhaline species of oceanic dolphin found in discontinuous subpopulations near sea coasts and in estuaries and rivers in parts of the Bay of Bengal and Southeast Asia.” (wiki)

Oriental Darter
Oriental Darter (Anhinga melanogaster)

There were about half a dozen Oriental Darter (Anhinga melanogaster) flying about on the river.

Long-tailed Macaque
Long-tailed Macaque

After the river boat road to see the dolphins I stopped at Sambok Mountain and climbed up the stairs. There were some monkeys at the temple making pests of themselves.

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus)

In the trees, there were a few birds making a ruckus. The Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus), Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis), Black-headed Cuckooshrike (Coracina melanoptera) and Ruby-cheeked Sunbird (Chalcoparia singalensis).

Oriental Magpie-robin
Oriental Magpie-robin (Copsychus saularis)

Down by the creek was a Oriental Magpie-robin (Copsychus saularis), Common Myna, a few Sooty-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus aurigaster thais) and Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier).

Olive-backed Sunbird
Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis)

I think this male Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) has got the best colour of any I have seen.

Kratie bird list

Oriental Darter (Anhinga melanogaster)
Chinese Spot-billed Duck (Anas zonorhynchus)
Red-collared Dove (Streptopelia tranquebarica)
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus)
Common Myna (Acidotheres tristis)
Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis)
Ruby-cheeked Sunbird (Chalcoparia singalensis)
Sooty-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus aurigaster thais)
Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier)
Black-headed Cuckooshrike (Coracina melanoptera)
Oriental Magpie-robin (Copsychus saularis)

August 1, 2012

Kratie Lake Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 2:14 pm

Mekong River, Cambodia.

Down from the hills of Ratanakiri on the morning bus to Kratie. I got a room in a hotel with TV and I have been watching the Olympics. The badminton has been going off. It is very popular in South-east Asia. After a Khmer sandwich and finishing off my book, I headed off up the road to find some birds around the lake.

Brown-throated Sunbird
Brown-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis)

I managed to find my way down to the lake but with much difficulty. The edges are covered in thorny bushes and rice paddies. I asked some people but they had no idea what I was on about.

Richards Pipit
Richards Pipit (Anthus richardi)

I found some land by the lake and asked some Khmer people if I could go in and have a look. They were grazing cattle on what looked like some sort of abandoned site. There were quite a few Richard’s Pipits on the grass flats.

Crested Myna
Crested Myna (Acidotheres cristatella)

This large flock of Crested Myna flew past. It was the largest flock of mynas I had ever seen. There must have been about twenty birds in the flock.

no idea
No idea what this is

I have absolutely no idea what this is.

Kratie Lake bird list

Brown-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis)
Richards Pipit (Anthus richardi)
Crested Myna (Acidotheres cristatella)

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