Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

August 30, 2012

Ba Vi National Park Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 10:27 am

Vuon Quoc Gai Ba Vi, North Vietnam.

I bought a motor-bike in Hanoi, a Honda Win. 100cc of pure power. Oh actually it might even be 110cc. I was really freaking out about driving out of Hanoi but it was not that bad at all. I started off at 5am and just followed my map and I was out of there relatively easily.

White-throated Bulbul
White-throated Bulbul (Alophoixus flaveolus) juvenile

The funny part was that I got lost out in the country side. I went to the wrong resort because people were telling me it was Ba Vi but it wasn’t. Eventually I got some correct directions and found the national park.

grasshopper
Grasshopper

I went for a walk after I found a room in a hideously expensive guest house – $20. Ran into some more Sooty-headed Bulbuls. They are everywhere I go. Well, some kind of bulbul is.

Grey-throated Babbler
Grey-throated Babbler (Stachyris nigriceps)

It was pretty dark in the afternoon so I had to use flash on some of these shots.

gary come home
Snail

This snail was crawling out of the jungle. Check out his smile. He looks a lot like Gary, Spongebob Squarepant’s pet. I also saw a couple of Red-crowned Barbet (Megalaima rafflesii), but the photos are crap.

Grey Treepie
Grey Treepie (Dendrocitta formosae)

There were a bunch of Grey Treepie who were hanging out with a few Red-billed Blue-magpie (Urocissa erythrorhyncha) amongst the pine trees. It was so dark. arghhh.

sunset
Sunset

And another day is over.

White-throated Redstart
White-throated Redstart (Phoenicurus shisticeps) female

The next morning I rode the bike up the mountain and stopped at some places along the road where there was a bit of light getting in.

Black-and-yellow Broadbill
Black-and-yellow Broadbill (Eurylaimus ochromalus)

There were quite a few birds around but it was really difficult to photograph them because there were clouds coming in and blanketing the whole area in fog.

Scarlet Minivet
Scarlet Minivet (Pericrocotus speciosus)

This is the female Scarlet Minivet.

Silver-eared Mesia
Silver-eared Mesia (Mesia argentauris)

After my morning birding I packed my bags and headed up the road, through some mountains, villages and dirt roads to Hoa Binh, which is south of Ba Vi.

Ba Vi Bird List

Sooty-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus aurigaster klossi)
White-throated Bulbul (Alophoixus flaveolus) juvenile
Grey-throated Babbler (Stachyris nigriceps)
Red-crowned Barbet (Megalaima rafflesii)
Grey Treepie (Dendrocitta formosae)
Red-billed Blue-magpie (Urocissa erythrorhyncha)
White-throated Redstart (Phoenicurus shisticeps) female
Silver-eared Mesia (Mesia argentauris)
Black-and-yellow Broadbill (Eurylaimus ochromalus)
Scarlet Minivet (Pericrocotus speciosus)

August 24, 2012

Rabbit Island Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 11:13 am

Rabbit Island, Kep, Cambodia

Rabbit Island is just off the town of Kep in South-east Cambodia. At a rough guess I would say it was called Rabbit Island because it resembles a rabbit. doh! I got the boat out about nine o’clock after the usual run-around with tuk-tuks and travel agents, etc.

Kep Pier
The pier at Kep

Here are the boats that go out to the island. Kep was flattened by the Khmer Rouge who hated anything to do with the bourgoisie. Now it is being decimated by horrendous architecture. Modern Khmer architecture is very very ugly. Bad taste, kitch, the whole shebang.

Getting on the boat
Getting on the boat

Here is one of the locals getting on the boat with a few supplies.

Rabbit Island beach
Landing on the beach

This is the beach where I am staying. I went for a couple of swims this afternoon and it was very pleasant.

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

I went for a walk this afternoon with the aim of photographing some birds. There were quite a few birds hovering around the coconut trees. But not much variety.

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

Quite a few Brown-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis) as well hovering around the tops of the coconut trees. It is hard to tell them apart from the Olive-backed Sunbirds but the bill is very different.

Pied Fantail
Pied Fantail (Rhipidura javanica)

There were a few Pied Fantail flitting through the denser bush as I was walking around the island. They are a lot more skittish than our Aussie Grey Fantails who come up real close to you and check you out. I did photograpgh something that resembled a Firrethroat but it is not likely as they are usually montane birds. I then thought it might be a Rufous-breasted Bush-robin but no, they are usually in north myanmar. Maybe it was some type of blue flycatcher. I would show you the photo but it is total rubbish.

seaweed farm
Seaweed Farm

There were a few seaweed farms on the other side of the island. They had ropes strung along the beach with plastic bottles holding them up. Seaweed was growing on the ropes.

Rabbit Island bird list

Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier)
Brown-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis)
Pied Fantail (Rhipidura javanica)

August 22, 2012

Kampot and Kep Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 2:48 pm

Kep, Southern Cambodia.

I still had a bunch of photos left over from Kampot after I had gone to Kep. Kep is on the coast about 30 kilometers south-east of Kampot.

Edible-nest Swiftlet
Edible-nest Swiftlet (Aerodramus fuciphaga)

These swiftlets were flying over the guest house in the afternoon so I took this photo from my balcony. They have these houses where they play swiftlet calls to attract all the birds into the building to make nests. The birds make nests from saliva and Chinese people make soup from these nests.

Paddyfield Pipit
Paddyfield Pipit (Anthus rufulus)

In the afternoon I went to the salt pans which are on an island in the delta of the river that Kampot is on. This Paddyfield Pipit has got quite a bit of rufous marking on his chest. There were a few Yellow-vented bulbul, Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)and Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) as well but not much else.

Common Greenshank  or Asian Dowitcher
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia) or Asian Dowitcher

It might be an Asian Dowitcher but the underwings are not white. But the bill is straight. The Common Greenshank has a slightly upturned bill at the end. Not sure.

Kep

Then this morning I was off to Kep and I went for a walk around the bush near my guest house. I saw a Sooty-headed Bulbul, a few Spotted Dove, and Common Myna.

Common Hill-myna
Common Hill-myna (Gracula religiosa)

The neck colouring on these Common Hill-myna seems a bit orange to me. Maybe they are a local sub-species. It should be more yellow. I also spotted a Black-collared Starling (Gracupica nigricollis).

Kampot and Kep bird list

Edible-nest Swiftlet (Aerodramus fuciphaga)
Yellow-vented bulbul
Sooty-headed Bulbul
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia) or Asian Dowitcher
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Paddyfield Pipit (Anthus rufulus)
Spotted Dove
Common Myna
Common Hill-myna (Gracula religiosa)
Black-collared Starling (Gracupica nigricollis)

August 20, 2012

Bokor National Park Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 7:22 am

Bokor Hill, Kampot, Cambodia.

I hired a motor-bike this morning and went up to Bokor Hill. It is supposed to be a National Park, but they have put this ugly big casino right on top of the mountain. But the road is nicely paved all the way.

Blue-eared Barbet
Blue-eared Barbet (Megalaima australis)

I was quite excited to see this bird. I love barbets and I want to see every kind. The Blue-eared Barbet (Megalaima australis) has a black patch at the front of the head, blue mid-crown, ear-coverts and throat with red patches above and below the ears and also an orange cheek patch. Their range extends from Nepal and India, South-west China and the Greater Sundas.

Blue-eared Barbet
Blue-eared Barbet (Megalaima australis)

So good I had to do it twice.

Blue-winged Leafbird
Blue-winged Leafbird (Chloropsis cochinchinensis)

The Blue-winged Leafbird (Chloropsis cochinchinensis) is all green with blue flight feather fringes and a blue patch on the shoulders. All these birds I saw on the way up the hill. On top of the hill, there was not much at all. I also saw a Green-billed Malkoha (Rhopodytes tristis) near the giant buddha statue.

Stripe-throated Bulbul
Stripe-throated Bulbul (Pycnonotus finlaysoni)

I have seen this bird previously in Thailand but the photo was not as definitive as this one. The Stripe-throated Bulbul (Pycnonotus finlaysoni) has yellow streaks on the top of the head, ears, throat and upper breast, as well as a yellow vent.

Black-crested Bulbul
Black-crested Bulbul (Pycnonotus flaviventris)

The Black-crested Bulbul (Pycnonotus flaviventris) is a very striking bird especially because of the piercing white eye. And the black crest sticking up, of course. Their front is all yellow. Race johnsoni has a red throat.

Bokor bird list

Blue-eared Barbet (Megalaima australis)
Blue-winged Leafbird (Chloropsis cochinchinensis)
Green-billed Malkoha (Rhopodytes tristis)
Stripe-throated Bulbul (Pycnonotus finlaysoni)
Black-crested Bulbul (Pycnonotus flaviventris)

August 19, 2012

Kampot Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 1:41 pm

Kampot, South Cambodia.

Kampot is about one hundred kilometers of Sihanoukville in Southern Cambodia. It is located on a river, the Kampong Bay River. This afternoon I took a tourist boat ride up the river, hoping to see some birds. Well I saw some but not a great many.

Grey Heron
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

There were about four Grey Heron perched on trees along the river on the way up and they were still there on the way back. Most of them were juveniles, with grey sides of the neck, short nape-plumes and duller bills.

Cinnamon Bittern
Cinnamon Bittern (Ixobrychus cinnamomeus)

I just managed to photograph a Cinnamon Bittern as it flew across the river. In all, I saw two of them. There were lots of Asian House-Martin (Delichon dasypus) flying under the bridges just like in a lot of Cambodian river towns.

Fishing boat
Fishing Boat

Fish Trap
Fish Trap

Kampot bird list

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier)
Cinnamon Bittern (Ixobrychus cinnamomeus)
Asian House-Martin (Delichon dasypus)

August 17, 2012

Birding Ream National Park

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 1:24 pm

Ream National Park, Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

I was supposed to go to Ream National Park yesterday but the trip was called off because of rain. Today it was just as rainy but it went ahead. I just went with a tour from Sihanoukville. It only cost me $20, so it was a pretty good bargain. We went on a boat along the river to the mouth and walked around the headland to the ocean beach.

Woolly-necked Stork
Woolly-necked Stork (Ciconia episcopus)

The Woolly-necked Stork (Ciconia episcopus) does actually have a thick woolly neck with glossy black plumage, white vent and tail-coverts and a dark bill. They live in a wide range from Asia to Africa. They are also known as the Bishop Stork or White-necked Stork.

Painted Stork
Painted Stork (Mycteria leucophala)

The Painted Stork (Mycteria leucophala) is white with black flight feathers, yellow head skin and pink tertials. Their range is Asia south of the Himalayas and South-east Asia. They have a heavy yellow bill with a down-curved tip.

Milky Stork
Milky Stork (Mycteria cinerea)

The Milky Stork (Mycteria cinerea) is all white with black flight feathers, yellow bill and red skin on the head. Their range is from Cambodia, Peninsular Malaysia and the Indonesian islands of Sumatra, Java, Bali, Sumbawa, Sulawesi and Buton.

Lesser Adjutant
Lesser Adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus)

The Lesser Adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus) is a large bird with naked pinkish head and yellow neck skin, white underparts and black wings. The upper edge of the bill is straight. It is found in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Laos, Singapore, Indonesia and Cambodia.

Common Kingfisher
Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

The Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) is a small kingfisher found in Eurasia and North Africa.

Little egret
Little egret (Egretta garzetta)

There were a few Little Egrets far off on the mud flats and about four of them roosting in the branches of the mangrove trees while the storks foraged below.

Brahminy Kite
Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus)

There were heaps of Brahminy Kites soaring all over the river and estuary. I saw a couple of juveniles as well. Some were roosting in the trees along the river.

Ream bird list

Little egret (Egretta garzetta)
Woolly-necked Stork (Ciconia episcopus)
Painted Stork (Mycteria leucophala)
Lesser Adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus)
Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)
Milky Stork (Mycteria cinerea)
House Swallow (Hirundo tahitica) aka Pacific Swallow
Little Heron (Butorides striata)
Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus)

August 15, 2012

Sihanoukville Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 1:28 pm

Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

I actually did not expect to photograph any birds this afternoon. I just went down to the end of Hawaii beach and walked along the beach and up into the bush where they were building the new bridge to an island, Koh Pos.

Grey Wagtail
Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)

I could not believe my eyes when I saw this pair of Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea) on the beach after I had wandered up the hill and found nothing except a Yellow-vented Bulbul and a Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis).

Grey Wagtail
Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)

I just followed them up and down the beach, and each time I got too close they would fly off.

White-throated Kingfisher
White-throated Kingfisher (Halycon smyrnensis)

On the way back I stopped at the car park because I saw this White-throated Kingfisher (Halycon smyrnensis) perched over the road.

Spotted Dove
Spotted Dove (Geopelia chinensis)

There were a pair of Spotted Dove (Geopelia chinensis) in the tree next to it.

Sooty-headed Bulbul
Sooty-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus aurigaster thais)

A few burning logs had a flock of Sooty-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus aurigaster thais) feeding on something around vicinity. Still race thais. I have not seen any race klossi in Cambodia.

Sihanoukville Birds

Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)
White-throated Kingfisher (Halycon smyrnensis)
Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier)
Sooty-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus aurigaster thais)
Spotted Dove (Geopelia chinensis)
Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis)

August 13, 2012

Holiday in Cambodia

Filed under: General — Tags: — admin @ 12:08 pm

Sihanounkville, Cambodia.

Well I made it to the sea, finally. It has been a couple of months since I saw the ocean. I think the last time was at Prachuap Kiri Khan in Thailand. That seems like an eternity ago.

treasure island
Derelict resort

This afternoon after I got to Sihanoukville, I went for a walk along the beach and came upon this resort that had been left to rot or they had not finished it after years and years. There was all this black mould on the buildings. It was truly weird and creepy. It was called Treasure Island. ha ha.

walk along the beach
A walk along the beach

The beach was a bit nicer. They even had clean whitish sand.

storm out to sea
Storm brewing out to sea

There were a few storms coming through and I had to take shelter under a bridge at one stage.

fishing
fishing

There were a few people fishing under the bridge.

moto dop
Motor-bike taxi driver

Every five minutes you get asked if you want a moto or a tuk tuk. It gets a bit annoying after the five millionth time.

view from my balcony
View from my balcony

This is the view from my guest house balcony. It is pretty good. The has just gone down and there is a pinkish glow over the horizon.


The Dead Kennedys

August 12, 2012

Koh Kong

Filed under: General — Tags: — admin @ 4:30 pm

Koh Kong, Cambodia.

Where was I last? I have lost track of where I was. I think it was Battambang. Since then, I caught a bus to the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. I did not go into the Central Cardamon Mountains from Pursat because you need a bike to get in there. Phnom Penh was horrible, so I only spent a night there. The traffic there is insane and the city is just total madness.

Trout fishing in Cambodia
Trout fishing in Cambodia

This is Andrew fishing for trout at Tahtai Waterfall which is about twenty kilometers from Koh Kong. We hired some motor-bikes for the day for six bucks each and headed off to the waterfall for a swim. The water was beautiful and cool and clean.

fishing boat
fishing boat

After that we went to Pream Krasaop National Park, which is a massive mangrove forest on the coast of Cambodia. I think I heard it was the largest in Asia. No birds but. I think someone saw a kingfisher, but I saw nothing whatsoever.

the hills
Looking towards the hills

I think that way might be Thailand. But then again, I think it might be the Cardamon Mountains.

fish farm
fish farm

There was this fish farm stuck out in the middle of this bay. I think it is quite shallow there.

pulling crab pots
fisherman pulling crab pots

We had crab for lunch at a restaurant in the mangroves. Freshly caught I reckon.

Pream Krasaop
Back to port

Coming back into port from our boat ride around the bay.

August 9, 2012

Battambang Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 2:53 pm

Battambang, Cambodia.

I did not get out of Battambang city while I was here. I just walked along the river, looking in the trees and the scrub along the river bank. But at least I got out and got a couple of photos.

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

Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker
Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum cruentatum)

One surprising aspect was the sighting of three species of bulbuls – Sooty-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus aurigaster thais), Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier) and Streak-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus blanfordi).

Streak-eared Bulbul
Streak-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus blanfordi)

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

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

Asian House-martin
Asian House-martin (Delichon dasypus)

The Asian House-martin (Delichon dasypus) were going under the bridge and scooping water just like they were doing in Kampong Thom.

lizard
Battambang Bird List

Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum cruentatum)
Red-collared Dove (Streptopelia tranquebarica)
Zebra Dove (Streptopelia striata)
Asian House-martin (Delichon dasypus)
Oriental Magpie-robin ( Copsychus saularis)
Sooty-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus aurigaster thais)
Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier)
Streak-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus blanfordi)

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