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Old Monday 12th March 2018, 11:19   #51
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Happy Monday from Bangkok.

Week # 11 featured a weekend trip up to the Chiang Mai province of Thailand, which is a lovely place with outstanding birding. Here there are mountains and cooler temperatures and lots of wintering birds.

Photos are here: https://legallyblindbirding.net/2018-gbwy-2/

Working Days: 5

New species identified: 45

Total to date: 583

23.3 % of goal, 21.1 % of year used

Sites visited: Doi Ang Khang & Doi Lang. These are great areas to find a number of birds that are not widely distributed in Thailand - we picked up quite a few that are not found (or at least are not common) in Doi Inthanon, which is the national park closest to the city and which gets considerable birding attention. Himalayan Cutia, Ultramarine Flycatcher, Hume's Pheasant, Giant Nuthatch, Hodgson's Frogmouth, Vivid Niltava, Spectacled Barwing, and Crested Finchbill are a few of the standouts.

I suppose I should be ranking all these sites in terms of their overall quality of birds and birding experience offered. This one would have to be in the top three so far this year.

Next weekend, another Friday night - Sunday night pair of flights, this time to Manila and Subic Bay, Philippines.

Thanks for reading!
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Old Monday 12th March 2018, 12:34   #52
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Good stuff. My first full day's birding in South-east Asia was at Doi Lang; 48 lifers that day! Like a kid at Christmas I was, a fabulous day in a fabulous place. Glad to see you're still going strong, hopefully Philippines will give you a nice boost.
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Old Monday 19th March 2018, 12:00   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JWN Andrewes View Post
Good stuff. My first full day's birding in South-east Asia was at Doi Lang; 48 lifers that day! Like a kid at Christmas I was, a fabulous day in a fabulous place. Glad to see you're still going strong, hopefully Philippines will give you a nice boost.
The Philippines provided some great additions; though we seem to have chosen a less than optimal spot.

And here is the update, then:

Week 12

Working Days: 5

New species identified: 38

Total to date: 621

24.8 % of goal, 23.1 % of year used

Sites visited: Subic Bay & Manila, Philippines

Very brief post here: https://legallyblindbirding.net/2018-gbwy-2/

As we only had about 1.5 days to bird due to flight schedules, we visited only a tiny fraction of what this country has to offer. Our guide suggested Subic Bay as an ideal weekend location from Manila, so that is where we set up shop. Saturday morning was quite good and we rapidly ticked many lifers without even moving. A pair of Plain Bush-hens even came out on the road for us, between looks at Green Racquet-tails and Guaiaberos. Then it got very hot and that was it. We did not see much until evening when we picked up Great Eared-Nightjar and Chocolate and Luzon Boobooks.

Sunday morning was quite slow. Our guide wanted to wait out the eventual arrival of interesting species at what he said was a productive spot... we waited, and nothing came. A rather expensive and frustrating waste of time.

Perhaps in November we will head back and try a different area; the difficulty of weekend trips is becoming more and more apparent... while the Philippines is a prime example of a nearby, species-rich area with many birds we need, the time needed to access the most productive areas is prohibitive. This leaves us with the environs of large cities, which can often be quite good, but just as often, not.

This coming weekend we head up to Yunnan, China.
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Old Monday 26th March 2018, 07:43   #54
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Update time...

Week 13: March 20 – March 26, Yunnan, China

Working Days: 5

New species identified: 13

Total to date: 634

25.4 % of goal, 25.0 % of year used

https://legallyblindbirding.net/2018-gbwy-2/

Our first trip to China was to the city of Kunming, in the Yunnan province in the south. This is only about two hours from Bangkok. As it sits in the mountains, the climate of the city is said to be always spring-like, and indeed it extremely pleasant there.

On Saturday morning we arrived at dawn at Mt. Xishan, to the west of the city. This is a lovely spot with a long road that gently climbs up through the forest. There are some trails, too, and at least one restroom along the way; at the entrance there are a variety of food options. Per the eBird hotspot map it is the best area in the city, and I can imagine that a weekday visit here could be very productive indeed.

Key word: Weekday.

But on a weekend? Don't bother. Or at least, arrive very early and don't walk too far up the road.. after about 8:30 AM, it is almost impossible to bird here. Both sides of the road were filled with droves of people moving along as if on conveyor belts, as everyone is forced to hug the roadsides in dense lines because the center is occupied by an endless current of tour buses and other vehicles. Fast-moving, horn-blaring vehicles. Not a scenario amenable to scanning the trees, repositioning your person to get a better angle, or listening for calls.

But wait, there's more. Some of the other visitors had the curious habit of bringing their music along for their nature walk, kindly sharing it with everyone by eschewing earbuds and opting instead for a nice, low-fidelity, bluetooth speaker. Because nothing adds to the experience of a morning walk through the forest like loud, distorted, mono recordings of your favorite music to mask out those objectionable natural sounds. (I will never, ever understand this.)

Adding to this atmosphere, our local 'guide' did very little to help us find birds. Every other time I looked over at him, he was looking at his smartphone. And not in order to pull up recordings or do anything related to birding. I guess he was checking his email or the news. Of the birds we did see, my wife found most of them, because the 'guide' usually walked right past them. When he did stop and scan, it was almost always at a spot where there were no birds. I have never seen a more disengaged and oblivious birder, much less 'guide'.

To his credit, he did figure out that a different, less busy spot might be preferable for the afternoon. So we birded some roadsides in the foothills and picked up a few more species, but eventually this too became an exercise in vehicle avoidance first and birding second. Then at about 5:00 PM, several hours before sunset, he announced that we were done birding for the day. Given that he seemed to have no clue about where else to go, we didn't bother arguing with him about this. There seemed to be a language barrier problem here as
well. Just another part of the international birding adventure!

On Sunday we spent the morning at the Kunming Botanic Gardens, which was far less noisy and free of the roaring buses. It is a nice park and the birding was fine. Happily our 'guide' did manage to find us a Scaly Thrush, which was a splendid bird. All the more impressive given that he spent even more time reading his emails that morning than on the previous day, when he was too distracted by all the traffic and crowds, I suppose.

So I'm going to have a conversation with the company that set us up with this individual. Meanwhile, if you plan to go birding in Kunming and are looking for a guide, I can tell you who NOT to contact.

Also the Field Guide to the Birds of China by John MacKinnon and Karen Phillipps is simply not a good book; it gets at least one species, Spectacled Fulvetta, completely wrong. Imperfect bird books are a fact of life, but this one is particularly obnoxious in that it cost upwards of $50.

We are only a couple weeks away from our only extended trip (10 days) of this effort: to Ethiopia and South Africa; that will push the species count back up nicely. And get us away from the crowds. Yay.
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Old Monday 26th March 2018, 18:23   #55
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Good luck - those percentage figures have got worryingly close!
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Old Thursday 29th March 2018, 12:59   #56
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Sorry to hear about your poor experience at Xishan, and what sounds like a truly awful guide - I'd be demanding a refund!

Please be assured there is some great birding in China - even close to cities at weekends - and there are also some very good guides. Some cities in Yunnan you might try hopping to from Kunming include Ruili, Tenchong, Baoshan, Dali and Lijiang - there may even be direct flights.

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Old Thursday 29th March 2018, 13:17   #57
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Hi Michael,

an interesting update.

I presume you have sought opinion/advice on the pages of this forum: - https://www.birdforum.net/forumdisplay.php?f=258

Good Luck in South Africa, it's a fabulous country
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Old Friday 30th March 2018, 02:11   #58
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Thanks for the suggestions, MKinHK an Mike C.

We are headed back to Yunnan tonight. This time we are going to go to Mt. Zixishan, about 3 hours west of Kunming, with a different guide. Should be better, but I think we will fall well short of the weekly goal, and the relative % is going to go from the black to the red for the first time.

Well at least there will be more drama in this pursuit, when we have to come back from behind... could be pretty boring otherwise.

Some of the places that I am now making plans for during the second half of the year include Bali, Sulawesi, Cairns, southern India, northern Vietnam, and UAE.
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Old Sunday 1st April 2018, 13:30   #59
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It is Sunday night in Bangkok, and time for an update for Week 14.

We just did another weekend jaunt up to Yunnan, China. Specifically we visited Zixishan, which is a mountain area about three hours west of Kunming. Or I should say three hours from the airport which is east of the city. One of those three hours is spent mostly crossing the city itself.

Working Days: 5

New species identified: 21

Total to date: 655

26.2 % of goal, 26.9 % of year used

Well this weekend certainly went better than the previous one. We arrived around 11:30PM Friday night and immediately started the long drive out to Mt. Zixi. After a couple hours sleep we were birding at sunrise on Saturday. Sunday (today) we were limited to three hours in the morning before needing to head back to the airport.

This is a much nicer environment than what were had visited on the outskirts of Kunming; you can pull off on the roads and walk them and bird without interruption for the most part. There are visitors but not hordes; most people seemed to be visiting the temple (which was good birding in the early morning). As far as I can tell there is one hotel here and one or two restaurants.

The area is predominately pine forests that are teeming with passerines, especially leaf warblers. Those we could identify included Tickell's and Pallas's Leaf Warblers, Arctic Warbler, and the very easy and striking Black-faced Warbler. Also enjoyed Yunnan Nuthatch, Red-tailed Minla, Godlewski's Bunting, Black-browed Tit, and two Scimitar-Babblers: Streak-breasted and Black-streaked (ugh, what names). A few Hume's Pheasants were on the road this morning.

All told, in our two weekend visits to Yunnan, which amounted to about three full days to bird, we netted 75 total species, with 34 of these new for the year. In May we will head further north to Sichuan for a pair of visits; will be interesting to compare and contrast with Yunnan.

So I as expected, the percentages (species goal and weeks of year used) have crisscrossed and we are now playing from behind. This setback will be temporary, as we are headed to Ethiopia late Thursday night, to start a ten day Africa trip. I don't expect to have a report on that until about April 17, which is when we get back to Bangkok.

Thanks for reading, and the continued interest in this massive disruption to my bank account!
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Old Tuesday 17th April 2018, 17:26   #60
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Hello all:

We arrived back in Bangkok today after a ten-day excursion that included Ethiopia and South Africa. As always, pictures and other details can be found here:

https://legallyblindbirding.net/2018-gbwy-2/

This completes Weeks 15 & 16, with the following status:

Working Days: 3

New species identified: 185 (Ethiopia) + 84 (South Africa) = 269

Total to date: 923

36.9 % of goal, 30.7 % of year used

Happily the statistics for this effort are back in the positive column; I'm trying to build up some cushion for what promises to be a tough month in June.

The Ethiopia number is more than double the other partly because we birded there first. But in terms of total species seen, we had 199 in Ethiopia and 135 in South Africa. Our guide in Ethiopia was very good and we had a strong birding focus. In South Africa, we were in and around Kruger National Park, using guides that were a bit more general (we seem to have been the first serious birders that they have worked with). So, much of the time in Kruger was spent appreciating the other wildlife and the stunning scenery. It is absolutely gorgeous and we wish we could spend a month there, in order to take it all in.

Also I did not understand just what a long drive it is from JNB airport up to Kruger - it runs up to about six hours. That chewed up a lot of time. Next time, a flight to a regional airport would be in order.

There were areas around Kruger that were strangely lacking in bird activity, though, and it really surprised us. It had been raining a lot recently to the point where the area is quite green; our guides said it was very unusual for April. Two of our days there were rainy and surprisingly cold and windy too. We did poorly for small passerines such as waxbills and the like. (The Red-billed Quelea were certainly not hard to find, though. What a sound they make when several hundred in a tight flock speed seemingly right over your head!) We were looking forward to seeing the Violet-eared Waxbill. No such luck. Not big cats either, though we did see African Wild Dogs. In any case, it was all a good reminder of why we really go birding; not for numbers, but for the resonant experience that only the natural world can supply.

This coming weekend, a quick trip to southern Vietnam.
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Old Monday 23rd April 2018, 03:37   #61
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Week 17 update:

Working Days: 5

New species identified: 20

Total to date: 943

37.7 % of goal, 32.7 % of year used

Sites visited: Cat Tien National Park, Vietnam

Another weekend with a lower count than I had hoped. This national park is well-suited for a more relaxed birding weekend; several blinds lie a short distance from accommodations. It was fairly birdy except for midday, when the sun was far too oppressive.

Some nice new birds such as Brown-backed Needletail (damn, those are fast), Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, Bar-bellied Pitta, and the dreaded Lesser Coucal.

legallyblindbirding.net/2018-gbwy-3/

Next week: our first trip to Australia
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Old Tuesday 1st May 2018, 08:45   #62
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Greetings from the Sydney airport (easily the best airport we have seen these past four months)

Week 18: April 24 - May 1, Sydney, Australia

Working Days: 3

New species identified: 104

Total to date: 1048

41.9 % of goal, 34.6 % of year used

Sites visited: Several small parks in the Sydney area; National Parks including Royal, Ku-ring-gai Chase, and Cattai

Our original plan was to have four days for birding; due to thunderstorms in Bangkok Friday night, we were significantly delayed and got into Sydney around mid-day instead of early morning. Luckily the rain stopped in Sydney around then, and in three and half days we picked up 104 new birds, with 99 of those being life birds--this was our first time setting foot on this continent.

We had a fantastic guide who took us to numerous sites with specific targets in mind at each - and he usually always delivered. We were rather amazed that in this wonderful city with so much greenery, parks, and reserves, not to mention such diverse and colorful bird life, that we saw not a single soul out birding. Our guide told us that this was not at all surprising; twitching is not a popular activity here. (Hmmm. Where is the British heritage?)

Too many great birds to list, but especially rewarding were the Superb Lyrebird, Scarlet Honeyeater, Laughing Kookaburra, Eastern Rosella, and Australian Brush-Turkey, our first megapode. We were also lucky to see a small family of Glossy Black-cockatoo.

Pictures at https://legallyblindbirding.net/2018-gbwy-3/
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Old Monday 7th May 2018, 02:43   #63
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Greetings; time for another update.

Week 19: May 2 - May 8, Sichuan, China

Working Days: 5

New species identified: 36+?

Total to date: 1084+?

43.4 % of goal, 36.5% of year used

Sites visited: Mount Balang Pass and Wolong areas

We picked up at least 36 new birds for the effort... maybe a few more, depending on how the analyses of a few photos and audio recordings goes... these Phylloscopus warblers are going to drive us to distraction.

Most of the weekend was spent up in the alpine meadows around Mt. Balang, which is stunning. Saturday's Big Day featured some really crap weather, including snow, but we picked up some goodies like Snow Pigeon, Tibetan Snowcock, Alpine Accentor, and Snow Partridge.

With the new tunnels that were finished just a few years ago, the time needed to get up to this area is only on the order of about three hours from the airport at Chengdu. I'm not sure if there are any faster ways to get up into Himalayan peaks from a major city - certainly one cannot do so from Kathmandu. So this trip was rather rewarding in that we got to see the kind of mountain scenes that we naively thought we would get in central Nepal.

There isn't a lot up here in terms of infrastructure, and the concept of a "rest area" apparently doesn't exist. Irritable Bowel Syndrome sufferers, be aware. Actually, one does not even need IBS to get into trouble in this regard, as in this part of the world it is quite easy to eat food of questionable cleanliness. Enough said.

More details at the link...(birds, not bowels)

https://legallyblindbirding.net/2018-gbwy-3/
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Old Monday 14th May 2018, 13:25   #64
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Happy Monday again from The Land of Smiles. Time for an update....

Week 20: May 9 – May 15, Jakarta, Indonesia

Working Days: 5

New species identified: 42

Total species to date: 1127

45.1 % of goal, 38.5% of year used

Sites visited: Mount Gede-Pangrango, Jakarta area

Our first trip to Indonesia started with a flight delay, an hour of sleep, breakfast at 3:30AM, 'night' birding starting around 4 AM, about four kilometers of hiking up Mt. Gede-Pangrango with about 40% of the population of Java joining us, and a return to the car after dark that evening. Our guide was a real taskmaster and at times we cursed his name. But he got us some damn fine birds and it was worth the pain.

It seems like one out of every five of the local men that were hiking up the trail smoked, and it was disturbing to find the smouldering butts they frequently tossed on the ground. Many also kindly shared their favorite music with us, in full low-fidelity, mono glory, happily masking those obnoxious bird calls and other objectionable sounds of the natural world. But again, it was worth the pain.

The bird of the trip was a Javan Woodcock, and I'm not sure how our guide found him deep in the dark woods. We also stumbled upon a Barred Eagle-owl, and many Sunda endemics were present, including the fantastic Javan Trogon.

During our half-day on Sunday, we birded around Jakarta. This included a boat trip out to see the two Frigatebird species that frequent the area, Lesser and Christmas Island.

More here: https://legallyblindbirding.net/2018-gbwy-3/
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Old Sunday 20th May 2018, 14:41   #65
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Update time...

Week 21: May 16 - May 22, Sichuan, China

Working Days: 5

New species identified: 24

Total species to date: 1151

46 % of goal, 40.4% of year used

Sites visited: Longcanggou, Chengdu area

Not the best weekend to date; Saturday was fine but Sunday was very rainy and we had very little time. Very few birds gave good looks or posed for photos. But lots of warblers were singing, and since I'd spent the last week studying their calls, I was ready for them. Large-billed Leaf Warblers in particular were abundant. Had a very short view of a pair of Grey-faced Liocichla, and a Lady Amherst zipping across the road.

Sichuan is certainly a gorgeous area and was worthy of two trips.

Next, we have a long weekend in Borneo (Sabah), which should bring a lot of new species.
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Old Sunday 20th May 2018, 21:41   #66
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Good luck in Sabah next week Mike! Not sure if you're planning to head up Mt. Kinabalu but it's no longer possible to go beyond Timpohon Gate without a pre-arranged guide. Some of the trails were closed as well when I was there (March '17) but Silau-Silau was very productive (Whitehead's Trogon & Broadbill). Crocker Range is good too for mid-altitude species and pretty close to Kota K.
Thanks for the regular updates and great to see you're still well ahead of target!

Cheers,
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Old Monday 21st May 2018, 12:54   #67
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Originally Posted by Nohatch View Post
Good luck in Sabah next week Mike! Not sure if you're planning to head up Mt. Kinabalu but it's no longer possible to go beyond Timpohon Gate without a pre-arranged guide. Some of the trails were closed as well when I was there (March '17) but Silau-Silau was very productive (Whitehead's Trogon & Broadbill). Crocker Range is good too for mid-altitude species and pretty close to Kota K.
Thanks for the regular updates and great to see you're still well ahead of target!

Cheers,
Joost
Joost:

Thanks for the note. Yes we have a guide and yes we are headed to Kinabalu. Hoping to get a significant species bump. Wish it was easier to get there from Bangkok...Borneo looks amazing, but this is the first trip of our Asia stint in which we need to change planes midway. Not a good idea when flying AirAsia, with their frequent delays.

-Mike
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Old Tuesday 29th May 2018, 07:38   #68
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Update time:

Week 22: May 23 – May 29, Sabah, Malaysia

Working Days: 3

New species identified: 42

Total species to date: 1193

47.7 % of goal, 42.3% of year used

Sites visited: Kota Kinabalu, Mt. Kinabalu area

Some photos in the usual place: https://legallyblindbirding.net/2018-gbwy-3/

Well we had a long weekend here in Sabah, and I was hoping for a Borneo Bump (>60 birds?) to my year list, but it didn't happen. We got some great birds, but not the number I was hoping for: we got as many here in almost four days as we did near Jakarta in two. Around the village and on the trails at the base of Kinabalu, it was very quiet and the birds were few and far between. Maybe late May is just not a good time to be here? The weather was lovely, and we did not get rained on during the day.

We got one of the Whitehead's specialties (the broadbill, easily the bird of the trip) and finally the horribly skittish White-crowned (Bornean) Forktail. (Are any forktails not skittish as hell?) Black-capped White-eyes and Chestnut-hooded Laughingthrushes were about the only birds that seemed common. Everything else was a lot of work. But it is a very nice area with good food and lodging right there, so maybe we'll be back at some point.

Next week, the mountains west of Beijing.
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Old Monday 4th June 2018, 13:34   #69
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Happy Monday from the Land of Smiles...

Week 23: May 30 - June 4, Beijing, China

Working Days: 4

New species identified: 21

Total species to date: 1214

48.6 % of goal, 44.2% of year used

Sites visited: Summer Palace, Baihuashan, Xiaolongmen, Yeya Wetland

I took Friday off work and we headed to Beijing on a 1:00 AM flight, with the original plan being to spend some time visiting culturally interesting sites such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. We decided to forego the crowds at both sites and focus on a more birdy area and a bit of culture too - so we spent half the day at the Summer Palace. Not great birding (it was in the 30s) - and in the evening our guide met us and we drove out to Mt. Baihua.

Mt. Baihua, or Baihuashan, is not an eBird hotspot, surprisingly. It is a good place for warblers and nesting White-bellied Redstart. Other nice sites such as Xiaolongmen are not far from there. And an hour to the north you will find a very nice wetland (Beijing Yeya) that looks like it would be an outstanding place during migration.

Some highlights include Mandarin Ducks along a mountain stream, nesting Willow Tits at the summit of Baihuashan, the car-alarm-like calls of Chinese Leaf Warblers, Amur Falcons, and the diurnal Little Owl, perched on a cable at midday just like any other raptor. And finally, Common Cuckoos, seen as well as heard. Maye that seems a little silly to European birders, but given the paucity of cuckoos of any kind in the north-central US where we normally live, it is a real treat.

But just 21 species to add to the list. And the rest of June does not promise to be bird-rich for us, as we have some non-birding commitments soon. This coming weekend we head back to our favorite nearby national park in Thailand, Kaeng Krachang, with the hope of mopping up some stragglers we missed last time.
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Old Sunday 10th June 2018, 13:56   #70
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Update:

Week 24: June 5 - June 11, Petchaburi, Thailand

Working Days: 5

New species identified: 9

Total species to date: 1223

48.9 % of goal, 46.1% of year used

Sites visited: Kaeng Krachan National Park, Baan Maka

Tough weekend with terrible weather in Petchaburi, Thailand. This was the first weekend since mid-February that did not involve our getting on a plane. That was very nice. The drawback is that we have diminishing returns here in areas that we can reach by car. Just nine birds to add to the effort. That's pretty good, because by the end of Saturday we had only one, and getting any more seemed far-fetched. Sunday's weather was marginally better and our guide did a nice job finding us some goodies such as Red-bearded Bee-eater, Black-backed Dwarf-kingfisher, Blue-eared Kingfisher, and Dusky Broadbill; all lifers.

The next few weekends will have much less birding, as we are going to spend time with our youngest son; he just finished high school and his graduation present is to come hang out in Bangkok, Singapore, and Japan with us. He isn't a birder but will tolerate his bizarre parents doing a bit here and there... We will still be working in Bangkok during the week. Hoping we can get a few new birds around Tokyo and Singapore, but I fully expect to be back in the red for my goal progress shortly.

https://legallyblindbirding.net/2018-gbwy-3/
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Old Monday 18th June 2018, 01:26   #71
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Update:

Week 25: June 12 – June 18, Tokyo, Japan

Working Days: 4

New species identified: 9

Total species to date: 1232

49.3 % of goal, 48.1% of year used

Sites visited: Yoyogi Park, Kasai Rinkai Park, Imperial Palace

Not much birding to report on - this was mostly a cultural / recreational weekend with our son. Approaching the midpoint of this effort and still a bit ahead of the game. Highlight species included Skylark, Little Tern, Varied Tit, Brown-eared Bulbul, and White-cheeked Starling.

Next week will be a similar outing in Singapore.
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Old Monday 25th June 2018, 01:47   #72
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Here is my update at the halfway mark for the year. We had very little time to bird this weekend as it was more of a family trip down to Singapore. But the two birds we got were good ones - Pied Imperial Pigeon, a lifer, and the endangered Straw-headed Bulbul.

Week 26: June 19 - June 25, Singapore

Working Days: 5

New species identified: 2

Total species to date: 1234

49.4 % of goal, 50% of year used

Sites visited: Dairy Farm Nature Park

We used to live in Singapore back in 2002.A lot has changed in sixteen years, including, happily, the addition of recent parks and natural areas/reserves. We wanted to visit the relatively new Kranji Marshes in the north, but only had time for one place, so we chose the more accessible Dairy Farm Nature Park, which did not exist last time either. If we needed more than just a few Singapore birds we'd come back for a birding intensive weekend as it is quite nice and warrants a longer visit.

Next week we head back to Tokyo to send our son back to the US.
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Old Monday 2nd July 2018, 08:01   #73
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Update time:

Week 27: June 26 – July 2, Tokyo

Working Days: 4

New species identified: 7

Total species to date: 1241

49.6 % of goal, 51.9% of year used

Sites visited: Mt. Takao, Kasai Rinkai Park, Tokyo Port Bird Park

This was our last weekend with our son, so not too much birding. It was very hot and very windy, but we enjoyed the mountains to the west of the Tokyo. We saw a male Narcissus Flycatcher which isn't a bird we will easily forget. Decidedly in the top five of all the birds seen so far this year, and far more brilliant than the field guide makes it out to be.

The two parks in Tokyo bay that we visited are first-rate: lots of hides, trails, habitat variety, and comfortable visitor centers. If only every city had places like these! There is nothing like them here in Bangkok. Our bird lists from Tokyo are not too impressive, but this is the middle of summer and there is not a lot here at the moment. Would love to return during migration.

https://legallyblindbirding.net/2018-gbwy-4/

For July, we have the following lined up: a weekend in Bangkok to go after a handful of species that have evaded us so far; a return to Kuala Lumpur, to do the same thing there; a short weekend in southern Sri Lanka, and then a four day trip to Darwin, Australia. That should get the numbers back on track after a slow June.
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Old Monday 2nd July 2018, 14:14   #74
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I'm definitely rooting for you to make this, and I found it quite funny that your latest entry does smack of "right, that's the family obligations out of the way, on to the main event" - not least because I find the same sentiments infiltrating my own mind..... good hunting in the second half!

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Old Sunday 8th July 2018, 07:23   #75
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Originally Posted by Farnboro John View Post
I'm definitely rooting for you to make this, and I found it quite funny that your latest entry does smack of "right, that's the family obligations out of the way, on to the main event" - not least because I find the same sentiments infiltrating my own mind..... good hunting in the second half!

John
Thanks John. We did take a bit of a breather this weekend. This would be a heck of a lot easier and more enjoyable if we didn't have these $#%^& day jobs to attend to during the week!

Here is this week's update...

https://legallyblindbirding.net/2018-gbwy-4/

Week 28: July 3 - July 9, Bangkok

Working Days: 5

New species identified: 3

Total species to date: 1244

49.8 % of goal, 53.8% of year used

Sites visited: Chaloem Kanchanaphisek Park, Bang Krachao, Subpattana Alley

Not easy finding new birds around here now, so getting three this morning feels like a huge win. This was our first weekend, since coming to Thailand six months ago, in which we did not travel. We actually slept in on Saturday morning. It was really strange.

But then on Sunday it was back to normal, up at 5:00 and out into the sticky heat. This was a good opportunity to seek out new sites, and it paid off with a few lifers including a totally unexpected White-browed Crake. We found him, along with Oriental Pratincoles and an Asian Golden Weaver, as we walked along a busy country road south of Bangkok. Several locals pulled over trying to help us during this outing, assuming that we were lost. It must always look quite inexplicable to folks here (and everywhere, I guess), seeing a couple of obvious foreigners carting their bins and cameras and backpacks along in what many would consider a very non-scenic place.

We explained as best we could that we were looking for birds.

I always get the impression that people think we are insane.

Maybe we are?
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