While I love this blog, I now pretty much only write on my other two blogs: BirdingBlogs.com and 10,000 Birds - I would love to see you there!

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Living Koh Phi Phi

...and doing a little birding on the side.

ah, the island life. beach. sun. forest. turquoise waters...

I was not expecting much from Maya Bay, famous as the location from the Leo di Caprio movie "The Beach", but it really was a stunning bay. White sand beach, thick forest, remote. Wow.

Going out on the diving boat was not only great for the sheer joy of coral reef diving, but surprisingly good for birds. We did a fair amount of diving around Bida Noi and Bida Nok.

Bida Noi and Bida Nok: Two pillars to the south of Koh Phi Phi Leh, a good area for terns and both Lesser Frigatebird and Christmas Island Frigatebird in fair numbers. The Bidas and Koh Phi Phi Leh are also good for Black nest Swiftlet and Germain's Swiftlet.

A view from one of Koh Phi Phis viewsites (not to be missed). The thick forest should be good for birding, but I kinda struggled. I did find Greater Racket-tailed Drongos and the ubiquitous Pied Imperial Pigeon.

A ghastly photo of the beautiful Pied Imperial Pigeon. Probably the easiest way to find them is to get off the ferry, turn right and head towards the great big Banyan Tree (Tonsai in Thai), right behind Aquanauts Dive Centre. Look up and they will be there.

Happy birding,
Dale Forbes

Friday, 27 August 2010

Crazy creatures and great times...

One of the groups of birds I was really looking forward to in Thailand was the Kingfishers. And I had great hopes to find a good number of species, and to digiscope them. The first place we stayed (Raileh Beach), I quickly found this beautiful Collared Kingfisher. So my hopes were high...

Little did I know these things were quite so elusive. I had unsatisfactory views of Blue-banded Kingfisher, and another unidentified kingfisher in Khao Sok National Park, and just the bum of a Brown-winged Kingfisher in Krabi, I saw Collared Kingfisher all over the place, and once saw a White-throated Kingfisher alongside the road... tough.

Pied Fantail feeding in the mangroves of Raileh East Beach

crazy beautiful caterpillar

view from the lookout point down over Koh Phi Phi Don island

little fish trying their hardest to eat our feet off. I giggled for 20mins straight. It was good for my tummy and facial muscles. My feet survived. Those are my wife's feet, btw, just in case you were wondering.

Happy birding,

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Thailand - first day birding Ao Tonsai

The first place we stayed was Ao Tonsai, famous for rock climbing - with cliffs that made my mouth water and fingers just want to grip.

At dawn on my way out there, were a couple of macaques on the cliff:

Swarovski scope, TLS800, Canon 5D mark II

can you see the monkeys there?
Canon Ixus 130 (i.e. same photo without telescope)

Pacific Swallow
Swarovski telescope, TLS800, Canon 5D mark II

A great start to the holiday

Happy birding,
Dale Forbes

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

British Birdwatching Fair - Rutland 2010

Hi all, this weekend is the British Birdwatching Fair at Rutland Water / Egleton Reserve. Its the biggest of its kind in the world and 20,000 birders are expected over the course of the weekend.

If you are going to attend, please feel free to visit me at the Swarovski Optik digiscoping stand, or come to one of my talks (every morning in marque 2, and an afternoon workshop in the workshop venue).

Hope to see you there!
Dale Forbes

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

I really like that country

I oftentimes wondered how people could travel to Thailand year after year. It seemed like such a boring choice to always go back to the same place when the world has so much to offer. all over the place.

But after three weeks in the country, I think I kinda understand. We flew in to the country with absolutely no plans other than that at some stage we wanted to visit good friends of ours on the Phi Phi islands. We never travelled far, keeping it all within a very small area of southern Thailand. But what we did see/experience really touched us.

The landscape is dramatic and impressive

The forests are incredible

The birds stunning

And best of all, the people are really really smiley. Apparently, they have a guiding philosophy to laugh/smile at everything. There seems to be a real culture of - and striving for happiness. And this is respected.

I see this in stark contrast to the business environment and society in much of the "western" world (for wont of a better term) which prides itself in seriousness, stress and greed as its ideals.

I will be going back.