Silhouettes

Not a single raptor in the sky was present, just the thick clouds that would pour at any moment. It was my first time to go raptor watching and so far we haven’t seen any raptors. I expected hundreds of raptors flying just in front of us, but sadly it was too early in the season for there to be many raptors.

We got bored of staring at the blank sky and started looking at the ground and in the tall grass were some Pied Bushchats. One was male, and the other two with it were female which was unusual because you usually see them in pairs, one male and one female. I suggested that one of the females could be a juvenile which they said was possible.

Male Pied Bushchat

Female Pied Bushchat <Photo by King Pandi>

In the same tall grass area, a bird came out to the open to reveal itself. It was a Buff-banded Rail just in plain sight, calm and always staying on the same spot; it had this interesting plumage at its back. It was my first lifer of the day but it certainly wasn’t my last.

Buff-banded Rail <Photo by King Pandi>
Lifer no. 69

Right beside the Rail was a Striated Grassbird. We spent a while trying to re-observe it since we were trying to make sure if it was a Striated or a Tawny Grassbird. We really wished that it was a Tawny Grassbird, since we keep hearing them but never see any.

Swiftlets were everywhere, most of them were Glossy Swiftlets. They were flying all around the tower where we were we were birding. They were all below us, so I took this advantage to see if some of them had white rumps, and some did which meant that they were Pygmy Swiftlets. I finally got another lifer. 🙂

It took a while, but finally we spotted a raptor; it was a resident Oriental Honey Buzzard!!! It was huge with a large wing span that looks like it can dive down and snatch a child. The more experienced birders knew what it was by just the silhouette which was pretty much all you can get out of raptors here. I, on the other hand, had to cope with these silhouettes, but having the others there to explain how to ID the silhouettes really helped. 🙂

Once the raptor showed up so did the White-breasted Woodswallows, flying around in circles. Another raptor once again showed itself, chasing its domesticated Pigeon prey. It was a Peregrine Falcon!!! At first it was low because it was preying on some domesticated Pigeons, but has flown up to the sky. It flew so fast that my eyes could barely follow it, since it is the fastest animal on earth. 🙂

I tried looking for my first Brown Shrike, but sometimes I mistaken them for Yellow-vented Bulbuls in a distance, but after a while. I saw something brown on a clothesline. It was finally a Brown Shrike!! 🙂 After that instance, we actually saw more Brown Shrikes.

We had to leave just a bit earlier than the others since my Dad had some errands to do.  We got back on the road where the only birds left to see were Swiftlets and Pacific Swallows.

It was actually a let down because I had expected more raptors, but it turns out we arrived to early in the season. My Dad actually expected the raptors to drop on trees since my Dad didn’t know about Raptor migration until explained a while ago. Still we were glad to get some lifers and have this experience and hope to do it again, but with more raptors next time. 😉

Bird List

  1. Pied Bushchat
  2. Buff-banded Rail
  3. Striated Grassbird
  4. Glossy Swiftlet
  5. Pygmy Swiftlet
  6. Oriental Honey Buzzard
  7. White-breasted Woodswallow
  8. Peregrine Falcon
  9. Brown Shrike
  10. Yellow-vented Bulbul
  11. Pacific Swallow
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