Wednesday 11 July 2012

Suan Rot Fai, Bangkok, June 2012

Suan Rot Fai is an old golf course which has been put to use as a peoples’ park. It is very easy to reach on the Skytrain from the end of the line at Mo Chit Station. Again may I refer you to and specifically to this link which gives an excellent description and directions. As before, I shall confine myself to a snap shot of my experience of a morning at Suan Rot Fai which can be seen on Google Earth by copying and pasting these coordinates into the search; 13 48 38N 100 33 11E . Confusion may arise as the ornamental gardens in the south of the site are labelled Suan Wachira Benchathat on Google Earth and a sign pointing away from them across a bridge to the old golf course reads, 'To Vajirabenchathas Park.'

Some of the common birds of the city parks can be found here including; Oriental Magpie Robin, Streak-eared Bulbul, Great Myna and Large-billed Crow. I entered by the ornamental gardens and missed the first opportunity to cross into the less-manicured part of the park that still resembles a golf course. The gardens in the south are very structured with concrete banks to the serpentine lotus water feature and bridges criss-crossing it. It is however very picturesque and gave me the chance to get on level terms with a female Scarlet-backed Flower-pecker. The male proved to be less of a poser.

I crossed into Vajirabenchathas Park and the atmosphere changed quickly to one of slight scruffiness. Even so it was no more unkempt than most other parks and the old fairways were obviously still mowed regularly.

There were more insects here and thus more birds. Indian Rollers liked the combination of mature trees and open grassy areas. There was a hot spot close to the southern end of the lotus lake at Google Earth ref; 13 48 48N 100 33 11E.

A Plaintive Cuckoo dropped down onto the ground to catch grubs from the grass. There were three of them in the area. I have taken liberties with the background to make the bird stand out a bit better.

At last I managed to get a good close look at a Javan Pond-heron in his breeding colours.  I had long suspected that the pond-herons around here were of the Javan species, but had not been happy to tick them in their non-breeding conformity. This individual confirmed my sightings from yesterday which warranted the red pen treatment.

Along the lakeside, Gomphid dragonflies flew close to the water and I was very pleased to catch this one in flight. Further up, at the edge of what used to be a lake-side golf-green, an Asian Openbill was searching for snails by the bank.

Today had been much more bearable than yesterday. Perhaps I had become more acclimatised. There was much more shade here than at MuangBoran Fish Ponds and it was much easier to cope with the heat. As I made my way back, I was attracted by a riot in the trees. Three Plain-throated Sunbirds and two Scarlet-backed Flower-peckers were flapping and making a terrible din as if trying to chase off a snake. Sure enough there was a very thin green snake that I suspect was probably a Oriental Whipsnake. Slightly further down the path, another mob included Streak-eared Bulbuls, Oriental Magpie Robins and three Variegated Squirrels. This time I was unable to find the source of their excitement, but the squirrel was a lifer for me.

Birds seen; 25

Asian Openbill 1, Great Egret 1, Little Egret 2, Cattle Egret 1, Javan Pond-heron 6, Striated Heron 6, White-breasted Waterhen 2, Spotted Dove 25, Zebra Dove 45, Plaintive Cuckoo 3, Asian Palm-swift 4, Indian Roller 8, Coppersmith Barbet 4, Pied Fantail 12, Large-billed Crow 15, Yellow-vented Bulbul 3, Streak-eared Bulbul 25, Oriental Magpie Robin 15, Great Myna 80, Common Myna 60, Black-collared Starling 25, Scarlet-backed Flower-pecker 4, Olive-backed Sunbird 6, Eurasian Tree Sparrow 30, Nutmeg Mannikin 6.

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