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About AjarnNorth

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  1. Birds in your garden

    Keep your eyes open through April. One of my first years back in Bangsaen, hiding from Songkran for the duration so only birding the yard, I had my first and only Green-backed Flycatcher ("rare to scarce passage migrant"), my first Christmas Frigate Birds (seen a few since), and my first and only Chonburi Dollar Bird (seen elsewhere but not again here). And those all in one day!
  2. Birds in your garden

    "Clear as mud" is right. Somewhere around 2011, when I was working on an avifaunal survey paper of a wetlands in Surin, I asked a prominent ornithologist whether I should change my "purple swamphen" to one (or both) of the newly split possibilities. Pretty sure I have photo records of birds that would match for Grey-headed and others that would match for Black-backed, but would have to bo gack and review thousands of photos. Anyway, he was clear he did not agree with the split AT THAT TIME. I have no idea if he has changed his opinion on that split. That same year, 2011, I wrote to a friend of mine who is a biologist - not an ornithologist, in fact his specialty is Gibbon vocalizations - and he replied as follows: You had a question about splitters...I assume that you mean those that call variants a unique species vs. 'lumpers' who simply see varieties or subspecies. I don't know much about such things, but it is often largely a matter of taste. Also, a splitter can make a name for him or herself by 'discovering' a new species. Dividing two very similar species really should depend to a large degree on the available behavioral info and known range of a species...info that is often incomplete. This is the case because species are usually defined as a group of animals that normally interbreeds and produces reproductively viable offspring in the wild (regardless of differences in superficial appearance). Of course you can see two very different looking birds that are not necessarily different species, for a whole host of reasons. There are also lumper-splitter controversies at the so-called 'higher' taxonomic levels...in regards to cladistic vs more traditional ways of building phylogenies. The biological world doesn't always conform well to our categorization schemes. And unfortunately, some of the people who get heavily into categorization tend to be anal/rigid personalities, so you get lots of fights between schools (look up cladistics for example). I know this doesn't help at all...but there it is. I realize that there have been and will continue to be many splits based on all sorts of new information, dna especially, but the fact that some splits are re-lumped is troubling to say the least. For a while, I had Yellow-streaked Warbler on my list there in addition to Raddes, based on vocalization difference. But with no recording, though excellent photos, I decided to err on the side of caution and just put it down as a possible and thus remove it from the official list. I guess I am a cautious "lumper" to some extent. I leave the splits to the experts though feel better about them when they can all, or mostly, agree.
  3. Birds in your garden

    What does this source say on Purple vs. Black-backed Swamphen? I know at least one notable Ornithologist who - at least some years ago - did not agree with the split and thought it more of a "splitters" vs. "lumpers" distinction. I don't know much about all this, as I have said. But I also note that when it comes to popular names, they can stick even after the split has been made. Note that on the oriental bird club images they still list as popular names for what they call "Fulvous-breasted" as including many variation, including "Spot-breasted," thus further confusing the issue.
  4. Birds in your garden

    They were Spot-breasted for a while. Is this an instance of "splitting" or is this an instance where it becomes clear that a popular name (as opposed to the latin) is already in use so they simply change the name. I thought that was what happened with Fulvous-breasted vs. Spot-breasted. And how in heck did Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler become Rusty-rumped?
  5. Birds in your garden

    Likely sunbird species - some are larger than others - and plumage (color) changes on the males when they are ready to breed.
  6. Birds in your garden

    Does anyone else hear Plaintive Cuckoo every single day no matter where they are. I am in Bangsaen, Chonburi listening to one right now. I hear one every day. Last year i lived in Bangkok all year. I heard one every day. Everywhere i go, every day. I feel like I am being followed.
  7. Birds in your garden

    I wonder what the survival rate is. Last time I had YVBB nesting in my garden, both chicks died as well.
  8. Birds in your garden

    Great shot of the Lesser C. I used to see them fairly often in Surin, always in reed bed areas near water. Greater of course I saw constantly there and see constantly here in Chonburi. Don't recall having seen a lesser here in Chon as yet, so if I have it would have only been once or twice and definitely not from my yard.
  9. Birds in your garden

    Interesting. I always like the name "Zebra Dove" better. I don't know a lot about all the splits. I do know that there are groups of folks who consider themselves "splitters" and others who consider themselves "lumpers." And there are even well respected ornithologists who ID themselves as "lumpers." Something I need to learn more about. I recently started reading "The Wisdom of Birds" an Illustrated History of Ornithology by Tim Birkhead. Picked it up in BKK at Kinokuneya. Very interesting start - and great illustrations throughout - but I imagine I am far off from any discussion of splitting vs. lumping.
  10. Birds in your garden

    GB Malkoha are common enough that I think you will probably see one in your BKK patch eventually. If memory serves, I have seen them between Lumpini and Benjakiti in trees along the green mile. I see them regularly from my yard here in Bangsaen, Chonburi.
  11. Birds in your garden

    Black-naped Oriole.
  12. For The Birds !

    Asian Brown Shrike, Female First Winter, is my best guess, but I am perfectly ready to be wrong there...
  13. For The Birds !

    Oriental Magpie-robin. One of the most common garden birds in Thailand so you should get another chance at better pics.
  14. Birds in your garden

    Skeptic. In Vientiane at the moment. House Sparrow seem to dominate, though still a fair share of Eurasian Tree.
  15. Birds in your garden

    Yellow-vented Bulbul, most likely. http://www.oiseaux.net/birds/photos/yellow-vented.bulbul.html