An appointment was made to be with Gruff Dodd in January 28, 2017. The initial plan was for him to go to Muang Boran, in Samutprakan and and find the Asian Golden Weaver, Bristled Grassbird, White-browed Crake, Grey-headed Lapwing. Before our birding date, he was in Kaeng Krachan, Cambodia, Australia, and then back again in Thailand; but before he returned to Thailand I presented to him Bangphra Non-hunting Area in Chonburi and Amper Bo Thong also in Chonburi for the Hainan Blue Flycatcher. He agreed and we were excited. We left Bangkok a quarter before 5:00 a.m. to get to the location on time since we had to go back before 4:30 p.m. to Bangkok.
We arrived in Bo Thong at about 8:00 a.m., we set up our hide and call, we waited for the bird to come. It replied to the calls and then came three times, Gruff Dodd enjoyed the lovely bird as it was really close and he also used his binoculars for a closer look. i took some photos for documentation and to share with others as well and we were on our way to Bangphra.
To bird in Bangphra, we should have been early before sunrise, but because we decided to be in Bo Thong for the Hainan Blue Flycatcher, we had to deal with the reality. As we arrived there, I put on my boots and birding clothes, and we started birding at about 11:00 a.m., there were birds but not really interesting until we walked in the forest. We decided to follow the dirt road inside the park and decided to turn around as there was a fallen tree on the road. As we returned, I looked up, and just right in front of us was a Crested Serpent Eagle. I stopped, told Gruff where it was, I tried catching up with my settings, Arpha was figuring out where, and when I was ready to shoot, it flew just right above us. I thought it was a sign that we were going to find more birds. We took a shortcut through tall grass to the tiled path, we found it and we followed.
A little later as we walked and walked we found Drongos, Herons, Cormorants, Bitterns, Striated Grassbirds, Blacked capped Kingfishers, Common Kingfishers, Whitecollared Kingfisher and then Gruff saw an Osprey. This was another sign in which we could find a greater bird as a lifer. As a big bird was flying right towards us, it looked like a Grey Heron. We all looked into our binoculars and discussed the unique feature of this Heron and to our surprise it was a Lesser Adjutant. We don’t have to go to Cambodia anymore for this bird. We thought there was alone and we discovered more of them, at least eight. Then they started flying above us giving us all the opportunity to watch and enjoy its beauty.
Our day ended with two lifers; the Hainan Blue Flycatcher and the Lesser Adjutant. What a day, it was a great birding day. Frankly speaking, we really enjoyed our birding with Gruff, he was fantastic, polite, and just the best.