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A bit off the topic. I just wanted to let folks know that I just got back from a week in southern Thailand, where I did a wonderful 2 day birding trip. Saw 80 species of birds over two days, most of them new birds for me. The birding was amazing. I took some photos, but mostly just watched. I got some photos, but many of the birds in the jungle or the mangroves were very hard to photograph. They moved quickly and it was dark under the trees.

The last place we went was an amazing temple built in a cave halfway up a cliff. We had gone looking for an owl that my guide had seen at the temple, but it was not there. So I decided to leave a 5 baht coin as an offering in the mouth of a snake in hopes that this would induce the owl to reappear. It did not, but not two minutes after I left my offering a beautiful Oriental Hobby flew into the mouth of the cave with a loud call (similar to an American Kestril) and sat at the top of a tree 30 feet away from us. We got a good look, then it flew back and forth through the mouth of the cave and then settled on a rock formation about 40 feet away. It was looking right at us while we took many photos. What a beautiful bird. It is a falcon like bird about the size of a Coopers Hawk, but with a dark back, dark chestnut breast and very pronounced yellow eyerings.

I also saw sea eagles flying over hills as they dip down into the Andaman Sea from a boat that I was on. What a sight!

My guide posted a trip report and some of the photos we took (including the Hobby) and posted them on the web. If you are interested you can go to http://thailandbirding.com/trip-reports/phuket-phang-nga-4-08.htm to see the report, the list of species and photos.

Mark Gutchen
Columbia, MO

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