Blazing through Asia

2008 May 14
by David J. Ringer

DARWIN, AUSTRALIA — Asia is not a place through which one should hurry. But with little choice in the matter, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. My arrival in Japan on 29 April marked the sixth continent (if you subscribe to the seven-continent model) on which I’ve had the pleasure to bird.

Good birds in Japan, Thailand, and Singapore over the following days put me close to another important milestone: I’m now less than 20 species away from having seen 1000 life birds. (See my life list). With any luck, I’ll break 1000 on Timor, but if not there, then certainly in New Caledonia later this month.


With just a short layover in Japan, I dashed outside the airport and took a taxi to the nearby ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel in Narita (thanks to Charlie for the directions). It was warm in the middle of the afternoon, but I managed several good birds including several Japanese Wagtails (Motacilla grandis), shown here, Varied Tit, and Brown-eared Bulbul.


This singing male White-rumped Shama was one of the more beautiful birds I encountered in Thailand, along with colorful Yellow-cheeked Tits and a spectacular Greater Racket-tailed Drongo — wow! Mynas and Eurasian Tree Sparrows were common in the cities, along with various doves and bulbuls.


Green-tailed Sunbirds was a breathtaking find high in Thailand’s mountains — tiny and glowing with nearly every color of the rainbow! This photo doesn’t do it justice.

For more photos, be sure to see the photo gallery.

In Singapore, as in Japan, I had a few hours between flights. I took a boat to Ubin Island, where in a couple of hours I picked up gems like Oriental Pied Hornbill and Blue-throated Bee-eater. Pink-necked Green Pigeons and Asian Glossy Starlings were also great, and White-bellied Sea Eagles never fail to impress. Here’s a list from the island.

Just before I hopped in a taxi to return to the airport, I glimpsed two hornbills over a busy street through Changi Village. Hornbills are scarce on mainland Singapore, but the Bird Ecology Study Group has some information and photos about the hornbills at Changi.

I wish I had time to share more, but I’ve got another plane to catch. More when I can!

5 Responses
  1. May 14, 2008

    Amazing, David. Can’t wait to hear more!

  2. budak permalink
    May 14, 2008

    glad you had a fairly fruitful stopover. Stay longer next time and see more!

  3. May 25, 2008

    Wow, you get around. I love checking in on your travels and your fantastic findings!

  4. June 8, 2008

    Wow! What a great trip. I’m jade green with envy.

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