Lesser Whistling-ducks in Chiang Mai
It is not common to see large flocks of birds in Chiang Mai. The only big flocks that I have observed in my bird watching for the last three years have been big number of Little Green Bee-eaters and the Large flocks of Openbill storks, in the recently ploughed paddy fields and soaring in the skies.
However, recently on my routine evening cycling, I happen to notice a large number of ducks in an old quarry lake. About four Kms. from Hangdong, Chiang Mai, Farm Hug cafe has a beautiful view through large glassed windows of this artificial lake, full of hundreds of Lesser Whistling-ducks. It was fascinating to hear their whistling calls and watch them fly high up in the sky and then land in groups on the water.
It seems, they spend most of the day time on shore, frequently getting into the water. Apparently, they are night feeders and feed on mostly plants, but do not shy away from small fish and other water creatures.
Apart from the ducks, there were a few other birds. Red-wattled lapwings were often perched on the shore behind the rows of the ducks. Common kingfisher, bee-eaters, swallows, were also seen in the evenings. A pair of male and female white-tailed robins, next to the cafe were also sited.
I have been observing this flock since mid February and plan to continue watching them over the rainy season when they breed. I will keep on posting any new pictures as I get them.