Asian Emerald Cuckoo – Bird watching in Bangkok, Thailand.
Capturing the male Asian Emerald Cuckoo on camera at eye level was an exciting and joyful experience. This beautiful cuckoo with iridescent dark bronze-green upper part body is a winter visitor to Thailand normally till end of January.
Asian Emerald Cuckoos are usually spotted in December and January in Bangkok, Thailand. It was nearing the end of January, the odds were against us as there were fewer birds spotted. However, our persistency paid off when we finally managed to see and photographed a male Asian Emerald Cuckoo at eye level .
Here was our encounter:
A short drive to the north of Bangkok took us to Wat Phai Lom (meaning temple surrounded by bamboos). My friend in Thailand, showed me a photograph of at least 20 photographers with their long lenses and tripods the week before us. However, there was only one person when we got there at around 11 am on January 26. We only managing to get a glimpse of the skittish male Asian Emerald Cuckoo high up on the tree hawking for insects along with one other Plaintive Cuckoo (more obliging). It wasn’t the most ideal situation to take a picture of the Asian Emerald Cuckoo high on the tree top.
We did manage to see the Common Iora, Coppersmith Barbets (at nest), Spotted Dove (nesting) and Pied-fantails.
With the sun at high noon, it was not easy to spot any bird. so we retreated for an authentic Thai lunch by the river instead. We had planned to come back again the next morning before flying back to Singapore to try our luck on the Asian Emerald Cuckoo, but my wife suggested to head back to Wat Phai Lom as it was only a short drive from the restaurant after the lunch. We had grilled river prawns and satay served with toasted bread among other dishes.
Back to Wat Phai Lom, around 2 pm, we met 3 photographers who had managed to capture the bird just 2 days ago. In fact just the week before, there were 5 birds spotted, however less frequently now due to the change in season. The gentlemen shared that an Asian Emerald Cuckoo would usually perch up high in the trees and occasionally dash down to the ground to feed.
Within that few minutes of conversation, we spotted the bird high on the tree. I was already delighted to be able to see and photographed the bird clearly. What I had not expected was for the bird to come down to the eye level, within a few meters, before dashing up to the tree again.
Many thanks to Wachira and friends, whom we met that day who shared insights on the Asian Emerald Cuckoo, and Patcharee and Am who told us about the bird sightings in Bangkok.