Saturday, March 3, 2012

Prey Veng's Birds and Leps

Let's return to the field with our trusty guide, Nara, and a local guide from the village. Mardy, who guided us at the temples of Angkor Wat, has also come at our invitation. He is eager to see Prey Veng for the first time, and in addition he augments the local cook's efforts with his own culinary feats.

Mardy presents us with a breakfast omelette, Cambodian-style
(Photos by Narca)

Prey Veng features a very fine wetland––an ancient baray about a mile long and a half-mile wide. (Barays are artificial wetlands constructed centuries ago by the Angkor empire.)

White-rumped Falcon, a highly-sought-after species, graces our camp.

The very first morning, a rare White-rumped Falcon swoops into camp. We had also seen one on the drive in, and to see a second is bounty beyond belief.

We spend two days exploring the baray, finding Eurasian Hoopoes, Lesser Adjutants, Oriental Darters, Oriental Honey Buzzard, a huge Gray-headed Fishing-Eagle, Orange-breasted Pigeons, Golden-fronted Leafbirds, Scarlet-backed Flowerpeckers, Ruby-cheeked and Purple Sunbirds, and spectacular White-bellied Woodpeckers.

A lovely Orange-breasted Green Pigeon

Asian Barred Owlets are quite fun––for us. Not for anything smaller than they are.

Asian Barred Owlet, terror of small birds

I am astonished at the number and variety of butterflies we encounter, even though it's the dry season.

A Gray Pansy, Junonia atlites...

and its more colorful cousin, a Peacock Pansy, Precis (or Junonia) almana 

I have barely begun to sort out the butterfly species, and lack the references to do a very good job of it. Here is an unknown species, a striking little hairstreak, which could prove to be a challenge... [but, as of 8 March, it is no longer unknown! Doug Danforth has identified it as a Common Pierrot].

Common Pierrot, Castalius rosimon, near Prey Veng...

and a nymphalid, probably Lexias pardalis.

Throughout our trip, we encountered warm and helpful people. Alan, in particular, received the royal treatment due to a respected elder in Cambodia. After observing a way of making Alan more comfortable, Mardy or our drivers, Da or Li, carried a foldup chair for him on every trail, so he wouldn't become tired with the effort of standing. Now that is exceptional kindness.


  1. I'm really taken by the photograph of the pigeon, don't know why. So smooth and silky in appearance and the coloration is exceptional.

  2. Thanks, B, the green pigeons are quite beautiful. There are a number of species. I'll be posting another one or two.