I came across this bird when I visited Wat Tham Pha Plong at the base of Doi Chiang Dao, a lovely mountain north of Chiang Mai, Thailand. It was the first time I had seen a Silver Pheasant this close up; but this was no ordinary bird, it was ‘tame’ but highly aggressive. When I arrived at the top of the steps near the monks living (sleeping) accommodation it was busy attacking a couple of ladies who had retreated back down the stairs. It then lunged at me and I kept it at bay with my extended monopod! Doing a bit of ‘Googling’ it appears that this bird has been there for a couple of years (1). I think what it was doing was territorial; it was aggressively defending the patch where presumably it got fed, or received some scraps from the resident monks. Anyway, after a few photos I retreated back down the steps and left it alone to wait for its dinner!
I am an entomologist with a background in quarantine pests and invasive invertebrates. I studied zoology at Imperial College (University of London) and did a PhD on the population dynamics of a cereal aphid (Metopolophium dirhodum) in the UK. I spent 5 years with the British Antarctic Survey studing cold hardiness of Antarctic invertebates and 17 years with the Food and Environment Research Agency. My main interests now are natural history, photography, painting and bird watching.