Thursday, March 1, 2012

Doi Cum Fa

On Wednesday we spent most of the day birding at Doi Cum Fa, around 30 kilometers north of Chiang Dao, which is part of the Pha Dang National Park. Birding is along a jeep track starting at an altitude of 1300 meters, asscending up to 1800 meters at the summit and the habitat is a mix of natural forest, planted and natural pine, scrub and some cleared areas. During the course of the day we saw around 80 species, an excellent total for forest birding. One of the first birds heard calling when we got out of the car was a Giant Nuthatch, later in the morning we saw at least four and heard two others, I have visited this site over a dozen times and have never failed to see this species. Further along the track a pair of Rufous-bellied Niltava showed well.

Rufous-bellied Niltava

It wasn't long before we encounted the first feeding party of the day which contained Chestnut-vented and Velvet-fronted NuthatchChestnut-fronted Shrike BabblerYellow-cheeked TitGrey-chinned Minivet and the first of very many Grey-cheeked Fulvettas. The first kilometer of the track follows a stream where single pairs of both White-crowned and Slaty-backed Forktails were present.

Flavescent Bulbul

A number of small fruting trees alongside the stream were full of feeding birds, including many bulbuls which included Mountain, Ashy, Flavescent and at least a hundred Black Bulbuls. Also present here were both Dark-backed and Rufous-backed Sibia, Blue-winged Minla and a large party of Silver-eared Mesia. After a couple of hours of walking the trail began to climb, a couple of Oriental Turtle Doves flew off the track, many noisy Grey Treepie were noted and what was probably a Bar-backed Partridge flew off into the forest. Over the next couple of hours an excellent selection of woodpeckers was noted, with Stripe-breasted, Grey-capped Pygmy, Greater Yellownape, Grey-headed, Bay and Rufous all being seen.

Long-tailed Broadbill

The highlight of the day was a group of at least 25 Long-tailed Broadbills a personnel favourite and one of the smartest looking birds in the world. Higher along the trail many Mountain Tailorbirds were singing and several Bianchi's Warblers were seen and more importantly heard to call. Flycatchers noted including four Little Pied and at least six Slaty-backed. At the trail summit in a large clearing around a small campsite there were at least twenty Crested Finchbills, six Spectacled Barwings, a fine male Red-flanked Bluetail and a Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush. The walk back down the mountain was quieter, but when nearly back at the car a large group of Grey-headed Parrotbills was present along with a a shy group of White-cheeked Laughingthrush's in the undergrowth.

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater

Numerous phylloscopus warblers were seen during the day, many were ignored, but White-tailed Leaf Warbler was abundant, and several Blyth's, Pallas's and Buff-barred Warblers were noted. Additional species seen during the day, included Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Slender-billed and Maroon Oriole, Long-tailed Minivet, Great and Golden-throated Barbet, Hill Prinia, Orange-bellied Leafbird, White-browed Shrike Babbler, Straited Yuhina and Golden Babbler.

Recent videos courtesy of Uthai Cheummarang of and photos from Gary Hibberd Norfolk Wildlife Trust

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