Thursday, February 27, 2014

Chiang Dao

We spent a couple of days at Chiang Dao on the 25th-26th it generally seemed quiet and birding was at times hard. On the 25th we made an early start for DYK, all was going well until just after the second checkpoint where a huge tree had fallen down in the night, blocking the road. We spent the next couple of hours birding back down the track from the checkpoint seeing very little, by 930am the road was cleared and reopened, we headed straight up to camp ground. Though we were nearly three hours late we did manage to see a decent selection of birds, best was a pair of  Pale-blue Flycatcher  and 3 Giant Nuthatch. Other species noted included Stripe-breasted Woodpecker, several calling Large Hawk Cuckoo, Oriental Cuckoo, 3 Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Oriental Turtle Dove, Black Eagle, 4 Long-tailed Broadbill, 3 Eurasian Jay, 3 Slender-billed Oriole, 4 Rosy Minivet, 2 Slaty-backed Flycatcher and 2 Japanese Tit.    

The 26th was spent birding around the temple and along the checkpoint road, where highlights were few, best birds Bay Woodpecker, two Pin-tailed Green Pigeon and singing Black-throated Laughingthrush. In the afternoon we visited the rice paddies south of Chiang Dao, where there were 40 Grey-headed Lapwing, 3 Wire-tailed Swallow and 4 Citrine Wagtail.

Doi Inthanon National Park

February 21st-24th was spent birding at Doi Inthanon National Park, in the past I have stayed outside the park and driven in each day, a trip of 30-40 kilometers, this time i decided we would stay at Mr Deang's near the HQ, this was a great choice, the accommodation was fine and Mr Deang and his family were great and friendly hosts. The only downside was that our visit coincided with the weekend, which meant there was lots of traffic along the road in the mornings and the summit was very busy and noisy. Despite all this we managed to see some excellent birds.

Grey-cheeked Fulvetta
by Fred Rowe
Large Niltava
by Fred Rowe
Much of the time was spent birding around the second checkpoint and at a small feeding station nearby, where a Pygmy Wren Babbler showed ridiculously well, at times feeding out in the open at the side of the road down to a few feet. Also coming into worms and bananas was a male Small Niltava, female Rufous-bellied Niltava and several Grey-cheeked Fulvetta. Best birds in trees and scrub along the roadside were several calling Rufous-throated Partridge, 3 Ashy Woodpigeon, 3 Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, male Asian Emerald Cuckoo, 4 Maroon Oriole, Short-billed and Grey-chinned Minivet, several Eye-browed Thrush, Slaty-backed Flycatcher, 5 Little Pied Flycatcher, 2 Vivid Niltava, 3 Large Niltava, 2 Chestnut-vented Nuthatch, 3 Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Silver-eared Laughingthrush, 3 Silver-eared Mesia, Black-eared Shrike Babbler, 2 Spectacled Barwing, male Yellow-bellied Flowerpecker and several Black-throated and Gould's Sunbirds.

Yellow-bellied Flowerpecker
by Fred Rowe
Our initial visit to the summit and boardwalk coincided with several noisy groups of non birding tourist, but on a return on our final morning we had the place to ourselves, where there were 3 Rufous-throated Partridge, Eurasian Woodcock, 2 Yellow-bellied Fantail, Snowy-browed Flycatcher, 2 Dark-sided Thrush, Ashy-throated Warblers, 2 Pygmy Wren Babbler and several Green-tailed and Gould's Sunbirds.

Despite the Siriphum Waterfall being very busy, a Slaty-backed Forktail showed well and a Northern White-crowned Forktail was seen briefly. Back at Mr Deang's a White-browed Shortwing was seen several times feeding in the gully at the back of the restaurant, as well as a female Siberian Blue Robin and Blue-whistling Thrush.         

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Mae Ping National Park

On the 21st and 22nd we spent a day and a half birding at Mae Ping National Park, spending all our time along the road to the Tung Kik campsite and around the campsite. Despite the forest being very dry and much of it having been burnt through, we did eventually catch up with most of the parks specialities. The star bird for both Fred and Marian was a very obliging Red-billed Blue Magpie (one of six seen) which fed in fruiting trees at the campsite and then on the ground just a few feet in front of us. Other favourites included a pair of Collared Falconet and several Black-headed Woodpecker feeding along the roadside.

Other woodpeckers recorded included 2 White-bellied, Greater Yellownape, Common and Greater Flameback and a Great Slaty. At least 100 Grey-headed Parakeet were seen along with at least 6 Blossom-headed in scrub beyond the campsite.

Other species noted included 5 Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Oriental Turtle Dove, Burmese Shrike, 4 Rufous Treepie, 6 Rosy Minivet, 4 Small Minivet, Large Woodshrikes and 2 Burmese Nuthatch.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Mae Wong National Park

During February 17th-19th we visited Mae Wong National Park, spending two full days and a morning in the park, where we saw some fantastic birds. The star bird for me was a male Rufous-necked Hornbill which flew past us at close range, whilst sitting out the heat of the day, Fred getting an excellent photo.

We spent a couple of hours at one of the waterholes one morning and an afternoon at a different feeding area, the rest of the time spent birding the road down from the Chong Yen campsite and the first part of the Umpang trail. Other excellent birds included a Grey-peacock Pheasant, 3 Rufous-throated Partridge, 2 Barred Cuckoo Dove, Little Cuckoo Dove, 3 Pintail Green Pigeon, Mountain Hawk Eagle, a pair of nest building Long-tailed Broadbill, 2 Yellow-cheeked Tit, Lesser Shortwing, 8 Sulphur-breasted Warbler, 4 Coral-billed Scimiter Babbler, 6 Spot-necked Babbler, 2 Streaked Wren Babbler, 20 White-necked Laughingthrush, 3 Black-throated Laughingthrush, 4 White-tailed Robin and 2 Rufous-bellied Niltava.

Commoner species recorded included Dollarbird, Golden-throated Barbet, White-browed Piculet, Bay Woodpecker, Large Hawk Cuckoo, 3 Large Cuckooshrike, 6 Rosy Minivet, Red-billed Blue Magpie, 4 Grey Treepie, Golden Babbler, 6 Silver-eared Laughingthrush, Stiated Yuhina, 6 Northern White-crowned Forktail and numerous Blue-whistling Thrush.

Now half way through Fred and Marian's trip, Mae Ping National Park next, trip list over 300 species and the 85 and 87 year olds as keen and enthusiastic as ever.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Beung Bhoraphet

All day Saturday and Sunday morning were spent birding at Beung Bhoraphet Lake near Nakhon Sawan, our initial plan was to do a boat ride on the Saturday morning and then bird around the waterbird park which is usually excellent. Arriving to catch the boat at Nok Nam Park (waterbird park) we arrived to find the site looking more like a building site rather than a nature reserve, with major dredging taking place and the spoil being dumped on the bunds around the nature trail, for flood prevention, another great bit of pointless habitat destruction as they could never store the amount of water which would have prevented the 2012 floods.

Ruddy Shelduck
Instead we did two three hour boat trips on the Saturday and visited the northern shore on the Sunday morning. Birding was relaxed with many 1000's of water birds present, both Fred and Marion thoroughly enjoying the day and Fred getting some excellent photos. There were a few ducks amongst the usual Lesser Whistling Ducks, including three very obliging Ruddy Shelduck, as well as at least 1500 Garganey, 6 Northern Shoveler, 5 Ferruginous Duck, 5 Eurasian  Teal, 2 Tufted Duck and 2 Pintail. Noted amongst the many thousands were 40 Glossy Ibis, 35 Oriental Darter, 30 Purple Heron and a single Black-headed Ibis. Three White-browed Crakes showed well as the ran across the water lilies, along with hundreds of Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Purple Gallinule and smaller numbers of Bronze-winged Jacana, Moorhen and Coot. At least 50 Oriental Pratincole were feeding over the lake and surprisingly two Small Pratincole also flew over.

Purple Gallinule
Additional species present included 6 Yellow Bittern, Cinnamon Bittern, Watercock, 3 Eastern Marsh Harrier, 3 Black Kite, 150 Whiskered Tern, Brown-headed Gull, 4 Pied Kingfisher, Freckled-breasted Woodpecker, Striated Grassbirds, Oriental and Black-browed Reed Warbler, 70 White-shouldered Starling and 2 Chestnut Munia.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Photos from the coast

Whiskered Tern

Paddyfield Pipit

White-breasted Waterhen

Wood Sandpiper

Chinese Pond Heron

Bay-backed Shrike

Pallas's Gull

Black-tailed Gull

Caspian Tern

Greater Crested, Common and Little Tern

Painted Stork

Long-toed Stint

Kaeng Krachan National Park

male Kalij Pheasant
We have just spent five nights at Kaeng Krachan National Park, based at the excellent and well organised Baan Makka Resort. Birding in the park was very slow for the time of year and like others present, we struggled to find many birds, the resort grounds and Lung Sin hide/waterhole were better. We spent two full days and a morning in the park where best birds a male Kalij Pheasant, 4 Greater Flameback, 2 Laced Woodpecker, 2 Great Slaty Woodpecker, Great Hornbill, 7 Tickell's Brown Hornbill, 2 Blue-bearded Bee-eater, single Violet and Asian Emerald Cuckoo, 20 Thick-billed Green Pigeon, Black Baza, Grey-faced Buzzard, calling Banded and Long-tailed Broadbills, Grey-chinned Minivets, 9 Eye-browed Thrush, 3 Dark-sided Flycatcher, 9 Hill and 4 Golden-crested Myna and 3 Sultan Tit.
female Kalij Pheasant

Bar-backed Partridge
Red Junglefowl
Green-legged Partridge
We spent a full day in Lung Sin hide which was excellent for game birds with a pair of Kalij Pheasants amazing views of up to 6 Bar-backed and 10 Green-legged Partridge and at least 25 Red Junglefowl. Other birds which came into drink and feed included 2 Large and one White-browed Scimiter Babbler, 5 Siberian Blue Robin, 15 Brown -cheeked Fulvetta, 10 Greater and 5 Lesser-necklaced Laughingthrush, 3 Tickell's Blue Flycatcher and 2 Abbott's Babblers.      

Large Scimiter Babbler
Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush
Species noted around Bann Makka resort and their bird table included Orange-headed Thrush, Hainan Blue Flycatcher, 2 Cinnamon and 2 Yellow Bittern, Greater and Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush, numerous Oriental Pied Hornbill, Large Woodshrike and several Bronze-winged Jacana.

Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush
Duirng an afternoon at Bann Song we saw Greater-necklaced Laughingthrush, 4 Pale-legged Leaf Warbler, Siberian Blue Robin, roosting Large-tailed Nightjar in the garden and heard what was probably a Slaty-legged Crake calling from the forest.  

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Gulf Coast

Myself, Fred and Marian Rowe have spent the last three days birding the coast at Pak Thale/Lam Pak Bia, where as usual there were plenty of birds. In a couple of visits to Pak Thale, we managed to see a single Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Terek Sandpiper, Red Knot, 70 Painted Stork, Heuglin's Gull, 80 Caspian Terns as well as good numbers of other waders. Further along the coast at Laem Pak Bia we managed to find three Nordmann's Greenshank, 2 Asiatic Dowitchers, 6 Pied Avocet, 12 Ruff and a single Red-necked Phalarope. A boat trip out onto the sandspit produced 2 White-faced Plover, 12 Malaysian Plover, Chinese Egret, Pallas's Gull (a Thai  tick), Black-tailed Gull (a world tick), a Lesser Crested Tern and 12 Great Crested Tern.

We spent a lot of time in the royal project at Laem Pak Bia where a Bay-backed Shrike showed well, my third Thai tick of the day,  this being only the first or second record for Thailand. Also present were 40 White-winged Black Tern, 12 Ruddy-breasted Crake, 2 Watercock, a Slaty-breasted Rail, male Eastern Marsh Harrier and 120 White-shouldered Starling. At nearby Wat Kamaron there was no sign of the recently present Collared Pratincole a new bird for Thailand, but we did add 35 Oriental Pratincole, a Grey-headed Lapwing and several singing Oriental Skylark to the list.

Much of today was spent exploring freshwater habitats north of Petchaburi and around Wat Takaro. Huge numbers of birds were present on the main lake by the Wat but were distant, however we did see 10 Black-headed Ibis, several Painted Stork and hundreds of Garganey and Black-tailed Godwits. On pools nearer Petchaburi we found good numbers of Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-winged Jacana, several Purple Gallinule and two Chestnut Munia. Only birds of note during a couple of hours at the raptor watchpoint were two Greater Spotted Eagle and 15 Black-eared Kite.

Photos to be added to the blog when better internet connection, we will also be at Keang Karachan for the next five days so there maybe no more posts for a few days.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Weekly round up

It has been another busy week, Chinese Year last week took up a lot of time, with loads of eating, family stuff, temples and dishing out money in little red envelops. We also had to go into Bangkok to pick up the wifes passport and her new UK visa, followed by planning for a month long birding trip beginning tomorrow. I did get out onto the patch Sunday morning, there was little change in the birds present, with the 19 Glossy Ibis still around and amongst the usual waders 25 Oriental Pratincoles, 10 Grey-headed Lapwing and 5 Spotted Redshank. Also present were several Siberian Rubythroat, male Eastern Marsh Harrier, 120 Baya and 30 Golden Weaver

Yesterday we headed up to Chiang Mai to collect a vehicle for the next month, birds noted on the way included 2 Pied Kingfisher feeding next to the main road at Nakhon Sawan and a Black-eared Kite near Tak. This morning I found time for a walk around scrub and fields near Lampang, best birds 23 Grey-headed Lapwing, two Barred Buttonquail, 4 Racket-tailed Treepie, Thick-billed Warbler and 3 Siberian Rubythroat

From tomorrow I will be joined by friends Fred and Marian Rowe from Norfolk, UK we will spend a solid month birding, starting on the coast at Petchaburi, then Keang Karchan National Park, Beung Bhoraphet, Mae Wong NP, Mae Ping NP, Doi Inthanon NP, Chiang Dao, Doi Lang and finsihing at Chiang Saen. I will try to keep the blog updated as much as possible during the trip, internet acsess permitting.