Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Mae Wong & Huai Kha Kaeng with Ramesh





What was to be another great trip began early Saturday morning as Ramesh was picked up from his Bangkok hotel at 4 am. As we headed towards Mae Wong National Park, we drove through downpour after downpour of torrential rain. Finally as we arrived just after 9, the rain cleared and a glimpse of sunshine gave us a glimmer of hope. We checked in to our resort and headed straight to Chong Yen. Along the way the road was pretty devoid of birds until we spotted some Pied Bushchats in the grassy reeds. Other birds seen along the way up were Ashy Woodswallows, Chinese Sparrowhawk, Crested Serpent Eagle, Blue-Bearded Bee-Eater and Grey-Backed Shrike. We stopped near the top to check out a stream for the Rusty-Naped Pitta, but only saw White-Gorgeted and Rufous-Browed Flycatchers and Streaked Wren-Babblers. Once we reached Chong Yen the rain Started falling heavily again. From the shelter of waterproofs and an umbrella we still saw White-Necked, Black-Throated and Silver-Eared Laughingthrushes, Silver-Eared Mesias, Golden-Throated Barbet, Black-Throated Sunbird, Marten’s Warbler, Mountain Bulbuls plus many others. We headed back to the resort and sill managed a few more ticks on the way down.

 Flavescent Bulbul

Rufous-Browed Flycatcher

Streaked Wren-Babbler

Day 2. Heavy rain had persisted during the night, but the morning looked good. As we drove up to Chong  Yen again we counted 13 Kalij Pheasants, Grey Peacock pheasants, Red Jungle Fowl, a host of Drongos and Bulbuls, White-Browed scimitar Babblers and a large flock of Striated Yuhinas among others. Once at the top Ramesh set up behind the ranger station for the Grey Peacock-Pheasant whilst I went in search of a Rusty Naped Pitta call. Within 10 minutes one stared calling, so I returned to Ramesh and we headed off for the search. Sadly the Rusty-Naped didn’t show but we really had that feeling that it was there and watching us…. Although it didn’t show, we still racked up many birds including, White-Tailed Robin, Mountain-Imperial Pigeon, Bar-Winged Flycatcher-Shrike, Maroon Oriole, Orange-Headed and Eye-Browed Thrushes, 15 Blue-Whistling Thrushes, Grey Treepies, Pale-Legged Leaf-Warbler, White-Browed Scimitar Babbler, Small Niltava, Hainan-Blue Flycatcher, Olive-Backed Pipit, Golden Babblers and White-Crowned Forktails. We headed back to the resort for a quick clean up and off to a great dinner after a great days birding.

Kalij Pheasant












Maroon Oriole
















Hainan Blue Flycatcher
Eye-Browed Thrush












Striated Yuhina












White-Crowned Forktail
Day 3. Another early start as we headed off for Huai Kha Keang Wildlife Reserve. As soon as we arrived the lifers started rolling in. The first were Red-Breasted and Blossom-Headed Parakeets, followed by Yellow Footed Pigeons, Purple Sunbird, Indo-Chinese Cuckoo Shrike, Green Bee-Eater, Black-Headed and White-Bellied Woodpeckers, Spotted Owlet, Black-Hooded Oriole, Raffles Malkoha and Rufous Treepie. An amazing morning with 12 lifers and many more in about 4 hours!!


Black-Hooded Oriole
















Indo-Chinese Cuckoo Shrike













Yellow Footed Pigeons

Spotted Owlet














Lesser Yellownape
Greater Flameback
Black-Headed Woodpeckers

Overall a great 3 days birding, with nearly 100 species counted and 30 lifers for Ramesh.




Thursday, March 30, 2017

Kaeng Krachan with Donald Snook


After picking up Don from his hotel in Bangkok at 4am, we headed down to Pak Thale for the Spoon-Billed Sandpipers. Waders and other shore birds. We arrived just after first light only to find that it must have rained during the night as the track up to the pump hut was a mire of mud. I always thought you should lose weight by walking, we must have gained at least 10 kilos on that short walk!!!! Well, with so many birds into moult, the area was awash with reds, blacks and browns as the birds were changing their plumage. A huge flock of Curlews were buzzed by a male Peregrine Falcon causing them to take flight. It seemed the Eurasians were spooked and did a runner, whereas the Easterns remained calm and stayed, probing around in the mud without a care in the world. Although we ticked off 27 species here, sadly the Spoonies failed to show.

Curlews





As we drove off to Kaeng Krachan a huge flock of Painted Storks were observed, with many juveniles present.

Painted Stork
Arriving at Kaeng Krachan, we birded along the access road ticking off Blue-Bearded Bee-Eaters, Black-Thighed Falconets, Racket-Tailed Treepie, Crested Goshawk, Dollarbird and Hill Mynas along with a host of Bulbuls, Barbets and Babblers.

 Black-Thighed Falconet

Blue-Bearded Bee-Eater

Hill Myna  
After a brief walk around the campsite we had a spot of lunch and headed along the streams, ready to travel up to Km 27. After hearing a Crested Jay, we stopped to check it out, only for Don to see it sitting on a nest!!  We headed up the mountain for a great few hours birding. Hi-lights were Long-Tailed Broadbills, White-Browed Piculet, Green Magpie, Great Barbet, Mountain Imperial Pigeon and the Ratchet-Tailed Treepie. On the way out of the park we managed to spot Black and Red Broadbills and a Hawk-Cuckoo. The Hawk Cuckoo flew so quickly into the jungle we didn’t manage to get a positive id.

Day 2. We headed into the park early for a bit of hide work hoping to see the Blue Pitta. We only stayed for around an hour as time was of a premium for the morning. Sadly the Pitta was calling but didn’t show, but we were happy with the few birds that did show. The rest of the morning was spent along the track between the streams. Birds here included, Common and Large Woodshrike, Banded and Silver-Breasted Broadbills, Bar-Winged Flycatcher Shrike, Blue-Winged Leafbirds and a host of Bulbuls.
 After lunch we were treated to a great display of two Silver-Breasted Broadbills fighting, I have never seen this before, one Broadbill with the other’s beak tightly clamped in his and swing it around in the tree!!! A few final birds were Sultan Tits and Green-Eared Barbets.
Green Magpie, 

 Mountain Imperial Pigeon 

Long-Tailed Broadbill

 Ratchet-Tailed Treepie
On the way out of the park we managed to spot Black and Red Broadbills and a Hawk-Cuckoo. The Hawk Cuckoo flew so quickly into the jungle we didn’t manage to get a positive id.
Day 2. We headed into the park early for a bit of hide work hoping to see the Blue Pitta. We only stayed for around an hour as time was of a premium for the morning. Sadly the Pitta was calling but didn’t show, but we were happy with the few birds that did show. The rest of the morning was spent along the track between the streams. Birds here included, Common and Large Woodshrike, Banded and Silver-Breasted Broadbills, Bar-Winged Flycatcher Shrike, Blue-Winged Leafbirds and a host of Bulbuls.
 After lunch we were treated to a great display of two Silver-Breasted Broadbills fighting, I have never seen this before, one Broadbill with the other’s beak tightly clamped in his and swing it around in the tree!!! A few final birds were Sultan Tits and Green-Eared Barbets.
During the drive back we were treated to another great show of Brahimy Kites circling low and picking frogs from a rice paddy

Brahimy Kite
 Another great trip with 96 different species seen and 27 confirmed by sound, bringing the total to 123 birds.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Pu Kieo Wildlife Sanctuary with Paul Farrell



I met up with Paul last week for an overnight trip to Pu Kieo. We met up at 6:30 and set off for the 3 hour drive. We arrived at about 10am and as we drove along the access road, the day’s first tick turned out to be a very nice one indeed. A pair of Collared Scops Owls just a few feet away…. 
Collared Scops Owl
Continuing the drive up we stopped a few times where Blue Pittas were heard, but not seen.
As we arrived at HQ, Eurasian Jays and Red-Billed Blue Magpies were easily observed. We checked in and headed straight to our booked hide. The morning was unusually pretty slow, but still enjoyable. We decided to take a drive around at check out some other points. Again, Blue Pittas were heard very close by but managed to stay out of sight. A Large Woodshrike put on a cool aerial display over a lake and an Osprey passed overhead with a huge fish in its talons. A trip back to the hide for a final hour or so proved to be better than the morning stint with Red-Whiskered Bulbuls, Puff-Throated Bulbuls, Sooty-Headed, Black-Headed and Black-Crested Bulbuls, White-Rumped Shama, Hainan Blue Flycatcher, Black-Throated Laughingthrush and Brown-Cheeked Fulvettas topping the bill… We called it a day after that little flurry of activity and headed for the restaurant.

Black-Crested Bulbul

Black-Throated Laughingthrush

Brown-Cheeked Fulvetta



Hainan Flycatcher








Red Whiskered Bulbul



















Puff-Throated Bulbul
Day 2, we headed straight for the hide again, but nothing much was around yet, so I decided to take a walk around the HQ area. Then, just as we left the hide, there it was….. A male Siamese Fireback was staring straight at me from about 2 metres away !!  We were obviously on “his” track, as he remained staring and grunting at us as if to say ‘Get off of my track !!’

Siamese Fireback
The walk around the HQ area and access road proved rewarding with Red-Billed Blue Magpies and White-Crested Laughingthrushes showing everywhere. A Large Hawk Cuckoo perched briefly, but was gone again before I could get any decent shots off. Other bird of note seen around here were Large Cuckoo-Shrike,   Ashey Minivet, Greater and Lesser Flameback,   Common Iora, Velvet-Fronted Nuthatch, Large Woodshrike and Black-Naped Oriole.


Large Hawk Cuckoo










White-Crested Laughingthrush



Red-Billed Blue Magpie



Velvet-Fronted Nuthatch
We headed out of the sanctuary at about lunchtime and took a slow drive along the access road making a few stops along the way. An Asian Paradise Flycatcher with full tail was seen but he remained too obscured in the undergrowth for any shots.

Overall, a great couple of days birding with 50+ species recorded and a few lifers in the bag for me. It was also great to meet up with Paul. Paul was a great guy to bird with and he certainly knows his stuff at Pu Kieo. Hopefully we will meet again soon for a trip to Doi Lang and Doi San-Ju in Chiang Mai. Watch this space…………

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Birding in Thailand


Thaibirdspot


Firstly, a big thank you to all friends and readers of Thaibirds 'n' Pies for your continued support and following. For anyone who is interested in more reading or birding trips in Thailand I would like to share this link to my main website, Thaibirdspot. My Thaibirdspot website gives information on birding locations around Thailand, interesting articles, trip reports, birding accessories and a gallery of many of the fine birds of Thailand. There is also a Facebook Page and a Facebook Group to accompany the site where I welcome birders to share their images and experiences. Please click on the coloured links to explore more of the wonders of Birding in Thailand and share with your friends.
If you require any more information about birding or birding trips, please drop me a line at thaibirdspot66@gmail.com  Thanks to all again, Brian


Friday, March 17, 2017

Kaeng Krachan with Glen from the UK.



Another 2 day trip to Kaeng Krachan NP got underway Saturday morning. After picking up Glen at 4am, we headed straight to the park. On arrival we birded the access road to Bang Kran campsite and bagged a fair few species, including Blue-Bearded Bee-Eaters, Crested Serpent Eagle, Grey-Rumped Treeswifts, Black-Capped Kingfisher, Black and Red Broadbills, Dollarbirds and a Banded Broadbill.

Blue-Bearded Bee-Eater

Grey-Rumped Treeswift


 After a spot of breakfast, we headed to the streams. Starting at stream 1 we saw Silver-Breasted Broadbills, Sultan Tits, Puff-Throated Babblers, Greater Flameback and Greater Yellownape Woodpeckers. Across to stream 2 and an Orange-Breasted Trogan sat in the open, just a few feet away giving some great photographic opportunities. Asian Fairy Bluebirds, a Buff-Rumped Woodpecker, Forest and Grey Wagtails and Ochraceous Bulbuls were also seen among others. We waited for a while for the Dusky Broadbills but it was a no show, so we decided to head to Km 18 to see if we could get the Blue Pitta. Sadly the Pitta didn’t show either, but there were some nice views of more babblers and White-Rumped Shamas to be had.
Orange-Breasted Trogan

Orange-Breasted Trogan
 After a spot of lunch, we headed back to the streams and began birding between the dam and stream 3. Black and Yellow Broadbills soon showed, followed up with a pair of Velvet-Fronted Nuthatches, a Bar-Winged Flycatcher-shrike and Sultan Tits added to an ever growing list. We were staying in the park for the night, so we headed back for another bite to eat and to set up camp. As Glen walked back from the shower block, he had the lucky experience to observe an Oriental Pied Hornbill raiding the nest of an unlucky Bulbul. One by one the hornbill plucked 4 chicks from the nest and duly swallowed them whole…. Chicken Tikka Masala and Chicken Madras were our specials of the evening… A welcome rain storm cleared the air and cooled things down a little which made for a more comfortable night. During the night we managed to get some great views of Malayan Porcupines and the Malayan Sun Bear.
Greater Flameback Woodpecker

Ochraceous Bulbul
Black and Yellow Broadbill
For the final morning, we decided to head back to the streams in hope of the Dusky Broadbill. The Duskys soon put in a show, ticking all the boxes to complete the set of all the lower level broadbills. The rest of the morning turned up plenty more nice birds including, Blue-Winged Leafbirds, Black-Naped Monarch, Kalij Pheasant, Chestnut-Breasted Malkoha, Grey-Headed Woodpecker, Oriental-Honey Buzzard and not forgetting Glen’s fantastic up close, eye level views of another Banded Broadbill.


Black-Naped Monarch

Grey-Headed Woodpecker

Silver-Breasted Broadbill
The Drive out of the park gave us some nice views of a Crested Goshawk and Black-Thighed Falconets.    A hugely successful couple of days had turned up over forty lifers for Glen. Quite rightly, a very happy chap he was…..

Black-Thighed Falconet

Malayan Sun Bear
If anyone else would like to experience the beauty of Kaeng Krachan National Park, drop me a line at thaibirdspot66@gmail.com