Saturday, April 26, 2014

Chaloem Phrakiat

 Uncharted Territory

So, with the school holidays running down fast I had to check out Chaloem Phrakiat NP in Ratchaburi. I've been meaning to do this for quite a while now. I finally found this relatively unknown NP on my GPS and off we headed. Only 2 hours from BKK surprised me (closer than KK). When we arrived you could see that things are pretty basic, one toilet block was about it .... Didn't see a shower block or restaurant.. The upside to this though was we didn't really see any rubbish.


Just outside the park we stopped and watched an industrious pair of Black Bazas collecting twigs and building their nest. A fantastic bird with its majestic crest.

Black Baza

Inside the park, the drive along the lake to the first stream crossing turned up about a dozen  Blue Magpies, Streak Eared Bulbuls, Spotted Doves and a single Rufous Treepie. We also caught glimpses of unknown partridges in the bamboo undergrowth. The forest here is quite dense bamboo along this lower level making photography a real chore... For most of my pictures manual focus had to be used. Across the stream, over the damn and on to the next stream crossing didn't turn up too much, but various Barbets were calling from the treetops and a Woodpecker drumming for his lunch. There were many other birds singing and calling, but I'm not too great on song identification. The road wasn't too bad, apart from some serious erosion as you cross the damn, but a 4x4 is definitely needed to cross the river to the next level ( I think a 4x4 will be needed for all roads in this park once the rains start) I was a little apprehensive about crossing here as we were the only people in the park that day and it would have been a dam long walk back if we had got bogged down!!! So we decided to head half way back down for a spot of lunch and a coffee. Along the way back more Blue Magpies, Greater Racket -Tailed Drongos and White Rumped Shamas. So I could have kicked myself..... sitting just across the first stream in a nice little bamboo clearing drinking a nice cup of coffee a pair of White Browed Piculets hopped onto the bamboo no more than three metres in front of me... My camera was in the truck!!!!!!!!! Dammit!!!  Still a nice tick.. We left the park around 3pm and headed back. About 2km out a huge storm blew up, trees falling and only about ten metres visibility. Then another first for me in 15 years of living in Thailand.... Hail.. Yes, really hailstones.. Not big, but big enough to deafen me as they fell on the truck's tin roof... I have never seen or heard of hail in central or southern Thailand...
Overall the day was good and I have really high hopes for this place ..I will be back there next week as I think it will definitely turn up more surprises.

Rufous Treepie.

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