This was my first trip to Huai Kha Khang as from what I had read previously, special permission was needed to enter this wildlife reserve. I was told this was not really the case now and that you can just turn up and pay at the gate. Finally we got there after making a few wrong turns, paid the fees and entered the sanctuary. The 10km entrance road is mainly dry dipterocarp forest with a few areas of grassland and bamboo forest at the lower levels. Towards the end of the road the forest was literally alive with woodpeckers… Groups of 6-8 Black Headed Woodpeckers seemed to be everywhere we looked. Also a good number of Common Flamebacks were seen here too.
Common Flameback Woodpecker
After setting up camp, a good walk about was in order to explore the trails. At the carpark, a ranger pointed out a Lineated Barbet at his hole in the tree right next to the gate house.Towards the memorial area a single White-bellied Woodpecker was seen. Other birds seen in this area were Thick-billed Green Pigeons, Imperial Mountain Pigeons, Greater Racked Tailed Drongos Black-hooded Orioles, Sooty Headed Bulbuls and a White-throated Kingfisher.
Imperial Mountain Pigeon Thick-billed Green Pigeon
After a spot of lunch, we decided to bird along the road leading to the campsite. I was rewarded with some excellent views of a White-bellied Woodpecker and a large flock of Red-billed Blue Magpies.
The Red-billed Blue Magpie is a cracking bird and relatively easy to see, but I just never seem to get them out in the open for a good shot…
A fairly interrupted night ensued as the deer around the campsite were being chased and disturbed around 1am by ………?? What?? I don’t know. Could it have been the “big cat”? To be honest, I really didn’t feel brave enough to venture out for a look.
The next morning we walked the “Home of Tiger” trail. Again, plenty of Black-headed and Flameback Woodpeckers were present. A nice surprise was a pair of Rufous Treepies.
We packed up and decided to bird the access road for a few hours before heading back. Again the forest was brimming with woodpeckers. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to see a Great Slatey Woodpecker, but this park truly is the best place I’ve ever been to for woodpeckers. We walked the “Dry Dipterocarp Forest” trail, but not much was seen here and the blazing sun soon forced us back to the truck.
Around the “Pong Chang Puak” trail area we saw a flock of Red-breasted Parakeets, a pair of Blue-bearded Bee-eaters, another Rufous Treepie and a single Hoopoe
I highly rate this reserve and will be spending some more time here in the very near future. Unfortunately, I was very limited for time this week, so we didn’t have time for the observation towers or to bird the “Khao Hin Daeng” trail. I am thinking around Christmas/ New Year, so if anyone would like to join me get in touch or leave a comment below…….
I will be writing a new description with maps for http://www.thaibirdspot.com soon, so look out for that one coming soon….