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Peter Ericsson | profile | all galleries >> Tripreports! >> Central Thailand Dec/Jan 2015-16 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Central Thailand Dec/Jan 2015-16

Central Thailand 20th Dec Ė 2nd of Jan 2-106
Tour operator: Birding2Asia
Tour leader and guide: Peter Ericsson
Participants: Steve, Peilin and Sierra Glassman

This trip was always going to be different. I normally wouldnít accept a request over Christmas and this one also included New Yearís. However, circumstances made it possible for me to have a different Season all together this year.

Peilin and Steve Glassman from California love to take their daughter, Sierra, 10, to far flung places where birds are found. After they had spent 1 week in Taiwan they asked for a 13 day tour of Central Thailand stating that their daughter was the only real birder. Wow! Since when have I had the privilege to mentor such a young person in the field of birding?

21th Dec. I picked up the team at Dom Muang airport which was as jam packed with travelers and traffic as ever. It was virtually impossible to find parking.

We then whisked off to our hotel near Suwanaphum airport where we could leave some luggage to be picked up later on before leaving the country.

22st Crazy traffic as usual but we arrived at the fish ponds by the Ancient City in Samut Prakan after having sampled some Thai breakfast Ďoutsideí of a 7-11 convenience store (most folks prefer inside)!

The ponds on the right hand side of the trail no longer have water. According to the locals the owner of the land, big industrialists, are planning to develop it. On the left side the ponds were still filled with water and slowly we started to add one species after the other. The site is good for White-browed Crake and Striated Warbler, species otherwise not often seen on a trip in Central Thailand except for at Beung Borapet 3 hours North of Bangkok.

There were thousands of Brown-headed Gulls at Bangpoo and fun time both photographing and feeding them, the latter a common practice by the locals. We also visited a permanent hide in the hinterlands where we saw some shorebirds.

A 3 hour drive to Khao Yai had us arrive in time for Red-breasted Parakeets coming in to their communal roosts. The area is rapidly being developed with high end enterprises as Bangkokians are seeking refuge from the stress and heat of Bangkok in greater numbers than ever.

23nd The gates open at 6 am and we soon found ourselves at the 1st lookout inside of Khao Yai National Park. The vantage point is very good and one can spend a long time enjoying the bird activity in the early morning.

Khao Yai has a lot of different habitat/birding spots and throughout the day we explored most of them. I had great fun showing Sierra the local birds and both mom and dad were right in with her with their enthusiasm. Everything was new to them and greatly appreciated. We did see Siamese Fireback but not Silver Pheasant as a landslide had made it impossible to drive up to Khao Kaew radar station.

Best sighting for the day otherwise goes to the huge male elephant walking ahead of us on the road while driving back. Thankfully it ventured off the road after 10 minutes and we could go on to our hotel.

Peilin and Steve simply loved the Thai food and it was a lot of fun for me to come up with the best combinations for our meals. Thankfully I have been here long enough to know where the good food is!

24rd Another morning at KY. Breakfast at the local breakfast stall by the road is not only about food but blending in with the culture and the life of the people of Thailand. Anyone that has been with me here knows the great ambiance it has in the early morning hour as the birds wake up.

This day we had some fantastic views of Great Hornbills with their swooshing wing beats. We watched the birds at length as they fed in a fruiting fig tree.

After another sumptuous lunch we drove to Nakon Sawan, near Beung Borpet. Here we found another lovely restaurant and Steve and Peilin were able to have Thai traditional massage on the room.
25th. Early morning at Beung Borapet where we met up with the boatman. We spent 5 hours on the lake taking in a lot of avi fauna with stunning flocks of thousands of Garganies, Cotton Pygmy Geese, the very rare Common Pochard (rare in Thailand), Pheasant-tailed Jacanas and much more. (Only 2 weeks later Baerís Pochard arrived on the lake).

A drive through country roads had us arrive at Mae Wong National Park in the late afternoon. The park is situated in lower Northern Thailand and not all that far from Bangkok (5-6 hours)
26th. Early drive to get to the top in time for sun rise. The park is to be avoided during weekends but even this day there was a handsome amount of campers at Chong Yen. It did little to hamper our birding adventures as we clocked in a number of good species including Grey Peacock Pheasant, Rufus-throated Partridges, Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler, White-necked Laughingthrushes, Speckled Piculet, Silver-eared Mesia, Silver-eared Laughingthrush and more.

We did not experience any troubles with the sand flies this time and had a lovely stay on higher ground for the entire day with an improvised pick-nick lunch.

27th We decided to skip the morning up to Chong Yen based on the fact that we had a long drive ahead of us. This is one of the advantages of customized tours. The clients can choose and we can alter things as we go.

Then in the afternoon after having travelled to Lampakbia in Petchaburi we had a lovely boat ride through the mangroves with exceptional close views of Chinese Egret as. For some reason not many gulls on the sand bar as they were resting in the sea instead. Malaysian Plovers performed well though and Sierra and her mom got to swim in the sea.

We also visited some salt pans but did not see the Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

28th Best place to stay near Kaengkrachan is Baan Maka resort. This is 90% used by birders, has lovely garden grounds, friendly staff, good food and services. Only drawback is the rather limited WiFi connection.

The whole day was spent on lower levels. Lots of birds to see for a first time visit. Sierra loved it and so did her parents. Not only did we see many nice birds but also some mammals: Dusky Langur, Stump-tailed Macaques, White-handed Gibbons, Giant Squirrel and Porcupine. Butterflies were in abundance and both mommy and daughter kept working away with their cameras. Sierra had a lovely technique of not using binoculars but a 60x zoom camera. With her young eyes and the camera she was able to get on to a lot of birds with great skill.

In the evenings she also surprised me with what ease she would take the lead doing the checklist. She had obviously paid attention to a lot that she had heard throughout the day. A very sharp and charming little lady.

29th All day at higher levels. It was a bit slow up here but the scenery made up for any lack of birds.

Looking into the vastness of the Tenassarim mountain range while listening to the Ďsinging monkeysí, the Gibbons, is just an awesome experience.

Everyone was hoping to see Trogons and since we had had excellent views of an Orange-breasted one the day before we all hoped for the Red-headed to show. Seemingly out of nowhere at 3:30 pm a pair showed up right next to us! A moment to be remembered!

Sumptuous dinner again and since a Collared Scops Owl was calling nearby we simply had to break away for some close looks!

30th A whole day at Lung Sinís waterhole was next. I must say it is admirable for a 10 year old girl to sit in full attention for a full 8 hours like this. In the end we had 21 species and it could have been more. The highlight came at 17:45 when a Slaty-legged Crake came to bathe. Well, Kalij Pheasent, Scaly-breasted and Bar-backed Partridges were not too shabby either!

For lunch we had a change at a nice restaurant by Kaengkrachan dam. After lunch the Glassmanís hired a boat for some sightseeing and to feed fruit to the Long-tailed Macaques out on the island while I was resting.

31st Morning at a dry forest an hour away from Baan Maka did not produce the hoped for Black-headed Woodpeckers but did yield some other new birds: Asian Barred Owlet, Lineated Barbet and Rufus Treepie. After lunch everyone, except me, opted to swim in the ocean. Lots of Thai tourists around this time.

1st All day with shore birds! This time we had long and good views of 2 Spoon-billed Sandpipers. We also added 12 Nordmannís Greenshanks to the list. There were lots of tourists in the area which made me appreciate the relative absence of people inside the park. Another swim for the Glassmanís!
Evening at the Kingís mangrove project where we waited until thousands upon thousands of fruit bat flew out of the mangroves for the night. We also saw Ruddy-breasted Crake and Slaty-breasted Rail!
2nd Back to the project to catch the morning light and then fields of Petchaburi before a drive to Bangkok and settling into the hotel.

In the late afternoon I took Sierra, Peilin and Steve to a well known historical temple with a water market nearby for a bit of culture and that is where our ways parted.
They were very happy with the trip and all the birds encountered!

1. Bar-backed Partridge
2. Scaly-breasted Partridge
3. Rufus-throated Partridge
4. Red Junglefowl
5. Kalij Pheasant
6. Siamese Fireback
7. Grey Peacock Pheasant
8. Lesser Whistling-duck
9. Tufted Duck - 2
10. Common Pochard - 3
11. Cotton Pygmy-goose
12. Gargeney
13. Little Grebe
14. Painted Stork
15. Asian Openbill
16. Black-headed Ibis
17. Yellow Bittern
18. Cinnamon Bittern
19. Chinese Pond Heron
20. Javan Pond Heron
21. Eastern Cattle Egret
22. Grey Heron
23. Purple Heron
24. Eastern Great Egret
25. Intermediate Egret
26. Little Egret
27. Pacific Reef Egret
28. Chinese Egret
29. Little Cormorant
30. Indian Cormorant
31. Oriental Darter
32. Western Osprey
33. Oriental Honey-buzzard
34. Black-winged Kite
35. Black-eared Kite
36. Brahminy Kite
37. Crested Serpent Eagle
38. Eastern Marsh Harrier
39. Crested Goshawk
40. Shikra
41. Rufus-bellied Eagle
42. Black-thighed Falconet
43. Slaty-legged Crake
44. Ruddy-breasted Rail
45. White-breasted Waterhen
46. Baillonís Crake
47. Ruddy-breasted Crake
48. White-browed Crake
49. Watercock
50. Purple Swamphen
51. Common Moorhen
52. Eurasian Coot
53. Black-winged Stilt
54. Pied Avocet
55. Grey-headed Lapwing
56. Red-wattled Lapwing
57. Pacific Golden Plover
58. Grey Plover
59. Little Ringed Plover
60. Kentish Plover
61. White-faced Plover
62. Malasyian Plover
63. Lesser Sand Plover
64. Greater Sand Plover
65. Pheasant-tailed Jacana
66. Bronze-winged Jacana
67. Common Snipe
68. Black-tailed Godwit
69. Bar-tailed Godwit
70. Eurasian Curlew
71. Far Eastern Curlew
72. Spotted Redshank
73. Common Redshank
74. Marsh Sandpiper
75. Common Greenshank
76. Nordmannís greenshank - 12
77. Wood Sandpiper
78. Common Sandpiper
79. Great Knot
80. Red Knot
81. Sanderling
82. Red-necked Stint
83. Long-toed Stint
84. Curlew Sandpiper
85. Dunlin - 1
86. Spoon-billed Sandpiper Ė 2
87. Broad-billed Sandpiper
88. Ruff
89. Brown-headed Gull
90. Black-headed Gull
91. Pallasís Gull
92. Caspian Tern
93. Gull-billed Tern
94. Common Tern
95. Whiskered Tern
96. White-winged Tern
97. Rock Pigeon
98. Red Collared Dove
99. Spotted Dove
100. Emerald Dove
101. Zebra Dove
102. Pink-necked Dove
103. Thick-billed Green Pigeon
104. Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon
105. Mountain Imperial Pigeon
106. Vernal Hanging Parrot
107. Red-breasted Parakeet
108. Greater Coucal
109. Chestnut-breasted Malkoha
110. Green-billed Malkoha
111. Asian Koel
112. Banded Bay Cuckoo
113. Plaintive Cuckoo
114. Square-tailed Drongo Cuckoo
115. Collared Scops Owl
116. Asian Barred Owlet
117. Collared Owlet
118. Germainís Swiftlet
119. Brown-backed Needletail
120. Asian Palm Swift
121. Orange-breasted Trogon
122. Red-headed Trogon
123. Oriental Dollarbird
124. Indian Roller
125. White-throated Kingfisher
126. Black-capped Kingfisher
127. Collared Kingfisher
128. Common Kingfisher
129. Blue-bearded Bee-eater
130. Chestnut-headed Bee-eater
131. Green Bee-eater
132. Blue-tailed Bee-eater
133. Eurasian Hoopoe
134. Oriental Pied Hornbill
135. Great Hornbill
136. Wreathed Hornbill
137. Great Barbet
138. Coppersmith Barbet
139. Speckled Piculet
140. Heart-spotted Woodpecker
141. Common Flameback
142. Greater Flameback
143. Greater Yellownape
144. Long-tailed Broadbill
145. Dusky Broadbill
146. Golden-bellied Gerygone
147. Ashy Woodswallow
148. Common Iora
149. Large Cuckooshrike
150. Black-winged Cuckooshrike
151. Brown-rumped Minivet
152. Grey-chinned Minivet
153. Scarlet Minivet
154. Brown Shrike
155. Grey-backed Shrike
156. White-bellied Erpornis
157. Blythís Shrike-Babbler
158. Black-naped Oriole
159. Black Drongo
160. Ashy Drongo
161. Bronzed Drongo
162. Hair-crested Drongo
163. Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo
164. Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
165. White-throated Fantail
166. Pied Fantail
167. Black-naped Monarch
168. Asian Paradise Flycatcher
169. Common Green Magpie
170. Rufus Treepie
171. Grey Treepie
172. Eastern Jungle Crow
173. Grey-headed Canary-flyatcher
174. Sultan Tit
175. Australasian Bushlark
176. Black-headed Bulbul
177. Black-crested Bulbul
178. Sooty-headed Bulbul
179. Stripe-throated Bulbul
180. Flavescent Bulbul
181. Yellow-vented Bulbul
182. Streak-eared Bulbul
183. Puff-throated Bulbul
184. Ochraceous Bulbul
185. Grey-eyed Bulbul
186. Buff-vented Bulbul
187. Mountain Bulbul
188. Ashy Bulbul
189. Barn Swallow
190. Red-rumped Swallow
191. Dusky Warbler
192. Raddeís Warbler
193. Yellow-browed Leaf Warbler
194. Two-barred Warbler
195. Sulphur-breasted Warbler
196. Marteníts Warbler
197. Alstromís Warbler
198. Oriental Reed Warbler
199. Black-browed Reed Warbler
200. Striated Warbler
201. Zitting Cisticola
202. Yellow-bellied Prinia
203. Plain Prinia
204. Common Tailorbird
205. Dark-necked Tailorbird
206. Large Scimitar Babbler
207. White-browed Scimitar Babbler
208. Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler
209. Grey-throated Babbler
210. Rufous-fronted Babbler
211. Golden Babbler
212. Pin-striped Tit Babbler
213. Silver-eared Mesia
214. Brown-cheeked Fulvetta
215. Yunnan Fulvetta
216. Collared Babbler
217. Puff-throated Babbler
218. Buff-breasted Babbler
219. White-crested Laughingthrush
220. Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush
221. Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush
222. Black-throated Laughingthrush
223. Silver-eared Laughingthrush
224. White-necked Laughingthrush
225. Chestnut-flanked White-eye
226. Oriental White-eye
227. Asian Fairy Bluebird
228. Velvet-fronted Nuthatch
229. Golden-crested Myna
230. Common Hill Myna
231. White-vented Myna
232. Common Myna
233. Asian Pied Myna
234. Chestnut-tailed Myna
235. Eyebrowed Thrush
236. Oriental Magpie Robin
237. White-rumped Shama
238. Dark-sided Flycatcher
239. Asian Brown Flycatcher
240. Verditer Flycatcher
241. Hainan Blue Flycatcher
242. Tickellís Blue Flycatcher
243. Chinese Blue Flycatcher
244. Siberian Blue Robin
245. White-crowned Forktail
246. Blue Whistlingthrush
247. Stejnegri Stonechat
248. Blue-winged Leafbird
249. Golden-fronted Leafbird
250. Fire-breasted Flowerpecker
251. Buff-vented Flowerpecker
252. Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker
253. Brown-throated sunbird
254. Olive-backed Sunbird
255. Black-throated Sunbird
256. Little Spiderhunter
257. Streaked Spiderhunter
258. House Sparrow
259. Eurasian Tree Sparrow
260. Asian Golden Weaver
261. Baya Weaver
262. Scaly-breasted Munia
263. Chestnut Munia
264. Eastern Yellow Wagtail
265. Richardís Pipit
266. Paddyfield Pipit
Sierra and Peter
Sierra and Peter
Peter and Sierra
Peter and Sierra
Sierra, Peilin and Steve Glassman
Sierra, Peilin and Steve Glassman
Coot
Coot
Purple Heron
Purple Heron
Yellow Bittern
Yellow Bittern
Chinese Egret
Chinese Egret
Pheasant-tailed Jacana
Pheasant-tailed Jacana
Oriental Darter
Oriental Darter
Sanderling
Sanderling
Common Greenshank
Common Greenshank
White-throated Kingfisher
White-throated Kingfisher
Western Osprey
Western Osprey
Grey Peacock Pheasant
Grey Peacock Pheasant
Kalij Pheasant
Kalij Pheasant
Bar-backed Partridge
Bar-backed Partridge
Rufous-throated Partridge
Rufous-throated Partridge
Slaty-legged Crake
Slaty-legged Crake
Pied Hornbill
Pied Hornbill
Great Hornbill
Great Hornbill
Great Hornbill
Great Hornbill
Great Hornbill
Great Hornbill
Hair-crested Drongo
Hair-crested Drongo
Drongo Cuckoo
Drongo Cuckoo
Ashy Drongo
Ashy Drongo
Grey Treepie
Grey Treepie
White-necked Laughingthrush
White-necked Laughingthrush
Black-throated Laughingthrush
Black-throated Laughingthrush
Asian Pied Starling
Asian Pied Starling
Orange-breasted Trogon
Orange-breasted Trogon
Orange-breasted Trogon
Orange-breasted Trogon
Red-headed Trogon
Red-headed Trogon
Red-headed Trogon, male
Red-headed Trogon, male
Grey-eyed Bulbul
Grey-eyed Bulbul
Grey-eyed Bulbul
Grey-eyed Bulbul
Brown-rumped Minivet
Brown-rumped Minivet
Striated Warbler
Striated Warbler
Black-throated Sunbird
Black-throated Sunbird
Yellow-bellied Prinia
Yellow-bellied Prinia
Sultan's Tit
Sultan's Tit
Ahlstrom's Warbler
Ahlstrom's Warbler
Siberian Blue Robin
Siberian Blue Robin
Citrine Wagtail
Citrine Wagtail