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Peter Ericsson | profile | all galleries >> Tripreports! >> Kaengkrachan and Khao Yai 3rd-8th of May, 2012 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Kaengkrachan and Khao Yai 3rd-8th of May, 2012

Kaengkrachan and Khao Yai 3-8th June, 2012

Geoff Dobbs had problems with his credit card and realized he couldn’t hire a car while in Thailand. Instead, this independent world birder decided to contact me.
This was in direct answer to prayer as I really wanted some time in the field. The rainy season
has a lot to offer and I enjoy seeing the changes in nature as the seasons progress.

Geoff has a world list approaching 7000 species so his target list was only about 30 species with Blue and Eared Pitta being priority.

I met Geoff at the airport and we headed on our way to Petchaburi.
There are some reedbeds that hold nesting colonies of all 3 Weavers occurring in Thailand and it didn’t take long before lifer #1 was in sight: Asian Golden Weaver.

Next on the agenda was the localized Plain-backed Sparrow. Not too hard to find inspite of the ever increasing House Sparrow seemingly taking over.

We then headed to an area of dry dipterocarp forest on the way to Kaengkrachan. This type of forest hold the enigmatic Black-headed Woodpecker, a fantastic looking woodie. After some search we had a group of 3 on a tree.

Some nice Thai food, air-conditioned bungalow and needed rest before our drive inside the park next morning.

We put priority on the harder to find birds and headed strait for the area between the 3 streams. But first we paid a short visit to Bahn Song Nok where the owner told us that no Partridges are showing at the water hole in the wet season. Well, she had a handsome Green-eared Barbet at her feeder so that was reward enough and lifer #4.
We did enter some very thick scrub in pursuit of a calling Chinese Francolin, another bird on the list, but never connected with it.

One of the 1st birds at the streams was Streak-breasted Woodpecker another lifer.
Many many nests of Silver-breasted Broadbills and a flock of Dusky Broadbills gave nice views but no other lifers for that day. The day roost of White-fronted Scops Owl had been disturbed (a huge tree had fallen near to it).
I taped in a Hainan blue Flycatcher inside the forest: lifer #6!

No Pittas seen but a few heard. With good hope we set up our tents and waited for Owls to call.
It wasn’t very good weather for owls but slowly they started to come alive. This time Oriental Bay Owl didn’t call at all in stark contrast to the week before when I had photographed it.
Instead we headed to the 2nd stream where 2 White-fronted Scops Owl were calling. It didn’t take long before we had one in the torch light! Yeah! #7!

Back to the tent, couldn’t sleep…….why they make these tents so small???
Brown Hawk Owl came near so I got up and grabbed my camera for a few flash shots.

The next couple of days we concentrated on finding the Pittas. Saw a few Blue-winged and heard Hooded, Blue and several Eared. Were rewarded with a pair of Scaly-breasted Partridges along a trail: #8!

Then on Tuesday morning by the 3rd stream a Blue Pitta was calling very close. This individual responded very well as I played the call from the car. It kept crossing the road and circling the car.
Such precious moments with this jewel of a bird. Geoff was elated: #9!

Rusty-cheeked Hornbill strangely didn’t not call or show themselves this time. However a pair of Blue-bearded Bee-eater was rather high on the wanted list and gave lifer #10!

Geoff had developed a problem with an eye and carried some kind of flue with him from cold England. We opted to drive to Bangkok to get him some medical aid and for a night of rest.

Up early next morning and arrived at Wutpraphuttabaht Noi Temple at 6:30……Lime-stone Wren Babblers were singing all over the place. The subspecies found here is only found in Thailand and might be declared full species one day! Who knows! #11!

Off to Khao Yai and a couple of easy ticks: Grey-eyed Bulbul, Puff-throated Bulbul and Moustached Barbet!

Then the search for Eared Pitta, Siamese Fireback, Silver Pheasent and Coral-billed Ground Cuckoo began. We spend two whole days not seeing any of them. Had one Cuckoo rather close but no views.

At the top of Khao Kaew we saw a handsome Black-throated Laughingthrush out in the open.
A Kloss's Leaf Warbler (resident here) showed briefly. #15
This turned out to be another lifer for Geoff:#16!

Some groups of Barred Cuckoo Doves take to one of the salt licks at KY. They are very shy but still gave good enough views for #17!

Then the last morning came and a lot of rain. Suddenly, there it was, a male Siamese Fireback on the road! Cause for joy!

We kept walking trails in spite of leeches and no signs of what we wanted. It wasn’t until we tried the trail from PaKloayMai campsite to Haew Suwat waterfall that the magic happened!
Not only did a Blue Pitta come in full view but an Eared Pitta gave full views while singing from rather high up in a tree across the stream! Not to say the least, Geoff was elated!

On the way back to Bangkok I thought we should have a look at the Military Academy at Nakorn Nayok. This is a very birdy area with lots of lawns, forest, reeds, scrub etc etc. I often see Vinous-breasted Starlings here but this time we couldn’t find any. Meanwhile Indo-chinese Bushlark showed well. #20! I told Geoff that there annually is a breeding Malayan Night Heron in the area during the wet season. About a minute later we saw it on a lawn! So, I stopped, decided to have some fun and got my pop up hide out of the trunk. With the hide over me I walked up towards the bird. The ‘walking bush’ was ok for the Heron that let me get close enough for some shots. Meanwhile Geoff had connected with the Starlings and his last lifer: #21!


Some other good birds seen:
Great Slaty Woodpecker
Greater Yellownape
Banded Broadbill
Black-red Broadbill
Blue-eared Kingfisher
Stork-billed Kingfisher
Black-backed Kingfisher
Banded Kingfisher
Green Magpie
Orange-headed Thrush (at Khao Kaew radar station, a confirmation that the birds breed in KY on higher grounds)
Orange-breasted Trogon
Great Hornbill
Black Bittern
Black-collared Starling
Sultan’s Tit
Black-throated Sunbird
Velvet-fronted Nuthatch











Blue Pitta
Blue Pitta
Blue Pitta
Blue Pitta
Blue Pitta
Blue Pitta
Black-throated Laughingthrush
Black-throated Laughingthrush
Golden-headed Cisticola
Golden-headed Cisticola
Great Slaty Woodpecker
Great Slaty Woodpecker
Greater Yellownape
Greater Yellownape
Black-headed Woodpecker
Black-headed Woodpecker
Orange-breasted Trogon
Orange-breasted Trogon
Malayan Night Heron
Malayan Night Heron
Malayan Night Heron
Malayan Night Heron
Geoff Dobbs
Geoff Dobbs