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Peter Ericsson | profile | all galleries >> Tripreports! >> : Krung Ching Aug 2008 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

: Krung Ching Aug 2008

KRUNG CHING, KHAO LUANG NATIONAL PARK, NAKORN SRI THAMMARAT 26-27/8/08


Where does one go for birding in the South of Thailand? Obvious answer to that is Khao Nor Chu Chi and Gurney’s Pitta. Then what? Mangroves of Krabi are pretty good but how about something more exotic filled with Hornbills and exotic tropical rain forest species? The obvious answer is: Hala Bala. Now, the main problem with that is the imminent danger to life. Should one risk his life for a thrill (birds)? To me, the answer is clearly a no. The bloodshed in the deep South is astonishing with lots of brutal killings taking place daily.

So, at the back of my head I have been wanting to visit Krung Ching waterfall at Khao Luang National Park in Nakorn Sri Thammarat for a long time.

Krung Ching is a sub station of the park placed at the very Northern tip of the park.
One either has to get to Surat Thani or Nakorn Sri Tammaraht before driving towards the park.

I had some things to take care of in Phuket and Pangnga and decided to head there.
I made a call to reserve a bungalow (600Baht/night) and arrived at 6 pm.
No food available as it was weekday but a small store offered the mandatory dried Mama noodles and that was my staple for the next 4 meals. (I made up for it once back home).

It was very invigorating to see the rather massive mountains in this part of the country. Something I hadn’t seen before. The highest peak in the park is over 1800 meters and hold some good montane birdlife.

The visitor centre is surrounded by greenery and has a few ponds full of fish.
A female adult Buffy Fish Owl and her young off spring showed real well and allowed for close approach. Javan Frogmouth is fairly common here but though I heard it several times I failed to connect with it.
Another wanted bird often seen is Wallace’s Hawk Eagle. I also dipped on this one.

Now, what did I see then? First of all I must say that it is such a nice change to simply hear the sounds of the Southern forest as it is rather different from the Central and Northern region. The very distinct calls of Green Broadbills rang clearly and the birds responded well to playback. What a cracking bird that is!

My first morning walk was met with a flock of at least 6 White-crowned Hornbills in a fruting tree with the songs of Dark-throated Oriole, Red-throated Barbet and Gold-whiskered Barbets filling the air.

The trail to the waterfall is 3700 metes long and starts out quite steeply after a couple of hundred meters. Once this initial climb is done it is easy walking.

A couple of Scarlet-rumped Trogons sang in the early morning and one showed well.
Several types of Babblers naturally were around: Grey-headed, Chestnut-winged, Scaly-crowned being some of them. Black-yellow Broadbill was common and pretty easy to see. A flock of Dusky Broadbills were unmistakable. Several Rufos-winged Philentomas showed well.

I walked the trail about half way and would return to the start yet to come back again later on. I came across a nice male Banded Pitta on the trail but no pictures.

The forest here at about 3-400meters level was quite healthy with many large trees. The canopy actually is very high and hard to see through. Once outside of the trail I had looks at Silver-rumped Needletails, Glossy Swiftlets and even a few Germain’s Swiftlets.

I only stayed for a day and a morning but it was well worth the long drive I had to do from Phuket town. Still, I managed to drive all the way back to Bangkok on the day of return (800some km).

So, was it as good as Hala Bala? Certainly not, as not much can beat HB but for me it was a nice learning experience even though I didn’t add any new species to my Thai list.
Trying to get pictures and identifying what I saw kept me happy.



Birdlist


Banded Bay Cuckoo 2 heard
Violet Cuckoo 1 seen
Drongo Cuckoo 3 heard
White-rumped Shama 5 seen
Grey Wagtail 2 seen
Grey-cheeked Bulbul 5-6 pairs seen
Red-eyed Bulbul 2 seen
Yellow-bellied Bulbul 1 seen
Ocraceous Bulbul 4 seen
Grey-headed Babbler 2 flocks seen
Chestnut-winged Babbler 1 flock seen several heard
Scaly-crowned Babbler 1 seen
Moustached Babbler, heard
Black-capped Babbler, heard
Striped Tit Babbler plenty
Puff-throated Babbler plenty
Glossy Swiftlet 1 seen
Raffle’s Malkoha 1 seen
Chestnut-bellied Malkoha 4 seen
Yellow-black Brodbill 2 seen, many heard
Green Broadbill 4 seen
Dusky Broadbill 3 seen
Buffy Fish Owl 2 seen
Collared Scops Owl 1 seen
Asian Fairy Bluebird 3 seen, many heard
Dark-throated Oriole 3 seen
Dark-necked Tailorbird plenty
Rufous-winged Flycatcher 2 seen
Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker 1 seen
Red-throated Barbet 3 seen, many heard
Gold-whiskered Barbet many heard
Brown Barbet 3 seen
Blue-eared Barbet many heard
White-crowned Hornbill flock of 6 seen
Bushy Crested Hornbill (3 seen against the sky flying away, not 100% sure of the ID)
Great Iora 2 seen
Green Iora 1 seen
Grey-headed Flycatcher plenty
Hill Blue Flycatcher 1 heard
Little Spiderhunter common, 2 seen
Banded Kingfisher 2 heard
Scarlet-backed Trogon 2 seen
Orange-breasted Trogon 1 heard
Banded Pitta 1 seen


5-8/5 2009

It took almost a year to get back to this wonderful place. A few months back a Thai photographer had located a very rare Malaysian Rail Babbler and photgraphed it. I followed the developments on Thai websites and simply felt that I 'had to go'. For years I have wanted to see this bird but the unrest in the deep South has made it impossible to visit Hala Bala, the preferred site for the bird.

A friend of mine, Alex Vargas, joined me for this stint and we set out in pursue of the Babbler.
Other target birds for me was Diard's and Cinnamon-rumped Trogon, Wallace's Hawk Eagle, Maroon-breasted Flycatcher and Javan Frogmouth.

We managed to squeeze in our trip right inbetween Thai holidays. Upon arrival we were informed that no one had tried for the Babbler that day as they felt the bird needed a rest.
The next day we set up our blind and waited. A couple of rangers and Mr Narong who found the bird set out along the trail to lure the bird towards our spot. They used playback of its long drawn out call. After hours of searching and moving the birds towards the blind it finally came. However it refused to show. Instead we had to wait till the next day when the same procedure had to take place again. This time they found the bird a lot closer and it didn't take that long for it to come around. It was decided not to use flash as the bird is very skittish. It was dark and difficult to get a good shot but at least I did get a few. We watched it come and go for a couple of hours and gave space to others on the narrow trail.

A pair of Wallace's Hawk Eagles were nesting high on a branch and gave distant views.

Diard's Trogons kept calling and showed on all 3 days. Wonderful to catch up with this bird.

Javan Frogmouth had abandoned its nest after 10 days of incubating the eggs. (it was photographed extensively)

A surprise Green-backed Flycatcher (split from Narcissus) gave me my 4th lifer of the trip and 745 for my Thai list.

Some other noteworthy birds encountered:
Banded Pitta
Orange-headed Trogon
Scarlet-rumped Trogon
White-crowned Forktail
Banded Kingfisher
Blue-eared Kingfisher
Rufous-winged Flycatcher
Buffy Fish Owl
Brown Wood Owl
Short-tailed Babbler
Ferruginous Babbler
Brown Barbet
Green Broadbill
Grey-headed Babbler
Grey-headed Babbler
Buffy Fish Owl
Buffy Fish Owl
Grey-headed Babbler
Grey-headed Babbler
Buffy Fish Owl
Buffy Fish Owl
Rufous-winged Philentoma
Rufous-winged Philentoma
Green Broadbill
Green Broadbill
Scarlet-rumped Trogon
Scarlet-rumped Trogon
Red-throated Barbet
Red-throated Barbet
Great Iora
Great Iora
Black-yellow Broadbill
Black-yellow Broadbill
Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker
Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker
Scaly-crowned Babbler
Scaly-crowned Babbler
Buffy Fish Owl
Buffy Fish Owl
Red-throated Barbet
Red-throated Barbet
Sunda Scops Owl
Sunda Scops Owl
lodging
lodging
trail
trail
visitor center
visitor center
Lush forest
Lush forest
Malaysian Rail Babbler
Malaysian Rail Babbler
Malaysian Rail Babbler
Malaysian Rail Babbler