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 2011 July - 7 days trip around central peninsular Thailand
Edward Nygren was on a visit from Korea and booked a trip with us at the last minute after having South Thailand Birding recommended to him by a friend. We had seven days to play with so we put together an itinerary to visit the various national parks in our local provinces. Open areas were generally avoided due to the fact that many of the open area birds are winter visitors and are not around at the moment.  Saying this, we started our tour at the marshes at Thai Muang.

Day 1 – Thai Muang marshes & Sri Phang Nga NP

We picked up Edward during the morning at Phuket Airport and went straight to Thai Muang. The marshes were very quiet compared to a visit during the wet season. A variety of birds were present though including Lesser Whistling Duck, White-breasted Waterhen, Black-winged Stilt and Watercock.

We stopped off in Thai Muang town briefly to see the Black-nest Swiftlets  as these are always around.

After lunch at a beach restaurant we went to our Spotted Wood Owl stake out. Two birds were seen as we moved through the coastal scrub. Lineated Barbet were common in the area as were the usual Bulbuls and Tailorbirds. The best bird of the day was a Little Bronze Cuckoo, a bird we rarely get to see.

In the late afternoon we moved up to Sri Phang Nga NP. On the way in we stopped to admire a group of Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters. We spent our time around the HQ and campsite in the hope of seeing some hornbills. We were rewarded by a pair of Great Hornbills flying over.


Day 2 – Sri Phang Nga NP & Khao Sok NP

We returned to Sri Phang Nga NP. A little before the entrance gate we found a Blue-winged Pitta. In the same spot we also got a Plaintive Cuckoo, Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrikes, and a pair of Green Iora.

In the park we went straight into the forest. A Rufous-fronted Babbler had caught a spider and posed nicely for us. Yellow-bellied Warblers came into call and both Raffles's Malkoha and Chestnut-breasted Malkoha passed by. We next went looking for the two pairs of Rufous-collared Kingfisher that live along the riverside. They called from the forest but were only seen in flight.

Whiskered Treeswift and Silver-rumped Spinetail were hunting above the dam and a Green Broadbill was seen at the start of the nature trail.

Along the main waterfall trail we found a variety of Babblers including Grey-throated Babbler, Chestnut-winged Babbler, Pin-striped Tit-Babbler, Abbott's Babbler, Moustached Babbler and Black-capped Babbler. A Maroon Woodpecker also showed very well and a Chestnut-naped Forktail was seen in flight.

On our way to Khao Sok NP in the afternoon we stopped off at the river to look for River Lapwings. The river was very high with only a couple of the sand bars above water. Luckily we found three Lapwings on a newly planted field on the river bank. Back at the car we flushed a Barred Buttonquail.

At Khao Sok, rather than walk the trails at the HQ we chose to have a look on the trail at the 99km marker. Brown-backed Needletails were flying overhead as we started up the trail. A Crested Goshawk flew into a tree near us.  In the first stand of bamboo we found a White-browed Piculet. This must be about its southern limit as we see it nowhere else locally. Also seen on the trail were Lesser Cuckooshrike, Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher, Tickell's Blue Flycatcher and Blue-winged Leafbird. The two finds of the day were a White-bellied Munia and a pair of Fluffy-backed Tit-babblers which put on their normal singing and dancing routine.


Day 3 – Khao Sok NP & Khao Luang Krung Ching NP


After checking the weather we hired a longtail boat for a morning trip around the reservoir at Khao Sok. After enjoying the scenery as we passed through the300 metre sheer limestone cliffs we motored around the many dead tree snags looking for perching raptors. We found a few Lesser Fish Eagles, a Brahminy Kite and a pair of White-bellied Sea Eagles. The highlight though was a family of four Oriental Hobby. Quite a few Stork-billed Kingfishers were present and a pair of Oriental Pied Hornbills was seen in a fruiting tree. We all enjoyed watching a troop of White-handed Gibbons swinging through the trees.

For our first afternoon at Khao Luang Krung Ching NP we decided to go birding along the entrance road. Our first stop up the hill proved quite fruitful with sightings of Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo, Brown Barbet, Black-and-yellow Broadbill, Great Iora, Sultan Tit and Rufous-tailed Tailorbird. It was a little quieter up at the gate but we still found a Buff-rumped Woodpecker, a Lesser Cuckooshrike, a group of Bronzed Drongos and a pair of Verditer Flycatchers. As we drove out of the park we chased a pair of Yellow-throated Martens down the road.


Day 4 - Khao Luang Krung Ching NP


Down at the HQ a fruiting tree was full of Red-throated Barbets. A Scaly-breasted Bulbul was also feeding.

The park had just re-opened after a four month closure due to extensive flooding, mud slides and tree fall. We have walked the waterfall trail many times and know its every twist and turn, however, it became apparent from the moment we entered the forest that it had changed completely.  There were large open views where there was previously closed canopy. Trees lay strewn everywhere and those still standing had broken limbs. Thankfully the wardens had done a great job of clearing the trail. As it turned out the first 500 metres were the worst hit and after the initial climb the trail looked more familiar.

As we entered the trail we heard a Scarlet-rumped Trogon calling. It took a while but we eventually found it. Next, a Rufous-winged Philentoma came in very close. A little further up the trail we found an Orange-breasted Trogon. We could hear Black Hornbill calling from the ridge and managed to see one perching in the distance.

At the top of the hill we found that the first sala (shelter) had been crushed by a falling tree. A Buff-necked Woodpecker was seen excavating a hole. On our way to the second sala we had a good run with the babblers seeing Grey-headed Babbler, Black-throated Babbler, Short-tailed Babbler and a Ferruginous Babbler.

After lunch at the sala we walked a little further and found a male Banded Kingfisher.

Our luck continued on the walk out of the forest. We picked up Red-billed Malkoha, Grey-cheeked Bulbul and Yellow-bellied Bulbul. Back at sala 1 we had a great run of birds. We heard some Dusky Broadbills calling. We tried calling them in but instead of the Broadbills showing up a pair of Maroon-breasted Philentomas flew into view. Definitely the bird of the trip, these are very seldom seen forest birds. They stayed around for a few minutes and we all had great views. As they left the broadbills flew in, screeching all the while. A pair of Greater Goldenback and a Red-bearded Bee-eater also showed up.

On the way down the hill a pair of White-crowned Forktails flew by.

As we rested back at the HQ we could hear White-crowned Hornbills calling from all around. We headed up to the “bus stop” for better views and were rewarded by a flock of the hornbills gathering to roost after a day’s feeding.


Day 5 - Khao Luang Krung Ching NP & KNC


We spent a short morning back at the entrance road and the HQ looking for a few more species. We added Vernal Hanging Parrot, Black-bellied Malkoha, Large Woodshrike, Greater Green Leafbird and Yellow-eared Spiderhunter to our list.

After a three hour drive to Khao Nor Chuchi we went straight to the HQ to look for the Purple-throated Sunbirds that are usually found feeding in one of the flowering trees. The trees were not in flower and no sunbirds were found. We did however find an adult and a juvenile Rufous Piculet.

We had a short walk on one of the trails. Afternoon birding at KNC is always quiet but we did manage to find a Chestnut-rumped Babbler, some Black-naped Monarchs and an Asian Paradise Flycatcher.

In the evening we went to the hot springs where Edward enjoyed a dip as we waited for dusk. It only took a few minutes to find a female Blyth's Frogmouth.


Day 6 – KNC, Tiger Temple & Krabi mangroves


We spent the morning on trail B looking for Pittas. We neither saw nor heard any. It was very quiet until about 8am when we found a Dark-throated Oriole and a Puff-backed Bulbul. A few other birds were around but the only one new to our list was a Cream-vented Bulbul.

After lunch we drove to Krabi town to visit the Tiger Temple. This has a small area of forest inside a hollow karst which, because it is part of the temple grounds, has never been logged or hunted.

At the car park a Brown-streaked Flycatcher was feeding. Blue Whistling Thrush were common.

As we entered the forest we straight away heard a Fulvous-breasted Jungle-flycatcher but could not find it. A Banded Broadbill was heard and gave us the run around for twenty minutes before we found it. A little later we came across three Streaked Wren-babblers hopping around on the leaf litter. A group of Dusky Langurs fed in a fruiting tree.

Back at the car park a Blue-eared Barbet was seen calling from a tree top.

We spent a couple of hours on the Krabi mangroves walkway. It was fairly quiet but two Mangrove Pittas showed well. Also found were a Collared Kingfisher, some Rufous-bellied Swallows and an Ashy Tailorbird.

At the resort that evening a single Large-tailed Nightjar flew over our rooms.


Day 7 – KNC, Phang Nga Mangroves & Queen’s Park


The plan today was to go birding in a different area of the park where we used to have a stake out for Gurney’s Pitta. Unfortunately the Pittas are no longer there but there is still good birding in the area.

We found a Scaly-crowned Babbler and a Rufous-crowned Babbler very close to each other allowing us to see their subtle differences. A lone Thick-billed Green Pigeon was perched high up in a bare tree. Grey-rumped Treeswifts soared overhead. A family of Grey-and-buff Woodpeckers flew noisily from tree to tree and a pair of Common Goldenback hammered on a dead trunk.

After lunch we moved on to the Phang Nga mangroves stopping first at Bang Phat. On the way to the walkway we stopped off at an empty shrimp pond where we found a family of Slaty-breasted Rails. A Jungle Myna was on the opposite bank.

The moment we got onto the walkway our luck took a change for the good. A large group of Small Minivets passed nearby together with a Golden-bellied Gerygone and an Oriental White-eye.

Under the canopy our run continued with a Brown-winged Kingfisher, a Mangrove Whistler and a pair of Black-hooded Orioles.

A little further along a male Copper-throated Sunbird came in very close.

At the Phang Nga Mangrove Park we called out a Ruddy Kingfisher. A pair of Black-and-Red Broadbill joined us and we finished off our remarkable mangrove experience with a Streak-breasted Woodpecker.

Over at the Queen’s Park we quickly found our two target birds; a group of four Black-thighed Falconets and some Pink-necked Green Pigeons.


We then took Edward to a hotel in Phuket for a couple of days of R&R. We had had good luck with the weather and had seen a total of 176 birds. This proves that although the winter visitors are not around at this time of year, there are enough great resident forest birds to ensure any trip will be rewarding.

Trip list

Lesser Whistling Duck

Striated Heron

Eastern Cattle Egret

Purple Heron

Brahminy Kite

White-bellied Sea Eagle

Lesser Fish Eagle

Crested Goshawk

Black-thighed Falconet

Oriental Hobby

Slaty-breasted Rail

White-breasted Waterhen


Black-winged Stilt

Red-wattled Lapwing

Common Sandpiper

Common Pigeon

Spotted Dove

Common Emerald Dove

Pink-necked Green Pigeon

Thick-billed Green Pigeon

Vernal Hanging Parrot

Greater Coucal

Raffles's Malkoha

Red-billed Malkoha

Chestnut-breasted Malkoha

Chestnut-bellied Malkoha

Black-bellied Malkoha

Green-billed Malkoha

Asian Koel

Little Bronze Cuckoo

Plaintive Cuckoo

Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo

Spotted Wood Owl

Blyth's Frogmouth

Large-tailed Nightjar

Grey-rumped Treeswift

Whiskered Treeswift

Black-nest Swiftlet

Germain's Swiftlet

Silver-rumped Spinetail

Brown-backed Needletail

Asian Palm Swift

House Swift

Scarlet-rumped Trogon

Orange-breasted Trogon

Indian Roller

Rufous-collared Kingfisher

Banded Kingfisher

Stork-billed Kingfisher

Brown-winged Kingfisher

Ruddy Kingfisher

White-throated Kingfisher

Collared Kingfisher

Red-bearded Bee-eater

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater

Oriental Pied Hornbill

Black Hornbill

Great Hornbill

White-crowned Hornbill

Lineated Barbet

Red-throated Barbet

Blue-eared Barbet

Brown Barbet

White-browed Piculet

Rufous Piculet

Grey-and-buff Woodpecker

Streak-breasted Woodpecker

Common Goldenback

Greater Goldenback

Maroon Woodpecker

Buff-rumped Woodpecker

Buff-necked Woodpecker

Green Broadbill

Black-and-Red Broadbill

Banded Broadbill

Black-and-yellow Broadbill

Dusky Broadbill

Blue-winged Pitta

Mangrove Pitta

Golden-bellied Gerygone

Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike

Large Woodshrike

Rufous-winged Philentoma

Maroon-breasted Philentoma

Common Iora

Green Iora

Great Iora


Lesser Cuckooshrike

Small Minivet

Mangrove Whistler

Dark-throated Oriole

Black-naped Oriole

Black-hooded Oriole

Bronzed Drongo

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo

Pied Fantail

Black-naped Monarch

Asian Paradise Flycatcher

Large-billed Crow

Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher

Sultan Tit

Black-headed Bulbul

Black-crested Bulbul

Scaly-breasted Bulbul

Puff-backed Bulbul

Stripe-throated Bulbul

Yellow-vented Bulbul

Olive-winged Bulbul

Streak-eared Bulbul

Cream-vented Bulbul

Asian Red-eyed Bulbul

Spectacled Bulbul

Ochraceous Bulbul

Grey-cheeked Bulbul

Yellow-bellied Bulbul

Hairy-backed Bulbul

Buff-vented Bulbul

Barn Swallow

Pacific Swallow

Rufous-bellied Swallow

Yellow-bellied Warbler

Arctic Warbler

Rufescent Prinia

Yellow-bellied Prinia

Common Tailorbird

Dark-necked Tailorbird

Rufous-tailed Tailorbird

Ashy Tailorbird

Grey-throated Babbler

Grey-headed Babbler

Chestnut-rumped Babbler

Black-throated Babbler

Chestnut-winged Babbler

Rufous-fronted Babbler

Pin-striped Tit-Babbler

Fluffy-backed Tit-babbler

Streaked Wren-babbler

Abbott's Babbler

Short-tailed Babbler

Moustached Babbler

Scaly-crowned Babbler

Rufous-crowned Babbler

Ferruginous Babbler

Puff-throated Babbler

Black-capped Babbler

Oriental White-eye

Asian Fairy-bluebird

Asian Glossy Starling

White-vented Myna

Jungle Myna

Common Myna

Blue Whistling Thrush

Oriental Magpie-Robin

White-rumped Shama

Chestnut-naped Forktail

White-crowned Forktail

Asian Brown Flycatcher

Brown-streaked Flycatcher

Verditer Flycatcher

Tickell's Blue Flycatcher

Greater Green Leafbird

Lesser Green Leafbird

Blue-winged Leafbird

Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker

Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker

Ruby-cheeked Sunbird

Brown-throated Sunbird

Copper-throated Sunbird

Little Spiderhunter

Yellow-eared Spiderhunter

Grey-breasted Spiderhunter

Scaly-breasted Munia

White-bellied Munia

Paddyfield Pipit

Rufous-fronted Babbler
Whiskered Treeswift
Stork-billed Kingfisher
Green Broadbill
Crested Goshawk
Oriental Hobby
Lesser Fish-Eagle
Orange-breasted Trogon
Rufous-winged Philentoma
Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike
Greater Green Leafbird
Maroon-breasted Philentoma
Dusky Broadbill
Ferruginous Babbler
Ruby-cheeked Sunbird
Rufous Piculet
Blyths Frogmouth
Slaty-breasted Rail
Mangrove Pitta
Small Minivet
Black-and-Red Broadbill
 Streak-breasted Woodpecker
Miss Punjapa Phetsri (aka Games)
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