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"Phang-Nga and Krabi 4 days 3 night trip"
20 April 2009 with Mr. Mike Gillam ( 4 Days 3 Night Phang-Nga and Krabi )
Our plan was to go to Krabi to get some shots of birds that we hadn’t photographed before. We knew it wouldn’t be easy as our target species, Pittas and Babblers tend to be shy and skulking.

     Day 1 : We started quite late on 20 April and only planned to do a little birding at the Phang-Nga Mangrove Park before driving on to Sa Morakot resort at Khao Nor Chuchi (KNC) in Krabi.

     We arrived at the mangroves at about 3 pm. The tide was out which was good but the cloud cover was so heavy there was very little light and we didn’t even take our cameras with us. Mike found a Mangrove Pitta and we all had good views but it was obvious there wasn’t enough light to take any pictures. This was the third visit for Mike and his first sighting.

     Sa Morakot Resort turned out to be closed (they had no guests and some-one was throwing a party down the road). We headed back to Klong Thom and stayed at a cheap and cheerful hotel next to a row of restaurants. 
Mike with 500mm Lens
Mangrove Pitta
                                                                      Abbott's Babbler           Thick-billed Green Pigeon
Day 2: We woke up at 5.30 am and got to KNC for first light. We planned to have a look around the pools first and then make our way back along “c” trail before finding some breakfast. On “a’ trail we saw Abbott’s Babbler and near the toilet block some Thick-billed Green Pigeons ( this picture not from this trip ). This is a great time to be in the park as the swimmers and sight-seers haven’t arrived yet and all is calm. We had a couple of treats waiting for us at the Crystal Pool, we spotted a large Barbet flying to and fro and managed to track down it’s nest.
It turned out to be a Red-crowned Barbet (a rare bird in Thailand) and  we got some good pictures (good start). While we were waiting for it to return, Mike spotted a large snake moving through puddles, it was a King Cobra! We got some great views of it swimming across the pool, metres away from where the kids would be swimming in a couple of hours.

By the time we’d finished with the Barbet and moved on to the Emerald Pool, the crowds had started to arrive. Time to head to the forest. We returned by “c” trail and were rewarded by seeing a pair of Maroon Woodpeckers. The bridges were down and the path was blocked by fallen trees so the going was tough.

After breakfast we booked in at the Sa Morakot Resort and had a quiet early afternoon before heading down the “u” trail to look for Pittas. No luck with the Pittas but we staked out a puddle in a gully for an hour and had good views of Abott’s and Chestnut-winged Babblers bathing.

We bumped into a local guide on our way back and told him about the Barbet’s nest. It turns out it really was a good find, he’s only found two in twenty years of birding. 
We bumped into a local guide on our way back and told him about the Barbet’s nest. It turns out it really was a good find, he’s only found two in twenty years of birding.

Over beers, we decided to employ a local guide for the next day.
Red-crowned Barbet
Maroon Woodpecker
King Cobra
Chestnut-winged Babbler
Large-tailed Nightjar 
                                                                                          Gurney's Pitta                  Spotted Wood-Owl
Day 3 : Our friend Laura joined us in the morning and we headed off with our guide to his “secret” locations.

Straight off he found a
Large-tailed Nightjar sitting on her nest on the floor. Very approachable and easy to photograph. 

Next we visited his hide (termite infested before the spray did it’s work). After 30 minutes a male
Gurneys Pitta came into view, we got a bit too excited and managed to scare him off but he returned before long in the company of a Shrew-faced Ground-Squirrel.  We stayed in the hide for a couple of hours until we’d seen enough of the Pitta and our legs were seizing up.

At 9.30 am we went looking for a Spotted Wood-Owl. Sure enough, our guide found it and we got some good shots. A Grey-capped (pygmy) Woodpecker’s nest was also found and the female was seen.

During our lunch break Ian and I looked around the resort and found a
Red-throated Barbet and a family of Orange-bellied Flowerpeckers.

At 2.30 pm the guide picked us up and drove us down a near impassable dirt track to look for some Kingfishers. If it had rained I think we’d have been stuck there overnight. We got to the place for Kingfishers, walked about 3 minutes and a female
Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher was just sitting and waiting for us. The male came occasionally with food for her. It was lovely seeing these tiny, brightly coloured birds flying around the dark forest. We also got glimpses of a pair of Rufous-collared Kingfishers which our guide upset by his whistling. 

As dusk fell, out guide got his spotlight and recorder and magiced up a
Blyth's Frogmouth for us.

What a day, six new species for me and all photographed (apart from the Rufous-collared Kingfishers).
We had a couple of beers with the guide, some dinner and an early night.
Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker
Red-throated Barbet
 Orange-bellied Flowerpecker
Rufous-collared Kingfisher
                                                                         Crystal Pool                Champagne Mushroom
Day 4: By the time we got to the Barbet’s nest, local guide had found it using a map we’d drawn for him. He was scheming how he could erect a hide in front of it. We all took some more photos of it before heading back to Phuket.

We called in at the Mangrove Park again but only got brief views of the Mangrove Pitta.
We got back to Phuket around 5.30 pm. Thank you Mr Mike for driving. We had had a great trip. Hopefully we will return to KNC soon and loo for the other Pittas.

St. George's Cross Spider
Blyth's Frogmouth
Miss Punjapa Phetsri (aka Games)
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