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Six day tour of the central region of peninsular Thailand
 
A six day tour of the central region of peninsular Thailand with three birders from Belgium; Jan, Jan and Rudi – 07/04/12 - 13/04/12
 
The birders had already spent a week in central Thailand where they had seen 280 species including most of the waders and open area birds in the region. We were asked to concentrate on forest birds so changed our planned itinerary whilst on the trip.

 

 

Day 0

 

The guests were picked up from Phuket airport in the evening and taken to our hotel in Phang Nga for dinner.
 

Day 1 – Ton Pariwat WS & Khao Luang (Krung Ching) NP

 

We spent the morning at Ton Pariwat looking for forest edge birds.  The first birds we saw were a group of Large Woodshrike working their way through the canopy. The usual Dark-sided Flycatcher hawked from his post. Most of the Bulbuls visiting had already been seen further north but Spectacled Bulbul was new. White-rumped Munia fed on the seeding bamboo and Vernal Hanging Parrots whizzed from tree to tree.

A Crow-billed Drongo came in to call. A pair of Buff-rumped Woodpeckers worked a rotten hole and Asian Fairy-Bluebirds fed in a fruiting tree.

As we walked down the road we caught up with a lot of smaller birds including Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker, Yellow-vented Flowerpecker, Orange-bellied Flowerpecker, Plain Sunbird, Crimson Sunbird and Little Spiderhunter. The best though was a male Red-throated Sunbird.

Near the checkpoint we found some perching Whiskered Treeswifts and some Grey-rumped Treeswifts were flying around.

Down at the HQ we spotted a pair of Black Eagles, a Crested Serpent Eagle and a Blyth's Hawk-Eagle. Just before we left a Streaked Bulbul noisily flew in.

We arrived at Krung Ching at around 3:30pm and headed straight for the entrance gate. The northbound raptor migration had started and we saw a few Oriental Honey Buzzards flying over.

The two forest Malkohas that the guests still wanted to see were found, Red-billed Malkoha and Black-bellied Malkoha.  A group of Brown Barbet showed well and we also got Gold-whiskered Barbet and Red-throated Barbet at their respective nesting holes.

Both Black-and-Yellow Broadbill and Green Broadbill sat nicely for us. A pair of Fiery Minivets came through but stayed high as they usually do.

After dusk we walked the road from the gate out of the park. First off we heard a Sunda Scops Owl. We followed it into the forest but it flew off as we got the spotlight onto it. Down the road a Brown Hawk Owl was seen briefly.
 
 

Day 2 – Khao Luang (Krung Ching) NP

 

A day on the waterfall trail. We headed in at first light. Plenty of birds were calling but nothing to be seen.  As we rounded the first corner we whistled in a Rufous-winged Philentoma. A male Rufous-collared Kingfisher came in to call and showed well. A Wallace’s Hawk-Eagle was heard calling but failed to show. A Square-tailed Drongo Cuckoo sat in the open. At the top of the incline we found a male Scarlet-rumped Minivet, it had mature colouring but a short scraggy tail. A pair of Malaysian Banded Pitta came in very close by but were not seen.

Near sala 2 we heard a group of Black Hornbills calling and we managed to bring one into a bare tree above our heads.

We heard the Rail Babbler calling so set up the hides. After forty minutes one was seen walking down the trail for a minute. This bird never fails to impress.

After lunch we walked a little further and found a pair of Buff-necked Woodpeckers. Grey-cheeked Bulbuls and Hairy-backed Bulbuls were active in the area too.

On the way back we trawled for Diard’s Trogon and were rewarded by fantastic views of a male. We had also had a very good haul of Babblers along the trail too with Chestnut-Winged Babbler, Moustached Babbler, Short-tailed Babbler, Grey-headed Babbler and the highlights, Black-throated Babbler and Streaked Wren-Babbler. Brown Fulvetta was seen too.

We stayed around the gate area for the last light of the day. An Indian Cuckoo called in the distance. Strange as they are not known to breed in the area. Spectacled Spiderhunter showed for a short time but Grey-breasted Spiderhunter stayed around for a while.
 

Day 3 – Khao Luang (Krung Ching) NP, Nai Chong & Krabi Mangroves

 
We spent the morning trying for a few more forest edge birds along the entrance road. As we drove through the village we heard a Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher calling from a clump of bamboo. We stopped and found it singing out in the open. We also found a Common Emerald Dove feeding at the road side in the park.

At the gate were a pair of Greater Green Leafbirds, a Green Iora, some Thick-billed Green Pigeons and a Purple-naped Sunbird. A Banded Woodpecker came in to call and a Rufous-tailed Tailorbird skulked in a low bush.

It was quiet at the bus-stop but a Rufescent Prinia sang for us from a tall grass stalk and a Rufous Woodpecker landed in the distance.

Down at the HQ while having a cold drink a Black-Thighed Falconet flew over three times using a fluttering, perhaps display, flight. A Lesser Cuckoo-shrike that had been giving us the run-around all morning also showed well. 

After an early lunch we drove to Krabi. On the way we stopped at Nai Chong for the ever present Fluffy-backed Tit-Babblers.

At Krabi it had started raining and we had a pretty bad time on the boat only finding Brown-winged Kingfishers and a White-bellied Sea-Eagle.

Outside our rooms at Khlong Thom we easily found a perching Large-tailed Nightjar. While looking for a Sunda Scops Owl we saw another nightjar perching in thick foliage. It flew off while we were still trying to identify it. It was probably a Grey Nightjar but seemed quite small, more the size of an Indian Nightjar.
 

Day 4 – KNC, Krabi Mangroves & Lapwing Bridge

 

We spent the morning on trails A and B in KNC looking for Pittas and picking up Babblers and Bulbuls along the way.

We started on Trail A and got a female Rufous Piculet and a Black-capped Babbler. Up at the open area at the end of the trail we called in a Red-crowned Barbet and we all had great views of the best looking Barbet in Thailand. On trail B we found a group of Puff-backed Bulbuls and a pair of Cream-vented Bulbuls. A Scaly-crowned Babbler followed us along the trail and a Chestnut-rumped Babbler showed briefly. No Pittas were heard or seen. It was perhaps a little early in the season.

We called in at the HQ and quickly found a male Van Hasselt’s Sunbird.

In the early afternoon we called in at the Krabi mangroves again. This time we birded the walkway. Two Buffy Fish-Owls sat all fluffed out twenty metres in to forest and we enjoyed watching them through the scopes.  A  Mangrove Pitta came into a nearby tree and showed well.

We had decided to go to Laem Pakarang sand spit in the afternoon to look for Grey-tailed Tattler but as we approached the coast we noticed many people and cars lining the road as if expecting a carnival. It soon became apparent that a tsunami warning had been issued, apparently due to a large earthquake in Indonesia. Going to look for shorebirds didn’t seem too sensible so we took a detour to the Lapwing bridge.

As we parked the car we heard a Blue-winged Pitta calling. Oddly enough the first one of the season was found at the same spot the previous year. The Pitta came in and called angrily from a branch above us.  Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters hawked from the power lines.

The river was high and nothing of interest could be seen from the bridge apart from a few shorebirds in the distance. We scanned the young plantation at the side and found a Grey-headed Lapwing. We decided to try and get closer by walking through the plantation. We were rewarded by flushing some Barred Buttonquail and a River Lapwing flew down onto the opposite sandbank.
 

Day 5 – Sri Phang Nga NP & Khao Sok Reservoir

 
We still had a few forest birds we wanted to see so spent the morning on the trails of Sri Phang Nga NP. Banded Pittas had been showing well recently. At the stream a pair of Chestnut-naped Forktails were hopping from rock to rock looking for insects and caught a glimpse of a kingfisher. We sat down and waited and after a few minutes a beautiful male Blue-banded Kingfisher came back to the same perch. A white morph Asian Paradise Flycatcher flitted around along the trail and a Rufous-fronted Babbler came in. Three Purple-naped Sunbirds moved noisily through the forest.

A pair of Maroon Woodpeckers were very active as were a group of Silver-rumped Spinetails.

We called in at the Khao Sok NP entrance road to our Black-and-red Broadbill stakeout. One came in and sat nicely for us.

The afternoon was spent on the reservoir at Khao Sok. Many Lesser Fish-Eagles were seen around the lake’s edge and a Chinese Sparrowhawk showed up near the pier. Great Hornbills and Oriental Pied Hornbills were flying around and some Bushy-crested Hornbills called from the forest. Stork-billed Kingfisher was also heard but not seen. Black-capped Kingfishers were present but would be migrating north soon after.
 

Day 6 – Queens Park, Bang Phat Mangroves & Thai Muang Marshes

 
At Phang Nga Queen’s Park we quickly spotted a pair of Jungle Mynas which nest on the rock faces there. A walk around the lake produced an Eastern yellow Wagtail, some Pink-necked Green Pigeons, and the bird of the day, an Indian Pond Heron in breeding plumage. Feeding under a fruiting tree was a Blue Whistling Thrush and migrating Blue-winged Pittas scoured the verges for worms. Rufous-bellied Swallows wheeled overhead.

We had a great morning at Bang Phat with a continuous succession of birds along the trail including Mangrove Whistler, Ruddy Kingfisher, Streak-breasted Woodpecker, Copper-throated Sunbird, Oriental White-eye and Ashy Tailorbird. A pair of Mangrove Pittas were building a nest next to the walkway.

At Thai Muang Beach a pair of Spotted Wood-Owl flew out of the park. We went to look for them and found a Blue-throated Bee-eater.

As we got to the marshes it started to rain so we took shelter and had a cold drink. It turned to our advantage as the Lesser Coucals were easy to see after the rain stopped, drying themselves in the open. Also seen in the area were Watercocks, Yellow Bittern and Cinnamon Bittern. A Japanese Sparrowhawk was worrying the Scaly-breasted Munias. In a ditch we saw a couple of Ruddy-breasted Crakes and the Oriental Pratincoles were taking turns to fly around a ploughed field.

We left at dusk and dropped the guests off at Phuket Airport. It had been a great week and a joy to show the three guys around.
 
 
Miss Punjapa Phetsri (aka Games)
Site owner and guide 
 
 
 
 
Brown Fulvetta
 
 
 
 
Brown-winged Kingfisher
 
 
 
 
Golden Tree Snake
 
 
 
 
 
Green Broadbill
 
 
 
 
Indain Pond Heron
 
 
 
 
Lesser Fish-Eagle
 
 
 
 
Moustached Babbler
 
 
 
 
Rufous-winged Philentoma