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Huay Kha Kaeng, June 2008

Huay Kha Kaeng, Uthai Thani 28-29/06/08

One place I have always had at the back of my mind is Huay Kha Kaeng wildlife sanctuary in the province of Uthai Thani. The sanctuary is part of a large forest complex of Western Thailand and located some 300 km from Bangkok.

As it was, I needed to do a trip to visit a needy school for Burmese refugees at Mae Sot.
On the way back I opted for a short visit to HKK.

I arrived at the turn off with a big sign to the sanctuary around 4 pm. Here, stands of deciduous broadleaved forest started to line the road.
I heard some shrilling shrieks and stopped the car. It didn’t take long to identify a pair of Black Baza’s. These birds are resident in the area and always a bird to be enjoyed.
Several Yellow-footed Pigeons were stirred up by their antics. These Green Pigeons are hard to see well as they blend so well with the lush trees during the wet season.
The Pigeons are normally found on low elevations and are rather uncommon birds.

As I drove on, the forest changed into a very healthy looking dry dipterocarp forest, much looking like the one in Mae Ping National Park in the North.
This type of forest is more open, with relatively short trees and often hold good numbers of medium sized birds. It didn’t take long before I heard the characteristic laughter of Black-headed Woodpeckers. These birds are most often seen by visiting birders at the lower levels of Doi Inthanon but by no means a guarantee. The best place I have found is at Mae Ping. I tried real hard to stalk the birds for some images but they always seemed to stay one step ahead of me. They move about in small parties and make a lot of noise as they go. Their red rumps flashed brilliantly as they flew from tree to tree.

I got within arms reach of a Collared Falconet which was just as startled of the encounter as I was. Unfortunately the camera settings were wrong so I missed out on a picture.

The entrance fee is 200 Baht for foreigners and is paid 9 kilometers before headquarters.
I kept driving till I got to the headquarters. I was impressed how well kept the huge lawn and adjacent buildings were. Many a ranger seemed to be about.
The sanctuary hold an impressive number of mammals and lots of research and various projects are being conducted.

Lodging available has to be negotiated from Bangkok in advance unless one is happy with a tent. Tents have to be brought by one self. I ended up staying at a little home stay right outside where I had paid the entrance fee. The bungalow was clean, had air-con and was relatively cheap at 500Baht.

Homestay: Rimbeung Resort 09-8180658 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              09-8180658      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, 02-9702966 or 081-9622232

The next morning I drove back in to the park. Once at headquarters I had a ‘jolly good time’ walking around with my camera and enjoying species I find hard to see in the more regular parks such as Khao Yai and Kaengkrachan. Several Hooded Orioles, a flock of Green Imperial Pigeons, a huge flock of Yellow-footed Pigeons (shy birds they are), several flocks of Black-headed Woodpeckers that I managed to get close to.
A big flock of Red-billed Magpies was a nice encounter. A calling pair of Blue-winged Pittas along the nature trail responded well to playback but didn’t come close enough for a picture.

Brunch at the only restaurant was a simple but tasty treat.

At 11 am I had to leave having sampled a lovely park with many interesting species.
I definitely will revisit when possible.

Black-headed WP
Common Flameback
Green Imperial Pigeon
Thick-billed Pigeon
Yellow-footed Pigeon
Spotted Dove
Lineated Barbet
Coppersmith Barbet
Asian Palmswift
Pied Hornbill
Small Minivet
Chinese Francolin
White-crested Laughingthrush
Lesser-necklaced Laughingthrush
Common Wood-shrike
Hooded Oriole
Puff-throated Babbler
Sooty-headed Bulbul
Blue-winged Pitta
Black Baza
Collared Falconet
White-throated KF
Blue Magpie
Spangled Drongo
Bronzed Drongo
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker

On the 19th and 20th of July I returned with Thomas Laessoe, a visiting field biologist from Denmark. Here is the list of what we saw.

Red Junglefowl 1
Chinese Francolin 3-4 hh
Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker 2
Greater Yellownape 1
Black-headed Woodpecker 12+ (3-4 flocks) (mostly on road in, but also on
nature trail)
Common Flameback 1p+ (camp area)
Greater Flameback 1p+ (camp area)
Great Slaty Woodpecker h naturetrail
Great Barbet 1 h at waterfall
Lineated Barbet c. 15

Green-eared Barbet h waterfall
Coppersmith Barbet 15
Oriental Pied Hornbill h
Indian Roller 10+
Hoopoe 2
Stork-billed Kingfisher 1 p
White-throated Kingfisher 2+ (10+ roads)
Drongo Cuckoo 1 h
Greater Coucal 1, + h
Greenbilled Malkoha 5+

Crested Treeswift 3+ + 2 waterfall
Palm Swift 200+ waterfall
Asian Barred Owlet 1 s + 1h, 1 s at waterfall
Green Imperial Pigeon 10+
Spotted Dove 10+ (50+ roads)
Thick-billed Green Pigeon 5+
Yellow-footed Green Pigeon 40+
Crested Serpent-Eagle 2
Crested Goshawk 1
Shikra 1 (just outside park)

Collared Falconet 2 +1 +1
Blue-winged Pitta 2 s +8+ h, mainly on nature trail
Banded Broadbill 1h nature trail
Golden-fronted Leafbird c.10
Asian Fairy Bluebird c. 5
Red-billed Blue Magpie 12+
Rufous Treepie 5+
Racket-tailed Treepie 3+
Black-hooded Oriole 1 s + 10+ h

Large Cuckoo-shrike 3
Scarlet Minivet 6+
Spangled Drongo 10+
Greater R.tailed Drongo 25+
Pied Fantail 1 just outside park
Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher h
Black-naped Monarch 6+
Common Woodshrike 2
Tickell’s Flycatcher 1 ad, + cf. 5 juv
Oriental Magpie Robin 1

White-rumped Shama 15+ (many juv)
Common Myna c. 10
Hill Myna c. 10
Velvet-frontet Nuthatch 2, feeding with Pygmy Woodpecker and
common Woodshrike
Black-crested Bulbul 20+
Stripe-throated Bulbul h
Streak-eared Bulbul 5+
Sooty-headed Bulbul 50+
Grey-eyed Bulbul 2, waterfall
Rufescent Prinia 3+

Grey-breated Prinia 1, just outside park
Common Tailorbird 1+
Dark-necked Tailorbird 15+
White-crested Laughingthrush c. 40
Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush 25+
Puff-throated Babbler 2 s + 5+ h
Striped Tit Babbler 10+
Grey Wagtail 1 (waterfall area)
Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker h
Little Spiderhunter 1 waterfall

En route
Asian Openbill 800+ (roads)
Oriental Pratincole 10+ nr Bangkok
Red-wattled Lapwing
Black-necked Stilt
Cinnamon Bittern 1 nr Bangkok
Black-capped Night-heron 20+
Cattle Egret
Great Egret
Little Egret
Little Cormorant
Lesser Whistling Duck
House Swift
Long-tailed Shrike 2 on wired along road close to area visited
White-vented Myna
Black-collared Starling
Ashy Woodswallow 20+ (roads)
Tree Sparrow
Black-shouldered Kite
Green Peafowl
Green Peafowl
Lesser-necklaced Laughingthrush
Lesser-necklaced Laughingthrush
Collared Falconet
Collared Falconet
Collared Falconet
Collared Falconet
Green Imperial Pigeon
Green Imperial Pigeon
Black-headed Woodpecker
Black-headed Woodpecker
Yellow-footed Pigeon
Yellow-footed Pigeon
Green Imperial Pigeon
Green Imperial Pigeon
Hooded Oriole
Hooded Oriole
Blue Magpie
Blue Magpie
Black-headed Woodpecker
Black-headed Woodpecker
Black Baza
Black Baza