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Peter Ericsson | profile | all galleries >> Tripreports! >> Thailand tripreports! >> Kaengkrachan and KhaoYai, May 2015 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Kaengkrachan and KhaoYai, May 2015

Kaengkrachan and Khao Yai
27th April – 2nd of May 6, 2015
Participants: Frank Runders and Lola Castro

Frank and Lola had to attend a meeting in Bangkok and decided to expand their birding horizon to include that on Central Thailand. Good choice, I must say as late April is an exciting time in the birding world in Thailand.

Day 1.

After the mandatory early pick-up at downtown Bangkok we set off for the fields of Petchaburi.
Most waders have already left for their breeding grounds in the Northern Hemisphere so there was no rush to go chasing wader rarities. Instead we birded at a lovely pace, enjoying each species as they appeared. Both Frank and Lola were passionate about their appreciation for the birds and were foreign to the concept of chasing numbers or listing.

We were able to have extended views of all 3 weaver species in full breeding plumage: Streaked, Baya and Asian Golden. It was encouraging to find both Oriental Reed and Black-browed Reed Warblers as they are winter visitors to Thailand.

Once at the salt pans we did see a few waders: 14 all in all which was fun as many were adorned in breeding plumage and it gave me a chance to go over the waders with Frank and Lola.
I find that many birdwatchers are intimidated by shorebirds. Once someone has explained and gone over the basic differences a little awakening is taking place though and enjoyment is starting to replace the apprehension.

We did the boat ride through the mangroves out to the sand spit at Lampakbia. Got good views of Malaysian Plovers and no less than 6 species of Terns.
We had lovely sea food, a la Thai, cuisine for lunch and off to the King’s Mangrove Research Project.

The lovely small Golden-bellied Gerygone is abundant in the mangroves. All it takes is a little whistle of any sort and they will respond. While looking for the Gerygone a pair of Lanceolated Warblers showed very well amongst the roots of the trees. This is a mega skulker but on migration tend to be easier to spot.

17 Spot-billed Pelicans in one of the ponds was a rare treat. Mid winter they are hard to find, if at all.

We drove to Baan Maka in the late afternoon where a calling Blue-winged Pitta greeted us.
The Blue-winged Pitta arrives in Central Thailand in April along with Hooded Pitta. Something the regular birder evidently will miss during the drier months.
The Pitta responded very well to a short playback and we got great views of it both in flight and perched low. Frank and Lola were happy to have seen their very 1st Pitta!
We sat down as the sun set by the pond at the resort. Common Moorhens, Bronze-winged Jacanas and Asian Openbills in full view and so ended the 1st day in a scenic setting.

Day 2.

Breakfast at Baan Maka: fresh coffee, toast, jam, butter, fried eggs and bananas to sustain us till lunch. Lovely atmosphere at the restaurant with only birders and bird photographers as guests.
This morning we slowly drove into the park from the check point. The road towards Baan Khrang goes through secondary growth and a lot of birds can be seen from the road side.

A pair of Large Scimitar Babblers was singing away and I managed to pull them close for some awesome views. For years I struggled to see this species but now that I know their behavior better it has gotten easier.

A pair of Blue-bearded Bee-eaters was hawking insects and gave great views.

Another pair of birds: Black-Red Broadbills were attending to their nest building by the road side.
A male Banded Kingfisher drew my attention and yet another colorful creature showed.
After a short break for cold drinks we continued to the streams where the forest is thicker and more primary. Indeed we got some more tropical splashes of color: Silver-breasted Broadbills, Dusky Broadbills, Orange-breasted Trogon, Banded Woodpecker, Greater Flameback and best of all a Hooded Pitta quietly feeding along a forest trail.

Day 3.

One aspect of birding is to enjoy and identify the birds by sound. This is why it is good to study up on what is to be expected so that when the guide says what is calling there is an immediate resonance in the mind. Thus little connections between sounds and image are being created and help to enhance the experience.

We greeted the morning at Panern Thung at about 1000m level. Up here it is simply wonderful to hear the gibbons, the singing monkeys, as they make themselves known far and wide. During our stay both at KK and KY we saw several White-handed Gibbons of both the pale and the dark morph.
The Barbets sing constantly and with a little patience (no need to be frantic and look for a green thing somewhere 100m away in a tree top) they will show. Up at Panern Thung Great Barbet and Blue-throated Barbet are dominant but also Blue-eared and Red-throated was heard. We saw all the barbets except Red-throated.

Golden Babbler is a cute little bird that often gives great looks. This charmer along with Yellow-bellied Warbler and White-browed Shrike Babbler and Imperial Mountain Pigeon are always present at the top.

Our only target birds were Red-bearded Bee-eater and Long-tailed Broadbill. The Bee-eaters annually breed in the same area and are very easy to get close to as they bring feed to their young.
The Broadbills also breed in a regular area and we also saw a pair at length.
We did get to see Red-headed Trogon before the rains set in and cancelled out most of our afternoon birding.
On the way back we got on to another Hooded Pitta and once back at the resort Blue-winged Pitta showed as well.

Day 4.

Today we visited one of the waterholes in the area outside of the park, not far from the resort.
A short walk and we were situated inside the permanent hides. Corn and rice is put out for birds to feed on and it didn’t take long for them to show. Red Junglefowl in abundance, a pair of Kalij Phesanths, Lesser and Greater-necklaced Laughingthrushes as well as Scaly-breasted and Bar-backed Partridges all came to feed.

Other birds that came for a bath or a drink were: Racket-treepie, Green Magpie, Bronzed Drongo, Puff-throated and Striped Tit Babbler, Brown-cheeked Fulvetta, White-browed Scimitar Babblers, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, Black-naped Monarch, Streak-eared Bulbul, Siberian Blue Robin, Yellow-rumped Flycatcher and Green-backed Flycatcher. All these birds gave stellar looks.
Also the ever so shy Mouse Deer came to drink as did several species of squirrels and Northern Treeshrew.

We did not spend all day in the hide as we left around 10 am and went back before 3 pm. In-between we ate, relaxed and birded some fields where we failed to see Chinese Francolin but certainly heard it well. Instead we got long views of Grey-breasted Prinia.

Day 5.

Saying goodbye to Baan Maka and Kaengkrachan we headed towards Wat Khao Look Chang.

This dry dipterocarp forest holds some species otherwise not found at KK. It is more open and dry.
The main bird: Black-headed Woodpecker failed to show. A 1st for me. Perhaps it was breeding? But we instead had a pair of the much sought after Chestnut-winged Cuckoo. We also saw both Spotted and Asian Barred Owlet. Lineated Barbet and Coppersmith Barbet were also new for the trip as was Rufous Treepie. 2-barred Green Warbler also showed as did Yellow-rumped Flycatcher.

A long drive to Khao Yai followed where we arrived in the late afternoon. We walked the grounds of one of the hotels in the area and saw many Red-breasted Parakeets as they came in to roost.
Dinner was different from the regular menu in that we had some authentic local food from the NorthEast. This culinary experience was very interesting for Frank and Lola who took to the food with good appetite.

Day 6.

Time had come to visit Khao Yai National Park, the flag ship of Thai National Parks with over 1 million visitors annually. The park offers many different birding spots and it is good to use the car to quickly get around. There are some special birds in the park but all hard to see well. We only managed to see the Silver Pheasants but were so so close to Blue Pittas. The Pittas were calling in various places but never gave any views. Nevertheless, it was exciting to experience their presence.

One of the main highlights was to watch about 30 Brown-backed Needletails and 2 Silver-backed as well, as they came swooping like a squadron of jet planes to drink and bathe in one of the ponds.
This spectacle is a true marvel that I only see at Khao Yai.

Rufous Woodpecker high on a bare branch gave good scope views.

At dusk Great Eared Nightjar gave good flight views as it was calling.

Day 7.

Another morning at Khao Yai. Finally got perched views of Great Hornbill after only had fly bys and plenty of Asia Pied. We added another Barbet to the list, this time Moustached. We saw a female Banded Kingfisher and a breeding pair of Long-tailed Broadbills.

After lunch outside the park it was time to drive back to downtown Bangkok.

I liked this trip a lot as Frank and Lola did not have their eyes on big numbers but were truly appreciative of what they saw. So many folks are ‘saturated’ and almost ‘haunted for fear of missing out’ which makes them less appreciative of what they see.

I know Frank and Lola had a great vacation and most likely will return for more adventures in tropical SEA.

Chinese Francolin – heard
Bar-backed Partridge
Green-legged Partridge
Red Junglefowl
Kalij Pheasant
Silver Pheasant
Grey Peacock-Pheasant - heard
Little Grebe
Asian Openbill
Yellow Bittern
Black Bittern
Black-crowned Night Heron
Striated Heron
Chinese Pond Heron
Javan Pond Heron
Eastern Cattle Egret
Grey Heron
Great Egret
Little Egret
Pacific Reef Heron
Spot-billed Pelican
Little Cormorant
Indian Cormorant
Crested Serpent Eagle
Rufous-bellied Hawk-Eagle
Crested Goshawk
Brahminy Kite
White-breasted Waterhen
Common Moorhen
Black-winged Stilt
Red-wattled Lapwing
Pacific Golden Plover
Kentish Plover
Malaysian Plover
Lesser Sand Plover
Greater Sand Plover
Bronze-winged Jacana
Eurasian Curlew
Common Redshank
Marsh Sandpiper
Common Greenshank
Common Sandpiper
Red-necked Stint
Long-toed Stint
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
Curlew Sandpiper
Broad-billed Sandpiper
Red-necked Phalarope
Caspian Tern
Greater Crested Tern
Lesser Crested Tern
Chinese Crested Tern
Little Tern
Common Tern
Black-bellied Tern
Whiskered Tern
White-winged Tern
Rock Dove
Red Turtle Dove
Spotted Dove
Common Emerald Dove
Zebra Dove
Thick-billed Green Pigeon
Mountain Imperial Pigeon
Greater Coucal
Lesser Coucal
Chestnut-breasted Malkoha
Green-billed Malkoha
Chestnut-winged Cuckoo
Asian Koel
Plaintive Cuckoo
Fork-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo - Heard
Collared Scops Owl - heard
Asian Barred Owlet
Spotted Owlet
Great Eared Nightjar
Large-tailed Nightjar
Germain's Swiftlet
Silver-backed Needletail
Brown-backed Needletail
Asian Palm Swift
Pacific Swift
Orange-breasted Trogon
Red-headed Trogon
Indian Roller
Oriental Dollarbird
Banded Kingfisher
White-throated Kingfisher
Collared Kingfisher
Pied Kingfisher
Red-bearded Bee-eater
Blue-bearded Bee-eater
Green Bee-eater
Blue-tailed Bee-eater
Blue-throated Bee-eater
Chestnut-headed Bee-eater
Eurasian Hoopoe
Tickell's Brown Hornbill
Oriental Pied Hornbill
Great Hornbill
Great Barbet
Lineated Barbet
Green-eared Barbet
Red-throated Barbet - heard
Blue-throated Barbet
Moustached Barbet
Blue-eared Barbet
Coppersmith Barbet
Speckled Piculet
Banded Woodpecker

Laced Woodpecker
Black-headed Woodpecker - heard
Grey-headed Woodpecker
Common Flameback
Greater Flameback
Rufous Woodpecker
Great Slaty Woodpecker - heard
Vernal Hanging Parrot
Red-breasted Parakeet
Black-and-red Broadbill
Long-tailed Broadbill
Silver-breasted Broadbill
Banded Broadbill
Dusky Broadbill
Blue Pitta - heard
Hooded Pitta
Blue-winged Pitta
Golden-bellied Gerygone
Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike
Common Iora
Ashy Minivet
Scarlet Minivet
Brown Shrike
Blyth's Shrike-babbler
Black-naped Oriole
Black-hooded Oriole
Crow-billed Drongo
Bronzed Drongo
Hair-crested Drongo
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
Black-naped Monarch
Common Green Magpie
Rufous Treepie
Grey Treepie
Racket-tailed Treepie
Eastern Jungle Crow
Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher - heard
Indochinese Bush Lark
Black-headed Bulbul
Black-crested Bulbul
Stripe-throated Bulbul
Flavescent Bulbul
Streak-eared Bulbul
Puff-throated Bulbul
Ochraceous Bulbul
Grey-eyed Bulbul
Mountain Bulbul
Ashy Bulbul
Barn Swallow
Red-rumped Swallow
Yellow-bellied Warbler
Dusky Warbler
Two-barred Warbler
Eastern Crowned Warbler
Oriental Reed Warbler
Clamorous Reed Warbler
Thick-billed Warbler
Lanceolated Warbler
Zitting Cisticola
Golden-headed Cisticola
Grey-breasted Prinia
Yellow-bellied Prinia
Plain Prinia
Common Tailorbird
Dark-necked Tailorbird
Large Scimitar Babbler
Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler
White-browed Scimitar Babbler
Rufous-fronted Babbler
Golden Babbler
Pin-striped Tit-Babbler
Brown-cheeked Fulvetta
Abbott's Babbler
Puff-throated Babbler
White-crested Laughingthrush
Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush
Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush
Asian Fairy-bluebird
Golden-crested Myna
Common Hill Myna
Great Myna
Common Myna
Pied Myna
Oriental Magpie-Robin
Rufous-tailed Shama
White-rumped Shama
Dark-sided Flycatcher
Asian Brown Flycatcher
Pale Blue Flycatcher
Hill Blue Flycatcher
Tickell's Blue Flycatcher
Blue Whistling Thrush
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher
Green-backed Flycatcher
Pied Bush Chat
Blue-winged Leafbird
Thick-billed Flowerpecker
Fire-breasted Flowerpecker
Buff-bellied Flowerpecker
Olive-backed Sunbird
Streaked Spiderhunter
House Sparrow
Plain-backed Sparrow
Eurasian Tree Sparrow
Asian Golden Weaver
Streaked Weaver
Baya Weaver
Scaly-breasted Munia
Forest Wagtail
Paddyfield Pipit

Black Bittern
Black Bittern
Red-necked Phalarope
Red-necked Phalarope
Red-necked Phalarope
Red-necked Phalarope
Little Tern
Little Tern
Lora and Frank
Lora and Frank
Javan Pond Heron
Javan Pond Heron
Spot-billed Pelican
Spot-billed Pelican
Black and Red Broadbills
Black and Red Broadbills
Hooded Pitta
Hooded Pitta
Long-tailed Broadbill
Long-tailed Broadbill
Banded Woodpecker
Banded Woodpecker
Greater Flameback
Greater Flameback
Forest Wagtail
Forest Wagtail
Oriental Honey Buzzard
Oriental Honey Buzzard
Crested Serpent Eagle
Crested Serpent Eagle
White-browed Scimitar Babbler
White-browed Scimitar Babbler
Siberian Blue Robin, female
Siberian Blue Robin, female
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, male
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, male
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, female
Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, female
Green-backed Flycatcher
Green-backed Flycatcher
Lanceolated Warbler
Lanceolated Warbler
Common Green Magpie
Common Green Magpie
Red Muntjack
Red Muntjack
Western Striped Squirrel Tamiopes macclellandii
Western Striped Squirrel Tamiopes macclellandii
Grey-bellied Squirrel
Grey-bellied Squirrel
Northern Treeshrews
Northern Treeshrews