I have done many short trips to Lampakbia and Kaengkrachan National Park of late.
The shorebirds at Lampakbia are bountiful and produce an amazing variety of rare species. After a day at the saltpans and open area birding, a visit to the tropical forest brings on an amazing array of colorful and vivid birds.
Here is a sample of such a trip.
I picked up Sally and Roger Whymark (British) at their hotel near Khao San road at 5 am. Drove directly to the Royal Mangrove project at Lampakbia, Petburi.
This area has a lot of larger birds as well as waders, crakes, kingfishers and small passerines.
The project does not use pesticides so there are lots of insects as well as fish for birds to feed off in the many fish ponds.
Black-crowned Night Heron
Little Ringed Plover
Oriental Reed Warbler
Asian Pied Starling
We only stayed in the project for 45 minutes as we wanted to go and look for Spoon-billed Sandpiper.
The Sandpiper is regularly encountered at Bahnbahktaley, some 15 minutes drive up the road. After a bit of search we had one in the scope. The birds are in the area but keep changing pans as the farmers work their ponds and water levels keep changing. Many other birds were seen as well.
Then back towards Lampakbia and a quick scan through a large mixed flock of waders.
Here we saw many Great Knots and 22 Nordmann’s Greenshanks. New species.
We had a boat waiting for us at 10 am. One have to get out on the sandspit at high tide, just before the tide starts going down. Why? Lots of people come out and collect sea creatures as the waters recede. This makes it harder to spot the rare White-faced Plover whom is best found at the spit.
Boat ride takes about 25 minutes. Immediately we had a Chinese Egret in the scope.
Out search for White-faced Plover turned negative so we got in the boat and went to the next islet. Even here it was hard to find what we wanted though we did get to see a pair of Malaysian Plovers.
The shell collecting folks had now come all the way out where we were so we decided to go back to where we first started. Here we now found a single 1st year White-faced Plover in breeding plumage. Lovely little bird it is!
We then took the boat to check out some terns further out. At least 200 Little Terns was a
Boatman Daeng’s wife had prepared a lovely lunch for us after the journey. She is very accommodating and shows great appreciation to visiting birders.
I was able to leave Daeng with a pair of binoculars as his old pair had stopped working.
This simple fisherman is quickly learning about the birds and is of great help providing reliable service to visiting birders.
After that the car headed West towards Kaengkrachan. We did manage to pick up a Greater Spotted Eagle, Hoopoe, Blue-tailed Bee-eater and Plain-backed Sparrow at a field. Once in the vicinity of BahnMaka resort we went to sit in a blind (hide) set up by locals. The forest is very dry at this time of year and birds kept coming for a drink of water. It was fascinating to see how these birds would approach the waterhole always ‘on guard’. A lovely Racket Treepie was first to show up. A flock of White-crested Laughingthrushes came by. A male Grey-headed Woodpecker was a wonderful sight to behold. Surprisingly, a Green Magpie also came for a drink. An hour in the blind produced 7 species. A Lesser Mouse Deer was special, secretive animal as it is.
BahnMaka resort was as nice as always. Good and generous plates of food with cold beer awaited us. A day tally of 95 birds were accounted for.
Morning came and off we went. A fruiting tree had a flock of Pied Hornbills. We may have been a bit too early as there were no other species in the tree.
Morning was spent birding around Bahnkrahng which also features a new nature trail.
Many good birds were seen in pleasant morning temperatures.
We decided to leave the park mid day as it was getting very hot. Instead of heading back to Bangkok we headed to Bahn Song Nok Resort, very close to Bahn Maka.
This place is not really a resort though there are 2 bungalows available. The owner is a lady with a keen interest for birds and she has set up a blind and 3 waterholes for birds in the dry season. We had an amazing array of species in front of us. 20 species all in all in no less then an hour 45 minutes time. Best of all was a pair of Kalij Pheasants feeding for about half an hour. These are considered Silver Pheasants by some and Kalij by others.
Never the less, they are magnificent birds to behold.
Streak-eared Bulbul , common
Scaly-breasted Partridges, regular
Stripe-throated Bulbul, regular
Junglefowl, 10 birds towards the end
Black-crested Bulbul, regular
Siberian Blue Robin, once only
Black-headed Bulbul, one only
Bronzed Drongo, once only
Soothy-headed Bulbul, regular
White-bellied Yuhinna, once only
Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush, common
Brown-cheeked Fulvetta, once only
Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush, common
Spotted Dove, common
White-rumped Shama, now and then
Green-eared Barbet, once only
Green Magpie, one only
Black-naped Monarch, a pair
Asian Brown Flycatcher, once only
Tickell's Flycatcher, regular
On the way back we picked up Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Ashy Wood Swallow and Vinous-breasted Starlings perched on wires.
All in all 166 species was a pretty good account though some common birds went missing.