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Peter Ericsson | profile | all galleries >> Tripreports! >> Northern and Central Thailand November 2015 tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Northern and Central Thailand November 2015

Northern and Central Thailand 3-14th of November, 2015

Participants: Jose Ramos Martin, Lidia Romero Amich, Álvaro, Isabel Álvarez Balvís and Marcos Manuel Freán Hernández.
Tour leader and guide: Peter Ericsson

The trip began several months back when Jose Ramos Martin from Spain approached me about a trip to Thailand for himself and some of his friends. After some deliberation we decided to spend 7 days in the North and 4 days in the Central region. This was based a lot on the fact that Central Thailand forest birding is not all that good in November but in contrast the birdlife in the North is already on the upswing.

The main objective was to see Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Asian Fairy Bluebird as the latter represents a new family for the group. Besides that, do general birding to cover and enjoy as much as possible.

In the end all objectives were reached with a total list of 325 species. Not bad for November.

In the North we hired a comfortable Toyota Commuter that I drove. I the Central part we did the same but with a driver.

Hotels were with A/C and hot water and of normal standard.

Only 2 of the 5 in the group ate spicy food. This meant we had 2 sets of every dish while dining.
I doubt anyone lost weight from this trip.

No one came down with any illness during the trip or even the slightest upset tummy.

Only Jose spoke good English and most of the time I simply sat back while driving listening to what seemed endless conversations in Spanish.

The group got along well and I can honestly say walked away very satisfied.

Day 1. We met up at the airport in Bangkok for a late flight to Chiang Mai. Was met at the airport by the van rental company and it didn’t take very long for us to be in bed a little before midnight.

Day 2. An early morning started with one of many breakfasts at 7-11. Then onwards to Doi Chiang Dao North of Chiang Mai. The lower temple grounds hold a lot of common forest birds and served as a good introduction to the birdlife to come. In quick succession we saw Blue-eared Barbet, Black-crested Bulbul, Scarlet Minivets, Purple-naped Sunbird, Blue-winged Leafbird, Asian Fairy Bluebird and best of all a Streaked Wren Babbler. The list was a lot longer but I won’t repeat in full details what we saw on each site.

Late morning we continued towards Doi Angkhang where we had a sumptuous lunch at a restaurant in Bahn Khum village. DAK is easily one of my favorite spots in the North with such a nice blend of culture, nature and bird life. The Royal Agricultural Project serves as a magnet for Thai tourists as they flock to see the many locally grown flowers and to sample the fresh vegetables and fruits.
We came across many good birds at DAK starting with good numbers of Crested Finchbills, Brown-breasted Bulbuls as well as Red-whiskered ones. At the border point with Myanmar an obliging male Daurian Redstart gave great views as we were taking in the views of mountain ridges on the Burmese side and a hill tribe community on the Thai side.

The night we spent in a decent hotel in the town of Fang. We were to branch out of here for the coming 4 days.

Day 3. Early morning departure and strait up to Doi Lang which is part of Doi Pahompok National Park. We drove up from the South side and reached the upper ridge as the sun started to rise about the horizon.

Up here one feels so detached from man’s little world down below and the sounds and sights of nature take on another dimension. I have a hard time conveying my sentiments but let’s just say that it is ‘awesome and inspiring’!

Grasslands interspersed with stands of both broadleaved trees and pines dominate up here. Only a few sections have more wet and dense broadleaved forest.

Our visit seemed to be perfect timing for Giant Nuthatch as we had several sightings of this huge and much sought after Nuthatch. It loves tall pines and once the call is learned is easily recognized.

Several pairs of Spot-bre
Brown-breasted Bulbul
Brown-breasted Bulbul
Oriental Turtle Dove
Oriental Turtle Dove
Lacewing
Lacewing
Yellow-bellied Fairy Fantail
Yellow-bellied Fairy Fantail
Sapphire Flycatcher
Sapphire Flycatcher
Saphire Flycatcher
Saphire Flycatcher
Slaty Blue Flycatcher
Slaty Blue Flycatcher
Pale Blue Flycatcher
Pale Blue Flycatcher
Buff-throated Warbler
Buff-throated Warbler
Yellow-streaked Warbler
Yellow-streaked Warbler
Pied Bushchat
Pied Bushchat
Sultan's Tit
Sultan's Tit
Spot-breasted Parrotbill
Spot-breasted Parrotbill
Orange-breasted Trogon
Orange-breasted Trogon
Brahimy Kite
Brahimy Kite
Collared Scops Owl
Collared Scops Owl
Spotted Owlet
Spotted Owlet
Brown-headed Gull
Brown-headed Gull
Slender-billed Gull
Slender-billed Gull
Spanish 'armada'!
Spanish 'armada'!