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Southern Thailand May 2014

Southern Thailand 6-20th of May, 2014
By Peter Ericsson

Francesco Veronesi and his birding friend Leonardo Beghellini had been asking me to see the Malaysian Rail Babbler for a long time. So when I got news of one showing at Krung Ching in Southern Thailand they immediately wanted to visit. Francesco is a dedicated photographer with over 3200 species in his portfolie as well as a lister and Leonardo is a global lister with over 6000 birds seen.

Along with the Babbler they gave me a list with rather difficult birds and so I was faced with both a logistic challenge as well as finding the birds. I couldn’t set a fixed itinerary since we didn’t know how long it would take to nail down the Babbler.

I flew down to Krabi in advance as I wanted to visit Satun some 4 hours drive to the South of Krabi.
I used a Honda City from Hertz which turned out to be a reliable vehicle for the entire trip.

It was interesting to see the landscape and the make up of this area as I drove through the western part of the very South. Satun has not had any influence of the violence found in the bordering provinces of Naratiwat, Yala and Pattalung and the people seemed rather relaxed.

I visited the mangrove forest as I was targeting Cinerous Tit. I have only seen Cinerous Tit on Komodo Island but that is a different subspecies. It was quite strait forward to see it inside of the grounds of the mangrove research and learning center. The birds also sang away with songs reminding me of Great Tit from my home country.

I also recorded Mangrove PItta, photographed Brown-winged Kingfisher and noted Mangrove Whistler, Golden-bellied Gerygone and Common Flameback in the mangroves.

Unfortunately I didn’t see the Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker and the Pied Triller and it wasn’t until a couple of weeks later I found out there is a boardwalk near the port itself and that is the place for these birds. Ouch! Next time!

Lodging was easy and these days most accommodation in Thailand has free WiFi, air-con and hot showers as well.

I spent one night in Krabi. Loads of Guest House style of lodging right in town. Had a simple meal at the market by the river and prepared for the days to come.

Early morning the next day at the mangrove boardwalk in Krabi. I soon got a hold of a calling Mangrove Pitta that readily responded to playback. Brown-winged Kingfishers were calling and giving flight views. Ashy Tailorbird was heard and Collared Kingfisher was obvious.

At noon I went to pick up Francesco and Leonardo at the airport. Francesco had graciously brought some Italian salami which I cherished throughout the trip. Thank you!

The drive to Krung Ching took most of the afternoon. A better option is to fly to Nakorn Sritamaraht with Airasia. Hertz allow for free drop off of their vehicle if hired more then 5 days.

We were greeted at a nice Homestay by the park and a sumptuous meal was waiting for us as well.
The ranger Daang and his family has set up a little homestay with 4 rooms available. They are air-conned with hot water and a big blessing as opposed to using the park bungalows with all their ‘wildlife’ in the room, no warm water and no air-con. At the homestay you can also have 3 meals that are wonderfully cooked by the Grandmother of the house.

The next morning we set out with our target in mind. We were accompanied by ‘R’, Daang’s nephew. It was his job to locate the Babbler and bring it to us.

After about an hour of searching along the trail R heard the bird in the far distance. He started taping it in. We set up a couple of blinds and myself and R retreated out of view. After an hour or more the bird still hadn’t shown so we had to start looking for it again. Again it was located, hides moved and another wait. This time we were not to be disappointed. The remarkable creature came and stuck around for several minutes as it gobbled up the meal worms put out for him. Big thumbs up and joy for a bird that had been on their mind
Von Schrenck's Bittern
Von Schrenck's Bittern
Rufous-collared Kingfisher
Rufous-collared Kingfisher
Cinerous Tit
Cinerous Tit
Black-throated Babbler
Black-throated Babbler
Gould's Frogmouth
Gould's Frogmouth
Malayan Banded Pitta
Malayan Banded Pitta
Brown-winged Kingfisher
Brown-winged Kingfisher
Black-backed Kingfisher
Black-backed Kingfisher
Hooded Pitta
Hooded Pitta
Malaysian Rail Babbler
Malaysian Rail Babbler
Siamese Fireback
Siamese Fireback
Long-tailed Broadbill
Long-tailed Broadbill