Birdingpals Trip Report
Birding for Spoon-billed Sandpipers with Birdingpal Par Sasirat February 2013
Thailand from Doi Ang Khang to Khao Nor Chuchi Jan-March, 2007 and Feb, 2006
by Birdingpals Sandy and Ross Mackintosh
In 2006 we visited Khao Yai N. P. for 4 days sans vehicle. While staying in Chiang Mai we did 2 trips to Doi Suthep/Doi Pui N. P. Here we walked / birded from the Hmong village back to the temple. There were morning bird walks around the Chiang Mai Zoo and
Chiang Mai University and a driver was hired for 2 visits to Doi Inthanon N.P. Finally we had 3 full days in Kaeng Krachan N. P.
with a driver/guide.
On our return in 2007 we covered 14 major birding sites and several minor ones as well. We have provided information on bird sightings, accommodation, guides, drivers, transportation by bus, and sawngthaew.
KHAO YAI National Park:
Accommodation: Jungle House @ Km 19.5 for 4 nights at 600 Baht / night (Jan. 6-9/07). Guide service: we hired Nang (thailandyourway.com) 2000B + car and driver 1800B = 3800B/ day. Last year we stayed at Khao Yai Garden Lodge @ Km 7 for 800B/night. Several other accommodations and guides are available. One other guide is Phap Lon #087-246-4401 who charged 2000B including driver/ vehicle.
Transport: 3 hour bus from Bangkok’s Northern Terminal (Mo Chit) to Pak Chong for < 200B each. One can catch a sawngthaew towards
the park, as long as you are staying en route to the park, or call your accommodation from the bus stop. A lady, with a small stand there, has a sheet with resort names and phone numbers and will make a call for you.
Last year we caught a sawngthaew before 7AM, in front of our accommodation, or hitched to the Park Gate. From here we walked and hitched rides so we could bird the 15 km between the gate and reservoir. We also birded trails behind the Visitor Centre and Trail
6. The food stands across from the Visitor Centre are quite good and there is also a small shop for drinks etc. Return by hitching/ sawngthaew. Outside the Park we birded sections of the road to the Park, the grounds of the Lodge, and the areas accessed by the gravel road across from the explosives plant about 100 metres before the Lodge.
Bird Sightings: 117 species in 2006 including Thick-billed and Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Blossom-headed and Red-breasted Parakeet, Vernal Hanging Parrot, Brown-backed Needletail, Oriental Pied, Wreathed, and Great Hornbill, Coppersmith, Lineated, Green-eared, and Moustached Barbet, Laced Woodpecker, Minivets (4), Bulbuls (11), Leafbird (2), Sultan Tit, Black-collared Starling, Red Avadavat, Warblers(7), and Old World Flycatchers (11) including Pale Blue, Hainan Blue, Blue-and-white, and Little Pied.
In 2007 we asked Nang to target specific additions. To her credit, she was very focused on our seeing targeted species. Some sightings were:
Jan 6,7, & 9, 2007: Orchid Falls campground. Orange-headed Thrush, Radde’s Warbler, and Yellow-vented Flowerpecker near the
washroom. Across the road behind the restaurant we had the adult CBGC feeding with a Red Junglefowl on either side. We went to fruiting trees behind the Conference Centre cooking shed to look for a Brown Hornbill. It was absent but we were shown the Mugimaki Flycatcher (M & F). Other stops here yielded Thick-billed Green Pigeon and Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon.
Phaw Diew Dei(sunrise lookout area near the top of radar road) two times to check for Silver Pheasant, none seen but a bird
flushed. Nearby we had Javan Frogmouth (re-confirmed on a subsequent run up).
Main roads: scoped Barred Cuckoo Dove in the trees beside the salt lick. Near Km 33 was a male Silver Oriole. At a staked out tree we watched Heart-spotted Woodpecker try to coax a youngster from the nest hole. Across the road, beside tennis courts, we scoped non-breeding Rosy Pipit. Wreathed Hornbills were seen from the main road as well.
Trail 6 provided great looks at a Blue Pitta in a shallow stream and clear looks at a pair of adult White-crowned Forktail. Another time we found several Silver-breasted Broadbill, White-browed Scimitar-Babbler, and Grey-crowned Warbler.
Trail 9: saw Scaly-breasted Partridge, Red-headed Trogon (M & F), Greater Yellownape, and Plain-tailed Warbler. A Lesser Mouse Deer was a non avian bonus.
Jan 8 we drove ¾ hour to Sakaerat Environmental Research Station. The gate may not be manned before 6:30 AM so you enter and drive the road to a small reservoir at the end. Quickly check here and then slowly return back the roadway. About ½ way back toward the gate we stopped the vehicle, stay in the vehicle, and between 6:45 – 7:05AM we watched 6 male and 4 hen Siamese Fireback walk along the road, its edges, and feeding within the trees just off the road. Check out through the gate and stop at the buildings on the left to make a donation to help the Station continue their efforts. There is also a small selection of items to purchase if you are interested. Birding the scrub area and trails off the entry road we had Brown Prinia, Chestnut-capped Babbler, and Red-breasted Parakeet
Jan 10/07 Birding on way back to Bangkok:
Stopped at a Wat in Khaeng Koi to view several Limestone Wren-Babbler. The phonetic sounding for the wat is “Prabuddhabatnoi”.
Samut Sakhon and the salt pans near the Spoonbill Sandpiper Center with Mr. Tee: Collared and Black-capped Kingfisher. There were many waders including Broad-billed Sandpiper, Great Knot, and Lesser Sand Plover (Mongolian). But no Spoonbill or Nordmann’s after
4 hours of searching. Many salt pans are being converted to shrimp or fish farms so there is a lot of earth moving construction. Be sure to bring your own scope and a hat.
KAENG KRACHAN National Park:
Accommodation: A & B Bungalows # 09 891 2328 or 01-753-7712 for 800B/night (Jan. 14-18/07). Great bungalows and food. The limited English is not a problem. A driver/guide can be arranged by lady in charge. Tell her you need Piak, he charged about 1500B/day into the park. He cannot give directions in English but he is excellent at finding birds. You can arrange packed breakfast and lunch for the day. You must leave at 5:30AM to get to Pa-Nern-Tung (top checkpoint at Km 30) for early light. A car can be used part way but after the 1st checkpoint (Ban Krang Camp) a truck or 4WD is required to get through the 3 stream crossings and over the sections of rough road. This road was many times worse than that at Doi Chiang Dao.
Transport: Vans, from Bangkok, leave regularly across from the Victory Monument on the street beside the Raj-We-Tee Hospital. Ask the drivers to get the correct van – you want to go to Ban Kaeng Krachan. You can usually get them to understand that you want to be dropped off at the A & B Bungalows 1 Km past where the van stops. This trip takes 2.5 hours from Bangkok and costs 170B each.
Bird Sightings: 154 species in 2006 and 14 additional lifers in 2007
2006 Highlights included Scaly-breasted Partridge, White-bellied Green Pigeon, 8 Cuckoos (including Asian Drongo-Cuckoo, Chestnut-bellied and Chestnut-breasted Malkoha), 2 Nightjars, Red-headed and Orange-breasted Trogon, 6 Barbets (including Great, Gold-whiskered, and Golden-throated), 9 species of Woodpeckers (including Grey-faced, Crimson-winged, Buff-rumped, Black-and-buff, Grey-and-buff, and Great Slaty), Broadbills (3), Leafbirds (4), Babblers (14 including 4 species of Laughingthrush) and the Ratchet-tailed Treepie which Piak takes as a personal challenge whenever close to Km 28.
Jan. 15, 16, & 18, 2007: In Lower area of park we had Spot-necked Babbler, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Golden-crested Myna, Asian Paradise-Flycatcher, and Great Slaty Woodpecker.
Stream Crossings area provided Sultan Tit, Black-throated Sunbird, Brown Hornbill, and Sulphur-breasted Warbler. This latter species required going in on some of the small paths to get off the main road.
Look Out Curve at Km 24.5 +/- is a wonderful location. We usually park below this spot and walk/bird up to the look out. Recorded here were Wreathed and Great Hornbill, White-browed Piculet, and Red-bearded Bee-eater in our scope for as long as we cared to look.
Upper area (Km26.5 – Km28.5) there is a large pull in spot beside the bird sign near Km 27.5. In this section were large Hawk
Cuckoo, Black-throated Laughingthrush, Burmese Yuhina, White-hooded Babbler, 2 Ratchet-tailed Treepie close to Km28 again, Yellow-bellied and Radde’s Warbler, Silver Pheasant (F), Large Niltava (M), and near the 3000’ level a male Grey Peacock Pheasant feeding parallel to the road and just below us. The feather markings are incredible.
Both check point areas can have a good number of birds as well.
LAM PAK BIA and vicinity of the village Ban-Pak-Ta-Lay in Petchaburi Province. This is a good spot for waders, gulls, and terns. There is a small check in gate behind the large wat at LPB before you drive the sight. We made 2 day trips, one from Kaeng Krachan and one from Hua Hin at 1100B each trip. Targets here are Nordmann’s Greenshank and Spoonbill Sandpiper. Sightings here included Palla’s Gull, Common Greenshank and Redshank, Black-naped Tern, Little Curlew, Little Tern, and Long-billed Dowitcher. On our 2nd trip a British bander (P. Brown) in LPB directed us to nearby salt pans outside the sight where we did find Nordmann’s Greenshank with Great Knots. We did not find the Spoonbill, but it was seen by others that day.
KHAO SAM ROI YOT National Park:
Accommodation in Hua Hin was Jinning Beach Guest House www.jinningbeachguesthouse.com for 900B/night (Jan. 19-22/07). On a street with other guest houses at south end but one can walk to the fishing pier and the beach is very close.
A driver (Boonleard # 081-018-7015) was arranged through another Canadian birder for 1200B/day.
Transport: we went from Ban Kaeng Krachan by van back to a major intersection in Phetchaburi. We crossed the highway to the bus stop in front of the hospital parking lot. Here you catch a bus to Hua Hin. At Hua Hin a sawngthaew to the guest house was 40B each.
Bird Sightings: Main Boardwalk (education centre) Von Schrenck’s Bittern (F) was found in a pond across the road from the marsh. From the boardwalk we saw flocks of Lesser Whistling-Duck, Ruddy-breasted Crake(6), both Jacana, Eastern Marsh Harrier, and Black-headed Munia (2). On this day (Jan. 20/07) there didn’t seem to be as many birds as we expected in the marsh.
Gulf Beaches and adjacent tiny fields: out of the park we turned at a corner, where there were piles of coconuts, to get to the gulf beaches. Here we found small flocks of Bar-tailed Godwit and Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Terek Sandpiper, and a White-bellied Sea-Eagle. Plaintive Cuckoo (M&F) was in trees in the tiny shoreline fields.
Headquarters: back into the park but all we saw in a brief stop was Purple Sunbird and Common Iora. We did not do the boardwalk here.
Summer Palace: is just north of Hua Hin. Golden-bellied Gerygone was seen from the mangrove boardwalk. Lawns had a couple of Pipit species but the beaches had nothing significant.
CHIANG MAI: DOI SUTHEP/DOI PUI National Park:
Accommodation: we were in Chiang Mai at the Montri Hotel for 750B/nt (email@example.com).
Transportation: sawngthaew leave from near the north gate to Doi Suthep and then another to the Hmong Village at the road end. Could pay from 400 – 500 B round trip for two. Then walk/bird back towards the temple. Note: there can be a lot of tourist traffic on this narrow road. One other time we rode up to the Doi Pui checkpoint and campground by taking the road to the right 2 km before the
Hmong Village and birded above the checkpoint and down to the campground.
2006 Highlights included Grey Treepie, Black-throated Sunbird, Fire-capped Tit, Rufous-fronted Babbler, and Flycatchers (8)
including Ferruginous and Slaty-backed.
(Jan 29 & Feb 13/07)
Large flock of Chestnut-flanked White-eye, Hill Blue-Flycatcher, mixed flock of Shrike-Babbler (White-browed (F), Chestnut-fronted, and Black-eared), and Rufous-bellied Niltava were seen in first 2 km. Scaly Thrush was on the ground in the open pines. Further on were Japanese White-eye, Blue-winged Leafbird, a pair of Emerald Dove, and 2 pair of Asian Emerald Cuckoo before our lunch break at the roadside tables in front of the vendors just above the Palace. From here to Km 18 we recorded Grey-sided Thrush, Blue-throated Barbet, Grey-crowned warbler, Hainan Blue-Flycatcher, Grey-cheeked Fulvetta, and Eastern Crowned Leaf-Warblers carrying nesting material. The other afternoon at the Doi Pui Checkpoint area we recorded Minivets (3 species), Tickell’s Blue-Flycatcher, and a pair of Great Tit.
Through Wat U Mong grounds into Conservation Area/Open Zoo: Feb.2/07
4 hours in the morning yielded 42 species. Flycatchers (4 including Blue-and-white and Pale Blue), Siberian Blue Robin, Black-naped Monarch, White-crested Laughingthrush, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Racket-tailed Treepie,and a male Green Peafowl.
Chiang Mai Zoo and Chiang Mai University (2006 & 2007 3 times):
With construction of the zoo’s new parking garage it is not as easy to walk into the zoo at 7AM and pay when you come out. You must wait for the 1st person who can sell you a ticket (100B each). The zoo has water, trees, ravines with scrub, and the attraction of caged species. Some of the more interesting wild species we saw in these areas were Black Baza, Speckled Piculet, Banded Bay Cuckoo (M), Indochinese Cuckoo-shrike, Blue-throated Flycatcher, Chestnut-tailed Starling, Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush, and
Mae Hia Agriculture Research Station: (Feb. 23/07)
From central Chiang Mai it is 150B for a couple each way. YOU MUST tell the driver the whole name or better still have someone write the complete name in Thai for the driver. We tried this spot because of reports of a Baya Weaver and we hadn’t done it before. Our best birds after 2.5 hours were Indochinese Bushlark and a Yellow-legged Buttonquail which was seen near the end of 1st short road
to the right before it turns to the water treatment installation. Other reports (Feb./March 2003 by John van der Woude) have given
an accurate description of birds to expect.
DOI CHIANG DAO (Den Ya Khat):
Accommodation: Malee’s Bungalows for 3 nts. at 500B/nt. #0 1961 8387 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Transportation: 5:30AM bus from Chiang Mai’s Chang Pheuak terminal takes 1.5 hour. Bus was 40B each and sawngthaew in Chiang Dao to Malee’s was 60B each. Malee arranges the truck up to DYK for 1500B. The road to DYK, when traveling north from Chiang Mai, is to the left and south of Chiang Dao.
Bird Sightings: (Feb. 16, 18, 19/07) walks (from Malee’s) to checkpoint, spirit house, and temple stairway.
Sightings included Scaly-breasted Partridge, Northern Goshawk (juv), several Bulbuls incl. White-headed, Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Striated Yuhina, and Grey-crowned Warbler.
Feb. 17/07 Doi Chiang Dao and DYK substation: only problem with the road was the thick powdery dust.
There is a wide grass/dirt cut through the pines off on an angle to the left near the top. We searched up here for Mrs Hume’s Pheasant but no luck. We did get Scaly Thrush and Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-Babbler. Further on at the substation we saw only 1 Giant Nuthatch. Two in the group said they had always seen several on previous trips. Other species included Long-tailed Thrush, Great
Tit, Chestnut Bunting, and Hill Prinia (non breeding) in the brushy area beside the open campground. We walked a few hundred metres of the summit trail and had Slender-billed and Maroon Oriole. We walked several sections of the road on the way back down and registered Daurian Redstart(F), Blue-winged Minla, Chestnut-bellied Rock-Thrush(M), Long-tailed and Silver-breasted Broadbill, and several Great Barbet.
We advise at least two trips up to DYK because the time required to bird along the road.
Malee will arrange for a sawngthaew to take you back into Chiang Dao for the 10AM bus back to Chiang Mai.
DOI INTHANON National Park:
Accommodation: Touch Star Resort 3 nights at 1200B/night (Feb. 19-22/07) is on the last road on the right before the park gate. The contact person is Piak. She can be reached at #053-267-364 or #08-9134-2188. You can arrange for coffee and packed meals for 6AM. Guide service thanks to our Canadian Birdingpal was Boontam #089-990-9118 for 1000B/day + driver & vehicle for 1500B/day = 2500B/ day. Also Piak may be able to arrange other guide service.
Transportation: In Chiang Mai we went to the south moat near the Chiang Mai Gate Market to catch the Blue and White (ordinary class) bus to Chom Thong. Cost was 38B each. The sawngthaew from Chom Thong to the resort was 50B each.
2006 Highlights included Yellow-cheeked Tit, Black-backed Sibia, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Rufous-winged Fulvetta, Chestnut-tailed Minla, Spot-breasted and Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush, Ashy-throated Warbler, White-browed Shortwing, Snowy-browed Flycatcher
(M & F), Green-tailed and Mrs. Gould’s Sunbird, and Dark-sided Thrush. The Grey-sided and Chestnut Thrush were seen with the Rufous-throated Partridges feeding behind the vendor buildings at the summit. The level of bird activity around the bog in 2006 was much greater than in 2007.
This year we also birded areas around the fields and grounds of the nearby resorts. Best birds were a flock of 10+ Red-billed Blue Magpie, Ruddy-breasted Crake, Grey Treepie, and Rufous-winged Buzzard.
Feb. 20 & 21/07 in the park. Left the resort at 6AM and went directly to the checkpoint Km37.5. Here we saw Black-backed Sibia, Silver-eared Mesia, Spectacled Barwing, Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush, Golden-throated Barbet, Flycatchers (3), and
Chestnut-vented Nuthatch at a nest tree.
Next we went to the summit to see the Rufous-throated Partridge behind the back buildings at the vendor site. We watched two feeding there a little after 9AM. We then went across the road and down the steps to the bog boardwalk. This year there was few blossoms left in the bog area and half the boardwalk was closed for repairs. We still managed Green-tailed Sunbird, Chestnut-tailed Minla, Rufous-winged Fulvetta, Ashy-throated Warbler, and Snowy-browed Flycatcher. However the Dark-sided and Chestnut Thrush seen in Feb./ 06 were nowhere to be found.
On our stops at Mr. Daeng’s we saw Siberian Blue Robin, Common Rosefinch, Dark-sided Thrush was seen by part of the group in the garbage behind, and no one could find the Asian Stubtail. A photographer had his blind below the deck and was patiently waiting for the Stubtail on our last visit.
The last morning was slow! We missed the Rusty-naped Pitta on our early morning road walk. After visits to two Royal project sites the only thing new was Rufous-bellied Niltava, Little Spiderhunter, and Scaly Thrush. The Jeep Track was better. We had Brown-throated Treecreeper, Stripe-breasted Woodpecker, and Slaty-bellied Tesia were active near the 300 metre area. Back at the start of the track we had Small Niltava. On a short road above the Eco Lodge we saw Orange-bellied Leafbird. To end the day we went to Km13 for lowland birding. In the dry riverbed area we had Puff-throated Babbler and Blossom-headed Parakeet.
DOI ANG KHANG:
Accommodation: Ban Luang Resort 3 nights at 600B/nt. (Feb. 26-28/07) in “A” frame bungalows. Contact is Tawatchai and he can be reached directly at #081 881 8114. He has some English and is very enthusiastic about the birds around the resort, especially its resident White-capped Water Redstart etc. Alternatively you can call #53 450 010 and ask for the Ban Luang Resort. The woman
(believe her name is Pung = Jane in English), at this number, has good English. You can arrange to have some packed food ready, for later in the day, when you have breakfast.
Transportation: We bused from Chiang Mai. We caught the 5AM bus to Thaton at the Chiang Pheuak Terminal (north of north moat). Tell them you want off at Ang Khang Km 137. The trip takes 3 hours and cost 75B each. There is a sawngthaew lot where you get off at the
T intersection or across the road in an empty lot as well. Cost to the resort, from this corner, is between 75 and 100B each and takes about 25 minutes. NOTE: if you arrive when Tawatchai is not around, the assistants speak NO English!
It is about 1.6 km from the resort out to the highway at the Km23 corner. If you are driving and turn left at Km23 you proceed 1.6
km to the resort laneway which is on the left at the bottom of a left sweeping uphill curve that enters the village of Ban Luang. There is a small guard stand outside an open area with helicopter pads near Km 19.9. Most of our birding was from inside this area and back along the roads (with some side trails) to the resort. The report from Feb/March 2003 by John van der Woude has a description and map. One morning we went into the Royal Project at Ban Khum (~Km25) just past the Ang Khang Nature Resort.
Bird Sightings: [Guard stand area to Km23 on highway] Large Niltava(F), Silver-eared Mesia, Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush, and Speckled Piculet. It seemed that Chestnut-vented Nuthatch was present in almost every other large pine. Black-throated Tit(juv), Blue-winged Minla, Grey-sided Thrush, and Hill Prinia. On our 2nd visit inside the compound we had Crested Bunting in the small tree near the 1st helicopter pad. We were heading for the tiny narrow gateway to the trail on the right less than 25 metres from the 1st helicopter pad. We had to stop to allow two Mountain Bamboo Partridge to cross into the scrub on the right just inside the gate. This trail parallels the road with open pine on the right and thick scrub/bushes on the left. It becomes a sloping footpath where it drops into the first ravine. Near the bottom here we watched, for some time, a small flock of Red-faced Liocichla and 3 Spectacled Barwing feeding on fruiting vines. Also both species enjoyed eating the little remnant flower nodules from the branches. The long rectangular tail feathers of the Barwing look almost like lace at their ends. Out on the main road back we had Gray-headed Parrotbill(Km20), several Striated Bulbul, and a pair of Golden-throated Barbet.
Km23 corner to Ban Luang Resort: Ultramarine Flycatcher, Crested Finchbill, Red-faced Liocichla, White-browed Laughingthrush and Spot-breasted Parrotbill were seen along the road.
A flock of 10 Little Bunting (some in breeding plumage) bathed in the resort stream. Brown-breasted Bulbul, Long-tailed Shrike, and Common Rosefinch were also seen from the covered verandah. Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, Common Buzzard and on our last morning before a 9:30AM departure we had Japanese White-eye, Yellow-streaked Warbler, and great close up looks of Pygmy Blue-Flycatcher
along the road.
Royal Project at Ban Khum: thanks to two Thai birders who stopped on the highway and told us about this location behind the restaurant. They had 5 thrush species here in the morning. Go a few metres past the restaurant (1–2 km into the gardens) and walk left down into the Rose Garden. At the left middle of the garden is a bench which gives a good line of sight to the wet area behind and below the restaurant. The thrush feed from the back wall below the rear deck out to the rock formations on your right. Also
watch along the row of cedars on the restaurant side.
We observed Black-breasted, Scaly, Grey-sided, and Eyebrowed Thrush here even at 11AM. Don’t forget to smell the roses! Also sit
near the railing on the restaurant patio and have your lunch. The food is great and it is a good spot to watch birds. Among the many birds we observed from here were Slaty-backed (F) and Pale Blue-Flycatcher. Warning: if you are walking, be sure to have water as
the highway is a steep uphill grade back to the Km23 corner.
To return to Chiang Mai you can get a sawngthaew at Ban Khum for 100B each that takes you out to Km137 at the main highway. We
caught a sawngthaew at 10AM and only had to wait a few minutes at the Km137 intersection for the bus to Chiang Mai.
KHAO SOK National Park:
Accommodation: Khao Sok Green Valley Resort for 3 nights at 700B/nt. (Mar. 3-5/07). Contact is Eit at # (66) 077-395-145 or email@example.com or www.khaosokgreenvalley.com. You can arrange for lunch food to take for the day.
Transportation: in Krabi get a sawngthaew to the bus station north of town 40B each. There was a new service of a direct A/C bus to Khao Sok that departed at 12:30PM for 150B each. Direct is different than non stop and this trip takes 4.5 hours, so you want to take advantage of the longer food / washroom stops. The bus lets you off after turning the corner to Khao Sok near Km109 on Highway 401 (not as heavily traveled as the 401 in SW Ontario). You hire one of the trucks to drive you to a resort; we paid 50B to get us to Green Valley. Ironically the empty bus drives down the road past several of the accommodations, likely yours too, to wait inside
the NP for the return trip the next morning.
When we left Chiang Mai we flew at 2:15PM to Bangkok and from Bangkok at 5:30PM to Krabi and then a taxi into Krabi for the night. The flights by 1,2 Go are 1750B each for each 1 hour trip. The fare from the airport to town was 350B if you choose the fixed fare taxi (you buy a ticket inside near luggage carousel and the driver finds you and your number out front of the airport).
Bird Sightings: Outside the Park from 7-11 AM and 4-6 PM
This is an example of how things change from one time to another. Several birders had advised us that they usually saw more species outside the park than within. We were the exception. Species seen included Orange-bellied Flowerpecker, Chinese Sparrowhawk, a pair of Lesser Fish Eagle, and a Great Hornbill, which flew low over the road almost directly over us. On the Morning Mist Resort
property we had Black-bellied Malkoha (better look than earlier this morning) near a fruiting tree. Birds in the fruiting tree included Yellow-vented Bulbul and several Vernal Hanging-Parrots.
Inside the Park 7AM – noon and 5 – 6PM. Park entrance is 400B each and it is good for 7 days. Before heading in on the trail to the left we searched the more open areas around the stream, restaurant, Visitor Centre, and Youth Hostel buildings. Red-throated Barbet and Red-eyed Bulbul were our best birds. Before 9AM we started the trail towards Wing Hin and Bang Hua Raet Waterfalls etc. In the dense vegetation some birds escape identification. Birds that didn’t get away were Lesser Green Leafbird(F) and a pair of Raffles Malkoha feeding on our side of the canopy. Then less than 5 metres away on an exposed branch, a full frontal of a male Black-and-red Broadbill, the blue shade of the bill against the black forehead and crown was stunning. The heat and humidity reduced activity considerably and we had returned to almost the trail head when we found a pair of Grey-breasted Spiderhunter. A Spectacled Bulbul was in short young trees between the stream and restaurant. The evening hour turned up nothing of note.
We erred in not allotting more than one day inside Khao Sok. We assume it would be good birding past the 1st waterfall because we didn’t make it that far.
KHAO LUANG National Park: –Krung Ching Waterfalls is a sub unit in the park’s north near Nopphitam:
Accommodation: The reservation for a bungalow in this park was made earlier in Bangkok at a government Tourism Authority of Thailand office (TAT with NO periods between letters!). Our bungalow cost 600B/nt. It had to be paid cash in advance at a branch of the Krung Thai Bank. There was a tiny surcharge of 25B. You get one copy of the paperwork to present at the park gate. You can only reserve 3 nights per reservation. Therefore, if you want 4 nights like we did, you make 2 reservations. If you cannot get into a TAT
government office you can try www.dnp.go.th or call # 02-562-0760 for any National Park in Thailand. Our stay was booked for the nights of Mar. 6-9/07.
Transportation: we arrived at the Khao Sok corner at 8:40AM and our bus to Surat Thani didn’t come until 9:15AM. During that time we were approached several times to buy a ride on a private van. The bus fare was 70B each. The bus station in Surat Thani was not the bus station you need to be at to continue on to Nikhon Si Thammarat so we took a sawngthaew to the crowded little bus stop in the market for 20B each. We were just in time to jump on the 2nd class A/C bus for a 3 hour trip to Nikhon Si Thammarat at 80B each.
At this point our travel logistics hit a major bump in the road! The solution is to know where you want to go! We salvaged this segment because the manager at the TAT office in Bangkok suggested we keep her cell phone number, and we did, the park management at the Headquarters site (80+ km from our reserved bungalow) was extremely polite and wonderful temporary hosts, and when we finally
got to the Krung Ching site the staff went to great limits to ensure we were satisfied.
Recommendation: if you do not have a vehicle it would probably be best to hire a ride in Surat Thani to the Krung Ching sub unit. You would also need a ride out to Highway 401, at the end of your stay, to catch a bus or ride directly back to Surat Thani to continue.
Bird Sightings: Luckily there was a flowering / fruiting tree beside the road in front of the park tuck shop. Some of the birds we saw our 1st day included Thick-billed and Grey-breasted Spiderhunter, Red-eyed Bulbul, a pair of Brown Barbet, Black-bellied
Malkoha, and a Silver-rumped Needletail. This latter bird was spotted from the crest of road by an ancient bus stop sign. The road here allows a view over valleys in two directions.
The next morning we birded in sight of the fruiting tree before heading in on the waterfall trail. A Black-and-yellow Broadbill(M) perched above the fish pond with a captured insect in its bill. Greater Green Leafbird and Dark-throated Oriole(M) were other sightings at the fruiting tree. On the cement waterfall trail we saw two races of Orange-headed Thrush(M), both gibson billi and innotata. The latter being the race seen in Khao Yai as well. At the old basketball court open area we studied Moustached Babbler
and Ferruginous Flycatcher. Further on we had a male eclipse Crimson Sunbird. We started back before reaching the waterfall. On the return there was a pair each of Buff-rumped Woodpecker and Chestnut-breasted Malkoha. A Fulvous-chested Jungle-Flycatcher and a Grey-headed Babbler that was in trail-side shrubbery close to the entrance completed the walk. In the early afternoon a Black Baza was observed from our bungalow washroom. In the late afternoon there was a Red-throated Barbet(M) in the fruiting tree. On the crest of the road we watched 7 Great Hornbill fly (from the waterfall direction) along the valley and over the ridge.
Our last full day we had a Black-and-yellow Broadbill(F) in a leafless tree near the tuck shop. Then we birded up the hill and out the road past the park gate. Birds on this walk included Ochraceous Bulbul, Red-billed Malkoha, and a Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker
on wild Lantana and in low bushes. These same bushes came alive with babblers and we added Chestnut-winged, Striped Tit, and White-chested Babbler. On the return we saw Thick-billed Flowerpecker and Puff-backed Bulbul. It was just after 10:30AM but warm enough to stop until the afternoon. Before dinner, some Thai birders showed us Thick-billed Green Pigeons in the fruiting tree.
KHAO NOR CHUCHI Wildlife Sanctuary:
Accommodation: Morakot Resort for 4 nights at 600B /nt. (Mar. 10-13/07). Sa is a contact and she can be reached at # 081-415-1982 or firstname.lastname@example.org There is a Sightings Book to check near the reception desk. You can arrange to have food ready to take with
you for later in the day. Warning: the very helpful and much appreciated trail map is not to scale. Trail C – D takes much longer than one anticipates.
Transportation: taxi hire is available from/to Krabi for 1000B. However, we came by van from Nakhon Si Thammarat. This takes 2 hours and cost 160B each. You are let off at a major T corner in Klong Thom. We were surprised to learn that the only way to travel the 20 minutes, from here to the Morakot Resort, is by Motorcycle Taxi. This cost 100B each. But we are sure it was entertaining for locals to see two seniors, with a scope slung over shoulders or a tri-pod and backpack wedged between legs, and each clinging tightly to a driver, pass by. When we returned to Krabi, we went by taxi with a Swedish birder (Lars), who arrived shortly after us. The three of us birded together for our time here.
Bird Sightings: we report birds from around the resort property, roads and trails before/past the corner where you turn to the Reserve, and within KNC itself.
Around the Morakot: Orange-bellied Flowerpecker, Brown (Plain) and Purple-throated Sunbirds came to fruit placed on branches and the fruiting palms. There was Bulbuls (3) including Olive-winged. Another highlight was when a Black-thighed Falconet took out a male Purple-throated Sunbird from bushes at the rear corner of Bungalow 4 and perched briefly in a small tree at the edge of the reservoir.
Roads and Trails: On the Jeep track we saw Sooty-capped Babbler and heard Rufous-backed kingfisher and Banded Pitta. Rufous-crowned Babbler was seen from the gravel road and two evenings we had flocks of Blue-tailed Bee-Eater flying to roost. Large-tailed Nightjar was on wires at the Reserve corner and Great.Eared-Nightjar was seen over the highway near the Resort on two evenings.
KNC Reserve: Gurney’s Pitta(F) was seen before 7AM crossing Trail A (left to right) just a few metres inside the entry gate. She
went into the small clump of trees and then under the Boardwalk and into the forest. Lars recognized the Gurney’s Pitta call and the male was seen 7:15AM less than 20 metres in on the left and only 50 metres further along from where the female crossed.
Banded Pitta(M) was seen off of Trail A on the 1st small footpath to the left above where the Trail B meets Trail A. There were several large stones on the left edge of A before A curves to the right and near the entrance to the footpath. This footpath has a rectangular bare dirt area just above a small descent after which the path levels out through a more open section and then dead
ends. We sat on the open dirt area and watched below as the Pitta fed along the left side of the path and later on the small hill side on the right.
Green Broadbill, Chestnut-bellied Malkoha, and Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker were seen on the first half of Trail B. We saw a pair of Buff-rumped Woodpecker on Trail D. An Indian Cuckoo was very co-operative just above the Boardwalk not far below the Emerald Pool. The level open area above the Emerald Pool is a good spot to observe birds of prey. Crested Serpent-Eagle, Black Eagle, Wallace’s Hawk-Eagle, and Oriental Honey-buzzard were some of the species seen from this location.
Accommodation: Krabi City Seaview Hotel for 4 nights at 600B/nt. (Mar. 14-17/07). This place is right on the river walkway and there is a range of rooms available. Breakfast can be eaten on the 5th floor overlooking the river. Contact # is 66-75-622 885 or www.krabicityseaviewhotel.com, or email@example.com.
Transportation: Sa at the Morakot arranged for the taxi (1000B) to bring the three of us to the hotel in Krabi. Lars wanted to do
the 4 hour trips with Mr. Dei as well. To catch a sawngthaew here it is easier to walk uphill one block to the street above or 2 blocks to the Night Market area.
Bird Sightings: areas birded were walk along the river to Maritime Park & Spa Resort with a side trip on to the city’s Mangrove Boardwalk about a half km before the Maritime, the Mangrove Boat Trip, and the Krabi Rivermouth Trip, both with Mr. Dei. These trips are usually pre-booked at Mrs. Lee’s Chan Pen Café several blocks north of the Night Market and across the street from the riverside.
Resort and Mangrove Boardwalk: we set out at 7AM and had nothing of note on the Boardwalk. We got to the Maritime at 9AM and fared only a little better. The best bird here was a Yellow-vented Bulbul on the entrance driveway. Worst of all we missed what looked
like a great breakfast buffet by 10 minutes. This ends before 10:30AM so plan accordingly. Lunch was still enjoyable. Comment: suggest taking a taxi to the Resort first thing in the morning and do the Boardwalk after breakfast on the way back. In hindsight we thought we should have hired a driver for the day to take us the 20 km north to Khao Phanom Bench National Park.
Mangrove Boat Trip: Mr. Dei’s long-tailed boat left the riverside stairs a few blocks north of the Night Market promptly at 7AM. Fees for either the Mangrove or Rivermouth trip are 200B / hour per person. Each trip lasts 4 hours. We were to be 5 participants as another couple from SW Ontario (Jim and Claire) who we met our last day at KNC were aboard as well. We saw several of both Brown-winged and Black-capped Kingfisher and two Blue-eared Kingfisher. Ashy Tailorbird was observed at very close range. We watched a pair of White-chested Babblers feeding amongst the mangrove roots. There was a fleeting glance of an Oriental Hobby as it took flight from high on the cliff face. Even though we heard at least 4 different Mangrove Pitta, some of them not far away, we did not see one. Mr. Dei graciously dropped us off at the riverside stairs close to our hotel and said he would pick us up here tomorrow morning as well.
Krabi Rivermouth Trip: Just three of us and Mr. Dei today. We had Grey(Black-bellied) Plover, small flocks of Whimbrel, Marsh Sandpiper, Bar-tailed Godwit, and a few Nordmann’s Greenshank on sand spits. Common, Little, and Lesser Crested Tern were perched
on many poles of the fish weirs. A Pacific Reef Egret (dark) and Terek Sandpiper were perched on these poles as well. Common
Redshank filled several bare shrubs above the water level. A Chinese Egret was seen walking close to shore. We got fairly close to a White-bellied Sea-Eagle. It was on a pole a little further out and its size was impressive as it flew away low over the water. The beaches were devoid of waders and Mr. Dei made a last ditch effort for the Mangrove Pitta for our last ¾ hour but no luck.
Chatree Pitakpaivan took us under his wing at the top of Thailand in 2006. He provided us hospitality, contacts, and information to make our stay in Thailand more enjoyable and our birding successful.
Bill Wood was an easy person to bird with and we enjoyed teaming up with him at Khao Sam Roi Yot, Chiang Dao, and Inthanon.
Lars Nilsson tackled complicated issues at KNC and made the arrangements for all of us on our Krabi trips.