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Birding with David Hollie … Kaeng Krachan NP. Feb 2016

Day 1.  After an early start to pick up David Hollie from the airport the first destination was to be Pak Thale, with the number one target being the Spoon-billed Sandpiper. The sun was just coming up as we arrived and we soon located a group of Red-necked Stints to scan through. Well, within 3 minutes the first Spoonie was sighted!! Over the next 30 mins we located 2 more bringing our total to three. A few more hours at Pak Thale produced Far Eastern Curlews, Terek Sandpipers, Red-necked Phalaropes, Black-tailed Godwits and Great Knots, plus most of the usual shorebirds found there. Nordmann’s Greenshanks and Asian Dowitchers were not found so we headed to Laem Pak Bia.

Spoon-billed Sandpiper at Pak Thale
Spoon-billed Sandpiper

Along the road in another salt pan, on closer observation a large group of Great Knot were hiding at least 45 Nordmann’s Greenshanks!!!  At the Research Centre, I was surprised at the number of Grey Herons present, it really seemed that I saw one in every direction I looked…

Asian Dowitcher at Pak Thale
Asian Dowitcher

As we left, a small salt pan on the left seemed to have an enormous amount of different bids. On a closer examination, we got them….. 2 Asian Dowitchers!! All three main targets ticked off.

After a spot of lunch we headed off to Samarn’s and Kaeng Krachan NP for a cold one and a well-deserved rest.  86 species in total with 46 lifers for David.

Day 2. Into the park at 6am, narrowly missing a Large Tailed Nightjar, that didn’t even have the decency to re-settle for a snap after sitting in the middle of the road with his back to us!! The first point would be Km18 for the Blue Pitta. As I had hoped nobody was there so we had the place to ourselves. First came the White-rumped Shamas, then a Chinese Blue Flycatcher followed by a pair of Scaly-breasted Partridges. Very soon after, out he hopped, the magnificent Blue Pitta. He gave us the pleasure of his presence 3 times before disappearing back into the jungle. Truly a real gem of the jungle…

A great days birding between the streams turned up many lifers again for David including; Blue-bearded Bee-eaters, Streak-breasted Woodpeckers, Dusky Broadbills and White-browed Scimitar-Babblers. Later in the afternoon the first lifer for me. Amongst the chattering and babbling of a wave of Greater-necklaced Laughingthrushes and Green Magpies, a pair of Crested Jays appeared. This was a great spot for me, although I had heard them before I had never actually seen one.

Even the drive back to the resort produced a few niceties including; Heart-spotted Woodpecker, Great Hornbill and Black-thighed Falconet. Total for the day stood at 58 species with 31 lifers for David and 1 for me!!!

Blue Pitta at Kaeng Krachan
Blue Pitta
Crested Jay at Kaeng Krachan
Crested Jay

Day 3.  Into the park again at 6am and headed straight up to Panoen Thung. The weather at the top was awful. Rain, wind and a real cold snap in the air made the birding pretty much impossible. By 10am it started to clear up a bit an the sun was trying to shine through. We headed off to find the Pin-tailed Parrot Finches. They came in waves and showed quite well but due to the height and the denseness of the bamboo, getting good shots was pretty difficult. The day’s highlights were Ratchet-tailed Treepie, Tickell’s Brown Hornbill, Long-tailed Broadbill and Rufous Woodpecker. On the way back down the mountain a Mountain Hawk Eagle made for another fantastic day. Total for day 3 was 55 species with 31 lifers again for David.

Mountain Hawk Eagle at Kaeng Krachan
Mountain Hawk Eagle
 Rufous Woodpecker at Kaeng Krachan
Rufous Woodpecker
Pin-tailed Parrot Finch Kaeng Krachan
Pin-tailed Parrot Finch

Day 4.  For the last full day we hit the streams again, but the windy conditions made birding a little difficult again.  Things soon got going again with a great sighting of a pair of Ferruginous Partridges and a single male Kalij Pheasant. We had already ticked off the Dusky and Long-tailed Broadbills and today we managed to add Silver-breasted and Banded Broadbills to the list. The Black and Red and Black and Yellow were still not playing ball though…. Other birds of note for the day were; Orange-breasted Trogon, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Streak-breasted Woodpecker, Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush and Gray-headed Canary-Flycatcher. Final total, a staggering 73 species with 13 lifers for David.

Streak-breasted Woodpecker at Kaeng Krachan
Streak-breasted Woodpecker

Day 5.  The final day. For day 5 we could only stay until midday before the drive back to Bangkok, but what a morning it turned out to be. One last chance for the Black and Yellow Broadbill and we hit the jackpot!! Brown Boobook, Peacock Pheasant, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Ruby-throated Sunbird, Sultan Tit, White-browed Piculet, Crimson Sunbird and Great Slaty Woodpecker made it a real colourful morning.

Black and Yellow Broadbill at Kaeng Krachan
Black and Yellow Broadbill

A great view of a Himalayan Cuckoo, courtesy of Nick Upton (thanks Nick) added to this special morning. We dipped on the Black and Red Broadbill this time, but with 52 more species and 6 more lifers for David we certainly could not be too disappointed. Overall a fantastic week with nearly 200 different species and 127 lifers..  An added bonus to this birding week was the sightings of Gaur, Binturong, Crab-eating Mongoose, Elephant and Mouse Deer. 

Brown Boobook at Kaeng Krachan
Brown Boobook
Great Hornbill at Kaeng Krachan
Great Hornbill

Click on the links for David's trip lists..

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

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