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Chaloem Phrakiat NP July 16, 2015

I went to check out Chaloem Phrakiat NP again today.. My claims that this park has real potential came to more fruition today. Arriving at the park HQ at around 9am (A fair bit later than I would have liked) we were greeted by the sounds of Puff Throated and Abbot's Babblers. The lower gardens seemed to have quite a lot of bird activity, but we headed straight for the first stream. At the first stream, Blue Winged Pittas were calling all around  from the undergrowth. A quick search of the area told us that there were at least 3-4 birds there, but none were seen. A solitary White Rumped Shama was giving full verse amongst many Bulbuls and Drongoes as we crossed the stream. The track was littered with fallen bamboo, and on the first stop to clear the road a Blue Pitta was heard from deep inside the jungle. At the next crossing (the weir) we stopped to see if we could make further progress on the other side. Sadly, the track was far too rutted and degraded to get the truck up the first incline even with 4WD. (I would have attempted it if there had been other vehicles about.) We stayed around the weir area for about an hour or so notching up Golden Fronted Leafbirds, Scarlet Backed Flowerpeckers, Greater Necklaced Laughingthrushes, Blue Eared Barbets, Grey Headed Woodpeckers and plenty of LBJs. Up in the canopy, Pied Hornbills were making their usual racket. A pair of Piculets made a brief visit, but they were too silhouetted to get a clear ID ( I guess they were Rufous, as I have seen them here before) Back down to the first crossing again and the Pittas were still active, but still eluded any good views. After a spot of lunch ( If you can call Mama noodles lunch!!) we headed back down the first track along the lake. Plenty of Egrets and Red Wattled Lapwings about and a single Oriental Darter sitting in a tree over the water. A Banded Broadbill was also possibly heard around this area. At the end of the track at the corner we decided to check out an old track that I've never investigated before. It was full of activity with more Laughing Thrushes, a Fairy Bluebird, a pair of feeding Mugimaki Flycatchers and more Blue Winged Pittas. This time we got good views of the Pittas, which looked to have a nest in the area. This day was more dedicated to the exploration of the park than photography, so we didn't really get any pictures of worth. I really believe this park has great potential for birding, although saying that, the birds really have to be looked for as there are no feeding stations or known areas for particular birds as with Kaeng Krachan. I will return by myself next week to make the hike to the upper levels where I am positive many surprises lay in wait of discovery....

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