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Holiday Time. Part 1 October 26, 2016

So, with two weeks break approaching and the truck just about finished, I had made it my plan to have as many trips out as possible.. My first day off was Monday, but still had to work in the evening, so I left a couple of hours early to check out my local patch. Sadly nothing much to report. Tuesday morning, 3:30am and I was off to Mae Wong. I arrived at around 7:30 to be greeted by the usual Red-billed Blue Magpies at the Ranger station. As much as I tried, I just couldn’t get that shot that I wanted. I have seen so many great shots of these awesome looking birds, but they will just never stay still for me.

Red-Billed Blue Magpie at Mae Wong NP
Red-Billed Blue Magpie Missed again!!!!

I took a look in at Khun Namyen, a flock of Rufous-necked Hornbills passed over in the distance. No chance of any pictures, but things were looking promising… A single Blue Rockthrush posed nicely for a few shots. I stopped to take a quick look at the hide just before Chong Yen, but it had been removed and the area is now really overgrown, although there is still room to put your own personal hide.

Blue Rockthrush  at Mae wong
Blue Rockthrush
 Kestrel at Mae Wong

Up at Chong Yen, I headed straight to the ledge behind the Ranger station for the Grey Peacock Pheasant. First out was a Buff-breasted Babbler and then after about 30 minutes a female Peacock-Pheasant appeared.  She didn’t stay around for long, and soon disappeared back into the undergrowth.

Grey Peacock Pheasant  at Mae Wong
Grey Peacock Pheasant

Rain had been threatening all morning, so I opted for a drive back to Khun Namyen and do some birding along the road. Pretty much as soon as I got down there, the heavens opened!! This was really no fun. I tried birding from the car, but it was really a complete washout..

I headed back to Chong Yen, where surprisingly it was still fairly dry and spent the rest of the afternoon in my hide on the ledge. Black-throated and White-necked Laughingthrushes were the only birds to show up, but I managed to get some cracking close range shots. A Green Magpie was calling and I caught a quick glimpse, but he wouldn’t play ball to show himself. As evening drew in, I decided to head back down to the Headquarters campsite for the Crested Kingfisher in the morning. Also the Kun flies were having fun biting me!!

White-necked Laughingthrush at Mae Wong NP
White-necked Laughingthrush
Black-throated Laughingthrush
Black-throated Laughingthrush

I observed some strange behaviour with the Black-throated Laughingthrushes, these appeared to be both mature adults, but took turns in feeding each other. Not something I had seen before. 

I set up at the campsite, cooked up some curry and settled in for the night in the back of the truck. It turned out it was really more comfortable than I had expected, until about 1am, when the rain blasted me in the face through the window, so I had to close it, which made it a little uncomfortable with the humidity.

Up before sunrise, a coffee and a bite to eat, then off in search of the Crested Kingfisher. The river was flowing really fast and was difficult to get to the places I had seen them before as the rapids were very strong. I spent a couple of hours sitting it out and looking, but nothing showed.

I decided to head back home and call in at Huay Kha Kaeng Wildlife Sanctuary on the way back. I arrived there at about 10:30am and got straight to work looking for Black-headed Woodpeckers. There were many Rufous Treepies and Flameback Woodpeckers, but again my targets were not playing ball. I saw and heard many Black-headed, but they were always distant and wouldn’t allow me to get close.

Rufous Treepie
Rufous Treepie

I left the park around 2pm. On the way out a Hoopoe landed right in front of me, crest up, but again he saw me before I even had the chance to pick up the camera. I arrived back around 6pm and finished the trip off nicely with a few Leos!!

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