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Kaeng Krachan with Gallas and Rebecca 02 - 12 - 2019

It was my pleasure to go birding with good friends Gallus and Rebecca a couple of weeks ago. We headed first to Pak Thale with the main target being the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper firmly on top of the list. It wasn’t too long before we got onto this great little bird among a small group of Red-necked Stints. It was a little far off for great shots, but nonetheless, a great sighting to be had. Gallus is a great birder and his first time to Thailand, so pretty much everything could be a lifer. Rebecca is a renowned photographer so getting close would be important for her. A nice balance to make for a relaxing trip. We spent the morning at Pak Thale, shooting and ticking off over 70 species until we decided to call it a day and head off to Kaeng Krachan.

Spoon-billed Sandpiper at Pak Thale
Spoon-billed Sandpiper

Along the way, we were still picking up plenty of good species, with a Pied Kingfisher being one of the highlights, along with Green Bee-Eaters, Indochinese Bushlark and Grey-faced Buzzard. We arrived at Samarn Birdcamp for our accommodation and tucked in to some homemade Rajma Masala (Indian kidney bean curry) and naan bread.

Grey-faced Buzzard at Kaeng Krachan
Grey-faced Buzzard
Green Bee-Eater at Kaeng Krachan
Green Bee-Eater
Vinous-breasted Starling at Kaeng Krachan
Vinous-breasted Starling

The following morning we headed into the park. One of our first birds was a Heart-spotted Woodpecker, although we couldn’t get any shots off as it disappeared up the tree trunk. A nearby fruiting tree provided great views of Blue-eared and Green-eared Barbets, Oriental Pied Hornbills, Fairy Bluebirds and Thick-billed Green Pigeon. Moving up to Ban Krang more ticks were added and Rebecca got onto many beloved butterflies. After a brief spot of lunch, we headed back down and out of the park. We arrived back at the resort around 2pm where Rebecca got on with processing her shots. We had a few hours in the hide at the resort, photographing Indochinese-blue Flycatcher, black-naped Monarch, various Babblers and Bulbuls and the first Orange-headed Thrush for the resort.

Pin-striped Tit-Babbler at Kaeng Krachan
Pin-striped Tit-Babbler

Indochinese -blue Flycatcher at Kaeng Krachan
Indochinese -blue Flycatcher
Puff-throated Babbler at Kaeng Krachan
Puff-throated Babbler

The final morning would be spent at a local watering hole hide where many species could be observed and photographed with relative ease. Scaly-breasted and Bar-backed Partridges, Kalij Pheasants, Bulbuls and Babblers, Greater and Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrushes and Siberian Blue Robin all showed well. The biggest treat early on was the appearance of a male Blue Pitta and later on, another Orange-headed Thrush which posed for a while before hopping off again.

White-bellied Erpornis at Kaeng Krachan
White-bellied Erpornis

A slow drive back turned up a few more ticks, with the final bird before hitting the highway being the majestic Brahminy Kite.

This was a really pleasant, relaxed trip. No pressure was on to get maximum sightings, just a chilled few days but still resulting in around 150 species. Gallus and Rebecca run their own birding and nature tours site in the USA, which can be checked out here…

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