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Kaeng Krachan with Ramesh February 22, 2017

Another trip began at 2am Saturday morning with Ramesh from Malaysia. After pick up in Bangkok we headed straight to Pak Thale for the Spoon Billed Sandpiper. We arrived just as dawn was breaking. As we walked towards the end of the track, plenty of birds were present. Kentish, Pacific Golden, Lesser and Greater Sand Plovers were the first followed by Black-winged Stilts. Towards the end a huge flock of Red and Great Knots soared past. At the pump shed we started scanning a good sized flock of Red-necked stints for a Spoonbill.  Almost immediately, the first one came into sight, then another and another, with one more bringing the tally to four different birds. Two flagged and two unflagged birds. We didn’t stay too much longer, but not before bagging a few Curlews, Egrets, Grey Herons, a Spotted Redshank, a Black Kite and a Long-toed stint. We left with Ramesh reveling in his first Spoonie sightings.

Spoon Billed Sandpiper at Pak Thale
Spoon Billed Sandpiper

Along the road to Kaeng Krachan Chestnut-headed and Blue-tailed Bee-Eaters, White-throated Kingfishers, Cattle egrets, Brown Shrikes and a single Javan Pond heron were seen.

We arrived at Kaeng Krachen and checked in at Samarn Birdcamp. Straight into the park and the first birds were more lifers for Ramesh, a pair of Black-thighed Falconets and a Blue-bearded Bee-Eater. Further along the entrance road a Crested Serpent Eagle posed nicely. After arriving at Ban Krang for a spot of lunch we headed up to Km 28. Bird activity was good, we staked out for the Black and Buff Woodpecker with no result, but were surprised to see a head poking out of the same tree a little higher up. A Buff-rumped Woodpecker, and another lifer..  Other birds of note here were Ratchet-tailed Treepies, Sulpur-breasted warbler, Blue-throated Barbet, Rufous-winged Philentoma, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, Black-winged Cuckooshrike and Long-tailed Broadbill. As we left the park, the last bird of the day was a majestic Sultan Tit.

Crested Serpent Eagle at Kaeng Krachan NP
Crested Serpent Eagle
Buff-rumped Woodpecker at Kaeng Krachan
Buff-rumped Woodpecker

Day 2

We headed into the park again for a morning session hoping to tick the rest of the Broadbill boxes. Along the entry road we struggled to find the Black and Red, so headed for the streams. Between streams 1 to 3 bird action was buzzing. The Dusky Broadbill was the first Broadbill box ticked on the hunt. A tall tree hosted Oriental Pied and Brown Hornbills along with 4-5 Great Slaty Woodpeckers. During the next few hours we notched up Green Magpies, Greater Yellownapes, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Swinhoe’s Minvets, Asian Fairy Bluebirds, Green-billed Malkoha, Dollar Birds, Collared Falconets, Puff-throated and Rufous-fronted Babblers, a Verditer Flycatcher and 7 species of Bulbul amongst others. A third Broadbill tick was the Silver Breasted. With time running out we headed back to Ban Krang with hopes for the Banded and Black and Yellow Broadbill. The Black and Yellow was calling from far in the distance, but we couldn’t get a lock on for a sighting. Time ran out so we had to head off back to the airport not before an Indian Cuckoo perch a few metres away for those last shots.

Brown Hornbill at Kaeng Krachan
Buff-rumped Woodpecker
Indian Cuckoo at Kaeng Krachan
Indian Cuckoo

Overall a great trip with a great guy, a good number of birds and 17 lifers for Ramesh. Those we dipped on will just have to wait for our next trip

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