What was to be another great trip began early Saturday morning as Ramesh was picked up from his Bangkok hotel at 4 am. As we headed towards Mae Wong National Park, we drove through downpour after downpour of torrential rain. Finally as we arrived just after 9, the rain cleared and a glimpse of sunshine gave us a glimmer of hope. We checked in to our resort and headed straight to Chong Yen. Along the way the road was pretty devoid of birds until we spotted some Pied Bushchats in the grassy reeds. Other birds seen along the way up were Ashy Woodswallows, Chinese Sparrowhawk, Crested Serpent Eagle, Blue-Bearded Bee-Eater and Grey-Backed Shrike. We stopped near the top to check out a stream for the Rusty-Naped Pitta, but only saw White-Gorgeted and Rufous-Browed Flycatchers and Streaked Wren-Babblers. Once we reached Chong Yen the rain Started falling heavily again. From the shelter of waterproofs and an umbrella we still saw White-Necked, Black-Throated and Silver-Eared Laughingthrushes, Silver-Eared Mesias, Golden-Throated Barbet, Black-Throated Sunbird, Marten’s Warbler, Mountain Bulbuls plus many others. We headed back to the resort and still managed a few more ticks on the way down.
Day 2. Heavy rain had persisted during the night, but the morning looked good. As we drove up to Chong Yen again we counted 13 Kalij Pheasants, Grey Peacock pheasants, Red Jungle Fowl, a host of Drongos and Bulbuls, White-Browed Scimitar Babblers and a large flock of Striated Yuhinas among others. Once at the top Ramesh set up behind the ranger station for the Grey Peacock-Pheasant whilst I went in search of a Rusty Naped Pitta call. Within 10 minutes one stared calling, so I returned to Ramesh and we headed off for the search. Sadly the Rusty-Naped didn’t show but we really had that feeling that it was there and watching us…. Although it didn’t show, we still racked up many birds including, White-Tailed Robin, Mountain-Imperial Pigeon, Bar-Winged Flycatcher-Shrike, Maroon Oriole, Orange-Headed and Eye-Browed Thrushes, 15 Blue-Whistling Thrushes, Grey Treepies, Pale-Legged Leaf-Warbler, White-Browed Scimitar Babbler, Small Niltava, Hainan-Blue Flycatcher, Olive-Backed Pipit, Golden Babblers and White-Crowned Forktails. We headed back to the resort for a quick clean up and off to a great dinner after a great days birding.
Day 3. Another early start as we headed off for Huai Kha Keang Wildlife Reserve. As soon as we arrived the lifers started rolling in. The first were Red-Breasted and Blossom-Headed Parakeets, followed by Yellow Footed Pigeons, Purple Sunbird, Indo-Chinese Cuckoo Shrike, Green Bee-Eater, Black-Headed and White-Bellied Woodpeckers, Spotted Owlet, Black-Hooded Oriole, Raffles Malkoha and Rufous Treepie. An amazing morning with 12 lifers and many more in about 4 hours!!
Overall a great 3 days birding, with nearly 100 species counted and 30 lifers for Ramesh.