After an early start picking up Mario and Rhonda, we headed straight to Pak Thale shorebird site in hope of some good views of the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper amongst others. We arrived just after first light and immediately began our hunt. There were plenty of birds present, but as we scanned the flocks the Spoonie wasn’t to be seen. We continued the hunt farther along the road ticking off Red-necked Stints, Broad-billed and Curlew Sandpipers, Ruddy Turnstones, a broad range of Plovers, Redshanks and Greenshanks, but still no Spoonie… At the end of the road there was a huge flock of Eurasian Curlews and Black and Brown-headed Gulls. With a closer scan of the gulls we managed to single out one Slender-billed Gull. Another nice sighting was a flock of 20+ Caspian Terns. As we walked back and neared the truck, finally one single Spoonie was sighted. We headed up toward the view point and ticked off many more birds including Collared Kingfishers, Common, Whiskered, Little, Gull-billed and a single White-winged Tern. One more look back where we had seen the Spoonie turned up a Nordman’s Greenshank among a small group of Spotted Greenshanks. We had ticked off over 40 species in a few hours when we decided to head off down to Kaeng Krachan NP.
We arrived at the park at around lunchtime, so we headed straight up to Ban Krang for a spot of lunch. After lunch we began birding along the road between the campsite and stream three. It was pretty tough going, maybe because the weather had recently changed and there was now quite a chill in the air or just that nobody had told the birds that the park had re-opened on 1st Nov. We really didn’t get too much, so we decided to bird the access road for the last couple of hours on the way out. As it turned out it was a good move as the numbers started climbing again. A fruiting tree was full of Thick-billed Green Pigeons, Asian Fairy Bluebirds and Black-naped Orioles. We also sighted Black-thighed Falconets, Red and Blue-throated Barbets, Pied Hornbills, Dollarbirds, Drongos and a nice Black-capped Kingfisher. We arrived back at the resort just after six for a great meal and a few cold beers.
Sunday morning, up for breakfast at 5:30 and then off to Luung Sin’s waterhole. There really was a chill in the air and very overcast. The birding started a little slow but soon picked up with Chinese-blue Flycatcher, Siberian Blue-Robin, Emerald Doves and Stripe-throated Bulbuls putting in the first show. Soon the Scaly-breasted Partridges and Kalij Pheasants put in an appearance. A really nice surprise was the appearance of a Bay-banded Cuckoo. Either a Pale-legged or Sakhalin leaf Warbler called by, but with no sound it will have to remain unknown.
After a spot of lunch back at the resort, we headed back to Bangkok, but not before taking a slow drive through the Phetchaburi rice fields.
Overall a pretty successful trip considering the conditions. Over 100 birds seen and about 20 lifers for Mario. Thanks again to Mario and Rhonda, really pleasant people and a great couple to bird with. I hope to meet them again someday…