As promised to myself, I took another trip to my favourite NP in Ratchaburi last week. Well, it just seems to get better and better every time I go there! Arriving at the park at first light, I was relieved to hear the unmistakable calling of Blue-winged and Blue Pittas as none were heard only the week before. As I crossed the first dry stream-bed, a pair of Emerald Doves were taking a morning drink from the small puddle that remained.
I parked the truck up at the weir crossing and was immediately greeted by Blue-winged and Golden-fronted Leafbirds and Scarlet-backed Flowerpeckers feasting a low fruiting tree. I had decided, this time, I would make the walk to the end of the trail. The jungle, although very dry was alive with bird sounds, with the most encouraging being a Banded Broadbill calling from a treetop. A pair of Shikras were mobbing an Oriental Honey Buzzard from deep inside the dense undergrowth. Other birds seen or heard along this trail were, White-rumped Shamas, Greater-necklaced Laughingthrushes, Red-billed Blue Magpies, Asian-fairy Bluebirds and Ochraceous Bulbuls and many unseen Woodpeckers drumming from near and far. I am pretty sure I also heard a Niltava, but that haunting ascending whistle had only 4 levels , whereas my recording has 5, so I’m not 100% sure.
I walked to the end of the trail (I think) where it started to get a bit dense, so I headed back down. I think it was about 3-4 kms and I must admit, being alone and about 10kms from the ranger station I felt a little vulnerable if anything happened (ie; snakebite), so I have since bought myself a walkie talkie for the next visit.
Back at the weir a Chestnut-breasted Malkoha flew past and a single Crested-serpent Eagle soared overhead. Back along to the old toilet block and Green-billed Malkohas were seen and White-browed Piculets were heard in the dense bamboo. Back at the first stream crossing the Emerald Doves had been replaced by 3 Little Egrets and a Black-capped Kingfisher.
Along the track back along the lake, a single White-throated Kingfisher and Dollarbird were seen and a pair of unknown Partridges scampered away quickly up into the jungle as I approached. Parking at the bridge, I immediately saw a Little Spiderhunter in a small tree. Walking down the track towards the Temple retreat area I saw a Silver-breasted Broadbill, Jungle Fowl and then heard and saw a Large Hawk Cuckoo. As I left this area a Blue-winged Pitta began calling
In the lower garden areas I saw more Leafbirds, Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters and Brown-throated, Olive-backed and Purple Sunbirds. The Purple really topping off the day
This place honestly gets better and better every time I visit, and although the birds are not as easily found or approachable as at Kaeng Krachan I love the place for it's peacefulness. I think next time I will set up the hide near a watering spot and sit it out to see what turns up. If anyone is interested in joining me, drop me a line