My next trip out was to be another especially great one. I met up with a good friend, Jan Peter Kelder and drove down to Rayong to head onto Koh Man-Nai island for some truly exceptional birds. I opted to drive down the day before to save getting up at 2am the next day, so we called into the hide at Wat Tham Prathun for a bit of afternoon birding. Wat Tham Prathun is a temple in Chonburi province where a bird hide has been set up. A lot of good birds have been reported there, such as a Blue-Winged Pitta and Racket-Tailed Treepies. We saw a fair number of birds with the pitta only making a brief appearance.
So Friday morning, 6:30 am and we were on the boat and by 7 on the island. The first bird of the day for me was a Narcissus Flycatcher, things were looking good already.....
We walked up the hill to a cleared spot where 7-8 birders were already set up, waiting for a special entrance of a very special bird.. the Japanese Paradise Flycatcher... A Hooded Pitta hopped around a couple of metres from us without a care in the world that we were there.
We decided to head up the trail a bit further for our other main target bird, the angel of the forest...the Fairy Pitta. Almost immediately the bird was checking us out, hopping around on the forest floor wondering what we were doing there. We stayed there for about 30-40 minutes racking up who knows how many shots of this elegant bird and then headed back to the clearing.
The heat on the island, sitting in a hide was intense. You need to take at least 3 litres to last the day.. As we waited so many great birds arrived to drink and bathe from the little pond; Blue-Winged Pitta, Crow-Billed Drongo, Eyebrowed Thrush, Slaty-Legged Crake, Tiger Shrike, Green-Backed and Yellow-Rumped Flycatchers and even a Ruddy Kingfisher !!! These were all stunning birds to watch and photograph just a few metres from our lenses.
Amur and Japanese Paradise Flycatchers were showing well by now, but not really playing ball with good poses. Then as if instructed, they became braver and were coming down to shower and perching in nice positions... This was just so awesome, Pittas galore and Paradise Flycatchers to boot !!! Totally drained and de-hydrated we set back for the boat. What a day, Koh Man Nai is truly a haven for passing migrants, but Damn.... that place is hot..
Save the best til last.....
Full species lists here;