To Mae Wong and Back…

I had a short, but productive little trip to Mae Wong at the weekend. I really just wanted to get out for a local day trip, but then decided the 4 hour drive to the park could be well worth it, as I think this park is one of the most beautiful sites in Thailand. I set off at 4am and was there by 8. At this time of the morning the roads are clear and it really is quite a pleasant drive. After arriving at the HQ and getting my pass to drive up to Chong Yen, I set off at a slow pace, ever scanning the road sides for Pheasants or Fowl that I have observed many times before in the past. The drive up to the upper levels was surprisingly quiet with only Jungle Fowl and Emerald Doves being seen. The wind was very strong and blustery with quite a few trees downed along the road, also as I neared the top the temperature had dropped to a chilly 16 degrees. At Chong Yen, I was in for a bit of a shock, the whole camping area was full to overflowing!! I guess that was why the forest edges on the way up were so devoid of much bird life. I have never seen it so packed out up there. I decided to head back down a couple of kms to the old hide area. The hide has gone now, but there is a nice sized clearing where I sat for most of the morning. A lot of really great birds frequent this area and today was no exception. Streaked-Wren Babblers and Rufous-browed Flycatchers were the first birds to appear, followed by Grey-Throated Babblers and White-throated Fantails. A host of various Bulbuls past in and out of the undergrowth, with the best being a stunning Mountain Bulbul.

Streaked-Wren Babbler
Rufous-browed Flycatcher.

A Red-headed Trogan put in a brief show along with the jewels of this area, a pair of White-crowned Forktails. The Forktails are always a real hi-light for anyone visiting this park. After a bite to eat, I spent the next hour or so walking the road. A good number of birds were seen or heard including various Barbets, Spiderhunters, Drongos, Laughingthrushes and a Grey Peacock Pheasant, amongst many more. A Great Barbet was driving me crazy, calling from a very close and low point but I just couldn’t see it. It really couldn’t have been much more than 10-15m away. Although the birding was pretty good, it was constantly being disturbed by the amount of passing pickups and motorbikes still heading up to the top. I decided to call it a day at around 2pm and headed back down and off back home. Overall a really pleasant little trip with over 70 or 80 species seen or heard in around the park area in just a few hours. Mae Wong National Park, located in Nakon Sawan / Kampaengphet provinces is around 4 hours from Bangkok, it is an excellent birding site and has some of the most beautiful scenic views in Thailand. If anyone is interested in visiting this park, drop me a line at thaibirdspot66@gmail.com for more information A list of the birds seen for the day can be seen here https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S58485689

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