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News and Information on Birding Sites Throughout Thailand and the Andaman

Seven years ago I had the pleasure of taking out Dan and Alice on a two day birding trip around Phang Nga and Krabi. After these many years they were back in Thailand, this time accompanied by their daughter Lindsay and her husband Mike.

We started the day at Sri Phang Nga National Park. The weather was very dry and hot and as expected, the bird activity was subdued. At the clearing we found Chestnut breasted Malkoha and Asian Brown Flycatchers and caught a fleeting glimpse of an Asian Fairy Bluebird. An Emerald Dove was chased off by a flycatcher and a troop of Spectacled Langurs moved in the trees behind the toilets.

Down the trail we searched for Chestnut naped Forktail but only managed to hear the bird as it whistled by. Blue eared Kingfisher also darted through, too fast to be enjoyed.

The male Banded Pitta showed well, as did an Abbott’s Babbler and a White rumped Shama.

Many birds were heard on the trail but not seen, including Rufous collared Kingfisher, Ruddy Kingfisher, Orange breasted Trogon and Great Argus.

After a delicious northeastern-style lunch we moved on to Klong Sok where we easily found seven River Lapwing as well as other beautiful birds such as Chestnut headed Bee Eater, Common Greenshank, Red wattled Lapwing and White throated Kingfisher.

From there we drove on to Rajaprapha Dam, taking in the scenic wonders which adorned the landscape all along the route.

We boarded the boat at around 4 PM and made our way through the Guilin on Southern Thailand, easily one of the most scenic and breathtaking landscapes anywhere in the region. Birding was slow at the beginning but slowly picked up, with Blue Rock Thrush, Dusky Craig Martin and White bellied Sea Eagle spotted along the way.

Near the lodge at Tum Jia we were delighted to find a male Helmeted Hornbill flying low into the canopy. Closer observation revealed it was a fruiting tree and the bird was grabbing a quick dinner before heading off to roost.

That evening we went back onto the lake to see what could be found. Our main target was the Buffy Fish Owl and after an hour of searching we finally found our quarry. It has been rather odd these past two years as these once common birds have now suddenly become so difficult to connect with.

A mother Sambar with her young were also spotted on the lakeside but with a full moon illuminating the entire lake, most of the creatures were content to remain in the shadows.

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We woke the next morning to a cacophony of calls from the forest. In every corner, birds and mammals were singing their morning songs, with Bushy crested Hornbill, Pied Hornbill, Great Argus, Greater Flameback, Abbott’s Babbler, Red Junglefowl and Lesser Fish Eagle joining the White handed Gibbons in chorus.

After breakfast we headed over to the fruiting tree to see what could be found. The sun’s rays had not yet reached the boughs of the tree so no birds were feasting just yet. We decided to head back later to check it out.

At the mouth of Tum Jia we found a pair of Oriental Hobby, and the male was perched outside the cave entrance calling to its mate to come out for breakfast. In its talons was a swallow, most likely a Pacific Swallow.

Down the klong we went in search of more birds. Soon enough we found a Great Hornbill in flight overhead. A Blue eared Kingfisher made a brief appearance and after some time we found other fantastic birds such as Dusky Broadbill, Red bearded Bee Eater, Common Flameback and Asian Paradise Flycatcher.

I was telling Dan about how there was a large tree in the area which once played host to the greatest feeding frenzy of hornbills I’ve ever witnessed and to my delight, the tree was in season! Sure enough, a Great Hornbill and a pair of Helmeted Hornbill came to the tree to feed! It was a breathtaking sight to witness these Critically Endangered birds feasting in the tree.

We waited around a bit more and were rewarded with our final bird for the day: Chestnut naped Forktail. This bird is usually found along moving streams of water, but with all the smaller waterfalls dried up, the bird had taken to feeding along the edges of the lake.

We spent the rest of the morning swimming and relaxing before eating lunch and returning to our hotel in Krabi.

A full report, with a complete list of birds seen on the trip will be added to the Reports tab shortly.

Categories: Trip Report

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