This trip we joined Linda & Lioe and 2 other friends for birds in North Thailand. We arrived Changmai at 11:30pm on 10th Feb and spent the night at the Airport Greenery Apartments, a 10 minute drive by hotel minibus. Next morning at 6:30am our guide Uthai came with the 8 seater minivan that Linda had booked. Soon the six of us were on our way to Chiang Dao.
Arriving at 8:30am, we birded for a couple of hours at the temple carpark, then dropped by Malee’s, where we would be returning later. We left for Thaton with birding stops along the way in some villages and rice fields. We stayed the night at The Thaton Garden Resort Hotel.
On 12th at 6:30am we set off for Doi Lang in the back of a pickup truck fitted with benches. It was a rough 1.5 hours ride before we arrived at the military post at the mountain top. The soldiers were friendly and preparing their breakfast in the open kitchen where nearby we saw Dark-backed Sibia, the male and female Large Niltava, Orange-flanked Bush-robin, and Greenish Warbler. We birded further moving slowly downhill and by lunchtime we had seen many species of Bulbuls. After eating our packed lunch the truck drove us down and at the foothills we got good views of 2 Indian Rollers.
On the way we birded in the pine forest next to the military camp and managed glimpses of Nuthatches and good views of the Grey Bushchat. By 4pm we arrived at the Ban Luang Resort, which was nestled in a valley with beautiful flowers growing on the slopes. It was colder than we had expected and we woke next morning to a temperature of 4º C in our chalet. We spent 2 nights here where we had good views of White-capped Redstart, Black-headed Greenfinch and Little Bunting and many more birds that seemed to be residents here. We also spent a day birding at the King’s Project where the gardens and flowers were the draw to the city folks. There were many birds at the back of the kitchen area apart from among the tall trees and garden grounds.
From Doi Angkhang we back-tracked to Chiang Dao and checked into Malee’s Resort where we had a nice chalet in their garden. We walked to the temple where we had visited on our first morning and this time we had more time to seek out the birds. The next morning another early packed breakfast and another truck came to bring us up to Den Ya Kat (DYK), this ride was more bumpy than the one we had at Doi Lang. After 1.5 hours we reached the top where a park station is located. While the driver proceeded to grill his fish for his breakfast we had our packed breakfast on the picnic benches with 3 hungry but friendly dogs looking forward to some scraps. After a quick bite we set off to the pond area and the pine forest area, somehow the Nuthatches are so far up it was difficult to get a good shot. We went back to the bench waiting for the bird waves. In one of the waves, a yell of "Hoopoe" got us jumping off our seats. While the bird did not stay long most of us got a shot of it. We then spent time wandering around the park. Someone called the group back as the driver who had been to DYK many times had found an interesting bird perched on a tree, a Grosbeak and later its mate came along, making this pair the highlight of our DYK visit.
In the afternoon we descended stopping at another park station midway but by then it was hot and not many birds were seen. We returned to Malee’s and in the late afternoon we walked to the temple again to see if the Asian Paradise Flycatcher seen the previous evening was back. It did not show up although we had good views of the Grey headed Canary Flycatcher.
On 16th, our last morning we started 6.30am and walked to the temple and this time we walked up the 100 steps to the top. The first bird that greeted us on the flight of steps was the Streak Wren Babbler. Unfortunately the 2 dogs from Malee’s came along and rushed up spooking the birds off before anyone could get a shot. We returned to Malee’s for a late breakfast and checked out at 10.30 am for Chiangmai airport. Our 6 days of birding yielded 136 species and stoked our interest to return to check out the birds of another mountain, Doi Inthanon.