Thursday, April 16, 2015

Nam Nao, Phukieo & Khao Yai, 29 Mar - 4 Apr 2015

We heard Nam Nao Nat'l Park would be a reliable site to see the Red-headed and Orange-breasted Trogons but to go would require taking a domestic flight to Phitsanulok from Bangkok.  
Uthai C. from suggested that we include Khao Yai and also visit the wildlife sanctuary at Phukieo for a day visit during our 3 nights in Nam Nao.   

He helped to book accommodation inside the park, since Nam Nao is one of the least visited parks and no hotels outside to stay. We flew, with Lioe, on AirAsia to Bangkok on 28th March to connect NOK Air’s afternoon's flight to Phitsanulok, the nearest airport.  It was late afternoon when we arrived and Uthai picked us the next morning 29th March for the 3.5 hours drive to Nam Nao National Park.

The entrance fee was 200 baht per person and at the park HQ we got our keys to our chalet.  It was a newly renovated 2-bedroom unit with a fridge in the living room, which was better than we expected. There were not many visitors to Nam Nao except for a group of university students who left the next day.  It was very hot in the day walking the trails, but behind our chalet was the forest and some nice birds came in the late afternoon.  We saw the White-bellied Woodpecker, a Greater Yellow-naped and a Eurasian Jay from the veranda.   As it was low season, only 2 ‘restaurants’ were operating and food was good at both.  

The Red-headed Trogon was seen as we approached the camp ground the first afternoon. Unfortunately it flew into a bamboo grove and we did  not see it until our last afternoon.  On 31st March Uthai drove us to Phukieo Wildlife Sanctuary which was 3 hours away. We stopped at a 7-11 shop to purchase buns for lunch as there would be no food stalls at Phukieo.   When we arrived and enquired at the office, the park officer showed us a trail where a bird hide was located. As we approached the hide, leeches were wriggling on the dry leaves.  It was thus a short stay at the hide, and back to the camp grounds, where a flock of Red-billed Blue Magpies were foraging for food.  A pair of Siamese Firebacks came out from the forest to forage followed by a pair of Red Jungle fowls.  The Green Peafowls were quite tame walking around the camp grounds. 

We returned to Nam Nao in the afternoon and were rewarded with the Red-headed Trogon appearing near the camp ground and posed long enough for some good shots.

On 1st April we left Nam Nao at 06:30 am for the 5-hour drive to Khao Yai Nat'l Park.   We arrived Khao Yai in the afternoon, paid the entrance fee of 400 baht per person, and checked into our chalet, which we had previously occupied a few years ago.  Nearby was the former Boonsong Lekagul training center where a pair of Blue-bearded Bee-eaters were frequently seen.  Later we saw them nesting near one of the chalets.

We visited a couple of camp grounds and walked some trails for the next 2 days.  The Blue-throated barbet and the Green-eared barbet were calling all the time.   At the km 33 trail we saw the Great Hornbill and the Oriental Pied Hornbills, and had a glimpse of the Red-headed Trogon but this trail was busy with trekkers.   The next day we drove further towards Prachinburi and at  this waterfall location, we saw the Orange-breasted Trogon not too far from the trail entrance, and we saw a different pair on another trail.  We left on Saturday 4th April and Uthai drove us to Don Meuang, a 3-hour drive, for our flight home.   This trip we saw 69 species.

  Birds Seen:

1Abbot’s Babbler36Green-eared Barbet
2Ashy Bulbul37Grey Treepie
3Ashy Drongo38Grey-eyed Bulbul
4Ashy Drongo (White morph)39Grey-headed Woodpecker
5Ashy Minivet40Hill Blue Flycatcher
6Asian Barred Owlet41Hill Myna
7Asian Brown Flycatcher42Indian Roller
8Asian Fairy Bluebird43Little Cormorant
9Asian Openbill44Moustache Barbet
10Barn Swallow45Mugimaki Flycatcher
11Black-crested Bulbul46Orange-bellied Leafbird
12Black-crested Bulbul – Johnsonia47Orange-breasted Trogon
13Black-naped Monarch48Oriental Pied Hornbill
14Black-throated Laughing Thrush49Plain Flowerpecker
15Black-winged Cuckooshrike50Puff-throated Bulbul
16Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike51Radde's Warbler
17Blue Rock Thrush52Red Junglefowl
18Blue-bearded Bee-eater53Red-billed Blue Magpie
19Blue-throated Barbet54Red-headed Trogon
20Bronzed Drongo55Red-rumped Swallow
21Brown-cheeked Fulvetta56Red-wattled Lapwing
22Chestnut-headed Bee-eater57Scarlet Minivet
23Chinese Pond Heron58Siamese Fireback
24Common Woodshrike59Sooty-headed Bulbul
25Crested Serpent Eagle60Stripe-throated Bulbul
26Eastern Stonechat61Taiga Flycatcher
27Eurasian Jay62Thick-billed Green Pigeon
28Golden-fronted Leafbird63Velvet-fronted Nuthatch
29Great Barbet64White-bellied Erponis
30Great Hornbill65White-bellied Woodpecker
31Greater Yellow-naped Woodpecker66White-crested Laughing Thrush
32Greater-racket tailed Drongo67White-rumped Munia
33Green Magpie68White-rumped Shama
34Green peafowl69Yellow-browed Leaf Warbler
35Green-billed Malkoha

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Doi Inthanon, Mae Ping, Chiang Dao, Doi Ang Khang & Doi Lang, 10 -17 January 2015

We thought another trip to North Thailand in the winter months would give us another birding perspective even though this will be our 4th trip to Inthanon and the Doi’s.  This time we asked Uthai to plan the itinerary and he also helped to book the accommodation at Inthanon, Mae Ping, Doi Ang Khang and Doi Lang.   

We arrived Chiangmai on Saturday 10th January and stayed in the Old City district at the Royal Peninsula.   In the morning Uthai came at 0600 hours and we were at Mae Hia to look for the Spotted Owlet that he had seen.  Although we saw it fly overhead we could not get a good look as it was still dark.   We left and continue to the Doi Suthep area and got really good views of two Asian Barred Owlets high on a tree.  On the road to Inthanon Uthai stopped by a rice field when he spotted a Eurasian Wryneck and we got some good shots of it. 

Arriving Doi Inthanon we stopped by the bridge to look for the Collared Falconent and were able to see it, although far away on the tree top.  At 10.30 am we found the Black-backed Forktail at the small waterfall.  He had booked us at the King’s Project accommodation which was a chalet with breakfast at 1500B per night. As it was too early to check-in, we birded around the restaurant car park area where a flock of Yellow-bellied Fantails were feeding among the tea trees.  Lunch was at a local shop where Rainbow trout was its speciality.   After lunch we spotted Mrs Gould Sunbirds and a Banded Bay Cuckoo from the park HQ carpark.  The night was very cold.

Next morning after breakfast we were out birding at the summit at 7.30 am and just as we arrived some visitors were taking photographs of Mrs Gould and Green-tailed sunbirds at the entrance of the trail.   We entered the trail and at around the same spot on the boardwalk where we previously saw the Eurasian Woodcock, we were pleasantly surprised to see it again.  This time a good view.  The Brown-cheeked Fulvettas were also bathing while a Dark-sided Thrush was hiding nearby.  We drove to the big waterfall car park for lunch and later down to Li Town for our next birding site, Mae Ping.

It was late when we arrived and checked into Palm Resort.  The next day, Tues 13 Jan 6am, we started out for Mae Ping National Park for woodpeckers. The Great Slaty flew off too quickly but we later managed to get the Black-headed Woodpecker and the Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker.  We continued to the camp ground and saw a Drongo-cukoo, Blue Rock Thrush, Hainan Blue Flycatcher, Crested Serpent Eagle and Red-billed Blue Magpie.  Then  it was back to the hotel for lunch, and on to Chiang Dao where we checked into Maelee’s Resort at 6pm.

On Wed 14 Jan at 6.45 am, we went to the temple ground and a fruiting tree was full of Barbets, Asian Fairy Blue Birds, and Bulbuls.  We walked up to the top for the Asian Stubtail, and saw a White-tailed Robin, Buff-breasted Babbler and Dark-sided Thrush.  Then it was time to go back to Malee and checked out for Doi Ang Khang.  We arrived at The King's Project after lunch and proceeded to the hide behind the bamboo research garden. At the hide there were 3 photographers, one of them was Katy, whom we had met at Chumphon Raptor Watch 2 months ago. A Siberian Blue Robin, Rufous-bellied Niltava, White-tailed Robin, Black-breasted Thrush and a Blue Whistling Thrush were easily seen.  Katy had just taken the Rusty-naped Pitta but we waited till almost 3pm and it did not show.  At 4 pm it showed but was too shy and hid behind the bamboo.  In the evening we checked into Ang Khang Villa. The park was busy with many visitors who came to observe and take photos of the flowering trees.

On Thu 15 Jan 7.30 am we drove to the cemetery area for Mrs Hulme Pheasant, again it did not show, but we saw Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush, Crested Finchbill. Great Barbet, Brown-breasted Bulbul and Flavescent Bulbul.  We drove back to the Kings Project and got the Streak Wren Babbler at the hide. On our way out we saw the Yellow-cheeked Tit going into a hole in the tree and a Pygmy Blue Flycatcher.  We drove to Fang and checked into Vien Kaew Resort.

On Fri 16 Jan 6.15 am we checked out and it was on to Doi Lang.  On the mountain road we saw 5 Mountain Bamboo Patridges feeding on the road side and Mrs Hulme Pheasant appeared but moved away too quickly and did not reappear.  Further on we saw the Large Niltava, Rusty-cheeked Babbler, Silver-eared Laughing Thrush and Slaty Blue Flychatcher from a hide.   The Spot-breasted Parrotbill was calling from the same bush we had encountered on our last trip.  We walked to the guard post and looked into the Burmese side of Doi Lang but not many birds except for a Golden-throated Barbet, Giant Nuthatch and Chestnut-flank Nuthatch.  We left in the afternoon for the 3 hour drive to Chiangmai, and checked into Chiangmai Plaza Hotel for our last night, before flying home.  This trip was rather tiring doing 5 sites in 6 days however we managed to get 12 lifers and planned to have another trip with Uthai in March.

                         Jan. 2015 Northern Thailand Highlights

                      Birds Seen:

1)     Ashy Bulbul49) Grey Bushchat
2)     Ashy Drongo50) Grey Wagtail
3)     Ashy-throated Leaf Warbler51) Grey-backed Shrike
4)     Asian Barred Owlet52) Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker
5)     Asian Fairy Bluebird53) Grey-eyed Bulbul
6)     Asian Stubtail (L)54) Grey-headed Lapwing (L)
7)     Banded Bay-cuckoo55) Hainan Blue Flycatcher
8)     Black crested Bulbul56) Hil Blue FC Female
9)     Black-backed Forktail (L)57) Himalayan Bluetail  (L)
10) Black-breasted Thrush58) Indian Roller
11) Black-headed Bulbul59) Inornate (yellow-browed) Warbler
12) Black-headed Woodpecker (L)60) Japanese White-eye
13) Black-hooded Oriole61) Large Cuckoo Shrike
14) Black-throated Sunbird62) Large Niltava
15) Blue Rock Thrush63) Little Pied Flycatcher
16) Blue Whistling Thrush64) Little Spiderhunter
17) Blue-eared Barbet65) Long-tailed Shrike
18) Blue-throated Barbet66) Mountain Bamboo Patridge
19) Blue-winged Leafbird67) Mountain Bulbul
20) Blue-winged Minla68) Mrs Gould Sunbird
21) Blyth’s Leaf Warbler 69) Olive-backed Pipit
22) Bronzed Drongo70) Plumbeous Redstart
23) Brown-breasted Bulbul71) Pygmy Blue Flycatcher (L)
24) Brown-cheeked Fulvetta72) Radd’s Warbler
25) Buff-breasted Babbler (L)73) Red-billed Blue Magpie
26) Burmese Shrike74) Red-whiskered Bulbul
27) Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush 75) Rufous-bellied Niltava
28) Chestnut-flank White-eye76) Rufous-winged Fulvetta
29) Chestnut-tailed Minla77) Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler
30) Chinese White-eye78) Rusty-naped Pitta (L)
31) Collared Falconet (L)79) Scarlet Minivet
32) Common Rosefinch80) Siberian Blue Robin F
33) Coppersmith Barbet81) Siberian Ruby-throat
34) Crested Finchbill82) Silver-eared Laughing Thrush
35) Crested Serpent Eagle83) Slaty Blue FC F (L)
36) Dark-back Sibia84) Sooty-headed Bulbul
37) Dark-sided Thrush (L)85) Spot-breasted Parrotbill
38) Davidson Leaf Warbler (L)86) Streaked Wren Babbler (L)
39) Drongo Cuckoo87) Striped-throated Bulbul
40) Eurasian Woodcock88) Taiga Flycatcher F
41) Eursian Wryneck89) White-bellied Redstart F (L)
42) Fire-breasted Flowerpecker90) White-capped Redstart
43) Flavescent Bulbul91) White-gorgetted FC
44) Giant Nuthatch92) White-tailed Robin
45) Golden-fronted Leafbird (L)93) Yellow-bellied Fantail
46) Golden-throated Barbet94) Yellow-bellied Flowerpecker (L)
47) Gray-headed Canary Flycatcher95) Yellow-cheeked Tit
48) Green-tailed Sunbird

Hong Kong 27th Jan to 3rd Feb 2015

In early November 2014 we had the opportunity to participate in a “learning” trip to the Hong Kong Wetland Park and Maipo Wetland Reserve organized by NParks for its volunteers.  As it was a 3 days programme, we had little free time to fully explore Maipo.  Therefore when Alan suggested going on another trip in January, we were glad to join.

He arranged the permit and also got in touch with his birding friend, CF, in Hong Kong. While CF was away birding in Taiwan, his girlfriend joined us for a day, to show us Shek Kong, a site popular with HK birders. 
With the itinerary planned by Alan,  we met on Tues 27th January at Changi Airport for Hong Kong.  On arrival we bought the HKD 100 SIM card for our week’s use and took the public bus E34A for HKD13 to Tin Sui Wai bus terminal.  It was a short walk to Harbour Plaza Resort where we stayed.

With the Octopus card it was easy moving around.  On Wednesday morning we made our way to Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve and walked slowly up the hill.   There were a good number of morning walkers up the hill and we met photographers walking up. Although there were not many birds sighted going up we spotted a fruiting tree near the first rest area, and on a ridge there were a group of photographers.  We soon joined them taking photos of the Japanese White-eye, Orange-bellied Leafbird and Fork-tailed Sunbird feeding at the tree.  On the way down we saw the  Mountain Bulbul, Long-tailed Shrike and White-rumped Munia.

In the afternoon we took a taxi to Long Valley. We stopped by the Bean curd shop for the bean curd and then walked to the  farmland.  We were surprised to see Pied Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, Common Snipe and Sandpipers so close.  We also got shots of a Ruddy-breasted Crake, Siberian Stonechat but missed the Blue Throat as it appeared as we were leaving.  

Our permit (HKD180 per pax) was approved for Thursday 29th so we took a taxi to Maipo Wetlands Reserves stopped at the village and walked into the reserve.  On the way we spotted birds in the canal and the trees on both sides.  Somehow by the time we reached the reserve it was late morning and were greeted by the Azure-winged Magpie.  Alan’s contact at Maipo told us the tide would be later at 3pm which meant we would have less time at the hides.  We had our packed lunch then made our way to the Deepwater Bay hide.   The birds were quite far as the tide had not yet come in, we decided to try another hide and on the way out met 2 Hong Kong birders who told us to try the hide on the left.  We left Maipo at 6 pm, an hour after the closing time, very pleased with the birds we saw at this hide.

On Friday we met CF's friend at Kam Sheung Road MTR, and took a taxi to Shek Kong, which is a canal outside a military compound. The first bird we spotted was the Chinese Grosbeaks. As we walked along the side of the canal we spotted other birds, Flycatchers, Bulbuls and Pipits.   From Shek Kong we walked back to the MTR. We then went to Central for our lunch.  after which it was a short walk to Hong Kong Park, located behind the Island Shangri-la Hotel. The open aviary had a lot of birds to keep our cameras busy.

On Saturday morning we took a taxi to Long Valley and alighted at the Hor Sui Heung (Bean Curd factory), walked to the farm-land and birded till 12 noon. We got the Blue Throat!  We took the mini bus 51K to the MTR station and it was time to doing some shopping. 

On Sunday we visited the Kowloon Park’s open aviary and revisited the aviary at Hong Kong Park before we packed and left for home.

Birds Seen

 Tai Po Kau   Shek Kong
1)     Black-throated Thrush1)     Chinese Bulbul
2)     Japanese White-eye2)     Common Sandpiper
3)     Orange-bellied Leafbird3)     Daurian Redstart
4)     Fork-tailed Sunbird4)     Yellow-browed Warbler
5)     Mountain Bulbul5)     Dusky Warbler
6)     Long-tailed Shrike6)     Olive-backed Pipit
7)     White-rumped Munia7)     Chinese Grosbeak
8)     Japanese White-eye
                Maipo 9)     Common Blackbird
1)     Azure-winged Magpie10) Grey-backed Thrush
2)     Black Kite11) Masked Laughing Thrush
3)     Black-faced Spoonbill12) Grey Wagtail
4)     Black-headed Gull13) Magpie Robin
5)     Chinese Bulbul14) Crested Mynah
6)     Chinese Pond Heron15) Cinereous Tit
7)     Collared Crow16) Black-collared Starling
8)     Common Kingfisher17) Fire-breasted Flowerpecker
9)     Common Magpie
10) Eurasian Collared Dove
11) Eurasian CurlewLong Valley
12) Eurasian Curlew1)     Pied Avocet
13) Eurasian Dove2)     Black-winged Stilt
14) Eurasian Tree Sparrow3)     Common Snipe
15) Eurasian Wigeon4)     Ruddy-breasted Crake
16) Great Cormorant5)     Wood Sandpiper
17) Great Egret6)     Little Ringed Plover
18) Grey Heron7)     Siberian Stonechat
19) Grey Plover8)     Yellow-bellied Prinia
20) Heuglin’s Gull9)     White Wagtail
21) Little Cormorant10) Daurian Myna
22) Little Egret11) Collared Starling
23) Little Grebe12) Common Magpie
24) Long-tailed Shrike13) Red-billed Starling
25) Marsh Sandpiper14) Blue Throat
26) Masked Laughing Thrush15) Common Moorhen
27) Northern Shoveler16) Plain Prinia
28) Pied Avocet17) Eastern Wagtail
29) Plain Prinia18) Common Kingfisher
30) Red-whiskered Bulbul19) Black-winged Stilt
31) Tufted Duck20) Zitting Cistiscola
32) Western Osprey21) Dusky Warbler
33) White Wagtail22) Crested Mynah
34) Wood Sandpiper23) Scaly-breasted Munia
35) Yellow Wagtail24) Eurasian Tree Sparrow
             HK ParkKowloon Park
1)     Alexandrine Parakeet1)     African Grey Parrot
2)     Bali Mynah2)     Argus Pheasant
3)     Blue-winged Leafbird3)     Black-necked Swan
4)     Chestnut-backed Scimitar Babbler4)     Common Peafowl
5)     Common Shelduck5)     Coscoroba Swan
6)     Crested Partridge6)     Greater Flamingo
7)     Crested Pigeon7)     Grey-headed Imperial Pigeon
8)     Fawn-breasted Bowerbird8)     Hawaiian Goose
9)     Golden Yellow Pheasant9)     Lesser Flamingo
10) Greater Green Leafbird10) Red-crested Pochard
11) Green Imperial Pigeon11) Ringed Teal
12) Java Sparrow12) Victoria Crowned Pigeon
13) Long-tailed Broadbill13) Wood Duck
14) Maroon-breasted Crowned Pigeon
15) Mountain Peacock Pheasant
16) Orange-spotted Bulbul
17) Pied Imperial Pigeon
18) Pinon Imperial Pigeon
19) Purple-tailed Imperial Pigeon
20) Red-billed Blue Magpie
21) Rainbow Lorikeet
22) Ruddy Cuckoo Dove
23) White-eared Catbird
24) White-hooded Babbler
25) White-necked Myna
26) Yellow-crowned Bulbul aka Straw-headed Bulbul
27) Yellow-faced Myna
28) Yellow-spotted Bulbul