Thursday, 23 February 2012

Central Thailand 24th Jan 2012

Kaeng Krachen is the largest national park in Thailand and the focus of our birding for the next three days. We began by working the area between the entrance and the campsite which under the hot conditions (with the temperature much hotter than two weeks ago) turned up some decent birds with the best being a pair of Blue-bearded Bee-eaters hawking for insects on the hill above the road. A pair of Dollarbirds showed well near a water hole, and the same area held Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker, Banded Bay Cuckoo, Crimson Sunbird, Blue-winged Leafbird, Asian Brown and Taiga Flycatchers, Black-headed Bulbul and Dark-necked Tailorbird, whilst overhead we saw Grey-rumped Treeswift, Fork-tailed and House Swifts, Ashy Woodswallow, Red-rumped and Barn Swallows and several Brown-backed Needletails. A large fruiting tree over the road held several Common Hill-mynas as well as a pair of  Golden-crested Mynas, Coppersmith, Blue-eared and Green-eared Barbets, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Thick-billed Green-pigeon, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Black-naped Oriole, several Sultan Tits and Black-winged Cuckooshrike, We then spent the rest of the day at a special site only used by very small groups which consists of a large blind where you can view a couple small drinking pools. Almost immediately we had the strange-looking Kalij Pheasant and a quick view of a Scaly-breasted Partridge, quickly followed by Greater and Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrushes. After lunch we returned to the blind and spent the whole afternoon watching an amazing variety of shy forest dwellers from just a few metres away. The laughingthrushes were present most of the time and for a few minutes a Large Scimitar-babbler flew in and landed in the open before scooting off into the trees where it was just visible for a couple of minutes. A pair of Black-naped Monarchs spent some time bathing, followed later by a male Chinese Blue and Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher before the star of the show appeared. Walking quietly out of the dense forest to the edge of the clearing before us was a pair of Bar-backed Partridges, a normally extreme shy and skulking bird which has been visiting here recently. In fact they made several appearances here during the course of our vigil and we had numerous photo opportunities! Also seen were Abbott’s Babbler, Racket-tailed Treepie, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, two Siberian Blue Robins, Black-crested, Stripe-throated and Streak-eared Bulbuls, White-rumped Shama and a pair of Puff-throated Babblers which later came round to our side of the blind and rooted in the leaf litter by our feet! Told you! 

Bar-backed Partridge

Scaly-breasted Partridge

Kalij Pheasant - apparently?

Siberian Blue Robin

Siberian Blue Robin (female)

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