was a very early start at 4.30am in order to be at the viewing blind well
before daybreak to see Giant Ibis.
As we waited for the sun to rise the sounds of the forest were all around us
and yet even before it was daylight we had 3 Giant Ibis in the scope, albeit in silhouette. Just as the light
became good the ibis departed and we hoped for better views later in the day.
As it turned out we found another one perched on top of a large dead tree in
perfect sunlight an hour or so later and were able to watch it at leisure.
However, before that we walked a short distance to a clearing and had a great
packed breakfast seeing Common Flameback
and a brief Rufous Woodpecker along
the way. Several Grey-capped Pygmy
Woodpeckers were seen as well and continuing the ‘woody’ theme both White-bellied Woodpecker and a party of
4 very active Great Slaty Woodpeckers
were also seen well. A female White-rumped
Falcon was a nice find and was fully appreciated through the scope,
especially as we took a couple of days to find one on our tour last year. A
circuitous route through the forest then produced a pair of Greater Flamebacks, followed a little
later by a cooperative Banded Bay Cuckoo
calling from the top of a tree and just before reaching our waiting vehicles a Black Baza was scoped in a tree. We
then drove back to the lodge arriving mid-morning and because of the heat
decided to just ‘chill out’ here and wait before venturing out again in the
afternoon. Our first stop then led us to a day roosting Spotted Wood Owl which looked down on us nonchalantly from its
hiding place in a leafy tree. Despite the local village guide tempting us
closer to get a good photo we declined as we did not wish to disturb the bird –
something other groups should heed! A little later as we joined the tarmac road
we screeched to a halt as in a tall tree an adult White-shouldered Ibis was seen
feeding a well grown youngster in a nest, and we also found a group of Velvet-fronted Nuthatches here as well.
Further along we walked through a nice patch of forest which was a little quiet
although we picked up several Blossom-headed
Parakeets, Common and Large Woodshrikes, Indochinese Cuckooshrike, and a few other common species. Back at
the vehicles we had some snacks and spotted a Chinese Francolin across the clearing perched thirty feet up a tree
and everyone enjoyed fine looks through the scope. We ended the day with a Large-tailed Nightjar flying past us in
the spotlight with a background of spectacular lightning flashes before heading
back to the lodge.