Sunday, 20 January 2013

Doi Ang Khang

So here we are on the north Thailand mountain of Doi Ang Khang. And it took ages for it to get light this morning and was damn chilly as well. Huddled around the breakfast table at 6am hugging cups of coffee it was apparent that we would have to wait a while longer than anticipated to begin birdng! So when the sky became a little lighter we drove down the road to the pheasant spot and waited in the minibus for Hume’s Pheasant to appear, but nothing was happening so drove on further. The forest was pretty quiet here today, but we got started with a little mixed flock following the sunshine up the hill towards us containing several Chestnut-vented Nuthatches, Long-tailed Minivet, and a cracking Blyth’s Shrike-babbler

Chestnut-vented Nuthatch

A Little Pied Flycatcher appeared next and we also had a pair of Velvet-fronted Nuthatches and a brief Blue-winged Minla – but we’d see the latter species very well later in the day. Then we headed down to a couple of stake-outs where at the first a pair of Black-breasted Thrushes and a pair of Large Niltavas were coming down to mealworms. Both gave great prolonged views, but we also became distracted by a brief appearance nearby from an Eye-browed Thrush, as well as Taiga Flycatcher, Little Bunting and Crested Finchbill, plus plenty of Common Rosefinches in the gardens as well

Large Niltava - male

Large Niltava - female

The next place was even better as we had point-blank views of over 8 Black-breasted Thrushes, 3 White-tailed Robins, Hill Blue Flycatcher, Rufous-bellied Niltava, White-rumped Shama and unbelievably and best of all, a Japanese Thrush! Wow! Oh and there was also Yellow-bellied Warbler and Scarlet Minivet as well. 

Just 4 of the Black-breasted Thrushes present at the feeding station
Japanese Thrush

White-rumped Shama

White-tailed Robin

What a great place and a real privilege to just sit down and watch all of this activity happening right in front of us. 

After lunch we birded the road on the ridge and had our first really decent flock with some showy Blue-winged Minlas, Short-billed Minivet, Yellow-cheeked Tit, Pallas’s Leaf-warbler, Buff-barred Warbler and a flock of Grey-cheeked Fulvettas. A quick check along a trail produced several Eye-browed Thrushes flying over and not a lot else. So we spent the last hour of daylight birding the road close to the lodge and had Flavescent, Ashy and Mountain Bulbuls, Davison’s Leaf-warbler, Olive-backed Pipit and a brief pair of Scarlet-faced Liocichlas

If I was excited about today then there are an unbelievable pair of star-quality birds to find tomorrow…

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