Thursday, 7 February 2013

Kaeng Krachen (again)

It was one of those mornings where everything falls into place and I can look back on our visit to Kaeng Krachen today with very fond memories. It did start quietly as the weather was cooler than usual and heavily overcast and dull, so the forest took a while to liven up – apart from Kalij Pheasant, a couple of obliging Common Green Magpies, Wedge-tailed Green-pigeon and a Grey-headed Woodpecker

Silver-breasted Broadbill

But once we reached the first campsite and heard the distinctive call of Silver-breasted Broadbill then I knew things would getter better soon! Sure enough within the foliage of a large, leafy tree we found maybe a dozen of these stunning broadbills and spent some time watching  them in action. Next up was a pair of Black-and-red Broadbills that gave repeated views and the stunning crimson really shone in the dark area of forest they were inhabiting. 

Black-and-red Broadbill - why did it turn away..?

A Chinese Blue Flycatcher, Sultan Tit and Rosy Minivet all played second fiddle to this vision of black and red loveliness! But as we walked around the campsite a Blue-bearded Bee-eater kept up the quality of sightings and his beard shone electric blue as the sun tried to peek through the murky day.

Rosy Minivet

Moving on and we nailed our third broadbill of the day when a Black-and-yellow Broadbill was called in and landed high overhead in a leafless tree. Through the scope we studied its beautiful plumage and wondered if the day could get any better. 

Black-and-yellow Broadbill

So when a Spot-necked Babbler began calling and showed quite quickly we knew the answer and what a little cracker this is, with a bright white throat, rufous underparts, white-flecked super and sexy neck spotting – this isn’t your ordinary babbler at all! To cap it all a Southern Brown Hornbill began calling and we tracked it down and scoped it in a bare tree. What a morning! 

Lunch was taken at the campsite before driving up to the top of the mountain for a short raptor watch…. Well, in fact just the one raptor, a Mountain Hawk-eagle and maybe we should call it a barbet watch with Great, Blue-throated and Blue-eared all giving cracking views in the few rays of sunshine to hit us today. A Streaked Spiderhunter, Dark-sided Flycatcher and Grey Treepie later and we were driving back down to the Ratchet-tailed Treepie stake-out but found it Treepie-less, although the usual gang of Collared Babblers showed well, a White-browed Scimitar-babbler performed admirably, and we managed to locate just the one Black-throated Laughingthrush. We’d also had a few noteworthy ‘heard onlys’ today with Ferruginous Partridge and Great Slaty Woodpecker….. So what a day, great birds but not-so-hot photos...... 

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