We took a 10.30am flight north to Chiang Mai, which meant we had a little later than usual start. But some of the group had a few commoner birds around the hotel, as well as a couple of Java Sparrows – a species that was also seen at the airport as well. The flight only took just over an hour and we were out of the airport with our luggage and in the minibus in double quick time, arriving at our first stake-out around 3.45pm. As I have always stated, this tour is about getting really nice views of birds, and with the relatively recent phenomenon of numerous feeding stations you get to see some stunningly rare and beautiful species quite easily. When you consider that you would not see most of the ‘staked-out’ birds usually, then this is a winning combination.
Then we set in for a short wait and had a male White-tailed Robin, male Black-breasted Thrush and a female Rufous-bellied Niltava putting on a fine show. Then some White-headed Bulbuls came down to the ground beside a small stream and showed exceptionally well.
Nearby we sat on the ground and waited patiently for all of 10 seconds and a male Grey-winged Blackbird came in to feed on mealworms, followed by a White-capped Water-Redstart and a pair of Chestnut-bellied Rock-thrushes. Wow!
|Grey-winged Blackbird - a scarce Thai bird|
|Chestnut-bellied Rock-thrush (male)|
|Chestnut-bellied Rock-thrush (female)|
The blackbird is incredibly scarce in Thailand, whilst the rock-thrushes are usually seen on a regular tour, but often distantly and in the scope – and not 10 yards away… So that was it for today and everyone was early to bed ready for an exciting day tomorrow – and to hide under their duvets as the temperature plummeted to just above freezing!