It took about an hour to reach the entrance gate to Doi Inthanon National Park and we headed straight to one of our favourite trails high up the mountain. As the sun began to peak over the surrounding forested ridges there were many birds singing and we quickly picked up Grey-chinned and Short-billed Minivets, Black-winged Cuckooshrike, Bronzed Drongo, and a couple of superb Silver-eared Mesias. Walking along the trail our first stab at Slaty-bellied Tesia only resulted in a bird calling back at us from down the slope, but we made do with prolonged views of a Hume’s Treecreeper instead. Nearby a very obliging Pygmy Wren-babbler ( I do hate the new name of Pygmy Cupwing) was watched for around five minutes as it sang and called from some favourite perched right next to the path. Moving on, there was a much more co-operative pair of tesias, lots of Olive-backed Pipits, and out in an open area a Plain Flowerpecker flew in to check out the owlet call from my ipod, along with several Fire-breasted Flowerpeckers.
We had lunch at Mr Daeng’s restaurant where you can eat some delicious food overlooking a little feeding station where there was a female Rufous-bellied Niltava, male Hill Blue Flycatcher, brief Dark-sided Thrush, Blue Whistling-thrush and a tiny Lesser Shortwing. Out in the gardens we called in a Banded Bay Cuckoo that flew around us before landing in various trees around the car park. Whilst watching this, a Yellow-bellied Flowerpecker was spotted feeding in some mistletoe right over our heads, a flock of Common Rosefinches feeding in a flowering tree were joined by some Oriental White-eyes, and a Grey-breasted Prinia showed well. Not a bad lot considering the soaring temperatures at this time of day – but it is good to see the cold snap may be ending….?
We spent the afternoon at the top of the mountain enjoying nice views of Bar-throated Minlas, Green-tailed Sunbird (here of the endemic blue-tailed race only found on this mountain), Rufous-winged Fulvettas, Dark-backed Sibias, and both Ashy-throated and Blyth’s Leaf-warblers. A walk around the boardwalk was also productive as we nailed a couple of Dark-sided Thrushes skulking in a damp area and it is always a good feeling to see a Zoothera thrush on a Zoothera tour right..?! An Eurasian Woodcock was also a nice sighting here as well but apart from that there wasn’t much else doing, so we went back up to the restaurant area. A fine Golden-throated Barbet gave point-blank views, but a nervous Rufous-throated Partridge was only seen by a few of the group. Still we finished with better views of Ashy-throated Leaf-warbler, extremely close minlas and our first Yellow-browed Tit.
So we drove back down the mountain and stopped to check out a feeding station beside the main road, where a male Large Niltava was stood sentinel over. As we approached it disappeared but was replaced by another female Rufous-bellied Niltava and an extraordinarily bold Lesser Shortwing that came out to feed on our mealworms repeatedly.