Saturday, 25 January 2014

Doi Lang Magic Pt 2

Continuing from the previous post about our first day on Doi Lang..

As well as these stake-outs, which are surrounded by mature forest, there was a flock moving around here with Chestnut-crowned Warbler, lots of Pallas’s Warblers, and both Golden and Rufous-fronted Babblers. The Spot-breasted Parrotbill was also seen a couple of times as well. A short walk along the road in lovely warm sunshine turned up an immature Sapphire Flycatcher, as well as a pair of Blue-bearded Bee-eaters.

Leaving here we drove along the road quite some distance, and had a quick look around the army check-point where lots of Crested Finchbill and Spectacled Barwings were feeding in a flowering tree. There was also a male White-bellied Redstart skulking at the side of the road, a cracking male Rufous-bellied Niltava, and as we drove away a pair of Yellow-throated Martens ran across in front of us.

Stopping at an open grassy area for our picnic lunch turned out to be an inspirational decision as amazingly a flock of 20+ Black-headed Greenfinches flew around and landed below us. This is a bird I have wanted to see for such a long time and to finally get great views through the scope as they fed on seed heads was amazing. A Buff-throated Warbler was also called in here, a flock of Cook’s and Fork-tailed Swifts flew over, and these good birds, plus breath-taking views down into Myanmar made this a very memorable lunch stop. So leaving here we continued driving and found a Collared Owlet, a flock of Whiskered Yuhinas, and our first Rufous-backed Sibia. A short while later we came upon a few cars parked along the road with several Thai photographers looking excited about something – and that something turned out to be a female Blue-fronted Redstart, another rare bird here.

Golden Bush-Robin

Upon reaching the viewpoint where there are a few more feeding stations we had cripplingly close views of a Golden Bush Robin – approx. 5th for Thailand, and yet another Himalayan Bluetail.  Just 30 metres away was another stake-out where we saw Thailand’s 3rd ever (Northern) Red-flanked Bluetail. Wow! 

Red-flanked Bluetail

The surrounding bushes were flowering and an incredible number of Mrs Gould’s Sunbirds were feeding on them. Normally very shy, they don’t usually allow a close approach but I think due to the very cold weather they were too intent on feeding than worrying about us. We also managed to pick out a few Fire-tailed Sunbirds, and this is the only place to see the species in Thailand. 

Mrs Gould's Sunbird

We also found our first Chinese Leaf-warbler and Orange-bellied Leafbirds here as well. What a day!

The last stake-out of the day was just a 10 minute drive away and we saw:

Chestnut-headed Tesia,
2 Scarlet-faced Liocichla
Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher
White-gorgeted Flycatcher
Male Himalayan Bluetail
2 Blue Whistling-thrushes
4 Silver-eared Laughingthrushes
2 Spectacled Barwings

What a collection of birds and once again, all at incredibly close range.

Chestnut-headed Tesia

Scarlet-faced Liocichla

Spectacled Barwing

 We birded from the road then and had a flock of Chestnut-flanked White-eyes, a superb Black-eared Shrike-babbler, a skulking Pygmy Wren-babbler, and our first Bianchi’s Warbler.

Driving down the mountain we had an Eye-browed Thrush feeding in the leaf litter beside the road, plus Puff-throated Babbler, White-rumped Shama, several more bluetails (and a grand total of 15 seen today) and another Large Niltava. This was certainly a day none of us will ever forget and I’m certain a very unique experience to see so many rare, scarce and localised species so well. This is why I love Thailand!

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