Monday, 20 January 2014

Kaeng Krachen (17th January)

Running behind with the blog now, as shivering in the north of the country but have internet for the next few days at least - so here's a catch up

Wasn’t sure what to expect from today but as it turned out, we did very well and managed to fill quite a few holes in our list. A slightly later start was much appreciated by everyone and meant we got to our first stop at just the right time. Patrolling the road and scanning from a decent viewpoint resulted in Black-thighed Falconet, Besra, two fly pasts from a Merlin (a scarce Thai bird), a pair of Great Hornbills, 3 Wreathed Hornbills, Wedge-tailed Green-pigeon, Thick-billed Warbler, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird and a Golden-crested Myna.

Thick-billed Warbler
Driving towards the campsite and a thrush flew up from the side of the road so we killed the engine and waited. A random play from the ipod got a response (finally) from a Black-and-red Broadbill and we ended up seeing 6 of these brightly coloured beauties. 

Black-and-red Broadbill
Moving on to the streams and ‘Little Nick’ quickly found us an Orange-breasted Trogon, with an Asian Paradise-flycatcher nearby. As the day warmed up, bird activity decreased but we still saw several Sultan Tits, Grey-capped Woodpecker and Greater Flameback, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Rufous-fronted Babbler, and a few Sulphur-breasted Warblers.

After lunch we headed back up the hill, seeing a perched Japanese Sparrowhawk on the way,  and spent a couple of hours around the summit, but didn’t see anything new. It is a little frustrating to say the least that you cannot start driving back downhill until 4pm and we really could have done with some extra time at a slightly lower elevation. However, as soon as we arrived we could hear the distinctive call of a Long-tailed Broadbill from the hillside above us. Try as we might we couldn’t entice these much-wanted birds to come into view, but did find a couple a little later as we walked lower. A large mixed-species flock was just around the corner and it was nice to experience such a big group of birds including our first Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo. But we couldn’t locate the right flock which would hold the key species here, Ratchet-tailed Treepie. A flyover Rufous-bellied Eagle was also a welcome addition to our lists. So we walked back up to the minibus and had what we thought was our last new bird here, Ashy Bulbul

Ratchet-tailed Treepie
Driving down I was a bit dejected, but just then Nick slammed on the breaks and we could hear some Black-throated Laughingthrushes, so jumped out and quickly found a Ratchet-tailed Treepie feeding above us. Everyone was thoroughly elated with this and it is such a rare bird and one we would have hated to miss. 

It was an incredibly jovial ride back down the bumpy road, and to cap things off Heather and I had a brief glimpse of a black Leopard disappearing into the undergrowth and a herd of Gaur were seen beside one of the small ponds.

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