Friday, 17 January 2014

Kaeng Krachen

Spent a couple of hours looking for Black-headed Woodpeckers unsuccessfully this morning at a site that it seems has become too well known with just too many people blasting the call out and spoiling it for everyone else! A few other nice birds were around such as Red-breasted Parakeets, lots of Asian Barred and Spotted Owlets, Purple Sunbird and Rufous Treepie. So we left here and drove to a nice lodge close to the entrance of Kaeng Krachen National Park where we had lunch before driving the short distance to a very special site.

I like the fact that we can visit a small photo hide situated overlooking a little pond in the middle of some dry forest and actually get to watch birds coming down to drink and bathe. And the emphasis is on watching birds, rather than racing around trying to build your list up. In fact, you get to see some of the forests shyer inhabitants and some species that you just don’t see usually and this afternoon’s 5 hour vigil again proved that point. 

Bar-backed Partridge
We had amazingly good and close views of everything and everyone felt it was a privilege to be able to witness such a spectacle. We began with a pair of White-rumped Shamas that loitered the whole afternoon, and one of them actually had a penchant for coming inside the hide! A brief White-bellied Erpornis appeared, but was totally overshadowed by the appearance of 6 Bar-backed Partridges that walked in and began to disrupt the leaf litter in a curious feeding motion. In fact they reappeared a couple of times this afternoon. 

Pale-legged Leaf-warbler
A couple of Pale-legged Leaf-warblers were more or less on constant view, whilst Chinese Blue Flycatcher, Black-naped Monarch and Tickell’s Blue Flycatchers only appeared a few times. There were just a few lulls in proceedings, but we never really had to wait too long before species such as Brown-cheeked Fulvetta, Puff-throated Babbler, Greater and Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrushes and towards the end of the day, an Abbott’s Babbler flew in to entertain us. 

Lesser (on left) and Greater Necklaced Laughingthrushes coming in for a drink

Other birds present from time to time included Siberian Blue Robin, both Stripe-throated and Streak-eared Bulbuls and Greater Racket-tailed Drongo to add to the fun. 

Siberian Blue Robin (female)

Siberian Blue Robin (male)

Non avian interest was provided by Indo-Chinese Ground Squirrel, Grey-bellied Squirrel and 2 Lesser Mouse Deer

Lesser Mouse Deer

The final icing on the cake was a group of 3 superb Scaly-breasted Partridges and was a species we didn’t really expect as it has been seen only intermittently here the past month or so. 

Scaly-breasted Partridge
 And that was our lot and we retired to the lodge and some of the best food of the tour so far.

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