Monday, 13 January 2014

Khao Yai - Day 2

Drove back into Khao Yai at 6pm and went right the way across the park and headed up to the Army checkpoint, seeing an Orange-headed Thrush in the road, before stopping at the top of Radar Road. We were almost the first people here and before we'd even finished parking saw a couple of Black-throated Laughingthrushes feeding on the road right in front of one of the Thai sentries! So we quickly hopped out and over the course of a good half an hour thoroughly enjoyed outstanding views of these usually secretive birds. 

Black-throated Laughingthrush
There was a distinct chill in the air this morning but the constant appearance of new birds meant we were rather distracted until the sun appeared over the hill. Next up was a beautiful Common Green Magpie, followed by perched views of Barred Cuckoo-Dove, Black-throated Sunbird, a close Grey-backed Shrike and stunning views of two Radde's Warblers

Grey-backed Shrike

Radde's Warbler
Leaving here we drove back downhill and walked for a few hours along the road, which was pretty quiet to be honest despite calling in a pair of Banded Broadbills right next to us. They are such stunners and continuing the theme of this tour, we spent quite a while admiring their intricate plumage and simply enjoying the bird. 

Banded Broadbill
Shortly after a Blue Pitta called and amazingly everyone had nailed the beauty within a couple of minutes before it melted away again into the forest. Sounds easy doesn't it? Well we got lucky as the bird remained motionless in one spot for a couple of minutes - and that doesn't happen too often! I was also pleased to see a Claudia's Warbler clambering around a dense tangle by the road - this is one of a number of tricky phylloscopus warblers to be found in Thailand. Following this we walked a trail for half an hour and got lucky with a pair of Black-and-buff Woodpeckers perched overhead.

After lunch we drove to one of the campsites which was now empty and scoped a Blue-eared Barbet high up in a tree. There was also Little Spiderhunter, an Arctic Warbler, Two-barred Warbler and a Yellow-browed Warbler present, along with Taiga Flycatcher, Fire-breasted, Thick-billed and Yellow-vented Flowerpeckers. It was then that we got some news of a Buffy Fish-owl being seen earlier in the day and dashed to the area where the bird had been but there was nothing there. But we did get views of Striated Heron and Oriental Pied Hornbill

Blue-eared Barbet

Thick-billed Green-pigeon
All rather frustrating really, so we returned to the campsite a found a small fruiting tree with a few Thick-billed Green-pigeons and Blue-eared Barbets in it. We had stunning views once again and I cannot remember being this close to these two species before.  Then we spent the last hour and a half staking out the back of the restaurant in a half-hearted hope of seeing a ground-cuckoo which had allegedly been seen a week ago there. An Orange-headed Thrush was very nice, as was a male Red Junglefowl, Blue Whistling-thrush, Pale-legged Leaf-warbler and Siberian Blue Robin. Heather also spotted a Greater Flameback in a large tree as well.

At the end of the day, as we were driving to the hotel, Nick spotted 3 Brown-backed Needletails circling over one of the lakes and we watched them for several minutes as they came down to drink. 

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