Friday, 23 January 2015

North Thailand

Well what a leisurely start to this tour as we had arrived up here in Chinag Mai a day ahead of our usual schedule so we enjoyed a huge buffet breakfast at 8am before a little scanning from the balcony across some waste ground with tall trees and bushes. Actually nothing fantastic but still nice views of a male Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker from 2 metres away, along with Streak-eared and Red-whiskered Bulbuls, Coppersmith Barbet, Greater Coucal, House Swifts and Common Tailorbird. If you’ve never been to Asia then these are all new birds and this was the case for one of the couples today. How exciting!

Anyway, met up with my good friend Nick Upton at 11am and then were heading out into the countryside and up the winding mountain road of Doi Ang Khang, but not before ticking off a perched Rufous-winged Buzzard. Just a shame that a singing Siberian Rubythroat didn’t show itself. Nevertheless we knew we would get that baby sooner or later, and up at the old cemetery area a fruiting tree seemed like a good place to stop. Sure enough we were soon watching a gathering of Crested Finchbills, Sooty-headed, Ashy, Red-whiskered and 
Brown-breasted Bulbuls along with a Blue-throated Barbet glowing in the afternoon 
sunshine. Moving on to a nice section of road we enjoyed the last couple of hours of sunshine seeing Grey-cheeked Fulvetta, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Verditer Flycatcher, Black-breasted Thrush, Stripe-breasted Woodpecker, Chestnut-vented Nuthatch, and both Bronzed and Ashy Drongos. A pair of Bay Woodpeckers did their usual thing of playing hard to get but we had several flight views and a couple of brief perched views which isn’t bad considering this species’ notorious reputation. And that was all for today and a quick couple of minutes drive saw us reach our usual lodge where the temperature soon plummeted to around 
5 degrees centigrade and a real contrast to the hot lowlands.

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