After a 5.30am breakfast we headed up to the higher reached of Doi Inthanon and parked up alongside the road in readiness for the early morning sunshine to hit the tops of the trees. Sure enough within a few minutes we were scoping several Speckled Woodpigeons perched up in the scope – a scarce bird in Thailand. I always think it bodes well for the day when you get the first target bird of the day quite easily. Anyway, we then visited the summit boardwalk where, with a bit of perseverance, we saw a Snowy-browed Flycatcher and eventually a White-browed Shortwing. We did also get great looks at a Chestnut-headed Tesia picking its way out in the marsh and right out in the open – a very unusual sighting indeed. And we also had nice views of a Slaty-bellied Tesia dancing along an exposed branch in a rather more gloomy section of moss-encrusted forest. Shortly after, a nice warming cup of coffee was needed to help thaw out our shivering bones, and as we enjoyed this were able to enjoy all the usual ‘summit’ birds at close quarters once again. As luck would have it, some friends of Nick had found a Yellow-bellied Flowerpecker which showed rather well in the bright morning sunshine.
Moving to a lower elevation, a female Small Niltava and female White-browed Shortwing appeared beside the minibus as soon as we parked up. Then along a narrow trail we had a male Small Niltava, but I remember this walk for the invisible calling Green Cochoa and a ‘mega-flock’ feeding high in the canopy. There were so many birds and I can’t remember ever seeing a bigger flock on this mountain before. We picked up loads of previously seen species such as Maroon Oriole, Yellow-browed and Yellow-cheeked Tits, as well as White-bellied Erpornis amongst others.
A quick check of a more open area after lunch gave us another big flock with Speckled Piculet, Scarlet Minivet, and a Black-winged Cuckooshrike, plus a few Hill Blue Flycatchers nearby. Then we drove to the base of the mountain and enjoyed scope views of a male Blossom-headed Parakeet perched on top of a tree, plus Nick U picked up a perched Collared Falconet which was a nice bonus bird. A Freckle-breasted Woodpecker was also quite special and we saw a few other lowland birds such as a soaring Shikra and Burmese Shrike before returning to our nearby hotel a little earlier than usual.