Day 5 dawned bright and early (as usual) and after breakfast, we headed off to bird Krung Ching NP. This was going to be a long and hard day! The terrain was really hard going, with some areas being very steep to the extent that, had it been in the UK, it would have had to have been stepped with a rail - but what a place, and well worth the effort! I won't give you the full list of the birds we saw, but the highlights for me were Grey-headed Babbler, Scarlet-rumped Trogan, Chestnut-winged Babbler, Raffle's Malkoa - and all of these before lunch! Games could hear a Black-capped Babbler, so we waited on the track for a good while, but sadly we were out of luck, as the bird stopped calling. It wasn't until we'd walked 50 yards down the track, when the bird started calling again so we decided to go back for another try - and to our amazement, this previously elusive bird walked by us only 8 feet away! ........ Unbelievable!
We had taken a packed lunch with us, so after a short walk, we decided to have our break - but not before we managed to see Banded Broadbill, Black-throated and Fluffy-backed Tit-babbler. After our lunch we went off again, ticking Moustached Babbler, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird and Rufous Piculet. Having reached the end of our walk, Games did try to call in Rail Babbler, even though there hasn't been one seen there for the last two years; we didn't have any luck - but - you never know if you don't try, do you? On our return journey back to the car, we did also see Yellow-eared Spiderhunter, Brown Shrike, Blue-winged Leafbird and Lesser-green Leafbird. As I've already said, it was a really hard day, especially at our ages - but very well worth it! We returned to this park again later that evening to look for owls, but to no avail - although we did get a bonus in the shape of a Grey Nightjar.
The morning of day 6 found us back at Krung Ching NP for a look around the vicinity of the car park which was quite productive, highlights of which were Swinhoe's Minivet, Blue-eared Barbet, Vernal Hanging-parrot, Green-billed Malkoa and Dark-throated Oriole. Sadly, however I've no images to show you, as the birds were all feeding in the top of the canopy. Another image I missed was a Cape Razorsnake which was crossing the road as we drove out of the park. We went back to our accommodation where we had some lunch before setting off to our next destination, Thale Noi. On reaching the accommodation at Thale Noi, we spent the afternoon birding some brilliant wetlands only a 10 minute drive away, where we saw (new to the list) Bronze-winged Jacana, Intermediate Egret, Cotton Pygmy-goose, Grey-headed Swamphen and lots of Water Buffalo. What we did see here, that I've never seen in the UK, were large groups of Little Grebe! Again - a brilliant area for birdwatching!
This is only 7 of a group numbering 18 Little Grebe
On day 7, we were due to go on a boat trip at Thale Noi, but when Games had showed us the boats the previous afternoon, we decided they'd be too uncomfortable for us, so chose instead to return to the wetlands which we'd been to the previous afternoon. We were birding from the road, which was in the form of a bridge of about 2 miles long, across the wetlands, with pull-ins every so often. Baya Weaver, Lesser Whistling-duck, Indian Roller and White-throated Kingfisher were seen, We also had more Tree Sparrow (they seem really prolific in Thailand), Red-wattled Lapwing, Little Cormorant, Purple Heron and Plain-backed Sparrow and a large flock of Black-winged Stilt (circa 300?) along with Brown-backed Needletail, Oriental Reed-warbler, Shikra and Brahminy Kite. All of these were seen in spite of the weather - it was absolutely throwing it down on and off all morning - still very very humid though! Even so, I'd have been very happy staying here all day if I could- a great habitat with easy viewing of the birds. We left the area in the early afternoon to travel quite a distance to our final accommodation at Phang Nga Town.
Some fishing huts which are on the wetland
Pond Heron species
Part of the Black-winged Stilt flock
Oriental Reed Warbler
Our final mornings' birding was to be at Phang Nga mangroves, where we managed to see Olive-winged Bulbul, Dark-naped Tailorbird, Streak-breasted Woodpecker, Mangrove Whistler and Oriental White-eye. Once again, Games' fantastic hearing detected a Black-and-red Broadbill calling, and it didn't take her long to pinpoint the call! To our surprise, there were a pair of them - what stunning birds these are - my image doesn't do justice to them! Once again - a great habitat for birding! Pale-legged Leaf Warbler, Brown-throated Sunbird and Black-naped Monarch were also seen here. Another great morning spent birding this area, then, on our way back to the airport, Games was going to stop off again at a small woodland we had previously visited to see if we could get Spotted Wood Owl, as we'd missed them on our first visit here. Her perseverance paid off, as this time paid off, giving us not one - but a pair - of these magnificent owls!
Pair of Spotted Wood Owl
Spotted Wood Owl
What a great 8 days birding in Southern Thailand, made even better by great company in Christine and Bob, and a really good guide in the shape of Games!
I hope you've enjoyed reading this snapshot of my trip to Southern Thailand, and, as always, thanks for stopping by.
This will probably be my last blog for a while now, as I'm going to be incapacitated for a few weeks due to imminent foot surgery!