This was a Rockjumper Private Birding Tour organized by Judith Allanson and guided by Keith Valentine. We flew into Bangkok on the last day of February and after a single hotel night, left after an early breakfast for Pak Thale in the Petchaburi area on the Gulf of Thailand to search the mudflats and salt pans for our main Thailand target – the Spoon-billed Sandpiper! Unfortunately, the light at the salt pans that morning was horrendous.
Best viewed on laptop or desktop. Hover over thumbnail for caption and click to open the image…..
Many of the bird images are just “for the record” shots that the species has been seen and photographed.
After lunch we headed off to visit Laem Pak Bia a sand bar beach on the Gulf of Thailand that is accessed via a short boat trip down an estuary between banks lined by Mangroves. This is a good site for the increasingly scarce Malaysian Plover and White-faced Plover, a race of Kentish Plover.
After the boat trip back up the river, we spent the remainder of the afternoon birding in various spots on the way to our Lodge for the night on the beach of the Gulf of Thailand – The Fisherman’s Resort.
The next day we drove southwest, heading for the Kaeng Krachan National Park , stopping off at a few birding spots and a small roadside restaurant for lunch. Kaeng Krachan NP was established by the King of Thailand after a visit in 1981 and is the largest National Park in Thailand (>3,000 square kilometers in extent) and lies on the eastern side of the Tenasserim mountain range on the Myanmar (Burmese) border. It has the richest bird list in the Thailand – >420 species. This was to be our birding area for the next couple of days.
Early the next morning we entered the National Park and birded along the road in the lowland forest area below the Ban Krang Camp area which also has a small outdoor restaurant which was to be our lunch spot for the day.
We had lunch at a small simple outdoor restaurant at the Ban Krang Campsite and then in the afternoon birded the road above Ban Krang, which involved crossing a couple of stream drifts.
The next day we birded at the highest elevations, walking the road at the top of the mountain which involved a ride up from Ban Krang Campsite in open 4 wheel drive vehicles as no normal vehicles were allowed past the third stream drift.
The next day was essentially a travel day. After breakfast we did about an hour’s birding around the resort area and then traveled east towards Sab Sadao skirting around the southern part of sprawling Bangkok.
Around mid afternoon we made a stop at the Sakaerat Biosphere Reserve – targets – Red Junglefowl and the much sought after Siamese Fireback!
We spent the night at a small Lodge sitting among the paddy fields near Sab Sadao called Bosswin House.
Early the next morning we continued with our journey towards Khao Yai NP, our first birding spot being an impressive dry deciduous Dipterocarp forest. Unfortunately, the light was terrible for most of that morning.
In the afternoon, we made two stops at wetlands on the way to Khao Yai, the first was at Lam Phra Plerng and the second at Lam Ta Keong where we picked up a few quality species, the big surprise being Rain Quails!
Khao Yai National Park:
Khao Yai is one of Thailand’s most well known Reserves and is very popular among the Thai people as it is situated relatively close to Bangkok. It was established in 1962 (Thailand’s 1st National Park) and the park covers an area of 2,168 km², including rain/evergreen forests and grasslands. Khao Rom (at about 1,350m) is the highest mountain within the park. It is home to around 300 resident and migratory birds. We spent 3 nights in a rather unattractive but comfortable and functional B&B hotel and had our evening meals across the road in an open air restaurant that was nothing to look at but served the most delicious dishes.
Some of our sightings during our couple of days in the Park:
The next day was a travel day and our last day in the Thailand Central part of our tour. We had a brief stop at Wat Pat Ta Bat Noi on the way to Bangkok (to pick up the Limestone Wren-Babbler) and then caught a flight up to Chiang Mai to spend the remainder of our tour in the wonderful mountains of northern Thailand.
Thailand Birding Tour Part 2 – North to follow………………….