Chiang Dao and Doi Kum Fa: 5-6 March 2012


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5-6 March 2012.
Sunny and warm, cloudless sky and cool overnight. Smoke pollution from seasonal burning.
Mae Taeng Irrigation Project, Chiang Dao and Doi Kum Fa.

5 Mar. With Steve Tibbett. With a couple of days to spare our aim was to check out recent sightings of Hodgson's Hawk-Cuckoo from Chiang Dao, as well as pay a first visit to Doi Kum Fa. Unfortunately the burning season had started with a vengeance this year, and Chiang Dao is frequently worse than many areas. En route to Chiang Dao though we started with a quick side visit to Mae Taeng Irrigation Project. Stopped in the parking area and immediately had a couple of Red-billed Blue Magpie fly over. Walked across the weir into scrub on the eastern side of the river, where a couple of hours was pretty profitable with a number of Crested Bunting, Wire-tailed Swallow, Himalayan Swiftlet, Brown-backed Needletail and Thick-billed Warbler. Following the short drive to Chiang Dao, a check in to Malee's Bungalows and a visit to the wildlife sanctuary to secure permits, we hit the check point area along the Muang Khong road where, as usual, a huge number of butterflies were puddling around the water pipes and pond - an a quick scan held maybe 20 species.

Chiang Dao smoke
Doi Chiang Dao lost in smoke

Puddling butterflies
Puddling butterflies

Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl
Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl

Although not early morning the temperature was still fine with reasonable bird activity, so we birded the taller trees along the check point road as well as walking up the gully behind the check point. Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo was singing well. Following lunch and some butterfly photography in the parking area we though it a good idea to walk the road steeply uphill from the check point. Extensive burning recently in this area, much of it still smoldering, and in a couple of hours slog we'd seen virtually nothing, so returned to the check point area and again worked the road, and again seeing little. After dinner walked the road to the temple for night birds, with a good selection calling - Mountain Scops Owl, Brown Hawk-Owl, Blyth's Frogmouth, Collared Scops Owl, Large-tailed Nightjar and Eastern Barn Owl. Unfortunately neither Oriental Bay Owl nor Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl, our two hoped for targets.

6 Mar. At first light around the check point of the Muang Khong road, but again no luck with Hodgson's Hawk-Cuckoo, although both Orange-breasted Trogon and Red-headed Trogon heard. A hour or so here gained few new species since yesterday, so after a quick breakfast we headed up toward Doi Kum Fa, about an hour's drive from Chiang Dao. Progress was fine until we hit a burning tree fall about four kilometres up the dirt track to the viewpoint, which necessitated parking the car and continuing on foot. Although weather good the birds were not particularly active, although we found a couple of Long-tailed Broadbill and Bianchi's Warbler, Hume's Warbler and a single Pallas's Leaf Warbler. Left the area mid afternoon and returned to the Chiang Dao area for a final attempt for Hodgson's Hawk-Cuckoo but no luck. A Hainan Blue Flycatcher was a nice bonus. Toward dusk headed to the temple access road and waited for night bird activity. Very surprised and delighted when a Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl came drifting into tall trees before the temple gat, and well before dark. Very fitting end to the couple of days.

Species List

  Mae Taeng Count   Chiang Dao Count
  Chinese Pond Heron 2   Green-legged Partridge 10
  Grey Heron 1   Red Junglefowl 4
  Little Egret 1   Crested Serpent Eagle 1
  Pied Harrier 1   Spotted Dove 4
  White-breasted Waterhen 2   Common Emerald Dove 1
  Common Moorhen 2   Mountain Imperial Pigeon 2
  Red-wattled Lapwing 2   Greater Coucal 3
  Eastern Little Ringed Plover 2   Green-billed Malkoha 1
  Green Sandpiper 1   Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo 4
  Rock Dove 20   Eastern Barn Owl 1
  Spotted Dove 4   Mountain Scops Owl 3
  Greater Coucal 2   Collared Scops Owl 1
  Lesser Coucal 1   Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl 1
  Asian Koel 2   Collared Owlet 3
  Plaintive Cuckoo 1   Asian Barred Owlet 3
  Himalayan Swiftlet 5   Brown Hawk-Owl 3
  Brown-backed Needletail 2   Blyth's Frogmouth 2
  Lineated Barbet 2   Large-tailed Nightjar 2
  Coppersmith Barbet 3   Crested Treeswift 4
  Eurasian Wryneck 1   Cook's Swift 100
  Black Drongo 2   Orange-breasted Trogon 1
  Red-billed Blue Magpie 2   Red-headed Trogon 1
  Racket-tailed Treepie 4   White-throated Kingfisher 2
  Eastern Jungle Crow 2   Oriental Pied Hornbill 1
  Indochinese Bush Lark 2   Great Barbet 3
  Sooty-headed Bulbul 20   Lineated Barbet 5
  Streak-eared Bulbul 10   Blue-throated Barbet 2
  Barn Swallow 20   Blue-eared Barbet 5
  Wire-tailed Swallow 2   Common Iora 6
  Dusky Warbler 4   Black-hooded Oriole 4
  Thick-billed Warbler 1   Ashy Drongo 2
  Baikal Bush Warbler 1   Bronzed Drongo 5
  Lanceolated Warbler 1   Greater Racket-tailed Drongo 2
  Grey-breasted Prinia 4   Black-naped Monarch 3
  Yellow-bellied Prinia 3   Eastern Jungle Crow 2
  Plain Prinia 3   Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher 4
  Common Tailorbird 2   Black-headed Bulbul 4
  Chestnut-capped Babbler 4   Black-crested Bulbul 10
  Great Myna 40   Red-whiskered Bulbul 10
  Common Myna 20   Sooty-headed Bulbul 10
  Pied Myna 4   Stripe-throated Bulbul 4
  Stejneger's Stonechat 2   Puff-throated Bulbul 10
  Plain-backed Sparrow 5   Grey-eyed Bulbul 6
  Baya Weaver 10   Black Bulbul 1
  Scaly-breasted Munia 20   Yellow-bellied Warbler 2
  Citrine Wagtail 1   Radde's Warbler 2
  Grey Wagtail 2   Yellow-browed Warbler 4
  White Wagtail 4   Grey-crowned Warbler 1
  Crested Bunting 4   Rufescent Prinia 3
        Common Tailorbird 2
  Doi Kum Fa Count   Dark-necked Tailorbird 2
  Red Junglefowl 2   Pin-striped Tit-Babbler 10
  Spotted Dove 2   Brown-cheeked Fulvetta 10
  Banded Bay Cuckoo 2   Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush 4
  Eurasian Hoopoe 1   Asian Fairy-bluebird 14
  Golden-throated Barbet 1   Velvet-fronted Nuthatch 2
  Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker 1   Great Myna 20
  Bay Woodpecker 1   Common Myna 10
  Long-tailed Minivet 10   Oriental Magpie-Robin 1
  Short-billed Minivet 2   White-rumped Shama 4
  Scarlet Minivet 4   White-crowned Forktail 6
  Black-naped Oriole 2   Blue Rock Thrush 1
  Maroon Oriole 4   Taiga Flycatcher 2
  Greater Racket-tailed Drongo 2   Hainan Blue Flycatcher 1
  Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher 2   Hill Blue Flycatcher 2
  Japanese Tit 4   Blue-winged Leafbird 2
  Yellow-cheeked Tit 4   Plain Flowerpecker 4
  Sooty-headed Bulbul 10   Little Spiderhunter 1
  Mountain Bulbul 1   Spectacled Spiderhunter 2
  Black Bulbul 4   White-rumped Munia 10
  Mountain Tailorbird 1   Grey Wagtail 1
  Radde's Warbler 1   Olive-backed Pipit 4
  Pallas's Leaf Warbler 1      
  Hume's Leaf Warbler 10      
  Davison's Leaf Warbler 20      
  Bianchi's Warbler 2      
  Yunnan Fulvetta 10      
  Dark-backed Sibia 10      
  Chestnut-vented Nuthatch 6      
  Velvet-fronted Nuthatch 2      
  Grey Bush Chat 6      
  Slaty-backed Flycatcher 2      
  Little Pied Flycatcher 5      
  Verditer Flycatcher 1      
  Hill Blue Flycatcher 2      
  Spectacled Spiderhunter 1      
  Olive-backed Pipit 10