A few days around Chiang Mai: 2-4 May 2012






2-4 May 2012.
Hot and cloudless with some thunder, but no rain.
Huay Tueng Tao, Mae Taeng Irrigation Project, Chiang Dao and Doi Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary.

2 May. With Gerry Brett. These few days around Chiang Mai were aimed at providing Gerry with an overview of these local sites. An early start to arrive before the Huay Tueng Tao checkpoint at 06:30. Despite the early start rather warm. Parked near the Buddha shrine and first scanned the lake edge, without success, for Wire-tailed Swallow. We then spent about three hours walking a loop along the western shore, through the open woodland and paddy edges as far as the Doi Suthep-Pui checkpoint, and then back through the lower dry forest. Hardly surprising that no migrants were present other than a single Brown Shrike, but a pair of Lesser Coucal, a couple of Barred Buttonquail and an Indochinese Bush Lark were less usual. Other species in the forest, infrequently seen, were Racket-tailed Treepie and Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush.

Chocolate Albatross
Chocolate Albatross

Streaked Wren-Babbler
Streaked Wren-Babbler

Club Beak
Club Beak

Angled Pierrot
Angled Pierrot

3 May. Left Chiang Mai at 10:00 with a first stop at Mae Taeng Irrigation Project to look for Wire-tailed Swallow, inexplicably not seen yesterday at Huay Tueng Tao. We struggled to find it here too - only recording a single bird on the way out, nearer to the highway. On the drive in a Rufous Treepie flew over the road. Once at the river, we had a 20 minutes scan, with a major surprise of two Asian Openbill circling - a decidedly rare bird this far north. Other than that nothing particular of note. Continued to Chiang Dao where we checked into Malee's Bungalows. A rather hot day, touching 40°C. After a short lunch visited the sanctuary offices to secure the permits for the mountain tomorrow. These formalities were completed within 10 minutes, so in the heat of the day drove to the checkpoint on the Muang Khong road. Owing to the very dry conditions - no pond and virtually no water in the stream. Butterflies, normally plentiful here were very reduced in number, with maybe only 20 species present and small numbers of each. Around 16:00 left the area to visit Wat Tamplaplong where we spent the remainder of the day in the forest up to the temple. Best species recorded were Violet Cuckoo, Pin-tailed Green Pigeon and a very obliging pair of Streaked Wren-Babbler at the temple itself. No sign of the very tame Silver Pheasant. In the evening we ate at Mon and Kurt's Restaurant in Chiang Dao town. Recommended for both European and Thai food. In the evening, around the accommodation, Brown Hawk-Owl and Large-tailed Nightjar were the only night birds vocal.

4 May. A very early start from Chiang Dao, arriving at the DYK substation camp site at 06:30, having stopped for a few early birds on the route up. Little rain yet this year, so no issues reaching the substation. Our first hour was spent along the start of the summit trail in the open forest and pines, but little of note seen, although Mountain Bamboo Partridge heard. Returned to the camp site and walked the main track back for about a kilometre. This was much more productive and we had views of Silver-breasted Broadbill, a pair of Green Cochoa and a single Grey-headed Parrotbill, as well as the usual Davison's Leaf Warbler, Hair-crested Drongo, Japanese Tit etc. The main aim had been to try for Giant Nuthatch but this proved elusive until later when a single bird was seen briefly in pines around the campsite before heading off never to be seen again. Returned to Chiang Dao and after lunch at Malee's had another look for butterflies around the Muang Khong road checkpoint, but rather disappointing. The final stop was to check the paddies east of Chiang Dao, where we saw a couple of Wire-tailed Swallow and a few Striated Swallow.

Species List

  Chiang Dao / Doi Chiang Dao Count   Huay Tueng Tao Count
  Mountain Bamboo Partridge 2   Chinese Francolin 2
  Oriental Honey Buzzard 3   Lesser Whistling Duck 2
  Spotted Dove 5   Shikra 1
  Pin-tailed Green Pigeon 2   Barred Buttonquail 2
  Mountain Imperial Pigeon 10   Red-wattled Lapwing 4
  Greater Coucal 4   Spotted Dove 6
  Violet Cuckoo 1   Greater Coucal 6
  Banded Bay Cuckoo 2   Lesser Coucal 2
  Plaintive Cuckoo 2   Green-billed Malkoha 2
  Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo 3   Asian Koel 3
  Brown Hawk-Owl 2   Plaintive Cuckoo 2
  Large-tailed Nightjar 1   Asian Barred Owlet 1
  Crested Treeswift 1   White-throated Kingfisher 1
  Himalayan Swiftlet 25   Lineated Barbet 2
  Asian Palm Swift 4   Coppersmith Barbet 1
  Cook's Swift 1   Ashy Woodswallow 3
  House Swift 20   Brown Shrike 1
  Orange-breasted Trogon 1   Greater Racket-tailed Drongo 4
  Blue-bearded Bee-eater 2   Racket-tailed Treepie 4
  Eurasian Hoopoe 1   Eurasian Jay 1
  Great Barbet 5   Indochinese Bush Lark 1
  Blue-throated Barbet 5   Common Iora 1
  Blue-eared Barbet 2   Black-crested Bulbul 4
  Stripe-breasted Woodpecker 1   Red-whiskered Bulbul 2
  Bay Woodpecker 1   Sooty-headed Bulbul 10
  Silver-breasted Broadbill 2   Streak-eared Bulbul 4
  Common Iora 6   Common Tailorbird 2
  Large Cuckooshrike 8   Pin-striped Tit-Babbler 6
  Black-winged Cuckooshrike 2   Puff-throated Babbler 2
  Scarlet Minivet 4   White-crested Laughingthrush 6
  Burmese Shrike 4   Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush 1
  Blyth's Shrike-babbler 3   Great Myna 3
  Ashy Drongo 2   Common Myna 2
  Bronzed Drongo 2   Black-collared Starling 10
  Hair-crested Drongo 3   Pied Bush Chat 1
  Greater Racket-tailed Drongo 5   Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker 2
  White-throated Fantail 3   Scaly-breasted Munia 4
  Black-naped Monarch 1   Paddyfield Pipit 1
  Grey Treepie 4      
  Japanese Tit 1   Mae Taeng Count
  Black-crested Bulbul 6   Asian Openbill 2
  Red-whiskered Bulbul 10   Eastern Cattle Egret 60
  Sooty-headed Bulbul 30   Shikra 2
  Flavescent Bulbul 6   Eastern Little Ringed Plover 1
  Puff-throated Bulbul 4   Spotted Dove 5
  Grey-eyed Bulbul 4   Greater Coucal 2
  Black Bulbul 2   House Swift 10
  Barn Swallow 4   Common Iora 1
  Wire-tailed Swallow 2   Greater Racket-tailed Drongo 1
  Striated Swallow 3   Rufous Treepie 1
  Davison's Leaf Warbler 2   Streak-eared Bulbul 4
  Zitting Cisticola 2   Wire-tailed Swallow 1
  Hill Prinia 3   Common Tailorbird 1
  Rufescent Prinia 4   Great Myna 20
  Dark-necked Tailorbird 3   Common Myna 10
  Pin-striped Tit-Babbler 12   Black-collared Starling 20
  Brown-cheeked Fulvetta 4   Oriental Magpie-Robin 2
  Yunnan Fulvetta 4   Eurasian Tree Sparrow 1
  Streaked Wren-Babbler 2   Scaly-breasted Munia 4
  Puff-throated Babbler 1   Paddyfield Pipit 1
  Dark-backed Sibia 1      
  Grey-headed Parrotbill 1      
  Asian Fairy-bluebird 2      
  Giant Nuthatch 2      
  Great Myna 20      
  Common Myna 10      
  Green Cochoa 2      
  Oriental Magpie-Robin 5      
  White-rumped Shama 2      
  Northern White-crowned Forktail 2      
  Verditer Flycatcher 2      
  Pale Blue Flycatcher 2      
  Hill Blue Flycatcher 2      
  Blue-winged Leafbird 2      
  Orange-bellied Leafbird 2      
  Yellow-vented Flowerpecker 2      
  Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker 3      
  Ruby-cheeked Sunbird 1      
  Purple Sunbird 3      
  Black-throated Sunbird 1      
  Little Spiderhunter 1      
  Streaked Spiderhunter 1      
  Eurasian Tree Sparrow 10      
  White-rumped Munia 2      
  Scaly-breasted Munia 20