Northern mountains: 21-29 Jan 2012







21-29 January 2012.
Cold at altitude to hot in lowlands. Dry and sunny. Minimum temperatures overnight at Doi Inthanon and Doi Lang about 6°C.
Doi Inthanon, Doi Chiang Dao, Doi Ang Khang and Doi Lang.

21 Jan. With Richard and Kaori Carden and Nick and Mary Freeman. Having met up at Chiang Mai airport we headed straight to Doi Inthanon arriving around 13:00. Headed up into the park with a first stop at Khun Daeng's - primarily to see if any Dark-sided Thrush have been visiting and to peruse the log book. A half hour peering over the balcony was rewarded with Lesser Shortwing, but alas no thrush.

Blyth's Leaf Warbler
Blyth's Leaf Warbler


Banded Bay Cuckoo
Banded Bay Cuckoo

Lesser Shortwing
Lesser Shortwing

Black-tailed Crake
Black-tailed Crake

Grey-backed Shrike
Grey-backed Shrike

Pale-billed Parrotbill
Pale-billed Parrotbill

Himalayan Bluetail
Himalayan Bluetail

Whiskered Yuhina
Whiskered Yuhina


Next up was the Km 37 jeep track where mid-afternoon activity was rather poor to absent with only Slaty-belled Tesia calling along the track. The last couple of hours of daylight were spent trying to avoid the crowds at the summit. The reported Blue-fronted Redstart at the summit was unsurprisingly not evident, so we concentrated mainly on the summit broad walk trail where we recorded Ashy Wood Pigeon, Pygmy Wren-babbler, Blyth's Leaf Warbler and Ashy-throated Warbler. Rather cold and windy at the summit, so at dusk we dropped down to the Km 34 track where after a lot of effort were rewarded with views of Mountain Scops Owl high in the canopy. Very ventriloquial. By the time we'd returned to the Inthanon Highland Resort the restaurant was closed, so ate at the Little Home Resort restaurant which was very passable.

22 Jan. Entered the park at the opening time of 06:00 and drove straight to the summit arriving at first at 06:45 to join the hoards viewing the sunrise. Again the hoped for redstart was absent, so headed to the summit broad walk. Dark-sided Thrush seen briefly, and in the next hour we saw White-browed Shortwing and Eurasian Woodcock. After a quick coffee and a Green-tailed Sunbird we headed downhill a couple of kilometres and tried a short side track, seeing little. Next down to Km 37, but almost totally dead though did see Slaty-bellied Tesia. Spent a couple of hours at Km 34 finding Pallas's Leaf Warbler but nothing else notable. Seemed that the mountain was rather quiet bird wise. After another coffee at Khun Daeng's, again accompanied by no sighting of Dark-sided Thrush, we drove out of the park to the newly signed Blossom-headed Parakeet site. At the end of track we waited and eventually saw 11 Blossom-headed Parakeet - a nice finish to the day. Another interesting species included Banded Bay Cuckoo. The final hour in the grounds of Inthanon Highland Resort produced Burmese Shrike and Asian Barred Owlet.

23 Jan. A somewhat later start 06:45 up to Km 13 where we first scanned for Black-backed Forktail along the river, but had to walk upstream to secure views. We then walked the steep incline into the good looking dry forest and in an hour or so had a couple of Blossom-headed Parakeet and calling Black-headed Woodpecker. Then after moved up to the impressive Wachirathan Waterfall, and around a coffee had White-capped Water Redstart, Slaty-backed Forktail and Plumbeous Water Redstart. A final try at Khun Daeng's was rewarded with Dark-sided Thrush, on view almost immediately. Up to the summit and a couple of hours along the broad walk had Himalayan Bluetail, Eurasian Woodcock again and another Dark-sided Thrush. Late afternoon we wandered down to the main camp site where Black-tailed Crake was showing well due to photographers having baited the bird with meal worms. The last hour was spent at Km 34 where we had a frustrating experience with a group of Black-throated Parrotbill, heard but not willing to emerge from the dense bamboo.

24 Jan. A short return to Km 13 road. Drove up the first hill for about 1.5 kilometres, parked and walked. Cool and quiet for the first hour or so. A slow walk, with few birds, but some quality - an Ultramarine Flycatcher was followed with a couple of Black-headed Woodpecker seen briefly. Also a good flock of Eurasian Jay and Large Woodshrike. Quickly back to the Highland Resort, checked out and proceeded to Chiang Mai for stock up and snacks and onto Chiang Dao arriving around 13:30. Into the relaxing temple grounds for a couple of hours but little of note and rather cool. Back to Malee's for dinner, followed by a night birding session recording a couple of distant calling Blyth's Frogmouth and a Brown Hawk-Owl eventually nailed in grounds.

25 Jan. On the road at 05:30. An easy drive to the top as lower entrance barrier open and no one to ask for tickets. We started at the DYK camp site at top. First up was Bay Woodpecker then Spot-winged Grosbeak, Giant Nuthatch, Chestnut Bunting and Mountain Bamboo Partridge. The late morning was spent at several spots a few kilometres back toward the upper checkpoint, but no better views of the nuthatch were obtained. Late morning left for the drive to Doi Ang Khang, arriving 16:10. After check in to the Mae Phu Track with a night walk producing only calling Himalayan Wood Owl.

26 Jan. At first light along the Arunothai Road looking in vain for Mrs. Hume's Pheasant. However a couple of hours here did find Daurian Redstart, Ultramarine Flycatcher, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher and Sapphire Flycatcher - quite a haul. After went to Km 21 trail and searched in vain for Spot-throated Babbler. We did get poor views of Rusty-necked Scimitar Babbler though. In heat of day decided to do Mae Phu trail but not a lot seen except Rufous-bellied Niltava. Late afternoon along the Arunothai road for another attempt at the pheasant but equally unlucky. Drove a little further down the road and stayed till dark, hearing Hodgsons's Frogmouth. A final night bird attempt at the Chinese cemetery found nothing.

27 Jan. A rather unsuccessful morning where we tried to do everything and failed in all. First up a trip down the Arunothai road for Hume's Pheasant, but after an hour nothing. Then on to the camp site at Km 19.5, but no Spot-breasted Parrotbill either. Thereafter we proceeded to the Km 21 trail where a try for Spot-throated Babbler failed and no further views of Rusty-necked Scimitar Babbler either. Drove to Thaton, arriving around 12:30, then up Doi Lang with a good session at lower altitude lucked us Pale-billed Parrotbill and White-necked Laughingthrush. At the rice paddies no Jerdon's Bush Chat. Somewhat disappointing to see the development of a new campsite and some accommodation facilities on the mountain. This will inevitably lead to more visitors and the diminishing of the peaceful birding on Doi Lang.

28 Jan. A full day on Doi Lang. Our first stop about half-way up gave views of Chestnut-headed Tesia and White-necked Laughingthrush again. A couple of other stops, including a scan for Jerdon's Bush Chat were unproductive. Most of the day spent working various forest patches en route to the summit. Highlights of the day were Whiskered Yuhina and Red-headed Trogon, the later scarce on Doi Lang.

29 Jan. An early start to arrive at top for first light; (well about 15 minutes after. We hung around in the cold and windy conditions waiting for some sun to warm up some bird activity. A walk along the ridge edge flushed several Chestnut Bunting and a single Buff-barred Warbler. A drumming woodpecker was probably Crimson-breasted Woodpecker. The hoped-for Spot-breasted Parrotbill seen by other birders yesterday could not be found in a couple of hours of trying, so we dropped down the mountain in search of feeding flocks.

This was also somewhat of a disappointment with very little activity. However the morning was saved just before time to leave with a few Black-throated Parrotbill suddenly appearing in some roadside scrub a couple of kilometres above the upper army camp. A stop lower down en route to Thaton had little. Left the mountain, checked out of accommodation at Thaton and returned to Chiang Mai via Chiang Rai airport.

Species List

  Doi Chiang Dao Count   Doi Lang Count
  Mountain Bamboo Partridge 2   Rufous-throated Partridge 2
  Eastern Cattle Egret 4   Red Junglefowl 1
  Little Egret 2   Crested Fireback 2
  Oriental Honey Buzzard 1   Crested Goshawk 1
  Common Kestrel 1   Eastern Buzzard 1
  Spotted Dove 10   Black Eagle 1
  Common Emerald Dove 1   White-breasted Waterhen 1
  Mountain Imperial Pigeon 4   Rufous Turtle Dove 30
  Greater Coucal 1   Spotted Dove 10
  Green-billed Malkoha 1   Pin-tailed Green Pigeon 6
  Large Hawk-Cuckoo 2   Mountain Imperial Pigeon 6
  Himalayan Wood Owl 2   Greater Coucal 1
  Brown Hawk-Owl 2   Collared Owlet 3
  Blyth's Frogmouth 2   Cook's Swift 400
  Crested Treeswift 2   Red-headed Trogon 1
  Himalayan Swiftlet 40   White-throated Kingfisher 1
  Asian Palm Swift 20   Great Barbet 10
  Cook's Swift 4   Golden-throated Barbet 6
  Oriental Pied Hornbill 2   Blue-throated Barbet 3
  Great Barbet 2   Stripe-breasted Woodpecker 1
  Lineated Barbet 3   Bay Woodpecker 5
  Golden-throated Barbet 4   Long-tailed Minivet 3
  Blue-throated Barbet 10   Short-billed Minivet 2
  Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker 1   Long-tailed Shrike 2
  Stripe-breasted Woodpecker 1   Grey-backed Shrike 3
  Bay Woodpecker 2   White-bellied Erpornis 2
  Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike 3   Blyth's Shrike-babbler 6
  Large Cuckooshrike 10   Maroon Oriole 2
  Ashy Woodswallow 2   Ashy Drongo 10
  Common Iora 2   Yellow-bellied Fantail 4
  Great Iora 2   Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher 5
  Black-winged Cuckooshrike 2   Yellow-cheeked Tit 4
  Short-billed Minivet 4   Crested Finchbill 4
  Scarlet Minivet 2   Striated Bulbul 5
  Brown Shrike 1   Black-crested Bulbul 14
  Grey-backed Shrike 1   Sooty-headed Bulbul 10
  White-bellied Erpornis 3   Flavescent Bulbul 20
  Blyth's Shrike-babbler 6   Mountain Bulbul 3
  Clicking Shrike-babbler 3   Ashy Bulbul 4
  Slender-billed Oriole 2   Black Bulbul 4
  Maroon Oriole 2   Barn Swallow 10
  Ashy Drongo 2   Asian House Martin 20
  Bronzed Drongo 2   Slaty-bellied Tesia 2
  Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo 2   Chestnut-headed Tesia 1
  Black-naped Monarch 4   Black-throated Bushtit 4
  Grey Treepie 4   Dusky Warbler 1
  Eastern Jungle Crow 2   Buff-barred Warbler 1
  Japanese Tit 3   Pallas's Leaf Warbler 10
  Black-crested Bulbul 6   Yellow-browed Warbler 20
  Red-whiskered Bulbul 20   Greenish Warbler 1
  Sooty-headed Bulbul 20   Claudia's Leaf Warbler 1
  Puff-throated Bulbul 4   Davison's Leaf Warbler 40
  Grey-eyed Bulbul 6   Hill Prinia 2
  Ashy Bulbul 2   Grey-breasted Prinia 3
  Black Bulbul 4   Large Scimitar Babbler 2
  Barn Swallow 10   Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler 1
  Buff-throated Warbler 2   White-browed Scimitar Babbler 2
  Yellow-browed Warbler 4   Grey-throated Babbler 1
  Greenish Warbler 2   Buff-chested Babbler 10
  Davison's Leaf Warbler 4   Golden Babbler 2
  Plain Prinia 4   Yunnan Fulvetta 40
  White-browed Scimitar Babbler 5   White-necked Laughingthrush 10
  Buff-chested Babbler 3   Silver-eared Laughingthrush 4
  Pin-striped Tit-Babbler 4   Scarlet-faced Liocichla 1
  Yunnan Fulvetta 20   Dark-backed Sibia 6
  Blue-winged Minla 3   Black-throated Parrotbill 4
  Japanese White-eye 2   Pale-billed Parrotbill 5
  Asian Fairy-bluebird 4   Whiskered Yuhina 3
  Velvet-fronted Nuthatch 2   Oriental White-eye 20
  Giant Nuthatch 2   Chestnut-vented Nuthatch 1
  Oriental Magpie-Robin 2   Hume's Treecreeper 1
  White-rumped Shama 4   Blue Whistling Thrush 2
  Pied Bush Chat 2   Bluethroat 1
  Grey Bush Chat 2   Siberian Rubythroat 1
  Slaty-backed Flycatcher 2   Himalayan Bluetail 6
  Taiga Flycatcher 2   Oriental Magpie-Robin 6
  Verditer Flycatcher 1   Slaty-backed Forktail 2
  Hill Blue Flycatcher 1   Siberian Stonechat 3
  Blue-winged Leafbird 2   Pied Bush Chat 3
  Plain Flowerpecker 3   Grey Bush Chat 4
  Ruby-cheeked Sunbird 2   Blue Rock Thrush 1
  Black-throated Sunbird 2   Slaty-backed Flycatcher 4
  Streaked Spiderhunter 2   Taiga Flycatcher 4
  White-rumped Munia 5   Hill Blue Flycatcher 2
  Grey Wagtail 2   Large Niltava 1
  Olive-backed Pipit 6   Orange-bellied Leafbird 4
  Spot-winged Grosbeak 20   Plain Flowerpecker 2
  Chestnut Bunting 4   Black-throated Sunbird 6
        Streaked Spiderhunter 2
  Doi Inthanon Count   White-rumped Munia 8
  Rufous-throated Partridge 4   Grey Wagtail 2
  Chinese Pond Heron 2   Red-throated Pipit 2
  Eastern Cattle Egret 2   Little Bunting 1
  Little Egret 1   Chestnut Bunting 2
  Oriental Honey Buzzard 2      
  Black-tailed Crake 1   Doi Ang Khang Count
  Eurasian Woodcock 1   Rufous-throated Partridge 4
  Ashy Wood Pigeon 4   Rufous-winged Buzzard 1
  Spotted Dove 15   Spotted Dove 10
  Zebra Dove 3   Mountain Imperial Pigeon 2
  Mountain Imperial Pigeon 2   Asian Emerald Cuckoo 1
  Blossom-headed Parakeet 13   Mountain Scops Owl 1
  Greater Coucal 2   Collared Scops Owl 3
  Asian Koel 3   Himalayan Wood Owl 1
  Banded Bay Cuckoo 3   Collared Owlet 3
  Mountain Scops Owl 2   Hodgson's Frogmouth 1
  Asian Barred Owlet 10   Himalayan Swiftlet 10
  Asian Palm Swift 10   Cook's Swift 500
  Indian Roller 2   Eurasian Hoopoe 1
  White-throated Kingfisher 1   Great Barbet 4
  Green Bee-eater 4   Golden-throated Barbet 3
  Lineated Barbet 10   Blue-throated Barbet 3
  Golden-throated Barbet 20   Lesser Yellownape 1
  Blue-throated Barbet 4   Bay Woodpecker 2
  Coppersmith Barbet 20   Large Cuckooshrike 2
  Speckled Piculet 1   Black-winged Cuckooshrike 1
  Black-headed Woodpecker 4   Grey-chinned Minivet 2
  Ashy Woodswallow 3   Short-billed Minivet 4
  Common Iora 2   Brown Shrike 1
  Large Cuckooshrike 4   Long-tailed Shrike 1
  Rosy Minivet 6   Grey-backed Shrike 2
  Grey-chinned Minivet 1   White-bellied Erpornis 4
  Long-tailed Minivet 2   Blyth's Shrike-babbler 10
  Short-billed Minivet 2   Maroon Oriole 1
  Brown Shrike 3   Ashy Drongo 5
  Burmese Shrike 1   White-throated Fantail 2
  White-bellied Erpornis 3   Grey Treepie 5
  Blyth's Shrike-babbler 6   Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher 2
  Black-hooded Oriole 2   Red-whiskered Bulbul 20
  Black Drongo 1   Brown-breasted Bulbul 1
  Ashy Drongo 3   Sooty-headed Bulbul 20
  Hair-crested Drongo 20   Flavescent Bulbul 20
  Greater Racket-tailed Drongo 2   Grey-eyed Bulbul 2
  White-throated Fantail 2   Mountain Bulbul 4
  Black-naped Monarch 6   Ashy Bulbul 15
  Eurasian Jay 5   Barn Swallow 10
  Rufous Treepie 11   Pygmy Wren-babbler 1
  Eastern Jungle Crow 2   Mountain Tailorbird 2
  Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher 1   Buff-throated Warbler 2
  Yellow-cheeked Tit 2   Yellow-streaked Warbler 3
  Black-headed Bulbul 3   Radde's Warbler 1
  Black-crested Bulbul 2   Yellow-browed Warbler 20
  Sooty-headed Bulbul 30   Greenish Warbler 1
  Flavescent Bulbul 8   Claudia's Leaf Warbler 1
  Streak-eared Bulbul 8   Davison's Leaf Warbler 10
  Puff-throated Bulbul 2   Bianchi's Warbler 2
  Mountain Bulbul 6   Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler 2
  Barn Swallow 20   White-browed Scimitar Babbler 3
  Asian House Martin 10   Yunnan Fulvetta 20
  Striated Swallow 10   White-browed Laughingthrush 6
  Pygmy Wren-babbler 4   Silver-eared Laughingthrush 2
  Slaty-bellied Tesia 4   Scarlet-faced Liocichla 3
  Mountain Tailorbird 2   Rufous-backed Sibia 2
  Ashy-throated Warbler 5   Dark-backed Sibia 6
  Pallas's Leaf Warbler 1   Chestnut-vented Nuthatch 10
  Yellow-browed Warbler 10   Giant Nuthatch 1
  Two-barred Warbler 3   Blue Whistling Thrush 1
  Blyth's Leaf Warbler 10   Himalayan Bluetail 3
  Davison's Leaf Warbler 50   Oriental Magpie-Robin 2
  Hill Prinia 1   Daurian Redstart 1
  Plain Prinia 6   White-crowned Forktail 1
  Large Woodshrike 4   Siberian Stonechat 2
  Common Tailorbird 2   Grey Bush Chat 4
  Rufous-winged Fulvetta 30   Blue Rock Thrush 1
  Yunnan Fulvetta 50   Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush 4
  White-crested Laughingthrush 4   Asian Brown Flycatcher 1
  Silver-eared Laughingthrush 3   Slaty-backed Flycatcher 2
  Bar-throated Minla 20   Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher 2
  Rufous-backed Sibia 2   Taiga Flycatcher 10
  Dark-backed Sibia 20   Little Pied Flycatcher 1
  Black-throated Parrotbill 10   Ultramarine Flycatcher 1
  Chestnut-flanked White-eye 10   Slaty-blue Flycatcher 1
  Oriental White-eye 5   Sapphire Flycatcher 1
  Chestnut-tailed Starling 2   Verditer Flycatcher 1
  Blue Whistling Thrush 3   Hill Blue Flycatcher 2
  Dark-sided Thrush 3   Rufous-bellied Niltava 1
  Lesser Shortwing 2   Ruby-cheeked Sunbird 2
  Oriental Magpie-Robin 4   Mrs. Gould's Sunbird 2
  White-rumped Shama 3   Black-throated Sunbird 6
  Plumbeous Water Redstart 1   Streaked Spiderhunter 2
  White-capped Redstart 1   Grey Wagtail 1
  Black-backed Forktail 2   White Wagtail 2
  Slaty-backed Forktail 1   Olive-backed Pipit 5
  White-crowned Forktail 2   Little Bunting 2
  Blue Rock Thrush 1      
  Taiga Flycatcher 2      
  Ultramarine Flycatcher 1      
  Hill Blue Flycatcher 1      
  Tickell's Blue Flycatcher 2      
  Golden-fronted Leafbird 4      
  Yellow-vented Flowerpecker 1      
  Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker 1      
  Purple Sunbird 30      
  Olive-backed Sunbird 4      
  Mrs. Gould's Sunbird 5      
  Green-tailed Sunbird 2      
  Black-throated Sunbird 2      
  Streaked Spiderhunter 2      
  Eurasian Tree Sparrow 3      
  Grey Wagtail 2