South Thailand short trip: 21-23 December 2011


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21-23 December 2011.
Partly cloudy with some rain in Krabi. Pleasantly warm.
Laem Pakarang, Sa Nang Manora Forest Park, Krabi, Khao Phra Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary and Phuket.

21 Dec. With Ian Dugdale and Games Petsri, plus Wolfgang Luft and Paul Carter in parts. The main driver of this short trip was to checkout the occasional reports of Great-billed Heron from Krabi mud flats over the last year, although photos have yet to be taken.

Pacific Reef Heron
Pacific Reef Heron

Pied Fantail
Malaysian Pied Fantail

Black-capped Kingfisher
Black-capped Kingfisher

Crested Forest Lizard
Crested Forest Lizard

Peridrome orbicularis
Peridrome orbicularis

This would also be a chance to target a few difficult species not previously seen in Thailand as well as check if the Crab-plover was still around. The Air Asia flight from Chiang Mai to Phuket arrived 20 minutes early but they then let themselves down taking 30 minutes to deliver the baggage. Met up with Ian and Games by 15:30 and headed out to Laem Pakarang, arriving around 16:45. the weather was somewhat humid, but relatively cool with overcast cloud; quite reasonable conditions and light for this area. Spent the late afternoon looking for Crab-plover, but to no avail. A good collection of other waders though with Eurasian Curlew, Grey-tailed Tattler and the usual suspects in good numbers. A single Greater Crested Tern out at sea. Toward dark drove to Phang-nga and spent the night in town at the Phang-nga Guest House. Cheap and cheerful with fan and cold water, poor room backing onto a side road so disturbed by traffic all night.

22 Dec. At first light a quick 10 minute drive to Sa Nang Manora Forest Park. With only an hour to spare, we had little time to do anything other than explore the first half kilometre of the nature trail and walk around the car park. No forktails on the river, but we encountered an Orange-headed Thrush on the trail. A Grey-faced Buzzard was hanging around the car park. After a quick breakfast in town we drove to Krabi to met up with Wolfgang, bought some cheap wellies, and took a water taxi across to Klang island. From the pier, the four of us jumped onto a motorcycle taxi and headed to the river mouth area and mud flats. The tide was perfect, with the first mud flats starting to be exposed on our arrival. We spent most of the day walking the length of the island out on the mud flats scanning the large exposed areas for any sign of Great-billed Heron. Great Knot was found, plus a whole host of the usual waders but nothing in the way of Ardea herons – not one. Other birds included Western Osprey and White-bellied Sea Eagle. Around 15:00 the ever threatening rain arrived and we were forced to seek refuge for half an hour whilst it lashed down. That over, we walked the remaining distance to far end of island but definitely no herons present. Immediately on heading inland single Grey Heron and Purple Heron was found. Here we also encountered many mist nets set up indiscriminately, trapping and killing a while host of kingfishers, bats, swallows and bitterns for no apparent reason. One lucky Black-headed Kingfisher was released and the net taken down. Toward evening, back at Krabi town, we investigated the mangrove walkway - now rebuilt in concrete. Rufous-bellied Swallow was as usual over the river, but little else. After dark we drove to Khlong Thom, and after dinner pursued a calling Eastern Barn Owl around the plantation opposite the resort but obtained only poor flight views.

23 Dec. Arrived at the Khao Phra Bang Khram Wildlife Sanctuary just after first light. A walk in areas outside the usual tourist paths gave us Purple-naped Sunbird, Chestnut-winged Babbler, Siberian Blue Robin, Ferruginous Babbler, Orange-headed Thrush and Olive-winged Bulbul, but not the hoped for Little Bronze Cuckoo. By 10:00 we left and proceeded to the Krabi Mangrove Walkway for a second shot. In an hour we saw Brown-winged Kingfisher, Two-barred Warbler, Arctic Warbler, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Eastern Crowned Warbler and Pale-legged Leaf Warbler. the return drive to Phuket took almost three hours, due mainly to the heavy traffic on Phuket, where we joined Paul and finished the day birding at Laem Mum Nai with Common Buzzard, Eastern Buzzard and Grey-faced Buzzard. Sundown beers and dinner on the overlook. Overnight Phuket.

24 Dec. Air Asia back to Chiang Mai.

Species List

  Laem Pakarang Count   Krabi Count
  Pacific Reef Heron 3   Striated Heron 5
  White-breasted Waterhen 1   Chinese Pond Heron 10
  Grey Plover 10   Eastern Cattle Egret 20
  Lesser Sand Plover 400   Grey Heron 1
  Greater Sand Plover 20   Purple Heron 1
  Whimbrel 200   Great Egret 15
  Eurasian Curlew 1   Intermediate Egret 2
  Common Greenshank 10   Little Egret 100
  Grey-tailed Tattler 1   Pacific Reef Heron 20
  Terek Sandpiper 40   Little Cormorant 1
  Ruddy Turnstone 70   Western Osprey 1
  Red-necked Stint 60   Black-winged Kite 1
  Greater Crested Tern 1   Brahminy Kite 3
  White-throated Kingfisher 1   White-bellied Sea Eagle 2
  Common Kingfisher 2   Ruddy-breasted Crake 1
  Common Myna 1   Grey Plover 20
  Paddyfield Pipit 1   Kentish Plover 6
        Lesser Sand Plover 400
  Sa Nang Manora Count   Greater Sand Plover 50
  Grey-faced Buzzard 1   Pin-tailed Snipe 1
  Grey-rumped Treeswift 4   Bar-tailed Godwit 20
  Germain's Swiftlet 20   Whimbrel 70
  Red-throated Barbet 1   Eurasian Curlew 2
  Common Iora 2   Common Redshank 3
  Scarlet Minivet 2   Common Greenshank 40
  Brown Shrike 1   Terek Sandpiper 50
  Black-headed Bulbul 1   Ruddy Turnstone 20
  Stripe-throated Bulbul 4   Great Knot 20
  Rufous-bellied Swallow 1   Sanderling 1
  Orange-headed Thrush 1   Red-necked Stint 5
  Grey-throated Babbler 1   Greater Crested Tern 100
  Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker     Lesser Crested Tern 75
        Little Tern 20
  Khao Phra Bang Khram WS Count   Common Tern 15
  Common Emerald Dove 2   Red Turtle Dove 2
  Greater Coucal 2   Zebra Dove 3
  Raffles's Malkoha 1   Greater Coucal 6
  Eastern Barn Owl 1   Asian Koel 1
  Germain's Swiftlet 20   Germain's Swiftlet 30
  Red-throated Barbet 3   Oriental Dollarbird 2
  Rufous Piculet 1   Brown-winged Kingfisher 3
  Green Broadbill 1   Black-capped Kingfisher 5
  Golden-bellied Gerygone 1   Common Kingfisher 2
  Crow-billed Drongo 1   Coppersmith Barbet 1
  Malaysian Pied Fantail 2   Streak-breasted Woodpecker 1
  Large-billed Crow 1   Golden-bellied Gerygone 1
  Black-headed Bulbul 3   Common Iora 3
  Puff-backed Bulbul 4   Brown Shrike 1
  Stripe-throated Bulbul 4   Malaysian Pied Fantail 4
  Olive-winged Bulbul 4   Large-billed Crow 3
  Cream-vented Bulbul 1   Yellow-vented Bulbul 6
  Asian Red-eyed Bulbul 2   Barn Swallow 10
  Dark-necked Tailorbird 2   Pacific Swallow 6
  Rufous-tailed Tailorbird 1   Red-rumped Swallow 4
  Chestnut-winged Babbler 3   Rufous-bellied Swallow 10
  Pin-striped Tit-Babbler 3   Arctic Warbler 2
  Abbott's Babbler 3   Two-barred Warbler 1
  Ferruginous Babbler 1   Pale-legged Leaf Warbler 1
  Black-capped Babbler 1   Eastern Crowned Warbler 2
  Orange-headed Thrush 2   Common Tailorbird 4
  Siberian Blue Robin 1   Dark-necked Tailorbird 1
  Oriental Magpie-Robin 2   Ashy Tailorbird 6
  Chinese Blue Flycatcher 4   Oriental White-eye 4
  Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker 3   Asian Glossy Starling 20
  Orange-bellied Flowerpecker 2   Jungle Myna 1
  Purple-naped Sunbird 1   Common Myna 2
  Little Spiderhunter 2   Oriental Magpie-Robin 1
  Grey-breasted Spiderhunter 1   Asian Brown Flycatcher 4
        Ruby-cheeked Sunbird 1
  Laem Mum Nai Count   Olive-backed Sunbird 3
  Grey-faced Buzzard 2   Eurasian Tree Sparrow 40
  Common Buzzard 1   Paddyfield Pipit 1
  Eastern Buzzard 1      
  Common Emerald Dove 1      
  Greater Coucal 2      
  Raffles's Malkoha 1      
  Germain's Swiftlet 20      
  Red-throated Barbet 3      
  Greater Racket-tailed Drongo 1      
  Stripe-throated Bulbul 2      
  Pale-legged Leaf Warbler 1