Odds and Ends: 27-31 Aug 2012







27-31 August 2012.
Warm and cloudy. Generally dry with variable cloud. Some heavy rain around Phetchaburi and Nakhon Sawan en route. Dry at Khao Sam Roi Yot. Foggy at Phu Hin Rong Kla.
Laem Phak Bia, Pak Thale, Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park, Nam Nao National Park.

27 Aug. With Richard Carden. The plan for this trip was intentionally flexible; initially targeting the stone-curlews present around Laem Phak Bia the last month or more. After that we'd loosely toyed with the idea of Phu Hin Rong Kla which held a few targets for Richard, as well as visiting Nam Nao as we'd be in the area. Khao Sam Roi Yot was thrown in for good measure, time permitting.

Great Stone-curlew
Great Stone-curlew

Indian Stone-curlew
Indian Stone-curlew

Spot-billed Pelican
Spot-billed Pelican

Oriental Pratincole
Oriental Pratincole

Zitting Cistocola
Zitting Cisticola

Savanna Nightjar
Savanna Nightjar

Flew from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and met up with Richard there. It took a while to find our rental car representative as she was camped in a corner, out of sight, eating lunch at the very time of our agreed rendezvous - evidently getting her priorities right. Headed out to Laem Phak Bia, arriving around 16:00. First off we investigated the rubbish tip area for the recently reported stone-curlews. Rains meant our rental vehicle was unable to drive down the access track here, which without a 4x4 was largely impassible, so we walked from the road, where after a few minutes we were lucky to find not one, but two, Great Stone-curlew. Both were being photographed from another vehicle at very close range, but eventually they took off to nearby salt pans where we had distant views. With our main target seen we headed north along the coast toward Pak Thale scanning through the Painted Stork and wader collection for anything interesting. Other than good numbers of stork we saw little, and by the time we reached Pak Thale the light had all but disappeared, so we returned to Chao Samran Beach trying several beach accommodations until we found one charging a sensible low-season price. Dinner on the beach with excellent food and temperature.

28 Aug. First to 7-11 for coffee, then down to the oil storage depot to look for storks. Only a few seen near the depot, but on our return a large group of Painted Stork, right by the roadside, gave excellent views, but surprisingly did not include any Milky Stork. Returned to yesterday's thick-knee spot where we met Khun Daeng, the boatman from Laem Phak Bia, who was scoping a single Great Stone-curlew, the other bird seemingly now disappeared. A pair of Red Knot had just been seen in the area, but we were unable to relocate them despite more than a hour looking and walking around the pans. After we tried pans on the opposite side of the road and lucked into a Milky Stork, which we very nearly overlooked. Once it became hot, returned to check-out and then back to the same area for a general search. This time decided to try dryer inland areas and were surprised to flush an Indian Stone-curlew - which we rated as a lot of luck.

A further scan from the abandoned building, but still no sign of any knot, although did have Curlew Sandpiper, Broad-billed sandpiper, Spot-billed Pelican and Long-toed Stint on our wanderings. Back to town for late lunch and then into the recently re-opened King's Project. Disappointed to find the reed beds totally disturbed with five guys armed with weedwhackers, various locals gathering grass and a visiting educational party. Quickly gave that up and left for a drive to Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, which took just over two hours.

Our visit here was largely exploratory. Khao Sam Roi Yot, has in the past been known for Brown Fish Owl and Yellow-legged Buttonquail, so we figured we'd give them a try. Drove past the park headquarters to the beach campsite, where old reports indicate Brown Fish Owl seen. Despite the mosquitoes and sand flies here - some of the worst we'd encountered in Thailand - we stayed till after dark, but no sign of any owl; although the cloudy conditions and light rain certainly didn't help. One staff member on the gate mentioned that a "small owl" was present around the campsite, but didn't know which species. Headed north trying various resorts, that were mostly closed, until we found one at Sam Roi Yot Beach.

29 Aug. An early start to drive back along the park entrance road with a view to look for buttonquail. On our drive in yesterday we'd earmarked a couple of promising-looking roadside areas for scrutiny. Started at the first area and within half an hour of walking about on abandoned fields and recently ploughed paddies flushed a single Yellow-legged Buttonquail which flew off a short distance, was seen again, and in true buttonquail tradition was not relocated. A further hour searching failed to find any others.

A further couple of hours were spent in other areas along the road but no more individuals were found. We did however, see Barred Buttonquail, many Streaked Weaver, a fly over Black Bittern, Savanna Nightjar, Purple Heron, Brown Shrike, Oriental Pratincole and good numbers of House Sparrow. Then a long drive from 10:30 to 18:00 to Lom Sak, Petchabun province, with an overnight in town.

30 Aug. To Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park, a 40 kilometre drive, arriving at 07:30. Low cloud, low visibility and cool en route, and not looking good for birding, but passing 1,200 metres we emerged above the cloud to stunning views. Almost immediately on arrival had a pair of Jerdon's Bush Chat in roadside rank vegetation. In the early sun we climbed to a ridge and scanned through some feeding hirundines, finding mostly Nepal House Martin but also Barn Swallow and a few Dusky Crag Martin. We spent the rest of the morning birding along the long forested road through the park. The overcast conditions kept birds active and we recorded a collection of mountain species including Red-billed Scimitar Babbler, Davison's Warbler, Great Barbet, White-bellied Erpornis, Blyth's Shrike-babbler, Yellow-cheeked Tit, and Pygmy Wren-babbler. Since the last visit here, three years ago, the road condition has deteriorated quite a bit and is now quite pot-holed.

Near the headquarters we walked the loop trail to the ridge and nodule field. Excellent views but few birds - a Large Cuckooshrike being notable. After lunch at the park restaurant we headed to Nam Nao; two and half hours away. Despite rain along the way, at the park, is was superb weather. Walked the loop trail behind the HQ but saw little, so decided to check out the dryer forest on the southern side of the highway. At a random spot we had a group of three Brown Prinia which was very fortuitous. Also a calling White-bellied Woodpecker. Overnight at a nearby homestay with dinner at the restaurant along the highway just outside the forestry barrier, which we wouldn't recommend.

31 Aug. Into Nam Nao early when the gate opened just after 06:00. Walked the same loop trail hearing a couple of pairs of Bar-backed Partridge but none seen. Other species of interest seen were Purple-naped Sunbird, Red-billed Scimitar Babbler and Collared Babbler. A wander through the campsite produced Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker and Scarlet Minivet. Back to homestay to collect gear then a six hour drive back to Bangkok with another Black Bittern flying over en route. Evening flight to Chiang Mai delayed due to Friday evening congestion at Bangkok airport.

Green Bee-eater
Green Bee-eater

Unidentified cicada
Unidentified cicada - Phu Hin Rong Kla

Unidentified moth
Unidentified moth - Phu Hin Rong Kla

Species List

  Laem Phak Bia Count   Khao Sam Roi Yot Count
  Little Grebe 6   Lesser Whistling Duck 25
  Milky Stork 2   Asian Openbill 200
  Painted Stork 140   Yellow Bittern 2
  Asian Openbill 40   Black Bittern 1
  Black Bittern 2   Black-crowned Night Heron 2
  Black-crowned Night Heron 25   Javan Pond Heron 5
  Striated Heron 3   Eastern Cattle Egret 30
  Javan Pond Heron 20   Purple Heron 1
  Great Egret 30   Great Egret 10
  Little Egret 30   Little Egret 10
  Spot-billed Pelican 15   Little Cormorant 50
  Little Cormorant 100   Black-winged Kite 1
  Brahminy Kite 1   Grey-headed Swamphen 2
  Indian Stone-curlew 1   Yellow-legged Buttonquail 1
  Great Stone-curlew 2   Barred Buttonquail 1
  Black-winged Stilt 50   Black-winged Stilt 20
  Red-wattled Lapwing 20   Red-wattled Lapwing 20
  Pacific Golden Plover 20   Pacific Golden Plover 4
  Little Ringed Plover 5   Little Ringed Plover 2
  Lesser Sand Plover 400   Pin-tailed Snipe 40
  Black-tailed Godwit 200   Whimbrel 10
  Whimbrel 30   Common Redshank 10
  Spotted Redshank 10   Wood Sandpiper 50
  Common Redshank 30   Long-toed Stint 5
  Marsh Sandpiper 20   Red Turtle Dove 40
  Common Greenshank 20   Spotted Dove 10
  Wood Sandpiper 10   Zebra Dove 40
  Common Sandpiper 3   Greater Coucal 4
  Red-necked Stint 20   Lesser Coucal 1
  Long-toed Stint 10   Asian Koel 2
  Broad-billed Sandpiper 2   Plaintive Cuckoo 4
  Little Tern 20   Savanna Nightjar 2
  Common Tern 500   Germain's Swiftlet 40
  Whiskered Tern 2   Asian Palm Swift 40
  White-winged Tern 3   Indian Roller 4
  Rock Dove 50   White-throated Kingfisher 5
  Red Turtle Dove 30   Common Kingfisher 1
  Spotted Dove 20   Green Bee-eater 30
  Zebra Dove 20   Blue-tailed Bee-eater 20
  Greater Coucal 5   Eurasian Hoopoe 2
  Asian Koel 10   Ashy Woodswallow 10
  Germain's Swiftlet 20   Common Iora 3
  Asian Palm Swift 100   Brown Shrike 1
  Indian Roller 2   Malaysian Pied Fantail 8
  Collared Kingfisher 5   Eastern Jungle Crow 5
  Common Kingfisher 4   Indochinese Bush Lark 10
  Blue-tailed Bee-eater 15   Yellow-vented Bulbul 4
  Eurasian Hoopoe 1   Streak-eared Bulbul 10
  Golden-bellied Gerygone 2   Barn Swallow 30
  Black Drongo 2   Plain Prinia 10
  Malaysian Pied Fantail 4   Common Tailorbird 4
  Eastern Jungle Crow 4   Common Myna 100
  Indochinese Bush Lark 15   Pied Myna 100
  Streak-eared Bulbul 20   House Sparrow 50
  Barn Swallow 20   Eurasian Tree Sparrow 10
  Zitting Cisticola 2   Streaked Weaver 40
  Plain Prinia 5   Scaly-breasted Munia 10
  Common Tailorbird 2   Chestnut Munia 5
  Great Myna 300   Forest Wagtail 1
  Common Myna 200   Eastern Yellow Wagtail 2
  Pied Myna 40   Paddyfield Pipit 5
  Oriental Magpie-Robin 4      
  Olive-backed Sunbird 2   Phu Hin Rong Kla Count
  Eurasian Tree Sparrow 30   Great Barbet 3
  Asian Golden Weaver 3   Golden-throated Barbet 4
  Scaly-breasted Munia 20   Blue-throated Barbet 5
  Eastern Yellow Wagtail 3   Large Cuckooshrike 1
        Grey-chinned Minivet 2
  Nam Nao Count   White-bellied Erpornis 2
  Bar-backed Partridge 4   Blyth's Shrike-babbler 3
  Vernal Hanging Parrot 1   Yellow-cheeked Tit 3
  Green-billed Malkoha 2   Sooty-headed Bulbul 10
  Indian Cuckoo 1   Flavescent Bulbul 20
  Crested Treeswift 1   Mountain Bulbul 4
  Great Barbet 5   Barn Swallow 10
  Blue-eared Barbet 3   Dusky Crag Martin 12
  Coppersmith Barbet 1   Nepal House Martin 200
  Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker 2   Striated Swallow 2
  White-bellied Woodpecker 1   Pygmy Wren-babbler 1
  Scarlet Minivet 4   Mountain Tailorbird 6
  Brown Shrike 1   Davison's Leaf Warbler 25
  Black-hooded Oriole 1   Hill Prinia 2
  Ashy Drongo 1   Grey-breasted Prinia 10
  Bronzed Drongo 4   White-browed Scimitar Babbler 1
  Greater Racket-tailed Drongo 6   Red-billed Scimitar Babbler 3
  Black-naped Monarch 2   Golden Babbler 2
  Eastern Jungle Crow 1   Chestnut-capped Babbler 3
  Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher 2   Yunnan Fulvetta 30
  Black-crested Bulbul 4   Blue-winged Minla 5
  Puff-throated Bulbul 6   Silver-eared Mesia 3
  Grey-eyed Bulbul 3   Dark-backed Sibia 6
  Ashy Bulbul 1   Oriental White-eye 4
  Brown Prinia 3   Siberian Stonechat 1
  White-browed Scimitar Babbler 1   Pied Bush Chat 5
  Red-billed Scimitar Babbler 3   Jerdon's Bush Chat 3
  Pin-striped Tit-Babbler 6   Little Pied Flycatcher 4
  Chestnut-capped Babbler 2   Large Niltava 1
  Collared Babbler 4   Black-throated Sunbird 4
  Puff-throated Babbler 1   Streaked Spiderhunter 2
  White-crested Laughingthrush 10   White-rumped Munia 10
  Burmese Nuthatch 2   Grey Wagtail 8
  Velvet-fronted Nuthatch 3   Paddyfield Pipit 4
  Common Hill Myna 2      
  White-rumped Shama 2      
  Little Pied Flycatcher 2      
  Hill Blue Flycatcher 2      
  Plain Flowerpecker 2      
  Purple-naped Sunbird 1      
  Black-throated Sunbird 4      
  Streaked Spiderhunter 2