Doi Inthanon and Chiang Dao: 19-23 March 2013


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19 - 23 March 2013.
Very smoky from seasonal burning. Clear skies with temperatures from 5-35°C.
Doi Inthanon National Park, Mae Taeng Irrigation Project, Chiang Dao and Doi Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary.

19 Mar. With Tom Tarrant. With the burning season now in full swing, we left Chiang Mai and headed to Doi Inthanon, where our first stop, late morning, was Wachirathan Waterfall in search of any of the three waterfall specialities. This proved frustrating due to general disturbance and a number of people in the river bed, including two local fisherman who were reported to the park authorities. Checked in to Mr. Daeng's and headed to the summit boardwalk where the usual White-browed Shortwing and Snowy-browed Flycatcher were found, but not the sought-after Dark-sided Thrush. With a general lack of flowering plants only a single pair of Green-tailed Sunbird present around the windy upper reaches. The last three hours of the day were spent along the Km 34 track, where we found Spectacled Barwing, Hume's Treecreeper, Slaty-backed Flycatcher and heard Mountain Bamboo Partridge.

20 Mar. As Black-headed Woodpecker was a major target, down to Km 13. The first half hour or so after sunrise was rather quiet, but activity improved as soon as sun hit the trees. A nice collection of raptors included Black Baza, Rufous-winged Buzzard and Oriental Honey Buzzard, and at least three groups of Black-headed Woodpecker. We remained here till around 10:00 when the heat killed bird activity, so headed up to Wachirathan again, but again nothing special. Decided to check the Siriphum Garden area, which produced White-capped Redstart, but not the more sought Slaty-backed Forktail. Moving higher up the mountain we next took a longer walk at Km 37 where, despite the heat of the day, we had White-necked Laughingthrush, Slaty-bellied Tesia, Long-tailed Broadbill, singing Collared Owlet and White-gorgeted Flycatcher.

Eurasian Woodcock
Eurasian Woodcock

Another attempt at Dark-sided Thrush was successful for only one of us, but we had stunning views of the very approachable Eurasian Woodcock.

French Duke
French Duke

Indian Roller
Indian Roller

Speckled Wood Pigeon
Speckled Wood Pigeon

As recent visitors had been having some success with Black-tailed Crake we decided to finish at the campsite, but along, with a couple of Japanese photographers, we were to be disappointed.

21 Mar. We started, just after dawn, above the viewpoint and were rewarded with excellent views of at least 50 Speckled Wood Pigeon. A final attempt at the summit, but little different to our two previous visits, so checked out and headed down the mountain, where a third stop at the waterfall failed yet again to produce any forktails or redstarts. Drove toward Chiang Dao with the smoke getting progressively worse. In the heat of the early afternoon we took a short detour down to the, mostly dry, river at the Mae Taeng Irrigation Project. Wire-tailed Swallow was the primary target here, with at least a dozen seen. Other species of interest included Golden-headed Cisticola and Green Sandpiper. Continued to Chiang Dao and, after securing the required permit for the sanctuary, took the road through the back checkpoint to Muang Khong. Most of the mountain on the way up was still smoking; so choosing to avoid the burnt areas we birded the top section between Km 15 and Km17 which at least were still mostly green. Small Minivet here was the pick of the bunch. As Malee's had no restaurant facilities tonight we dined in Chiang Dao town.

22 Mar. A very early start to be at the DYK ranger station for sunrise, with the drive up taking about 90 minutes - the top section of road still in need of some maintenance due to deep ruts. As usual the main target here was Giant Nuthatch, which was found whilst walking back along the ridge track. Three hours along here gave us Peregrine Falcon, Burmese Shrike, Long-tailed Broadbill, Grey-headed Parrotbill, Black-winged Cuckooshrike, Grey-backed Shrike, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, Martens's Warbler, White-necked Laughingthrush and Grey-crowned Warbler. Late morning was spent along the first kilometre of the summit trail, with unidentified buttonquail, Slender-billed Oriole, Pallas's Leaf Warbler and Claudia's Leaf Warbler. Unfortunately, when back at the vehicle we realized a phone had been dropped during the morning, so spent the heat of the day retracing our steps trying, unsuccessfully, to relocate it. Around 15:00 we started a slow drive down the mountain stopping at any area that looked interesting. This proved very successful with some stops higher up giving us Speckled Piculet, Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Thick-billed Green Pigeon, Blyth's Paradise Flycatcher and White-bellied Erpornis. Large fires visible at night on the mountain from Chiang Dao.

23 Mar. A slow start waiting for the sun to burn through the smoke early on at the temple. Our short time here found obliging Streaked Wren-Babbler, Buff-breasted Babbler, Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo heard, Purple-naped Sunbird heard, Japanese White-eye, Plaintive Cuckoo and another Pin-tailed Green Pigeon.

Spot-winged Grosbeak
Spot-winged Grosbeak

unidentified damselfly
unidentified damselfly

Species List

  Doi Inthanon Count   Chiang Dao Count
  Rufous-throated Partridge 2   Bar-backed Partridge 2
  Mountain Bamboo Partridge 3   Green-legged Partridge 4
  Chinese Pond Heron 2   Mountain Bamboo Partridge 3
  Black Baza 2   Eastern Cattle Egret 10
  Oriental Honey Buzzard 2   Black Baza 2
  Shikra 1   Crested Serpent Eagle 1
  Rufous-winged Buzzard 1   Shikra 3
  Eastern Buzzard 1   Peregrine Falcon 1
  Black-tailed Crake 1   Red-wattled Lapwing 1
  Eurasian Woodcock 1   Spotted Dove 2
  Speckled Wood Pigeon 50   Common Emerald Dove 2
  Spotted Dove 1   Thick-billed Green Pigeon 1
  Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon 2   Pin-tailed Green Pigeon 2
  Greater Coucal 1   Mountain Imperial Pigeon 4
  Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo 2   Greater Coucal 4
  Large Hawk-Cuckoo 4   Asian Koel 1
  Himalayan Cuckoo 2   Banded Bay Cuckoo 4
  Mountain Scops Owl 1   Plaintive Cuckoo 2
  Collared Scops Owl 1   Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo 5
  Collared Owlet 1   Mountain Scops Owl 1
  Asian Barred Owlet 3   Collared Scops Owl 1
  House Swift 2   Asian Barred Owlet 2
  Red-headed Trogon 2   Large-tailed Nightjar 1
  Chestnut-headed Bee-eater 2   Himalayan Swiftlet 200
  Great Barbet 2   Asian Palm Swift 30
  Golden-throated Barbet 5   Cook's Swift 60
  Blue-throated Barbet 2   White-throated Kingfisher 2
  Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker 2   Blue-bearded Bee-eater 1
  Stripe-breasted Woodpecker 1   Eurasian Hoopoe 2
  Black-headed Woodpecker 10   Great Barbet 5
  Greater Flameback 2   Blue-throated Barbet 15
  Long-tailed Broadbill 3   Blue-eared Barbet 4
  Large Cuckooshrike 1   Speckled Piculet 2
  Grey-chinned Minivet 2   Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker 6
  Short-billed Minivet 4   Stripe-breasted Woodpecker 4
  White-bellied Erpornis 2   Lesser Yellownape 3
  Black-hooded Oriole 1   Long-tailed Broadbill 4
  Ashy Drongo 1   Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike 4
  Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo 4   Large Woodshrike 12
  Hair-crested Drongo 15   Ashy Woodswallow 4
  Greater Racket-tailed Drongo 5   Common Iora 6
  White-throated Fantail 2   Large Cuckooshrike 2
  Black-naped Monarch 4   Black-winged Cuckooshrike 6
  Eurasian Jay 2   Small Minivet 5
  Common Green Magpie 1   Scarlet Minivet 12
  Eastern Jungle Crow 6   Brown Shrike 2
  Yellow-bellied Fantail 4   Burmese Shrike 3
  Yellow-cheeked Tit 4   Grey-backed Shrike 2
  Black-headed Bulbul 3   White-bellied Erpornis 1
  Black-crested Bulbul 5   Blyth's Shrike-babbler 10
  Red-whiskered Bulbul 4   Slender-billed Oriole 2
  Sooty-headed Bulbul 2   Black-naped Oriole 2
  Flavescent Bulbul 25   Ashy Drongo 4
  Mountain Bulbul 12   Bronzed Drongo 3
  Black Bulbul 2   Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo 12
  Asian House Martin 120   Hair-crested Drongo 20
  Pygmy Wren-babbler 5   Greater Racket-tailed Drongo 3
  Mountain Tailorbird 4   White-throated Fantail 2
  Slaty-bellied Tesia 6   Black-naped Monarch 6
  Buff-throated Warbler 2   Blyth's Paradise Flycatcher 2
  Radde's Warbler 1   Eurasian Jay 16
  Ashy-throated Warbler 6   Grey Treepie 2
  Yellow-browed Warbler 4   Eastern Jungle Crow 2
  Hume's Leaf Warbler 4   Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher 3
  Blyth's Leaf Warbler 25   Japanese Tit 4
  Claudia's Leaf Warbler 4   Black-headed Bulbul 2
  Davison's Leaf Warbler 20   Black-crested Bulbul 10
  Chestnut-crowned Warbler 2   Red-whiskered Bulbul 10
  Hill Prinia 4   Sooty-headed Bulbul 20
  Common Tailorbird 2   Flavescent Bulbul 20
  Dark-necked Tailorbird 1   Streak-eared Bulbul 3
  White-browed Scimitar Babbler 2   Puff-throated Bulbul 6
  Golden Babbler 4   Grey-eyed Bulbul 5
  Pin-striped Tit-Babbler 5   Ashy Bulbul 6
  Rufous-winged Fulvetta 20   Black Bulbul 12
  Yunnan Fulvetta 15   Barn Swallow 1
  White-necked Laughingthrush 2   Asian House Martin 2
  Silver-eared Laughingthrush 12   Striated Swallow 20
  Bar-throated Minla 20   Dusky Warbler 1
  Spectacled Barwing 3   Radde's Warbler 2
  Rufous-backed Sibia 1   Pallas's Leaf Warbler 3
  Dark-backed Sibia 20   Yellow-browed Warbler 4
  Oriental White-eye 5   Hume's Leaf Warbler 3
  Velvet-fronted Nuthatch 2   Claudia's Leaf Warbler 1
  Hume's Treecreeper 1   Davison's Leaf Warbler 15
  Blue Whistling Thrush 5   Grey-crowned Warbler 1
  Dark-sided Thrush 1   Martens's Warbler 1
  White-browed Shortwing 5   Hill Prinia 3
  Oriental Magpie-Robin 4   Rufescent Prinia 16
  White-capped Redstart 1   Common Tailorbird 2
  Slaty-backed Forktail 1   Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler 4
  Grey Bush Chat 5   White-browed Scimitar Babbler 5
  Slaty-backed Flycatcher 5   Buff-chested Babbler 2
  Taiga Flycatcher 2   Pin-striped Tit-Babbler 10
  Snowy-browed Flycatcher 3   Yunnan Fulvetta 5
  Verditer Flycatcher 3   Puff-throated Babbler 4
  Hill Blue Flycatcher 1   Buff-breasted Babbler 4
  White-gorgeted Flycatcher 1   White-necked Laughingthrush 4
  Large Niltava 1   Blue-winged Minla 2
  Golden-fronted Leafbird 4   Grey-headed Parrotbill 3
  Orange-bellied Leafbird 2   Striated Yuhina 10
  Yellow-bellied Flowerpecker 2   Japanese White-eye 12
  Plain Flowerpecker 1   Oriental White-eye 2
  Fire-breasted Flowerpecker 2   Velvet-fronted Nuthatch 4
  Purple Sunbird 4   Giant Nuthatch 5
  Mrs. Gould's Sunbird 3   Blue Whistling Thrush 2
  Green-tailed Sunbird 2   Eyebrowed Thrush 2
  Black-throated Sunbird 3   Oriental Magpie-Robin 4
  Little Spiderhunter 1   White-rumped Shama 6
  Streaked Spiderhunter 2   Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush 1
  Eurasian Tree Sparrow 20   Slaty-backed Flycatcher 2
  Grey Wagtail 1   Taiga Flycatcher 2
  Common Rosefinch 6   Verditer Flycatcher 2
        Hill Blue Flycatcher 5
  Mae Taeng Count   Golden-fronted Leafbird 6
  Chinese Pond Heron 4   Orange-bellied Leafbird 5
  Little Egret 3   Plain Flowerpecker 1
  Green Sandpiper 1   Fire-breasted Flowerpecker 4
  Common Sandpiper 2   Ruby-cheeked Sunbird 1
  Greater Coucal 1   Purple-naped Sunbird 1
  Asian Koel 1   Black-throated Sunbird 2
  House Swift 2   Streaked Spiderhunter 4
  Indian Roller 1   Eurasian Tree Sparrow 10
  White-throated Kingfisher 2   Scaly-breasted Munia 6
  Blue-tailed Bee-eater 2   Olive-backed Pipit 12
  Lineated Barbet 2   Common Rosefinch 30
  Coppersmith Barbet 1   Spot-winged Grosbeak 20
  Ashy Woodswallow 3      
  Common Iora 1      
  Brown Shrike 1      
  Black Drongo 3      
  Barn Swallow 10      
  Wire-tailed Swallow 12      
  Oriental Reed Warbler 1      
  Grey-breasted Prinia 2      
  Plain Prinia 1      
  Great Myna 10      
  Common Myna 10      
  Black-collared Starling 2      
  Bluethroat 1      
  Stejneger's Stonechat 1      
  Pied Bush Chat 2      
  Taiga Flycatcher 1