Mae Wong and Beyond: 5-10 March 2013






5 - 10 March 2013.
Variable. Cool at altitude. Hot in the lowlands. Some heavy rain.
Mae Wong National Park, Bueng Boraphet and Mae Wa National Park.

05 Mar. With Mike Edgecombe, Howard Jolliffe, Matt Mulbey and Malcolm Goodman. Yet again another journey to the Land of the Biting Flies. Left Chiang Mai and five hours later met up with the others. After checking in to a resort, into the park and up to Chong Yen. Spoke to the ranger who informed us Rusty-naped Pitta had last been seen ten days previously. Undeterred we set up a hide in the gully, with at least a couple of us keeping vigil all afternoon. Nothing to show for the efforts, though Rusty-naped Pitta was heard briefly. Rufous-browed Flycatcher, Hill Blue Flycatcher and Blue Whistling Thrush the only species coming to the worms. Part of the group investigated the top around Chong Yen, with vocal White-necked Laughingthrush, Common Green Magpie, Blue Rock Thrush, Striated Yuhina and Silver-eared Mesia. Flies prevalent but not too bothersome. A fair bit of overnight rain.

Rusty-naped Pitta
Rusty-naped Pitta (Matt Mulbey)

06 Mar. Early start into the park. Surprisingly the vehicle pass available at 06:00, so up to the pitta site for starters. A very successful start to the day with the Rusty-naped Pitta on view almost immediately. Also Streaked Wren-Babbler , Red-billed Scimitar Babbler and Grey Wagtail.

Streaked Wren-Babbler
Streaked Wren-Babbler

To the top for breakfast and a wander around the campsite. Grey Peacock-Pheasant and Rufous-throated Partridge were feeding on seed laid out since yesterday. A wander down the old Umphang road for an hour gave a nice warbler collection including Martens's Warbler, Sulphur-breasted Warbler and Claudia's Leaf Warbler. We then walked down the main road trying for Olive Bulbul but nothing happening in the heat of the day. Remainder of the afternoon at the top - Spot-necked Babbler, heard only, being of note.

Himalayan Jester
Himalayan Jester


Coral-billed Scimitar Babble
Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler

disappearing Porcupine

Black-naped Oriole
Black-naped Oriole

07 Mar. Matt became the first victim of the vicious flies with a seriously inflamed hand this morning. Another early start, but this time had to get staff out of bed both at the park entrance and the office, to issue the vehicle pass. We started at the lower viewpoint four kilometres from the top, and took a walk along the road. A very productive morning with Olive Bulbul, Chestnut Bunting and several Spot-necked Babbler. Again heard, but failed to see, White-necked Laughingthrush. A longer stop in the forest near the pitta gully gave a fair selection of species including flyover Long-tailed Sibia and a fleeting glimpse of a likely Rufous-necked Hornbill. Up to the Chong Yen campsite, where no sooner had to started a late breakfast than a Rufous-necked Hornbill did a majestic flight over the valley below - a great morning just got better. Tried several areas around the campsite for White-necked Laughingthrush, but again only heard. Dozed around the campsite in the heat of the day. Later afternoon, while still hot, had a longer walk down the road with the first hour unproductive, but then we hit a purple patch with Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler, Rosy Minivet, and a number of commoner species - nice finish to the day.

08 Mar. A final morning at Chong Yen, with a large Porcupine en route. The first new species for the list were Yellow-cheeked Tit and White-browed Piculet. We again chased around calling White-necked Laughingthrush but dipped. Hung around most of the morning at Chong Yen, with the same Rufous-necked Hornbill over at exactly the same time. Also eventually a pair of Burmese Yuhina. Left around 12:00 and headed to Nakhon Sawan. After 16:00, when not quite so hot, tried the northern side of Bueng Boraphet, with 22 Black-headed Ibis, Chestnut-tailed Starling, Red-necked Phalarope, and Savanna Nightjar.

09 Mar. To Bueng Boraphet Waterbird Park early. A three hour walk of the nature tail and loop back along the road produced several Thick-billed Warbler, Forest Wagtail, Baya Weaver, Siberian Rubythroat and Cinnamon Bittern. Along the top of the nature trail the Bueng Boraphet Research Group had out 200-300 of mist nets. Sadly these nets contained a dead Yellow-bellied Prinia and well as a dead Siberian Rubythroat at the ringing station - a steep price to pay for ringing a few birds we thought! Back to the accommodation, and a split, with the UK contingent moving on southward. Decided to stay another night to explore and expand Bueng Boraphet birding options. Started with a perusal of Google Earth and reckoned the southwestern part of the lake might deserve more attention. Set off in the afternoon heat of another sweltering Nakhon Sawan day. Took some dirt tracks down toward the southern shore and soon found some interesting looking fields, with some reasonably extensive areas of fallow land and scrub. Definitely worthy of further investigation tomorrow morning when cooler. Continued toward the lake and discovered a newly constructed seasonal road across the dam end of the lake leading straight across to the opposite, northern, bank. A scan of the area produced good numbers of Black-winged Stilt, Oriental Pratincole, Pied Kingfisher and some usual waterbirds. Crossed to lake and investigated the lake edge around Bueng Boraphet, but in the heat of the afternoon not too exciting. Late afternoon tried other areas of the northern shore with better results including a pair of Greater Painted-snipe and four Black-headed Ibis. Some heavy, unseasonal, rain in the early evening.

10 Mar. Returned to the field area found the previous day, but as expected access on the mud tracks not possible even with 4x4. So gave up that idea and headed back to the waterbird park.

Took a slightly different approach than usual - visiting the eastern tower and doing the newly constructed boardwalk first, before looping back on the nature trail. As expected most species similar to yesterday, but Grey-headed Lapwing, Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler, Ruddy-breasted Crake and Eurasian Hoopoe in addition. Took a back road toward Nakhon Sawan. recording singing Indochinese Bush Lark en route. Drove toward Chiang Mai, and in the heat of the day decided to investigate Mae Wa National Park, north of Tak, in passing. First time at this presumably infrequently visited park. Staff were friendly and somewhat surprised to see a foreign visitor, and it was a refreshing change to find access a standard 30 Baht entrance fee instead of the discriminatory 200 Baht reserved for foreigners. Staff were very apologetic that there was no water running in the river - and hence no waterfalls. However several hours were spent in the mosquito infested river bed finding a fair number of interesting and potentially difficult to identify butterflies. A very pleasant park with some potential, as in the heat of the day still managed Greater Flameback, Black Baza and Red-billed Blue Magpie. Definitely a repeat visit called for.

Species List

  Mae Wong Count   Bueng Boraphet Count
  Rufous-throated Partridge 6   Lesser Whistling Duck 3000
  Red Junglefowl 1   Cotton Pygmy Goose 45
  Kalij Pheasant 10   Garganey 7
  Grey Peacock-Pheasant 10   Little Grebe 4
  Oriental Honey Buzzard 5   Asian Openbill 400
  Crested Serpent Eagle 2   Black-headed Ibis 22
  Black Eagle 3   Cinnamon Bittern 1
  Mountain Hawk-Eagle 2   Black-crowned Night Heron 12
  Peregrine Falcon 1   Chinese Pond Heron 10
  Red-wattled Lapwing 4   Grey Heron 6
  Little Cuckoo-Dove 1   Purple Heron 5
  Common Emerald Dove 5   Great Egret 15
  Pin-tailed Green Pigeon 2   Intermediate Egret 5
  Mountain Imperial Pigeon 30   Little Egret 200
  Greater Coucal 2   Little Cormorant 50
  Lesser Coucal 1   Indian Cormorant 70
  Green-billed Malkoha 1   Oriental Darter 40
  Collared Owlet 1   Black-winged Kite 1
  Asian Barred Owlet 1   Eastern Marsh Harrier 3
  Large-tailed Nightjar 2   Common Kestrel 1
  Brown-backed Needletail 1   White-breasted Waterhen 6
  Asian Palm Swift 40   Ruddy-breasted Crake 2
  Pacific Swift 1500   Grey-headed Swamphen 40
  Red-headed Trogon 2   Black-winged Stilt 400
  Banded Kingfisher 1   Grey-headed Lapwing 2
  Green Bee-eater 2   Red-wattled Lapwing 10
  Chestnut-headed Bee-eater 2   Little Ringed Plover 6
  Oriental Pied Hornbill 1   Greater Painted-snipe 2
  Great Hornbill 2   Pheasant-tailed Jacana 20
  Rufous-necked Hornbill 1   Bronze-winged Jacana 2
  Great Barbet 12   Common Snipe 3
  Golden-throated Barbet 8   Common Greenshank 3
  Blue-throated Barbet 2   Wood Sandpiper 5
  Speckled Piculet 1   Common Sandpiper 16
  White-browed Piculet 1   Red-necked Phalarope 1
  Lesser Yellownape 1   Whiskered Tern 20
  Bay Woodpecker 3   Rock Dove 40
  Long-tailed Broadbill 4   Red Turtle Dove 20
  Rusty-naped Pitta 1   Zebra Dove 10
  Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike 6   Pink-necked Green Pigeon 3
  Large Cuckooshrike 4   Asian Koel 20
  Rosy Minivet 2   Plaintive Cuckoo 2
  Swinhoe's Minivet 1   Savanna Nightjar 3
  Scarlet Minivet 5   Asian Palm Swift 20
  White-bellied Erpornis 6   White-throated Kingfisher 5
  Blyth's Shrike-babbler 10   Black-capped Kingfisher 1
  Maroon Oriole 4   Common Kingfisher 3
  Ashy Drongo 4   Pied Kingfisher 3
  Bronzed Drongo 1   Blue-tailed Bee-eater 10
  Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo 4   Eurasian Hoopoe 1
  Hair-crested Drongo 200   Lineated Barbet 1
  Greater Racket-tailed Drongo 2   Coppersmith Barbet 1
  White-throated Fantail 6   Eurasian Wryneck 1
  Common Green Magpie 4   Freckle-breasted Woodpecker 2
  Grey Treepie 10   Ashy Woodswallow 3
  Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher 2   Common Iora 1
  Yellow-cheeked Tit 1   Black-winged Cuckooshrike 2
  Striated Bulbul 2   Ashy Minivet 5
  Black-headed Bulbul 1   Brown Shrike 5
  Black-crested Bulbul 4   Long-tailed Shrike 10
  Red-whiskered Bulbul 6   Black-naped Oriole 7
  Flavescent Bulbul 20   Black Drongo 40
  Olive Bulbul 3   Malaysian Pied Fantail 4
  Mountain Bulbul 22   Black-naped Monarch 1
  Black Bulbul 2   Eastern Jungle Crow 3
  Barn Swallow 10   Indochinese Bush Lark 2
  Asian House Martin 10   Oriental Skylark 2
  Red-rumped Swallow 6   Yellow-vented Bulbul 6
  Radde's Warbler 3   Streak-eared Bulbul 15
  Yellow-browed Warbler 15   Sand Martin 300
  Claudia's Leaf Warbler 4   Barn Swallow 500
  Davison's Leaf Warbler 15   Oriental Reed Warbler 20
  Sulphur-breasted Warbler 6   Black-browed Reed Warbler 10
  Martens's Warbler 4   Thick-billed Warbler 3
  Hill Prinia 10   Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler 2
  White-browed Scimitar Babbler 12   Striated Grassbird 20
  Red-billed Scimitar Babbler 2   Yellow-bellied Prinia 4
  Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler 4   Plain Prinia 5
  Grey-throated Babbler 4   Great Myna 300
  Spot-necked Babbler 6   Common Myna 100
  Rufous-fronted Babbler 2   Chestnut-tailed Starling 2
  Pin-striped Tit-Babbler 6   Siberian Rubythroat 2
  Yunnan Fulvetta 35   Oriental Magpie-Robin 5
  Streaked Wren-Babbler 2   Stejneger's Stonechat 8
  Puff-throated Babbler 2   Taiga Flycatcher 1
  White-necked Laughingthrush 10   Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker 1
  Silver-eared Laughingthrush 6   Olive-backed Sunbird 5
  Silver-eared Mesia 10   House Sparrow 20
  Long-tailed Sibia 2   Plain-backed Sparrow 20
  Striated Yuhina 22   Eurasian Tree Sparrow 20
  Burmese Yuhina 2   Baya Weaver 10
  Chestnut-flanked White-eye 25   Scaly-breasted Munia 10
  Japanese White-eye 2   Chestnut Munia 15
  Oriental White-eye 20   Forest Wagtail 1
  Velvet-fronted Nuthatch 1   Eastern Yellow Wagtail 12
  Blue Whistling Thrush 12   Paddyfield Pipit 4
  Eyebrowed Thrush 5   Red-throated Pipit 8
  Northern White-crowned Forktail 1      
  Blue Rock Thrush 1   Mae Wa Count
  Taiga Flycatcher 4   Chinese Pond Heron 1
  Verditer Flycatcher 3   Black Baza 2
  Hill Blue Flycatcher 6   Asian Barred Owlet 1
  Rufous-browed Flycatcher 4   Lineated Barbet 3
  Orange-bellied Leafbird 5   Greater Flameback 1
  Fire-breasted Flowerpecker 1   Common Iora 1
  Black-throated Sunbird 10   Black-hooded Oriole 2
  Little Spiderhunter 3   Ashy Drongo 2
  Streaked Spiderhunter 10   Hair-crested Drongo 20
  Grey Wagtail 25   Greater Racket-tailed Drongo 2
  Olive-backed Pipit 6   Black-naped Monarch 2
  Chestnut Bunting 8   Red-billed Blue Magpie 2
        Eastern Jungle Crow 1
        Black-crested Bulbul 2
        Radde's Warbler 1
        Yellow-browed Warbler 1
        Pin-striped Tit-Babbler 4
        Puff-throated Babbler 2
        Blue Whistling Thrush 2
        White-rumped Shama 2
        Tickell's Blue Flycatcher 1
        Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker 1
        Grey Wagtail 2