Northern Clean-up: 22 - 28 January 2013






22 - 28 January 2013.
Clear and dry. Cold at altitude, with temperatures below freezing early morning.
Thaksin Maharat National Park, Doi Inthanon National Park, Doi Ang Khang, Doi Lang, Chiang Saen and Chiang Dao.

22 Jan. With Steve Mawby. Having visited southern and northern Thailand previously this was a trip aimed at hoovering up a number of sought after northern specialities. With Steve successfully escaping a snow bound and freezing UK, and after a long journey to Chiang Mai, a mid morning start southward toward Tak. Our first port of call was Thaksin Maharat National Park, where we arrived around 14:00. Two of the three targets here, Olive Bulbul and White-throated Bulbul were readily found. However, the search for Spot-necked Babbler was limited to us hearing it only - despite close approach the vegetation didn't even rustle; so the trudge back up the hill to the parking area at the end of the day was a little harder. Other interesting species encountered included several Rufous-browed Flycatcher, White's Thrush, Siberian Blue Robin, Striated Yuhina and a Sulphur-breasted Warbler. Three hour drive to Li where we over-nighted in town.

Barn Swallow
Barn Swallow H. r. tytleri x gutturalis

23 Jan. At first light into Mae Ping National Park, where the target was Grey-headed Parakeet. Amazingly the first bird we heard when alighting from the vehicle was several Grey-headed Parakeet. However, it took best part of half an hour to obtain decent views of any perched birds.

Blue Whistling Thrush
Blue Whistling Thrush M. c. eugenei

By 08:00 we were heading to Doi Inthanon where we arrived a couple of hours later. A short stop at Km 13 failed to produce any forktail, so we continued to Mr. Daeng's where an hour peering into the gully produced a Lesser Shortwing, but not the hoped for Dark-sided Thrush. Continued to the summit where we walked the boardwalk circuit a couple of times finding Dark-sided Thrush, Brambling, Eyebrowed Thrush and Grey-sided Thrush. Time was then spent along the road hoping for Yellow-belled Flowerpecker, but at 15:00 gave up and headed to Km 34, where the trail gave us Eastern Buzzard and Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher.

24 Jan. Up to the summit area early on to scan for Ashy Wood Pigeon, with about a dozen birds seen. The remainder of our time was spent searching in vain for Yellow-bellied Flowerpecker. Returned to Chiang Mai.

25 Jan. We left Chiang Mai at stupid o'clock to drive to Doi Lang. Slow going through the Chiang Dao region due to thick fog. Took the western road up Doi Lang to the now very popular photo-shoot area, which is now becoming a bit of a circus. No sooner had we arrived, and even before the hide was up we had a pair of Spot-breasted Laughingthrush almost running around at our feet. These birds have become appreciably tamer since the last visit. Even without the hide, Rusty-naped Pitta came in for a feed, and approached to within a couple of metres. Followed by Large Niltava and White-gorgeted Flycatcher. Likewise a minibus load of noisy people arrived, set out chairs and simply waited for the birds to appear, by which time we had left and started walking down the road seeking other birds of note. These included Pallas's Leaf Warbler, Sapphire Flycatcher, Mountain Bamboo Partridge and Chestnut-vented Nuthatch. We somehow managed to miss Giant Nuthatch and Spot-breasted Parrotbill, seen by others.

Took a slow drive and walk farther up the mountain seeking parrotbills without luck. Around lunchtime we visited the eastern side, looking for Fire-tailed Sunbird but again dipped. Worked our way back to the western side spending a couple of hours specifically looking for Spot-breasted Parrotbill and were eventually rewarded with two birds as well as a fly over Crested Bunting.


Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush
Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush

Spot-breasted Laughingthush and Rusty-naped Pitta
Spot-breasted Laughingthrush and Rusty-naped Pitta

Black-breasted Thrush
Black-breasted Thrush

Large Niltava
Large Niltava

Rufous-bellied Niltava
Rufous-bellied Niltava

Oriental Hobby
Oriental Hobby

Later in the afternoon a small group of Long-tailed Broadbill found. Left around 16:00 to drive to Ang Khang. In the late afternoon here, Black-breasted Thrush, Large Niltava and White-tailed Robin seen.

26 Jan. Into the King's Project at first light, where a ground frost ensured some hungry customers. Within seconds of putting down meal worms we had at least four Black-breasted Thrush, a Japanese Thrush, 3 White-tailed Robin, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Hill Blue Flycatcher and a female Oriental Magpie-Robin. Shortly after 08:00 returned for breakfast, after which we headed to the Arunothai road. A few hours here were not particularly fruitful, so we headed to Km 21 where a longish walk produced several Pallas's Leaf Warbler, Bianchi's Warbler and Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher.

Some birding in the resort grounds produced Eyebrowed Thrush, Black-breasted Thrush, Crested Finchbill, Little Bunting and Large Niltava. Late afternoon again spent along the Arunothai road, starting at the Chinese Cemetery, with Sapphire Flycatcher, Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush, White-browed Laughingthrush and Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler.

27 Jan. An unexpected delay to our start at 06:00 to clear the ice off the car windscreen - having been a tad cool last night. A straight drive to Chiang Saen, where the Golden Triangle was ticked off and we found our target - Grey-throated Martin - with minimal effort. A recent attempt by the martin to establish a colony in an excavated bank south of the Golden Triangle has not been successful due to a large mist net strung across the face of the colony, although no birds were found in the net. The net was removed and destroyed. A longish drive back to Chiang Mai.

28 Jan. Another early start; this time to Chiang Dao. Although foggy on the main highway, it was clear around the temple, so birding started at first light. During a couple of hours here we recorded the sought after Purple-naped Sunbird, as well as Thick-billed Green Pigeon, Orange-breasted Trogon heard, Oriental Pied Hornbill and Plain Flowerpecker. Breakfast at Malee's and then took the Muang Khong road where we spent another couple of hours around the checkpoint. The area was extremely birdy with many fruiting and flowering trees holding a large number of Black-headed Bulbul and Hair-crested Drongo as well as Chestnut-tailed Starling. Eventually we found Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo which called for long time before showing itself. Then up the road higher with a random stop half way where to our surprise a Collared Owlet perched allowing scope views. Higher up, a pair of Oriental Hobby were a great finish to the day. Drive back to Chiang Mai.

Species List

  Thaksin Maharat Count   Doi Lang Count
  Common Emerald Dove 3   Mountain Bamboo Partridge 7
  Asian Barred Owlet 1   Rufous Turtle Dove 2
  Great Barbet 3   Spotted Dove 10
  Blue-throated Barbet 5   Mountain Imperial Pigeon 2
  Bay Woodpecker 2   Cook's Swift 200
  White-bellied Erpornis 3   Great Barbet 1
  Ashy Drongo 5   Golden-throated Barbet 3
  Hair-crested Drongo 4   Stripe-breasted Woodpecker 2
  Black-naped Monarch 2   Long-tailed Broadbill 3
  Grey Treepie 4   Rusty-naped Pitta 1
  Black-crested Bulbul 6   Large Cuckooshrike 2
  White-throated Bulbul 6   Long-tailed Shrike 1
  Olive Bulbul 4   Blyth's Shrike-babbler 3
  Yellow-browed Warbler 4   Ashy Drongo 2
  Claudia's Leaf Warbler 1   White-throated Fantail 1
  Sulphur-breasted Warbler 1   Grey Treepie 2
  Grey-throated Babbler 4   Crested Finchbill 3
  Spot-necked Babbler 1   Sooty-headed Bulbul 10
  White-crested Laughingthrush 6   Flavescent Bulbul 15
  Striated Yuhina 6   Barn Swallow 12
  Velvet-fronted Nuthatch 2   Mountain Tailorbird 2
  Blue Whistling Thrush 1   Aberrant Bush Warbler 1
  White's Thrush 1   Pallas's Leaf Warbler 1
  Siberian Blue Robin 1   Yellow-browed Warbler 6
  Taiga Flycatcher 1   Hume's Leaf Warbler 10
  Rufous-browed Flycatcher 4   Claudia's Leaf Warbler 2
  Orange-bellied Leafbird 2   Davison's Leaf Warbler 10
  Streaked Spiderhunter 1   Grey-crowned Warbler 2
        Martens's Warbler 2
  Mae Ping Count   Hill Prinia 4
  Red Junglefowl 1   Rufescent Prinia 4
  Thick-billed Green Pigeon 2   Buff-chested Babbler 5
  Greater Flameback 2   Chestnut-capped Babbler 5
  Large Cuckooshrike 2   Yunnan Fulvetta 10
  Black-naped Monarch 2   Spot-breasted Laughingthrush 2
  Sooty-headed Bulbul 4   Silver-eared Laughingthrush 5
  Two-barred Warbler 2   Spectacled Barwing 4
  Common Tailorbird 1   Rufous-backed Sibia 2
  White-crested Laughingthrush 4   Spot-breasted Parrotbill 3
        Chestnut-vented Nuthatch 2
  Doi Inthanon Count   Hume's Treecreeper 1
  Eastern Buzzard 2   Siberian Stonechat 1
  Ashy Wood Pigeon 12   Grey Bush Chat 4
  Spotted Dove 20   Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher 1
  Banded Bay Cuckoo 1   Little Pied Flycatcher 1
  Asian Barred Owlet 1   Sapphire Flycatcher 4
  Golden-throated Barbet 2   White-gorgeted Flycatcher 1
  Stripe-breasted Woodpecker 1   Large Niltava 1
  Blyth's Shrike-babbler 4   Mrs. Gould's Sunbird 6
  Clicking Shrike-babbler 1   Common Rosefinch 12
  Black-hooded Oriole 1   Crested Bunting 1
  Yellow-bellied Fantail 3      
  Flavescent Bulbul 20   Doi Ang Khang Count
  Mountain Bulbul 1   Bar-backed Partridge 4
  Striated Swallow 5   Mountain Bamboo Partridge 8
  Pygmy Wren-babbler 2   Shikra 1
  Mountain Tailorbird 2   Eastern Buzzard 1
  Buff-barred Warbler 3   Spotted Dove 10
  Ashy-throated Warbler 1   Banded Bay Cuckoo 2
  Yellow-browed Warbler 2   Collared Owlet 5
  Hume's Leaf Warbler 4   Himalayan Swiftlet 12
  Blyth's Leaf Warbler 6   Cook's Swift 300
  Claudia's Leaf Warbler 2   Blue-bearded Bee-eater 1
  Davison's Leaf Warbler 5   Great Barbet 3
  Grey-crowned Warbler 1   Golden-throated Barbet 2
  Hill Prinia 4   Blue-throated Barbet 2
  Rufous-winged Fulvetta 10   Large Cuckooshrike 2
  Yunnan Fulvetta 20   Grey-chinned Minivet 2
  Silver-eared Laughingthrush 4   Scarlet Minivet 4
  Bar-throated Minla 5   Long-tailed Shrike 2
  Dark-backed Sibia 5   Grey-backed Shrike 1
  Chestnut-flanked White-eye 2   Blyth's Shrike-babbler 4
  Japanese White-eye 10   Maroon Oriole 2
  Blue Whistling Thrush 3   Ashy Drongo 3
  Dark-sided Thrush 1   Bronzed Drongo 2
  Grey-sided Thrush 1   Japanese Tit 5
  Eyebrowed Thrush 1   Yellow-cheeked Tit 2
  Oriental Magpie-Robin 1   Crested Finchbill 2
  Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush 1   Red-whiskered Bulbul 5
  Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher 1   Brown-breasted Bulbul 20
  Hill Blue Flycatcher 1   Sooty-headed Bulbul 15
  Mrs. Gould's Sunbird 10   Flavescent Bulbul 10
  Green-tailed Sunbird 5   Mountain Bulbul 5
  Black-throated Sunbird 3   Black Bulbul 5
  Eurasian Tree Sparrow 30   Barn Swallow 10
  Grey Wagtail 1   Asian House Martin 5
  Brambling 3   Radde's Warbler 1
        Pallas's Leaf Warbler 6
  Chiang Saen Count   Yellow-browed Warbler 20
  Common Sandpiper 1   Hume's Leaf Warbler 20
  Grey-throated Martin 15   Claudia's Leaf Warbler 3
  Dusky Warbler 3   Davison's Leaf Warbler 30
  Plain Prinia 2   Grey-crowned Warbler 3
  Eurasian Tree Sparrow 4   Bianchi's Warbler 1
        Martens's Warbler 2
  Chiang Dao Count   Hill Prinia 5
  Green-legged Partridge 4   Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler 4
  Oriental Hobby 2   White-browed Scimitar Babbler 2
  Spotted Dove 10   Buff-chested Babbler 10
  Thick-billed Green Pigeon 3   Yunnan Fulvetta 20
  Mountain Imperial Pigeon 10   White-browed Laughingthrush 6
  Green-billed Malkoha 3   Blue-winged Minla 4
  Banded Bay Cuckoo 1   Dark-backed Sibia 20
  Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo 1   Japanese White-eye 25
  Collared Owlet 1   Blue Whistling Thrush 1
  Orange-breasted Trogon 1   Black-breasted Thrush 5
  Blue-bearded Bee-eater 1   Japanese Thrush 1
  Oriental Pied Hornbill 2   Eyebrowed Thrush 2
  Great Barbet 2   Siberian Rubythroat 1
  Blue-throated Barbet 4   Oriental Magpie-Robin 5
  Blue-eared Barbet 3   White-rumped Shama 1
  Great Iora 1   White-tailed Robin 4
  Brown Shrike 1   Slaty-backed Forktail 1
  Black-hooded Oriole 10   Siberian Stonechat 1
  Ashy Drongo 2   Grey Bush Chat 4
  Bronzed Drongo 2   Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush 4
  Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo 1   Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher 2
  Hair-crested Drongo 25   Taiga Flycatcher 2
  Blyth's Paradise Flycatcher 1   Little Pied Flycatcher 1
  Black-headed Bulbul 20   Sapphire Flycatcher 1
  Black-crested Bulbul 4   Hill Blue Flycatcher 2
  Red-whiskered Bulbul 2   Rufous-bellied Niltava 1
  Sooty-headed Bulbul 14   Large Niltava 2
  Puff-throated Bulbul 5   Mrs. Gould's Sunbird 10
  Grey-eyed Bulbul 4   Black-throated Sunbird 3
  Barn Swallow 3   Grey Wagtail 2
  Yellow-browed Warbler 10   White Wagtail 2
  Dark-necked Tailorbird 4   Olive-backed Pipit 20
  Pin-striped Tit-Babbler 10   Common Rosefinch 4
  Brown-cheeked Fulvetta 6   Little Bunting 4
  White-crested Laughingthrush 4   Chestnut Bunting 1
  Oriental White-eye 5      
  Asian Fairy-bluebird 8      
  Velvet-fronted Nuthatch 2      
  Chestnut-tailed Starling 4      
  White-rumped Shama 1      
  Blue Rock Thrush 1      
  Taiga Flycatcher 4      
  Verditer Flycatcher 1      
  Hill Blue Flycatcher 2      
  Blue-winged Leafbird 5      
  Golden-fronted Leafbird 4      
  Plain Flowerpecker 1      
  Purple-naped Sunbird 2      
  Black-throated Sunbird 2      
  Little Spiderhunter 3