Southern Targets: 8-19 May 2014






8-19 May 2014.
Hot and humid. Variable cloud cover with some rain.
Yaring Mangrove Research Station, Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary, Khlong Saeng Wildlife Sanctuary, Kaeng Krachan National Park, Wat Khao Look Chang, Laem Phak Bia and Pak Thale.

With Ian Dugdale, Games Punjapa Phetsri, Steve Mawby and Jeff Verrill. As both Steve and Jeff had visited Thailand previously, this trip was built around some harder southern targets.

7 May. Took Nok Air to Bangkok. Lunch at the airport with an exploding ketchup bottle meant completing the remainder of the journey to Hat Yai with a red shirt. Met up with Ian and Games and an overnight just outside town.

8 May. An early drive down the coast toward Patani, with a brief stop en route at Khlong Sakom beach - an area with Casuarina trees selected randomly that might be worth checking for Pied Triller, a distinctly difficult species to locate in Thailand. As expected we failed to find it, finding only Golden-bellied Gerygone and Oriental White-eye of any note. Onward to Yaring Mangrove Research Station, where we spent an hour on the boardwalk finding a selection of the usual suspects including Streak-breasted Woodpecker and Mangrove Blue Flycatcher. The highlight however, was a very unexpected Little Bronze Cuckoo which performed quite well in mangrove edge - another rarely found bird.

Mangrove Blue Flycatcher
Mangrove Blue Flycatcher

Having collected Jeff and Steve en route, at Narathiwat Airport, we continued to Hala-Bala where on this occasion, due to a mix up over permits and accommodation, it was necessary to set up camp in the grounds of the HQ office. Though to be honest, with the generally dry weather at this time of year, camping is a nicer option than the basic accommodation available at the HQ. The remaining couple of hours of the day were spent birding the road through the sanctuary, recording Rufous-collared Kingfisher, Black-and-yellow Broadbill, Tiger Shrike, Violet Cuckoo, Rhinoceros Hornbill, Grey-bellied Bulbul and Spectacled Spiderhunter. At dusk we watched the forest above the river for Bat Hawk without success. An evening under the stars with beers, flying squirrels and dinner, followed by a evening owling session where several night birds heard but none seen - Oriental Bay Owl, Reddish Scops Owl, Sunda Scops Owl and Blyth's Frogmouth.

9 May. Following a hot and humid night, up pre-dawn with calling White-fronted Scops Owl and Brown Hawk-Owl. After breakfast, we forded the river and spent the morning on the leech trail. Short-toed Coucal gave us a fair runaround, but was eventually, with patience, seen very well. We failed to find any other targets such as Rufous-tailed Shama, White-necked Babbler or Red-naped Trogon. Returned to camp for lunch, then out again to the opposite end of the leech trail in the heat of the day where very quiet, so instead tried the Nature Trail which was equally dead. Another late afternoon session along the road, with Diard's Trogon and Rufous-bellied Eagle the pick of the bunch. Another owling session was very productive for calling birds, including White-fronted Scops Owl, and a single Oriental Bay Owl flew close overhead.

Short-toed Coucal
Short-toed Coucal

10 May. All morning birding the road west of Hala-Bala. Slow-going but good quality, with us picking up Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot, Red-billed Malkoha, Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo, Red-bearded Bee-eater, Wreathed Hornbill, Rufous-chested Flycatcher, Spotted Fantail, Scaly-breasted Bulbul, and Pin-tailed Parrotfinch. After lunch we chose a different section, but after ten minutes heavy rain ensued, that lasted for around an hour. This left the remainder of the day overcast and damp with few birds active. Some highlights of the afternoon were Plue-toed Swiftlet, Banded Kingfisher, Banded Woodpecker, Fiery Minivet, Cream-vented Bulbul, Finsch's Bulbul, Everett's White-eye, Plain Sunbird, Red-throated Sunbird and Purple-naped Sunbird. A third owling session gave zero nightbirds, other than a brief flyby Buffy Fish Owl at the river.

11 May. An hour along the road toward the western side of the sanctuary with Checker-throated Woodpecker and Sultan Tit. Then down to Dto Mo forest where three hours produced three Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker, Horsfield's Babbler heard, Rusty-breasted Cuckoo, Orange-breasted Trogon, Banded Kingfisher, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Sooty Barbet, Banded Woodpecker, and a good fruiting tree with all the commoner flowerpeckers. Late afternoon along the road with Sooty-capped Babbler, another Horsfield's Babbler, Rufous-chested Flycatcher and Pale Blue Flycatcher. Thankfully dry today.

Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker
Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker

12 May. Allowing the tents to dry out, we birded the road until around 10:00, finding Black-thighed Falconet, Pacific Swift, Diard's Trogon, Red-naped Trogon, Bushy-crested Hornbill, Wreathed Hornbill, Checker-throated Woodpecker, Silver-breasted Broadbill, Dusky Broadbill, Chestnut-backed Scimitar Babbler, Chestnut-naped Forktail, Rufous-chested Flycatcher and Red-throated Sunbird - a nice haul for only a few hours. Having packed the camp we returned to Yaring Mangrove Research Station, but little seen in the heat of the day. Continued to Satun where we arrived just on dark.

13 May. Blue-winged Pitta calling at first light around the accommodation, from where we drove to the mangroves near Tammalang. Although little time available, we were highly successful in locating most of our targets, Cinereous Tit, Purple-throated Sunbird, Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker and Pied Triller. A five hour drive to Ratchaprapha pier where we took our pre-arranged boat to accommodation on the lake inside Khlong Saeng Wildlife Sanctuary. Surprisingly, neither Lesser Fish Eagle nor Grey-headed Fish Eagle seen en route across the lake.

Blue-eared Kingfisher
Blue-eared Kingfisher

Oriental Hobby
Oriental Hobby

Von Schrenck's Bittern
Von Schrenck's Bittern

A late boat ride and a night session found White-bellied Sea Eagle, two Buffy Fish Owl, Oriental Bay Owl, Oriental Dollarbird, Blue-eared Kingfisher, White-crowned Hornbill, Great Hornbill, Bushy-crested Hornbill, Green Broadbill and Rufous-bellied Swallow.

14 May. All day birding inside the sanctuary with one of the rangers, firstly by boat and then a wet trek upstream inside the forest. Great Argus heard, Jerdon's Baza, Black-thighed Falconet, Gould's Frogmouth heard, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Blue-eared Kingfisher, Blue-banded Kingfisher, Red-bearded Bee-eater, Bushy-crested Hornbill, Bamboo Woodpecker, Buff-rumped Woodpecker, Malayan Banded Pitta heard, Hooded Pitta, Rufous-winged Philentoma, Yellow-bellied Bulbul, White-chested Babbler and Chestnut-naped Forktail. On the return ride across the lake we were caught out in heavy rain, that unfortunately made photography impossible as we had several sightings of Gaur and Asian Elephant.

15 May. Back to shore at Ratchaprapha pier with four Stork-billed Kingfisher, Bushy-crested Hornbill and four Oriental Hobby along the way. A longish drive to Kaeng Krachan arriving at Wat Khao Look Chang just in time to abandon birding there due to rain, so the last hour of light spent around Ban Maka with Blunt-winged Warbler - a major surprise - in addition to Ruddy-breasted Crake and Oriental Scops Owl.

16 May. A fairly quiet morning at Lung Sin's hide with Bar-backed Partridge and Green-legged Partridge seen and Blue-winged Pitta and Large Scimitar Babbler heard. Thanks to having bumped into Peter Ericsson yesterday evening we then drove into the park and up to Km 27 where a female Von Schrenck's Bittern was still hanging out at the roadside pond. A stunning bird, so elusive and a long time target finally laid to rest. Other birding produced Long-tailed Broadbill, Banded Broadbill, Common Green Magpie, Spot-necked Babbler and Golden-crested Myna. Late afternoon rained off.

Northern Treeshrew
Northern Treeshrew

Tailed Jay
Tailed Jay

17 May. All day in park. The unpaved section to Ban Krang camp is finally in the process of being paved, with the concreting works providing a massive attraction to butterflies - drying concrete apparently very rich in minerals and salts. Also however, many forest bees with several of us stung during the day. We worked the lower, rivers section and trails all day, recording White-tailed Flycatcher, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Spot-necked Babbler, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Greater Yellownape, Tickell's Brown Hornbill, Silver-breasted Broadbill, Rufous-bellied Eagle and Dusky Broadbill. Black Bittern outside the park was notable.

Orange-breasted Trogon
Orange-breasted Trogon

Tokay Gecko
Tokay Gecko

18 May. Morning again in the lower forested sections of the park with species much as yesterday. A siesta following lunch was accompanied by some heavy rain. Late afternoon spent in local fields with Barred Buttonquail, Yellow-eyed Babbler, Chestnut-capped Babbler, Lesser Coucal and Rufous Treepie.

19 May. An early start to Wat Khao Look Chang. A couple of hours here found Spotted Owlet, Black-headed Woodpecker, two vocal Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Blue-throated Bee-eater and Red-breasted Parakeet. We then added a short side trip to the Laem Phak Bia and Pak Thale area. Other than the resident Black-winged Stilt, now nesting, the only waders found were a single Black-tailed Godwit and a few Red-necked Stint and Curlew Sandpiper. A short trip around the King's Project was amply rewarded with a breeding plumaged Indian Pond Heron, several Javan Pond Heron, Greater Painted-snipe and Chestnut Munia. Return to Bangkok and flights home.

Species List

  Yaring Mangroves Count   Khlong Saeng Count
  Little Egret 1   Great Argus 2
  Brahminy Kite 4   Cinnamon Bittern 2
  Zebra Dove 4   Striated Heron 2
  Pink-necked Green Pigeon 12   Western Osprey 2
  Green-billed Malkoha 1   Jerdon's Baza 1
  Asian Koel 3   Crested Serpent Eagle 1
  Little Bronze Cuckoo 1   Crested Goshawk 2
  House Swift 9   White-bellied Sea Eagle 3
  Collared Kingfisher 3   Lesser Fish Eagle 7
  Blue-tailed Bee-eater 2   Grey-headed Fish Eagle 2
  Streak-breasted Woodpecker 2   Black-thighed Falconet 2
  Golden-bellied Gerygone 4   Oriental Hobby 4
  Common Iora 4   Red-wattled Lapwing 1
  Mangrove Whistler 3   Thick-billed Green Pigeon 2
  Malaysian Pied Fantail 5   Greater Coucal 1
  Yellow-vented Bulbul 3   Raffles's Malkoha 1
  Olive-winged Bulbul 2   Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo 1
  Pacific Swallow 4   Oriental Bay Owl 1
  Common Tailorbird 2   Sunda Scops Owl 1
  Ashy Tailorbird 10   Buffy Fish Owl 2
  Mangrove Blue Flycatcher 2   Gould's Frogmouth 1
        Asian Palm Swift 10
  Hala-Bala Count   House Swift 10
  Great Argus 6   Orange-breasted Trogon 2
  Crested Serpent Eagle 2   Oriental Dollarbird 3
  Rufous-bellied Eagle 1   Rufous-collared Kingfisher 1
  Black Eagle 1   Banded Kingfisher 2
  Black-thighed Falconet 2   Stork-billed Kingfisher 7
  Common Emerald Dove 14   Blue-banded Kingfisher 2
  Thick-billed Green Pigeon 34   Blue-eared Kingfisher 4
  Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot 6   Red-bearded Bee-eater 1
  Short-toed Coucal 3   Bushy-crested Hornbill 12
  Greater Coucal 3   Oriental Pied Hornbill 8
  Raffles's Malkoha 2   Great Hornbill 5
  Red-billed Malkoha 6   Helmeted Hornbill 2
  Violet Cuckoo 7   White-crowned Hornbill 4
  Banded Bay Cuckoo 4   Red-throated Barbet 4
  Plaintive Cuckoo 3   Blue-eared Barbet 8
  Rusty-breasted Cuckoo 3   Sooty Barbet 4
  Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo 7   Greater Flameback 1
  Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo 1   Bamboo Woodpecker 1
  Indian Cuckoo 7   Buff-rumped Woodpecker 1
  Oriental Bay Owl 5   Green Broadbill 1
  White-fronted Scops Owl 2   Banded Broadbill 2
  Reddish Scops Owl 3   Black-and-yellow Broadbill 2
  Sunda Scops Owl 3   Malayan Banded Pitta 1
  Brown Hawk-Owl 1   Hooded Pitta 2
  Blyth's Frogmouth 3   Rufous-winged Philentoma 2
  Grey-rumped Treeswift 12   Black-naped Monarch 2
  Whiskered Treeswift 12   Blyth's Paradise Flycatcher 1
  Plume-toed Swiftlet 6   Large-billed Crow 7
  Silver-rumped Spinetail 34   Yellow-bellied Bulbul 2
  Brown-backed Needletail 300   Pacific Swallow 2
  Pacific Swift 15   Rufous-bellied Swallow 12
  House Swift 2   Dark-necked Tailorbird 6
  Red-naped Trogon 1   Chestnut-winged Babbler 6
  Diard's Trogon 3   Pin-striped Tit-Babbler 12
  Orange-breasted Trogon 2   White-chested Babbler 2
  Rufous-collared Kingfisher 1   Ferruginous Babbler 2
  Banded Kingfisher 3   Puff-throated Babbler 3
  Blue-banded Kingfisher 2   Asian Fairy-bluebird 2
  Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher 1   Oriental Magpie-Robin 3
  Red-bearded Bee-eater 4   White-rumped Shama 5
  Bushy-crested Hornbill 4   Chestnut-naped Forktail 2
  Great Hornbill 6   Fulvous-chested Jungle Flycatcher 1
  Rhinoceros Hornbill 6   Ruby-cheeked Sunbird 1
  Helmeted Hornbill 4   Plain Sunbird 1
  White-crowned Hornbill 3      
  Wreathed Hornbill 3   Kaeng Krachan Count
  Golden-whiskered Barbet 5   Chinese Francolin 7
  Red-throated Barbet 15   Bar-backed Partridge 5
  Yellow-crowned Barbet 6   Green-legged Partridge 10
  Blue-eared Barbet 25   Red Junglefowl 12
  Sooty Barbet 2   Little Grebe 2
  Malaysian Honeyguide 1   Yellow Bittern 1
  Banded Woodpecker 1   Von Schrenck's Bittern 1
  Checker-throated Woodpecker 3   Black Bittern 2
  Bamboo Woodpecker 1   Striated Heron 2
  Maroon Woodpecker 2   Chinese Pond Heron 2
  Buff-rumped Woodpecker 2   Javan Pond Heron 1
  Buff-necked Woodpecker 4   Eastern Cattle Egret 10
  Green Broadbill 5   Great Egret 1
  Silver-breasted Broadbill 1   Little Egret 3
  Banded Broadbill 1   Little Cormorant 2
  Black-and-yellow Broadbill 12   Crested Serpent Eagle 3
  Dusky Broadbill 1   White-breasted Waterhen 3
  Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike 3   Ruddy-breasted Crake 1
  Large Woodshrike 2   Common Moorhen 1
  Fiery Minivet 5   Barred Buttonquail 2
  Scarlet Minivet 6   Red-wattled Lapwing 8
  Tiger Shrike 1   Rock Dove 20
  White-bellied Erpornis 6   Spotted Dove 10
  Dark-throated Oriole 5   Common Emerald Dove 5
  Ashy Drongo 1   Zebra Dove 1
  Greater Racket-tailed Drongo 6   Mountain Imperial Pigeon 1
  Spotted Fantail 3   Vernal Hanging Parrot 4
  Black-naped Monarch 7   Greater Coucal 12
  Blyth's Paradise Flycatcher 1   Lesser Coucal 1
  Crested Jay 1   Raffles's Malkoha 1
  Rail-babbler 3   Green-billed Malkoha 3
  Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher 4   Asian Koel 5
  Sultan Tit 1   Violet Cuckoo 2
  Black-headed Bulbul 2   Banded Bay Cuckoo 3
  Black-crested Bulbul 14   Plaintive Cuckoo 3
  Scaly-breasted Bulbul 3   Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo 4
  Grey-bellied Bulbul 4   Collared Scops Owl 2
  Cream-vented Bulbul 5   Oriental Scops Owl 1
  Asian Red-eyed Bulbul 15   Asian Barred Owlet 3
  Spectacled Bulbul 4   Large-tailed Nightjar 5
  Finsch's Bulbul 1   Grey-rumped Treeswift 4
  Ochraceous Bulbul 6   Brown-backed Needletail 2
  Grey-cheeked Bulbul 5   Asian Palm Swift 12
  Yellow-bellied Bulbul 1   Pacific Swift 20
  Hairy-backed Bulbul 4   House Swift 4
  Buff-vented Bulbul 2   Orange-breasted Trogon 2
  Cinereous Bulbul 2   Red-headed Trogon 1
  Pacific Swallow 2   Indian Roller 4
  Yellow-bellied Warbler 3   Oriental Dollarbird 3
  Yellow-bellied Prinia 1   Banded Kingfisher 3
  Common Tailorbird 2   White-throated Kingfisher 10
  Dark-necked Tailorbird 6   Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher 2
  Rufous-tailed Tailorbird 2   Blue-bearded Bee-eater 2
  Chestnut-backed Scimitar Babbler 2   Eurasian Hoopoe 2
  Grey-throated Babbler 2   Tickell's Brown Hornbill 2
  Grey-headed Babbler 2   Oriental Pied Hornbill 14
  Chestnut-rumped Babbler 2   Green-eared Barbet 6
  Chestnut-winged Babbler 4   Red-throated Barbet 2
  Rufous-fronted Babbler 10   Blue-throated Barbet 3
  Pin-striped Tit-Babbler 25   Blue-eared Barbet 8
  Brown Fulvetta 6   Coppersmith Barbet 1
  Horsfield's Babbler 2   Greater Yellownape 5
  Moustached Babbler 2   Streak-breasted Woodpecker 1
  Sooty-capped Babbler 1   Common Flameback 5
  Scaly-crowned Babbler 2   Greater Flameback 5
  Rufous-crowned Babbler 6   Great Slaty Woodpecker 2
  Ferruginous Babbler 2   Long-tailed Broadbill 3
  Everett's White-eye 4   Silver-breasted Broadbill 2
  Asian Fairy-bluebird 5   Banded Broadbill 1
  Velvet-fronted Nuthatch 1   Black-and-yellow Broadbill 2
  Javan Myna 1   Dusky Broadbill 3
  Oriental Magpie-Robin 12   Blue Pitta 1
  White-rumped Shama 8   Hooded Pitta 1
  Chestnut-naped Forktail 2   Blue-winged Pitta 10
  Dark-sided Flycatcher 1   Ashy Woodswallow 6
  Rufous-chested Flycatcher 1   Common Iora 5
  Pale Blue Flycatcher 1   Great Iora 2
  Greater Green Leafbird 2   Brown Shrike 2
  Blue-winged Leafbird 2   White-bellied Erpornis 2
  Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker 4   Black-hooded Oriole 5
  Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker 2   Ashy Drongo 2
  Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker 3   Bronzed Drongo 2
  Thick-billed Flowerpecker 2   Hair-crested Drongo 6
  Yellow-vented Flowerpecker 4   Greater Racket-tailed Drongo 6
  Orange-bellied Flowerpecker 3   Black-naped Monarch 6
  Ruby-cheeked Sunbird 1   Common Green Magpie 5
  Plain Sunbird 2   Rufous Treepie 2
  Red-throated Sunbird 3   Racket-tailed Treepie 7
  Purple-naped Sunbird 6   Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher 2
  Little Spiderhunter 2   Sultan Tit 5
  Long-billed Spiderhunter 1   Indochinese Bush Lark 12
  Spectacled Spiderhunter 2   Black-crested Bulbul 8
  Grey-breasted Spiderhunter 6   Sooty-headed Bulbul 12
  Eurasian Tree Sparrow 10   Stripe-throated Bulbul 6
  Pin-tailed Parrotfinch 2   Streak-eared Bulbul 15
  White-rumped Munia 6   Ochraceous Bulbul 12
        Baker's Bulbul 2
  Satun Mangroves Count   Barn Swallow 6
  Striated Heron 4   Red-rumped Swallow 25
  Spotted Dove 2   Yellow-bellied Warbler 2
  Zebra Dove 2   Blunt-winged Warbler 1
  Greater Coucal 1   Golden-headed Cisticola 2
  Asian Koel 1   Grey-breasted Prinia 4
  Germain's Swiftlet 15   Plain Prinia 3
  Collared Kingfisher 2   Common Tailorbird 6
  Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker 2   Dark-necked Tailorbird 10
  Streak-breasted Woodpecker 2   Large Scimitar Babbler 8
  Common Flameback 1   White-browed Scimitar Babbler 2
  Golden-bellied Gerygone 4   Spot-necked Babbler 6
  Common Iora 5   Rufous-fronted Babbler 6
  Pied Triller 1   Pin-striped Tit-Babbler 12
  Mangrove Whistler 3   Chestnut-capped Babbler 2
  Ashy Drongo 2   Brown-cheeked Fulvetta 3
  Malaysian Pied Fantail 4   Abbott's Babbler 5
  Pacific Swallow 2   Puff-throated Babbler 6
  Arctic Warbler 4   Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush 2
  Ashy Tailorbird 3   Yellow-eyed Babbler 3
  Oriental White-eye 4   Asian Fairy-bluebird 6
  Brown-throated Sunbird 2   Golden-crested Myna 2
  Copper-throated Sunbird 2   Great Myna 40
        Common Myna 25
  Laem Phak Bia / Pak Thale Count   Pied Myna 1
  Little Grebe 2   Oriental Magpie-Robin 6
  Painted Stork 160   White-rumped Shama 10
  Striated Heron 1   Blue Whistling Thrush 1
  Indian Pond Heron 1   Tickell's Blue Flycatcher 2
  Chinese Pond Heron 2   White-tailed Flycatcher 2
  Javan Pond Heron 10   Ruby-cheeked Sunbird 1
  Eastern Cattle Egret 6   Purple Sunbird 1
  Great Egret 10   Olive-backed Sunbird 2
  Little Egret 10   White-rumped Munia 5
  Spot-billed Pelican 1   Scaly-breasted Munia 8
  Little Cormorant 15      
  Indian Cormorant 150   Wat Khao Look Chang Count
  White-breasted Waterhen 2   Rock Dove 5
  Black-winged Stilt 30   Red-breasted Parakeet 8
  Red-wattled Lapwing 2   Greater Coucal 1
  Greater Painted-snipe 2   Green-billed Malkoha 2
  Black-tailed Godwit 1   Chestnut-winged Cuckoo 2
  Red-necked Stint 14   Asian Koel 2
  Curlew Sandpiper 3   Spotted Owlet 2
  Little Tern 4   Indian Roller 2
  Whiskered Tern 35   White-throated Kingfisher 2
  Rock Dove 10   Blue-throated Bee-eater 1
  Red Turtle Dove 5   Eurasian Hoopoe 3
  Spotted Dove 10   Lineated Barbet 2
  Collared Kingfisher 1   Black-headed Woodpecker 2
  Green Bee-eater 2   Rufous Woodpecker 1
  Blue-tailed Bee-eater 2   Blue-winged Pitta 1
  Golden-bellied Gerygone 3   Common Iora 2
  Malaysian Pied Fantail 2   Hair-crested Drongo 10
  Oriental Reed Warbler 1   Greater Racket-tailed Drongo 3
  Plain Prinia 1   Rufous Treepie 3
  Common Tailorbird 2   Racket-tailed Treepie 2
  Great Myna 200   Streak-eared Bulbul 4
  Common Myna 20   Puff-throated Babbler 2
  Pied Myna 6   Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush 2
  Oriental Magpie-Robin 4   Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush 2
  Eurasian Tree Sparrow 4   Great Myna 10
  Baya Weaver 4   Common Myna 10
  Scaly-breasted Munia 2   Pied Myna 2
  Chestnut Munia 3   Oriental Magpie-Robin 2
        Purple Sunbird 2
        Olive-backed Sunbird 4