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Northern Targets: 5-15 January 2014


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5 - 15 Jan 2015.
Very mixed. Bright clear weather at the start displaced by a cold front bringing wet, foggy conditions to the mountains for three days.
Fang paddies, Doi Lang, Doi Ang Khang, Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary, Mae Ping National Park, Thaksin Maharat National Park and Doi Inthanon National Park.

With Keith Betton and John Clark. As both had already birded extensively in Asia, this was a very targeted trip with a short list of desired species.

5 Jan. Afternoon arrival at Chiang Mai and a drive to Fang, where we arrived with just enough time for a 40 minute birding session in the paddies outside town. The usual suspects found including Dusky Warbler, Thick-billed Warbler, Black-collared Starling and more than 300 Black-winged Stilt. Overnight in Fang town.

Giant Nuthatch
Giant Nuthatch

Himalayan Bluetail
Himalayan Bluetail

Spot-breasted Parrotbill
Spot-breasted Parrotbill

White-bellied Redstart
White-bellied Redstart

6 Jan. A full day on the Fang side of Doi Lang, with bright, clear, cool weather enabling birding all day. The day started superbly with almost the first birds being Giant Nuthatch and Mrs. Hume's Pheasant, several of which gave long views along the road. The morning was spent walking the road, as far as the army checkpoint. Here, the ever changing access situation meant we were actually allowed to walk past the checkpoint. However, that euphoria was short-lived as after 300 metres an additional, newly built checkpoint stopped us going farther. So the rest of the afternoon spent in the same areas, though adding a good number of additional species including White-bellied Redstart, Himalayan Bluetail and a flock of seven Himalayan Cutia.

7 Jan. As a number of the desired birds were better found on the wetter, eastern side of the mountain we took the long drive on the badly pot-holed road up from Thaton as far as the upper checkpoint. Surprisingly, here again access has changed as we were only permitted to walk beyond. This meant that getting to the San Ju viewpoint was effectively blocked as would require more than an hour's walk. Birding the roadside around the checkpoint and beyond was good, with White-necked Laughingthrush, White-gorgeted Flycatcher, Himalayan Bluetail, Scarlet-faced Liocichla and Eyebrowed Wren-Babbler. Quite some time was spent looking for Collared Babbler and Red-billed Scimitar Babbler, with only the latter heard. A few Rosy Minivet were an unexpected plus.

8 Jan. We started the day revisiting the drier flank hoping for Mountain Bamboo Partridge. The weather was decidedly strange, becoming darker and more cloudy ascending the mountain. The still, dark conditions felt more like an impending snow storm coming, so it was no surprise that the meteorological office had issued a hail warning the previous evening. Alas no partridges found, but several more Mrs. Hume's Pheasant seen. Descended the mountain at 09:00 with a few spots of rain. A quick session at Fang Hot Springs didn't produce the hoped for Spot-winged Grosbeak, so we left for Doi Ang Khang. Ascent of the mountain was accompanied by deteriorating weather conditions and by the time we reached the top it was rain and thick fog. Once across the ridge the weather at least stopped raining and we were able to visit the King's Project. At the usual feeding station were Black-breasted Thrush, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Streaked Wren-Babbler, White-browed Scimitar Babbler and White-tailed Robin. After, we drove the Lor Lae road searching for Black-headed Greenfinch without success. Late afternoon around the Chinese Cemetery where a good number of Brown-breasted Bulbul were present. However, fog pretty much killed any late birding so returned to the resort.

9 Jan. A very wet night continuing into the morning, with low cloud and rain. Birding not possible until about 09:00 when we returned to the King's Project for another session at the feeding station. Rain showers, some heavy, on and off all morning, with the bird species much as yesterday, although the number of Black-breasted Thrush had increased to four, as well as the addition of Streaked Wren-Babbler, Siberian Blue Robin and Blue Whistling Thrush. By midday the weather had deteriorated to constant rain, which, together with the prevailing cold, wet and miserable conditions forced us to abandon birding. So spent the afternoon holed up at the accommodation catching up on work.

10 Jan. A very patchy morning, visiting various locations for desired species, but being thwarted by the constant low cloud and fog. A final session in wetter forest produced a singing Spot-throated Babbler which true to form remained totally hidden. Left Doi Ang Khang and drove to Chiang Dao, with the final hour of the day around the temple. Just before dusk we were rewarded by a fly over Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl. After dinner, two calling Oriental Bay Owl near the temple.

11 Jan. Early morning around the temple. Fairly quiet, no doubt in response to the wet conditions the previous three days, though we did see Thick-billed Green Pigeon and Streaked Wren-Babbler, plus Orange-breasted Trogon and Red-headed Trogon heard. The rest of the day was spent along the Mueang Khong road, travelling up and over the pass, and well into the wetter forest beyond. Clear and bright with good birding. Rufous-winged Buzzard, Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Crested Treeswift, Bamboo Woodpecker, Sultan Tit, Slaty-backed Forktail and Yellow-vented Flowerpecker.

12 Jan. Having heard that Rusty-naped Pitta was showing at Doi Ang Khang, we first did a mad drive there, where by some miracle it appeared before we had even settled into the feeding area. Talk about luck. A long drive to Li with, late afternoon spent at Mae Ping. As usual, woodpeckers were in evidence, with White-bellied Woodpecker, Greater Yellownape, Black-headed Woodpecker and Greater Flameback. At least 20 Grey-headed Parakeet were found, along with Rufous Treepie and both Burmese Nuthatch and Velvet-fronted Nuthatch. Overnight in town.

13 Jan. Returned to Mae Ping, spending the first four hours of the day there, finding a good selection including Chinese Francolin, Oriental Honey Buzzard, White-bellied Woodpecker, Black-headed Woodpecker, White-rumped Falcon, Collared Falconet, Grey-headed Parakeet, Blossom-headed Parakeet, Burmese Shrike, Slender-billed Oriole, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Rufous Treepie, Yellow-streaked Warbler, Thick-billed Warbler and Chestnut-tailed Starling.

Streaked Wren-Babbler
Streaked Wren-Babbler

Black-breasted Thrush
Black-breasted Thrush

Yellow-vented Flowerpecker
Yellow-vented Flowerpecker

Collared Falconet
Collared Falconet

As the day heated up we drove to Thaksin Maharat, where we walked the steep trail to and from the Big Tree. This produced Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Speckled Piculet, Common Green Magpie, Olive Bulbul, Greenish Warbler, Sulphur-breasted Warbler, Martens's Warbler, Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler, Brown-cheeked Fulvetta and a group of Collared Babbler. Found a newish resort just outside Tak town.

Hill Blue Flycatcher
Hill Blue Flycatcher

Blyth's Leaf Warbler
Blyth's Leaf Warbler

14 Jan. Returned to Thaksin Maharat, spending a couple of hours looking for Spot-necked Babbler without success, before hitting the road for the longish drive to Doi Inthanon, where we managed to arrive at the summit with just sufficient time to look for some of the specialities around the summit boardwalk. This proved very fortuitous, with great views of Dark-sided Thrush and a Rufous-throated Partridge at point blank range.

15 Jan. Our final full day, and spent mainly along the Km 34 track as well as a revisit to the summit and a late afternoon at lower altitude around Mae Pan. Rufous-throated Partridge, Mountain Bamboo Partridge, Speckled Piculet, White-headed Bulbul, Buff-throated Warbler, Sulphur-breasted Warbler, Martens's Warbler and a Dark-sided Thrush again.

16 Jan. Left Inthanon at 06:00 for an early drop-off at Chiang Mai airport.

Species List

  Fang Paddies Count   Fang Hot Springs Count
  Striated Heron 1   Spotted Dove 2
  Eastern Cattle Egret 20   Asian Barred Owlet 1
  Grey Heron 1   Cook's Swift 100
  Black-winged Stilt 320   Coppersmith Barbet 1
  Spotted Dove 6   Black-hooded Oriole 1
  Greater Coucal 2   Barn Swallow 10
  Himalayan Swiftlet 10   Great Myna 4
  Asian Palm Swift 50   Taiga Flycatcher 2
  Ashy Woodswallow 4   Blue Rock Thrush 2
  Brown Shrike 4   Grey Wagtail 2
  Long-tailed Shrike 2   Olive-backed Pipit 5
  Black Drongo 2      
  Oriental Skylark 4   Doi Ang Khang Count
  Barn Swallow 6   Mountain Bamboo Partridge 1
  Asian House Martin 4   Spotted Dove 3
  Striated Swallow 1   Great Barbet 1
  Dusky Warbler 5   Bay Woodpecker 4
  Thick-billed Warbler 1   Rusty-naped Pitta 1
  Plain Prinia 1   Black-winged Cuckooshrike 1
  Great Myna 210   Short-billed Minivet 5
  Common Myna 8   Grey-backed Shrike 1
  Black-collared Starling 8   Maroon Oriole 1
  Oriental Magpie-Robin 2   Ashy Drongo 4
  Stejneger's Stonechat 12   Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo 2
  Pied Bush Chat 4   Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher 2
  Eurasian Tree Sparrow 20   Crested Finchbill 14
  Scaly-breasted Munia 40   Black-crested Bulbul 4
  White Wagtail 20   Red-whiskered Bulbul 6
  Paddyfield Pipit 1   Brown-breasted Bulbul 30
        Sooty-headed Bulbul 25
  Doi Lang Count   Flavescent Bulbul 22
  Bar-backed Partridge 2   Grey-eyed Bulbul 2
  Mountain Bamboo Partridge 6   Mountain Bulbul 15
  Mrs. Hume's Pheasant 15   Ashy Bulbul 5
  Oriental Honey Buzzard 1   Black Bulbul 25
  Mountain Hawk-Eagle 1   White-headed Bulbul 100
  Crested Goshawk 1   Barn Swallow 6
  Grey-faced Buzzard 2   Pygmy Wren-babbler 1
  Rufous Turtle Dove 2   Yellow-bellied Warbler 4
  Spotted Dove 4   Mountain Tailorbird 2
  Barred Cuckoo-Dove 2   Buff-throated Warbler 6
  Common Emerald Dove 3   Yellow-browed Warbler 10
  Mountain Imperial Pigeon 4   Hume's Leaf Warbler 6
  Banded Bay Cuckoo 1   Greenish Warbler 2
  Large Hawk-Cuckoo 2   Davison's Leaf Warbler 15
  Collared Owlet 3   Grey-crowned Warbler 2
  Asian Barred Owlet 2   Martens's Warbler 1
  Brown Hawk-Owl 1   Hill Prinia 7
  Cook's Swift 2000   Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler 2
  Red-headed Trogon 2   White-browed Scimitar Babbler 6
  Great Barbet 5   Yunnan Fulvetta 10
  Golden-throated Barbet 3   Streaked Wren-Babbler 1
  Speckled Piculet 1   Eyebrowed Wren-Babbler 2
  White-browed Piculet 1   Spot-throated Babbler 1
  Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker 4   White-browed Laughingthrush 4
  Stripe-breasted Woodpecker 3   Dark-backed Sibia 9
  Greater Yellownape 1   Chestnut-flanked White-eye 100
  Bay Woodpecker 4   Japanese White-eye 20
  Large Cuckooshrike 3   Chestnut-vented Nuthatch 2
  Black-winged Cuckooshrike 8   Black-breasted Thrush 8
  Rosy Minivet 2   Oriental Magpie-Robin 5
  Grey-chinned Minivet 2   Rufous-bellied Niltava 2
  Short-billed Minivet 6   Siberian Blue Robin 1
  Scarlet Minivet 2   White-tailed Robin 3
  Long-tailed Shrike 1   Sapphire Flycatcher 1
  Grey-backed Shrike 2   Orange-bellied Leafbird 3
  White-bellied Erpornis 1   Mrs. Gould's Sunbird 30
  Blyth's Shrike-babbler 6   Eurasian Tree Sparrow 10
  Black-eared Shrike-Babbler 1   Grey Wagtail 6
  Maroon Oriole 1   White Wagtail 4
  Ashy Drongo 6   Olive-backed Pipit 2
  Bronzed Drongo 6   Common Rosefinch 3
  Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo 3      
  White-throated Fantail 3   Chiang Dao Count
  Grey Treepie 12   Green-legged Partridge 2
  Yellow-bellied Fantail 6   Red Junglefowl 1
  Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher 6   Chinese Pond Heron 1
  Japanese Tit 6   Crested Goshawk 1
  Crested Finchbill 2   Rufous-winged Buzzard 2
  Striated Bulbul 2   Spotted Dove 10
  Black-crested Bulbul 8   Common Emerald Dove 2
  Red-whiskered Bulbul 2   Zebra Dove 1
  Sooty-headed Bulbul 30   Thick-billed Green Pigeon 2
  Flavescent Bulbul 30   Pin-tailed Green Pigeon 4
  Grey-eyed Bulbul 1   Mountain Imperial Pigeon 3
  Mountain Bulbul 12   Green-billed Malkoha 2
  Ashy Bulbul 4   Banded Bay Cuckoo 1
  Black Bulbul 10   Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo 2
  Barn Swallow 4   Oriental Bay Owl 2
  Asian House Martin 4   Collared Scops Owl 1
  Mountain Tailorbird 1   Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl 1
  Aberrant Bush Warbler 1   Asian Barred Owlet 2
  Slaty-bellied Tesia 1   Crested Treeswift 8
  Black-throated Bushtit 20   Himalayan Swiftlet 30
  Radde's Warbler 2   House Swift 10
  Buff-barred Warbler 2   Orange-breasted Trogon 4
  Pallas's Leaf Warbler 15   Red-headed Trogon 1
  Yellow-browed Warbler 25   Blue-bearded Bee-eater 1
  Hume's Leaf Warbler 4   Oriental Pied Hornbill 4
  Greenish Warbler 1   Great Barbet 2
  Claudia's Leaf Warbler 2   Blue-throated Barbet 8
  Davison's Leaf Warbler 30   Blue-eared Barbet 4
  Grey-crowned Warbler 10   Greater Flameback 5
  Chestnut-crowned Warbler 1   Bamboo Woodpecker 4
  Hill Prinia 6   Bay Woodpecker 4
  Rufescent Prinia 12   Scarlet Minivet 4
  Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler 8   Grey-backed Shrike 3
  White-browed Scimitar Babbler 2   Ashy Drongo 2
  Red-billed Scimitar Babbler 2   Bronzed Drongo 2
  Buff-chested Babbler 12   Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo 2
  Yunnan Fulvetta 20   Hair-crested Drongo 4
  Eyebrowed Wren-Babbler 2   Greater Racket-tailed Drongo 1
  White-necked Laughingthrush 15   Black-naped Monarch 2
  White-browed Laughingthrush 6   Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher 4
  Silver-eared Laughingthrush 18   Sultan Tit 2
  Himalayan Cutia 7   Black-headed Bulbul 10
  Blue-winged Minla 4   Black-crested Bulbul 10
  Scarlet-faced Liocichla 8   Red-whiskered Bulbul 10
  Spectacled Barwing 8   Sooty-headed Bulbul 5
  Rufous-backed Sibia 6   Puff-throated Bulbul 10
  Dark-backed Sibia 25   Grey-eyed Bulbul 6
  Grey-headed Parrotbill 6   Mountain Bulbul 2
  Spot-breasted Parrotbill 4   Barn Swallow 6
  Chestnut-flanked White-eye 10   Striated Swallow 4
  Chestnut-vented Nuthatch 6   Yellow-bellied Warbler 14
  Velvet-fronted Nuthatch 2   Yellow-browed Warbler 10
  Giant Nuthatch 8   Two-barred Warbler 2
  Hume's Treecreeper 4   Grey-crowned Warbler 1
  Oriental Magpie-Robin 1   Thick-billed Warbler 1
  White-gorgeted Flycatcher 2   Buff-chested Babbler 2
  Hill Blue Flycatcher 1   Pin-striped Tit-Babbler 20
  Large Niltava 2   Brown-cheeked Fulvetta 10
  Verditer Flycatcher 2   Streaked Wren-Babbler 4
  White-bellied Redstart 2   Asian Fairy-bluebird 2
  Himalayan Bluetail 4   Velvet-fronted Nuthatch 4
  Blue Whistling Thrush 1   Oriental Magpie-Robin 2
  Taiga Flycatcher 2   White-rumped Shama 4
  Little Pied Flycatcher 5   Hill Blue Flycatcher 3
  Sapphire Flycatcher 4   Slaty-backed Forktail 4
  Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush 3   Blue Whistling Thrush 2
  Stejneger's Stonechat 4   Taiga Flycatcher 5
  Grey Bush Chat 10   Little Pied Flycatcher 2
  Golden-fronted Leafbird 1   Orange-bellied Leafbird 1
  Orange-bellied Leafbird 9   Yellow-vented Flowerpecker 1
  Fire-breasted Flowerpecker 4   Black-throated Sunbird 1
  Mrs. Gould's Sunbird 20   Little Spiderhunter 2
  Black-throated Sunbird 2   Streaked Spiderhunter 5
  Little Spiderhunter 1   Grey Wagtail 4
  Streaked Spiderhunter 10      
  Grey Wagtail 5   Doi Inthanon Count
  Olive-backed Pipit 15   Rufous-throated Partridge 4
        Mountain Bamboo Partridge 1
  Mae Ping Count   Red Junglefowl 1
  Chinese Francolin 1   Crested Goshawk 1
  Red Junglefowl 2   Oriental Turtle Dove 1
  Oriental Honey Buzzard 1   Spotted Dove 10
  Red-wattled Lapwing 5   Common Emerald Dove 2
  Spotted Dove 10   Banded Bay Cuckoo 1
  Green-billed Malkoha 2   Mountain Scops Owl 1
  Banded Bay Cuckoo 2   Asian Barred Owlet 2
  Lineated Barbet 3   Great Barbet 2
  Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker 1   Golden-throated Barbet 4
  White-bellied Woodpecker 2   Blue-throated Barbet 10
  Greater Yellownape 3   Speckled Piculet 2
  Black-headed Woodpecker 12   Bay Woodpecker 1
  Greater Flameback 4   Grey-chinned Minivet 6
  White-rumped Falcon 2   Grey-backed Shrike 2
  Collared Falconet 1   White-bellied Erpornis 4
  Grey-headed Parakeet 25   Blyth's Shrike-babbler 4
  Blossom-headed Parakeet 100   Maroon Oriole 2
  Common Iora 1   Ashy Drongo 4
  Black-winged Cuckooshrike 1   Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo 1
  Burmese Shrike 1   White-throated Fantail 2
  Slender-billed Oriole 1   Black-naped Monarch 2
  Black-hooded Oriole 3   Eastern Jungle Crow 1
  Greater Racket-tailed Drongo 2   Yellow-bellied Fantail 3
  Black-naped Monarch 2   Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher 3
  Red-billed Blue Magpie 1   Yellow-cheeked Tit 2
  Rufous Treepie 3   Black-crested Bulbul 6
  Eastern Jungle Crow 2   Red-whiskered Bulbul 2
  Sooty-headed Bulbul 10   Sooty-headed Bulbul 10
  Yellow-streaked Warbler 5   Flavescent Bulbul 15
  Radde's Warbler 4   Puff-throated Bulbul 2
  Yellow-browed Warbler 2   Grey-eyed Bulbul 1
  Thick-billed Warbler 3   Black Bulbul 2
  Rufescent Prinia 15   White-headed Bulbul 6
  Common Tailorbird 1   Pygmy Wren-babbler 4
  Puff-throated Babbler 3   Mountain Tailorbird 4
  White-crested Laughingthrush 12   Slaty-bellied Tesia 2
  Burmese Nuthatch 1   Buff-throated Warbler 6
  Velvet-fronted Nuthatch 1   Ashy-throated Warbler 2
  Chestnut-tailed Starling 7   Yellow-browed Warbler 2
  White-rumped Shama 3   Hume's Leaf Warbler 2
  Taiga Flycatcher 2   Blyth's Leaf Warbler 4
        Claudia's Leaf Warbler 2
  Thaksin Maharat Count   Davison's Leaf Warbler 10
  Shikra 1   Sulphur-breasted Warbler 2
  Common Emerald Dove 4   Martens's Warbler 4
  Mountain Imperial Pigeon 2   Hill Prinia 4
  Green-billed Malkoha 1   Golden Babbler 2
  Great Barbet 5   Rufous-winged Fulvetta 6
  Blue-throated Barbet 4   Yunnan Fulvetta 20
  Speckled Piculet 2   Silver-eared Laughingthrush 8
  Bay Woodpecker 3   Bar-throated Minla 6
  Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike 2   Silver-eared Mesia 6
  Scarlet Minivet 2   Rufous-backed Sibia 2
  White-bellied Erpornis 2   Dark-backed Sibia 5
  Ashy Drongo 4   Chestnut-flanked White-eye 40
  Hair-crested Drongo 4   Japanese White-eye 2
  White-throated Fantail 2   Chestnut-vented Nuthatch 4
  Black-naped Monarch 3   Hume's Treecreeper 3
  Common Green Magpie 2   Dark-sided Thrush 1
  Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher 2   Oriental Magpie-Robin 1
  Black-crested Bulbul 5   Hill Blue Flycatcher 2
  White-throated Bulbul 5   Large Niltava 2
  Olive Bulbul 6   Blue Whistling Thrush 4
  Mountain Bulbul 2   Little Pied Flycatcher 1
  Ashy Bulbul 2   Grey Bush Chat 2
  Barn Swallow 6   Blue-winged Leafbird 2
  Yellow-bellied Warbler 10   Fire-breasted Flowerpecker 4
  Yellow-browed Warbler 5   Mrs. Gould's Sunbird 10
  Greenish Warbler 3   Green-tailed Sunbird 1
  Sulphur-breasted Warbler 2   Black-throated Sunbird 2
  Martens's Warbler 3   Little Spiderhunter 1
  Dark-necked Tailorbird 2   Streaked Spiderhunter 6
  Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler 2   Eurasian Tree Sparrow 20
  Grey-throated Babbler 4   Grey Wagtail 2
  Rufous-fronted Babbler 2   Olive-backed Pipit 2
  Pin-striped Tit-Babbler 2      
  Brown-cheeked Fulvetta 10      
  Collared Babbler 20      
  Buff-breasted Babbler 4      
  White-crested Laughingthrush 5      
  Chestnut-flanked White-eye 30      
  Asian Fairy-bluebird 4      
  Rufous-browed Flycatcher 2      
  Pale Blue Flycatcher 1      
  Hill Blue Flycatcher 6      
  Northern White-crowned Forktail 4      
  Taiga Flycatcher 4      
  Black-throated Sunbird 3      
  Little Spiderhunter 1