Northern and Western Mountains: 17-24 Jan 2015






17 - 24 Jan 2015.
Cool and pleasant throughout. Dry.
Doi Lang, Doi Ang Khang, Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary, Doi Inthanon National Park, Mae Ping National Park, Thaksin Maharat National Park and Mae Wong National Park.

With David Fisher. Armed with a very short target list and only a week, sandwiched between two other trips for David, this was a fast-paced trip in search of some of the more difficult species.

17 Jan. A late afternoon arrival at Chiang Mai followed by a drive to Fang, where we arrived after dark. Met up with Peter Ericcson, John Lobel, Ken Petersen and Tim Bonsack who happened to also be heading up to Doi Lang the following day.

Siberian Rubythroat
Siberian Rubythroat

Long-tailed Sibia
Long-tailed Sibia

18 Jan. All day spent on the western flank of Doi Lang starting at first light at the lower levels. Our main targets were naturally Mrs. Hume's Pheasant and Mountain Bamboo Partridge, neither of which we encountered all day. As usual, the upper checkpoint was not allowing any access to the top parts of the mountain, so we worked the mid and lower sections all day, including several sessions in the feeding stations. The fantastic weather and cool conditions gave us an impressive list of species including Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, Maroon Oriole, White-necked Laughingthrush, White-browed Laughingthrush, Spectacled Barwing, Rufous-backed Sibia, Long-tailed Sibia, Grey-headed Parrotbill, Spot-breasted Parrotbill, Giant Nuthatch, White-gorgeted Flycatcher, White-bellied Redstart, Siberian Rubythroat, Himalayan Bluetail, Slaty-backed Flycatcher and Slaty-blue Flycatcher.

19 Jan. Although we'd originally earmarked the day for the long drive up the poor road on the eastern, Thaton, side of the mountain, the lure of Mrs. Hume's Pheasant proved too strong so the day was again spent on the western side. This proved to be an excellent choice, at least for the pheasant, as we encountered nine birds in three parties throughout the day. Also good views of Giant Nuthatch and Sapphire Flycatcher. Otherwise much the same birds as yesterday. Again no Mountain Bamboo Partridge on the descent. This bird seems to have gone totally quiet and disappeared over the last month. Dinner in town.

20 Jan. Up to Doi Ang Khang for first light, where we started at the usual feeding area inside the King's Project. Several Black-breasted Thrush, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Streaked Wren-Babbler and a couple of White-tailed Robin were in attendance, while an Indian Cuckoo was heard. We spent the next three hours trying to find Scarlet-faced Liocichla, but only heard a pair. Drove to Chiang Dao and spent a short session along the Mueang Khong Road, with Blue-bearded Bee-eater and Bamboo Woodpecker. A longish drive to Doi Inthanon, hitting Chiang Mai during rush hour, so arrived at Doi Inthanon just on dusk.

21 Jan. We started at Inthanon summit, where first bird out of the vehicle was Silver-eared Laughingthrush, and the second bird, our main target, Dark-sided Thrush. As no other visitors were venturing on the boardwalk at this early hour we were able to watch and video this bird for 30 minutes. Another hour or so around the visitor centre, before the crowds appeared, gave us Rufous-throated Partridge, Ashy Wood Pigeon and Slaty-backed Flycatcher. Retreated to the Km 34 track where a couple of hours were fairly quiet other than an unusual Asian Emerald Cuckoo. Drove to Mae Ping, arriving with sufficient time for an hour or so along the Thung Kik road, with White-bellied Woodpecker, Black-headed Woodpecker, Grey-headed Parakeet, Red-billed Blue Magpie,Yellow-streaked Warbler and Blue-throated Blue Flycatcher. Overnight in Li.

Hill Blue FLycatcher
Hill Blue Flycatcher

Grey-headed Parakeet
Grey-headed Parakeet

22 Jan. A return to Mae Ping, and in the first hour walked the first kilometre, finding White-bellied Woodpecker, Great Slaty Woodpecker and Rufous Treepie. We tried the area where Rufous-bellied Woodpecker had previously been seen, nearer Thung Kik, but not present, although we did score an Ultramarine Flycatcher. Another walk produced little other than Yellow-streaked Warbler. Drove to Thaksin Maharat. Walked first half of trail to the Big Tree but quiet, so tried the main road nearer the bridge. Even in the afternoon heat we still recorded Olive Bulbul, Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler, Vivid Niltava, Speckled Piculet and Slaty-backed Flycatcher. Completed the drive to Mae Wong, overnighting outside the park.

Rusty-naped Pitta
Rusty-naped Pitta

Radde's Warbler
Radde's Warbler

Speckled Piculet
Speckled Piculet

23 Jan. All day at Mae Wong, starting with the hour's drive up to Chong Yen. The access road has lately been resurfaced and widened, making access quicker, but the widened road has resulted in several landslides and now enables locals to drive even faster - we almost collided with a car on the wrong side of the road coming down. Notably fewer mammals en route as well. Having contacted the ranger, who tries to allocate photographers to the various photography spots in an orderly manner, we were able to go directly to the Grey Peacock-Pheasant stakeout. Over the past year this bird has become ridiculously tame and we were still walking down the slope with the bird just waiting around to be fed!

A group of White-necked Laughingthrush were also immediately to hand. We then birded around the campsite before descending to the pitta hide. Fortunately we seemed to be the only birders in the park, so gaining access to the hide areas was straightforward. Birds here seemed even tamer than those above, with a female White-tailed Robin basically living in the hide and taking worms directly from the hand. Other visitors included Streaked Wren-Babbler, Hill Blue Flycatcher, Buff-breasted Babbler and a stunning Rusty-naped Pitta. The rest of the day spent birding the upper levels. A fine selection of birds for the day including Little Cuckoo-Dove, White-browed Piculet, Bamboo Woodpecker, Clicking Shrike-babbler, Maroon Oriole, White-throated Bulbul, Olive Bulbul, Claudia's Warbler, Martens's Warbler, Sulphur-breasted Warbler, Eyebrowed Wren-Babbler, Silver-eared Mesia, Black-throated Parrotbill, Striated Yuhina, Rufous-browed Flycatcher, Rufous-bellied Niltava, Slaty-backed Flycatcher, Small Niltava, Northern White-crowned Forktail and Ruby-cheeked Sunbird.

24 Jan. Last day of the trip and a return to Chong Yen. Much the same as yesterday, but with a few new species for the list - Oriental Honey Buzzard, Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, Long-tailed Broadbill, Spot-necked Babbler, Collared Babbler, Silver-eared Mesia and Rufous-bellied Niltava. Afternoon return to Chiang Mai.

Species List

  Doi Lang Count   Doi Ang Khang Count
  Mrs. Hume's Pheasant 9   Indian Cuckoo 1
  Crested Serpent Eagle 2   Rusty-naped Pitta 1
  Spotted Dove 1   Grey-backed Shrike 1
  Mountain Imperial Pigeon 1   Blyth's Shrike-babbler 1
  Collared Owlet 2   Maroon Oriole 1
  Large-tailed Nightjar 1   Ashy Drongo 2
  Cook's Swift 200   Crested Finchbill 10
  Golden-throated Barbet 3   Red-whiskered Bulbul 35
  Blue-throated Barbet 1   Sooty-headed Bulbul 6
  Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker 6   Flavescent Bulbul 10
  Stripe-breasted Woodpecker 5   Mountain Bulbul 3
  Crimson-breasted Woodpecker 1   Black Bulbul 150
  Greater Yellownape 1   White-headed Bulbul 4
  Lesser Yellownape 2   Mountain Tailorbird 2
  Bay Woodpecker 1   Aberrant Bush Warbler 2
  Common Iora 1   Davison's Leaf Warbler 4
  Large Cuckooshrike 6   Grey-crowned Warbler 2
  Black-winged Cuckooshrike 2   Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler 2
  Grey-chinned Minivet 2   White-browed Scimitar Babbler 4
  Short-billed Minivet 8   Streaked Wren-Babbler 1
  Scarlet Minivet 2   Scarlet-faced Liocichla 2
  Long-tailed Shrike 2   Dark-backed Sibia 10
  Blyth's Shrike-babbler 6   Chestnut-flanked White-eye 40
  Maroon Oriole 2   Japanese White-eye 1
  Ashy Drongo 6   Black-breasted Thrush 2
  Bronzed Drongo 1   Oriental Magpie-Robin 2
  Hair-crested Drongo 2   Rufous-bellied Niltava 1
  Grey Treepie 8   Siberian Blue Robin 1
  Yellow-bellied Fantail 1   White-tailed Robin 2
  Japanese Tit 6   Grey Bush Chat 1
  Sooty-headed Bulbul 15   Mrs. Gould's Sunbird 10
  Flavescent Bulbul 25   Streaked Spiderhunter 1
  Mountain Bulbul 3   Eurasian Tree Sparrow 6
  Black Bulbul 5   Grey Wagtail 1
  Mountain Tailorbird 1   Common Rosefinch 1
  Aberrant Bush Warbler 4      
  Pallas's Leaf Warbler 5   Doi Inthanon Count
  Yellow-browed Warbler 5   Rufous-throated Partridge 6
  Hume's Leaf Warbler 6   Ashy Wood Pigeon 1
  Greenish Warbler 1   Spotted Dove 10
  Davison's Leaf Warbler 30   Asian Emerald Cuckoo 2
  Grey-crowned Warbler 10   Mountain Scops Owl 1
  Martens's Warbler 3   Asian Barred Owlet 2
  Hill Prinia 5   Great Barbet 3
  Rufescent Prinia 12   Golden-throated Barbet 3
  Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler 10   Stripe-breasted Woodpecker 1
  Buff-chested Babbler 6   Bay Woodpecker 2
  Golden Babbler 1   Blyth's Shrike-babbler 2
  Chestnut-capped Babbler 2   Maroon Oriole 2
  Yunnan Fulvetta 12   Black Bulbul 2
  White-necked Laughingthrush 6   Pygmy Wren-babbler 3
  White-browed Laughingthrush 4   Mountain Tailorbird 2
  Silver-eared Laughingthrush 10   Slaty-bellied Tesia 3
  Himalayan Cutia 2   Ashy-throated Warbler 4
  Blue-winged Minla 10   Hume's Leaf Warbler 1
  Spectacled Barwing 10   Blyth's Leaf Warbler 10
  Rufous-backed Sibia 6   Davison's Leaf Warbler 6
  Dark-backed Sibia 15   Golden Babbler 2
  Long-tailed Sibia 6   Rufous-winged Fulvetta 6
  Grey-headed Parrotbill 40   Yunnan Fulvetta 8
  Spot-breasted Parrotbill 4   Silver-eared Laughingthrush 8
  Chestnut-vented Nuthatch 7   Bar-throated Minla 10
  Velvet-fronted Nuthatch 6   Dark-backed Sibia 6
  Giant Nuthatch 7   Hume's Treecreeper 2
  Hume's Treecreeper 2   Dark-sided Thrush 2
  White-rumped Shama 1   Large Niltava 1
  White-gorgeted Flycatcher 1   Blue Whistling Thrush 3
  Pale Blue Flycatcher 1   Slaty-backed Flycatcher 1
  Rufous-bellied Niltava 1   Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher 1
  Large Niltava 1   Mrs. Gould's Sunbird 5
  Verditer Flycatcher 1   Green-tailed Sunbird 6
  White-bellied Redstart 3   Black-throated Sunbird 1
  Siberian Rubythroat 1   Eurasian Tree Sparrow 6
  Himalayan Bluetail 4      
  Blue Whistling Thrush 1   Mae Wong Count
  Slaty-backed Flycatcher 1   Rufous-throated Partridge 4
  Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher 1   Red Junglefowl 2
  Little Pied Flycatcher 1   Kalij Pheasant 8
  Slaty-blue Flycatcher 2   Grey Peacock-Pheasant 3
  Sapphire Flycatcher 3   Oriental Honey Buzzard 1
  Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush 1   Crested Serpent Eagle 3
  Grey Bush Chat 5   Little Cuckoo-Dove 1
  Golden-fronted Leafbird 1   Common Emerald Dove 2
  Orange-bellied Leafbird 2   Pin-tailed Green Pigeon 3
  Yellow-bellied Flowerpecker 1   Mountain Imperial Pigeon 15
  Mrs. Gould's Sunbird 40   Greater Coucal 1
  Black-throated Sunbird 1   Collared Owlet 4
  Streaked Spiderhunter 5   Asian Palm Swift 15
        Indian Roller 1
  Mae Ping Count   Blue-bearded Bee-eater 2
  Red Junglefowl 1   Great Barbet 5
  Shikra 1   Golden-throated Barbet 5
  Green-billed Malkoha 1   Blue-throated Barbet 4
  Orange-breasted Trogon 1   Speckled Piculet 4
  Indian Roller 1   White-browed Piculet 2
  Lineated Barbet 4   Bamboo Woodpecker 2
  Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker 4   Bay Woodpecker 4
  White-bellied Woodpecker 6   Long-tailed Broadbill 2
  Black-headed Woodpecker 8   Rusty-naped Pitta 1
  Common Flameback 4   Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike 6
  Greater Flameback 4   Scarlet Minivet 1
  Great Slaty Woodpecker 1   White-bellied Erpornis 2
  Grey-headed Parakeet 14   Blyth's Shrike-babbler 6
  Large Woodshrike 4   Clicking Shrike-babbler 3
  Large Cuckooshrike 2   Maroon Oriole 3
  Hair-crested Drongo 2   Ashy Drongo 2
  Greater Racket-tailed Drongo 2   Bronzed Drongo 3
  Black-naped Monarch 1   Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo 1
  Red-billed Blue Magpie 6   Hair-crested Drongo 6
  Rufous Treepie 4   Greater Racket-tailed Drongo 2
  Sooty-headed Bulbul 15   White-throated Fantail 2
  Barn Swallow 1   Common Green Magpie 2
  Yellow-streaked Warbler 4   Grey Treepie 5
  Radde's Warbler 1   Black-crested Bulbul 12
  Yellow-browed Warbler 4   Flavescent Bulbul 30
  Rufescent Prinia 2   White-throated Bulbul 3
  Pin-striped Tit-Babbler 2   Olive Bulbul 4
  White-crested Laughingthrush 10   Mountain Bulbul 6
  Burmese Nuthatch 2   Ashy Bulbul 3
  Velvet-fronted Nuthatch 2   Black Bulbul 8
  White-rumped Shama 3   Barn Swallow 4
  Blue-throated Blue Flycatcher 1   Striated Swallow 10
  Taiga Flycatcher 8   Mountain Tailorbird 1
  Ultramarine Flycatcher 1   Radde's Warbler 6
  Golden-fronted Leafbird 1   Yellow-browed Warbler 10
  Olive-backed Sunbird 2   Claudia's Leaf Warbler 3
        Davison's Leaf Warbler 15
  Thaksin Maharat Count   Sulphur-breasted Warbler 2
  Common Emerald Dove 2   Martens's Warbler 2
  Great Barbet 3   White-browed Scimitar Babbler 2
  Blue-throated Barbet 2   Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler 4
  Speckled Piculet 1   Grey-throated Babbler 8
  Black-crested Bulbul 4   Spot-necked Babbler 2
  Sooty-headed Bulbul 10   Rufous-fronted Babbler 1
  Olive Bulbul 6   Golden Babbler 10
  Striated Swallow 2   Yunnan Fulvetta 12
  Yellow-bellied Warbler 3   Streaked Wren-Babbler 2
  Yellow-browed Warbler 2   Eyebrowed Wren-Babbler 2
  Hume's Leaf Warbler 1   Collared Babbler 5
  Pin-striped Tit-Babbler 2   Buff-breasted Babbler 2
  Vivid Niltava 1   White-necked Laughingthrush 6
  Slaty-backed Flycatcher 1   Silver-eared Laughingthrush 4
  Black-throated Sunbird 1   Silver-eared Mesia 4
        Black-throated Parrotbill 20
  Chiang Dao Count   Striated Yuhina 20
  Crested Serpent Eagle 1   Oriental White-eye 20
  Mountain Imperial Pigeon 1   Asian Fairy-bluebird 2
  Himalayan Swiftlet 50   Velvet-fronted Nuthatch 2
  Blue-bearded Bee-eater 1   Rufous-browed Flycatcher 4
  Bamboo Woodpecker 2   Hill Blue Flycatcher 4
  Bay Woodpecker 1   Rufous-bellied Niltava 1
  Ashy Drongo 2   Small Niltava 1
  Sooty-headed Bulbul 4   Verditer Flycatcher 1
  Grey-eyed Bulbul 2   White-tailed Robin 2
  Yellow-browed Warbler 2   Northern White-crowned Forktail 4
  Little Spiderhunter 1   Blue Whistling Thrush 5
        Slaty-backed Flycatcher 1
        Taiga Flycatcher 15
        Little Pied Flycatcher 1
        Orange-bellied Leafbird 6
        Ruby-cheeked Sunbird 2
        Black-throated Sunbird 5
        Little Spiderhunter 1
        Streaked Spiderhunter 8
        Grey Wagtail 3
        Olive-backed Pipit 2