Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary: 23 - 27 Nov 2015






23 Nov - 27 Nov 2015
Warm, dry and partly cloud.
Thaksin Maharat National Park, Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary and Taphan Hin

With Steve Tibbett. A second exploration of Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary following our first visit in June 2012. Umphang was selected for this dry season visit due to its almost total absence of visiting birders, as well as a deliberate attempt to look for Yellow-vented Warbler that likely winters, plus trying to locate Rusty-capped Fulvetta - known in Thailand only from a single sighting from a higher elevation of the same mountain range. The principle reason for the dearth of birders here is the driving distances: 650 kilometres from Bangkok and 550 kilometres from Chiang Mai, much on slow mountain roads.

23 Nov. Left Chiang Mai early and drove to Thaksin Maharat National Park, where we birded the majority of the afternoon. With only the one trail available, parked as usual at the top and descended down to the Big Tree; a steep drop by all measures. Reasonable bird activity on the way down with Olive Bulbul, Clicking Shrike-babbler and White-throated Bulbul. At the bottom we headed left to investigate the evergreen forest of the valley floor. As usual in Thai parks, maintenance of trails is poor, so this trail was an obstacle course of branches and tree falls hindering progress.

Along the way we encountered a couple of good feeding flocks, with several Sulphur-breasted Warbler and, very surprisingly, a single Yellow-vented Warbler that was a great start to the trip. We also flushed several Bar-backed Partridge and heard Northern White-crowned Forktail. The return slog up the trail to the top found Asian Emerald Cuckoo, White-browed Piculet, Common Green Magpie, Greenish Warbler, Claudia's Leaf Warbler, Martens's Warbler and Striated Yuhina. Late afternoon drove to Mae Sot where we met up with Dave Gandy, who happened to be working there a couple of days, and one of the few other birders to have birded Umphang.

24 Nov. Left Mae Sot at 07:00, heading toward Umphang town, to arrive at Km 120 at 09:45, where we spent the remainder of the day birding the stretch of forest between Km 118 and Km 122. Compared to our previous visit we found the road rather busy with agricultural trucks travelling between Mae Sot and Umphang with dust a minor issue. A good list of species but no luck with any of our targets. Best of the selection were Grey Peacock-Pheasant heard, Mountain Hawk-Eagle, Rufous Turtle Dove, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Red-headed Trogon, Speckled Piculet, White-browed Piculet, Black-winged Cuckooshrike, Grey-backed Shrike, Slender-billed Oriole, Maroon Oriole, White-throated Bulbul, Olive Bulbul, Sulphur-breasted Warbler, Martens's Warbler, a mystery Bush Warbler, Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler, White-necked Laughingthrush and good numbers of Striated Yuhina.

Asian Emerald Cuckoo
Asian Emerald Cuckoo

Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler
Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler


Drove the final hour to Umphang where we found our previous guesthouse full of workers, so opted to stay at the place next door which although new, already needed bathroom maintenance. Discovered that we'd both been badly bitten by the same flies as at Mae Wong. The prevous trip these had not been problematic, so caught badly by surprise.

25 Nov. All day birding the road between Km 116 and Km 126. As expected, species much as yesterday with the addition of a flock of 20 Pin-tailed Green Pigeon, 2 Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, Red-billed Scimitar Babbler, Collared Babbler, Asian Emerald Cuckoo, Stripe-breasted Woodpecker, Rosy Minivet, Clicking Shrike-babbler, Sultan Tit and Radde's Warbler.

26 Nov. A final attempt birding the forest, mainly between Km 117 to Km 120, adding Striated Bulbul, Collared Babbler, Silver-eared Mesia and Red-billed Scimitar Babbler. Left the area at 14:00, but made a couple more random stops at Km 105 and Km 79, finding Blue-throated Blue Flycatcher. Back to Mae Sot for another overnight.

27 Nov. We had pencilled in another look at Thaksin Maharat, but the lure of several Black Stork near Phitchit had us driving 300 kilometres to the east, where successfully located half a dozen. Long drive back to Chiang Mai.

Black Stork
Black Stork

Species List

  Umphang Count   Thaksin Maharat Count
  Rufous-throated Partridge 4   Bar-backed Partridge 4
  Grey Peacock-Pheasant 1   Crested Goshawk 1
  Mountain Hawk-Eagle 1   Common Emerald Dove 3
  Crested Goshawk 1   Asian Emerald Cuckoo 1
  Shikra 1   Great Barbet 1
  Rufous Turtle Dove 15   Blue-throated Barbet 2
  Common Emerald Dove 6   White-browed Piculet 1
  Pin-tailed Green Pigeon 20   Bay Woodpecker 1
  Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon 2   White-bellied Erpornis 10
  Mountain Imperial Pigeon 3   Clicking Shrike-babbler 2
  Green-billed Malkoha 2   Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo 2
  Asian Emerald Cuckoo 1   Hair-crested Drongo 1
  Banded Bay Cuckoo 2   White-throated Fantail 2
  Collared Owlet 4   Black-naped Monarch 2
  Asian Palm Swift 4   Common Green Magpie 1
  Red-headed Trogon 1   Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher 3
  Great Barbet 4   Black-headed Bulbul 3
  Golden-throated Barbet 15   Black-crested Bulbul 6
  Blue-throated Barbet 5   Sooty-headed Bulbul 4
  Speckled Piculet 3   White-throated Bulbul 4
  White-browed Piculet 3   Olive Bulbul 3
  Stripe-breasted Woodpecker 2   Ashy Bulbul 2
  Bay Woodpecker 3   Barn Swallow 10
  Black-winged Cuckooshrike 3   Asian House Martin 4
  Rosy Minivet 6   Red-rumped Swallow 2
  Grey-chinned Minivet 5   Yellow-bellied Warbler 6
  Scarlet Minivet 8   Yellow-browed Warbler 5
  Grey-backed Shrike 4   Greenish Warbler 2
  White-bellied Erpornis 10   Claudia's Leaf Warbler 3
  Blyth's Shrike-babbler 3   Davison's Leaf Warbler 1
  Clicking Shrike-babbler 3   Yellow-vented Warbler 1
  Slender-billed Oriole 6   Sulphur-breasted Warbler 8
  Maroon Oriole 2   Martens's Warbler 5
  Ashy Drongo 2   Common Tailorbird 1
  Bronzed Drongo 5   Dark-necked Tailorbird 2
  Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo 4   White-browed Scimitar Babbler 4
  Hair-crested Drongo 15   Grey-throated Babbler 1
  White-throated Fantail 2   Rufous-fronted Babbler 1
  Grey Treepie 4   Pin-striped Tit-Babbler 10
  Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher 3   Brown-cheeked Fulvetta 12
  Sultan Tit 2   Buff-breasted Babbler 3
  Yellow-cheeked Tit 6   White-crested Laughingthrush 10
  Striated Bulbul 2   Striated Yuhina 35
  Black-crested Bulbul 10   Oriental White-eye 5
  Red-whiskered Bulbul 2   Asian Fairy-bluebird 2
  Flavescent Bulbul 20   Hill Blue Flycatcher 6
  White-throated Bulbul 10   Verditer Flycatcher 2
  Olive Bulbul 15   Northern White-crowned Forktail 1
  Mountain Bulbul 20   Taiga Flycatcher 1
  Black Bulbul 2   Fire-breasted Flowerpecker 4
  Barn Swallow 15   Ruby-cheeked Sunbird 2
  Asian House Martin 10   Black-throated Sunbird 4
  Red-rumped Swallow 4   Little Spiderhunter 2
  Yellow-bellied Warbler 6   Streaked Spiderhunter 2
  Slaty-bellied Tesia 2      
  Radde's Warbler 1   Taphan Hin Count
  Yellow-browed Warbler 30   Black Stork 6
  Greenish Warbler 3   White-throated Kingfisher 1
  Claudia's Leaf Warbler 15   Brown Shrike 2
  Sulphur-breasted Warbler 6      
  Martens's Warbler 12      
  Russet Bush Warbler 1      
  Dark-necked Tailorbird 2      
  White-browed Scimitar Babbler 3      
  Red-billed Scimitar Babbler 4      
  Coral-billed Scimitar Babbler 7      
  Grey-throated Babbler 8      
  Spot-necked Babbler 2      
  Rufous-fronted Babbler 5      
  Golden Babbler 20      
  Chestnut-capped Babbler 2      
  Yunnan Fulvetta 30      
  Collared Babbler 8      
  Buff-breasted Babbler 4      
  White-necked Laughingthrush 4      
  Silver-eared Laughingthrush 6      
  Silver-eared Mesia 4      
  Striated Yuhina 40      
  Chestnut-flanked White-eye 50      
  Oriental White-eye 70      
  Velvet-fronted Nuthatch 4      
  Green Cochoa 1      
  Rufous-browed Flycatcher 1      
  Hill Blue Flycatcher 15      
  Blue-throated Blue Flycatcher 1      
  Northern White-crowned Forktail 2      
  Blue Whistling Thrush 2      
  Taiga Flycatcher 2      
  Blue-winged Leafbird 4      
  Orange-bellied Leafbird 10      
  Fire-breasted Flowerpecker 2      
  Ruby-cheeked Sunbird 1      
  Black-throated Sunbird 12      
  Little Spiderhunter 8      
  Streaked Spiderhunter 15      
  White-rumped Munia 2      
  Grey Wagtail 6