Having spent time in Laem Pak Bia-Pak Thale central Thailand
and several well known birding sites in southeast Thailand recently.
We decided a second visit was merited. We stayed in a nice hotel
just north of the main airport which was ideal for birding most
of the sites north of Phuket. Sites birded were Laem Pakarang for
waders which produced three Grey-tailed Tattler easily amid plenty
of Terek Sandpiper, Red-necked Stint, Greater and Lesser Sandplover,
birding here is easy and the wader roost easily found, a half day
would suffice. Khao Phang nga NP. Main birds of note are Chestnut-naped
Forktail, Wallace's hawk Eagle and Blue-banded Kingfisher. We got
Mangrove Pitta on our second attempt. Next up Ao Sok NP for Banded
Pitta (which we failed). But scored Brown-winged Kingfisher, not
to mention several other species of Kingfisher.
Next we flew to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. Birding Doi Inthanon
mostly as this cloud forest is just amazing, every day was a different
day bird wise. Both Slaty-backed and White-crowned Forktails were
photographed. Gould's Sunbird was easily seen, now called Doi Inthanon
Sunbird on the race that is resident only here. Several other species
of Sunbird easily observed also. The Summit Coffee shop and carpark
was just buzzing in the morning with several waves of birds easily
observed. One could spend a month at Doi Inthanon due to the pure
size and mixture of birds. Fantastic place and we shall revisit
Mae Hia Agricultural college is about twenty minutes from Chiang
Mai and was handy for evening birding. Wire-tailed Swallow is noted
here, we scored two birds amid hundreds of Swifts shortly before
dusk, several sizes of bats joined the Swifts in good numbers, amazing
to see both hunting side by side. Huay Tueng Tao also close to Chaing
Mai is a fantastic birding site for open area species with Shrikes,
Eastern Yellow and Citrine Wagtails. Bluethroat, Ruddy-breasted
Crake, several Cisticolas. Lesser Whistling Duck, Warblers are well
represented. Siberian Rubythroat and common waders a busy site all
day long, we visited here several times and were not disappointed.
We finally returned to Phuket and made our way to Ko Phi Phi Island.
Same evening we hired a longboat to the islands of Ko Pida Nai and
Nork to watch the spectacle of the evening gathering of Lesser and
some Christmas Frigatbirds. Fantastic with around one thousand on
show above our boat. We took plenty of images to separate the two
species as they are difficult to separate in the field. Back on
Ko Phi Phi the only new bird new for us was Pied Imperial Pigeon
which is easy to see thankfully. We did find not any other birds
we did not see on the mainland.
We used Birds of Thailand by Uthai Treeucon & Wich'yanan Limparungpatthanakij.
The plates are good and it deals with recent splits and races. It
has a scanner for every bird to see ample images on your phone.
thaibirding.com is an invaluable website run by Nick Upton. We planned
most of our trip around his website.
Driving was easy compared to Bangkok and Pattaya, but one still
has to be sharp eyed, car rental easy and not expensive, Google
maps on the phone sufficed. Hotels and food excellent, Chiang Beer