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Kaeng Krachan, Thailand


pault
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Kaeng Krachan is an area in south-western Thailand, best known for its national park. I made two short visits in December 2018 and April 2019 and, since I did essentially the same things, this is an aggregate report. However, the two months are quite different and I will try to mention how, when relevant. April was certainly expected to be more productive than December, and that was generally the case.

 

Note these are essentially birding trips, although since I never go “birding” I refer to them as “relaxing, country sightseeing tours during which I happen to see a number of birds”. Mammals are present, including some nice ones, but the park has only a single road and limited tracks, and seeing them is pure chance and nobody realistically expects to see anything more exotic than squirrels and tree shrews. You are guaranteed a lot of squirrels!  

 

It’ll take me a week or two to finish this as it is a busy week. Don’t expect too much either - Thailand is regrettably short on casual wildlife sightings, although you can still see some interesting stuff with patience, luck and connections (and -illegal- hunters unfortunately often seem to have the most luck).

 

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Black and Yellow Broadbill

 

I am doing this on my phone for the first time, so I better stop now to see what happens - in case the photos come out huge or something. Back soon.

Edit: Hmmm.... I get phone sized photos doing it that way! Understandable but unfortunate. Larger photo inserted now. I will just have to do this from less mobile devices, or find a new way.

Edited by pault
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Photo's come out fine. That Broadbill's brightly coloured and what an amazing blue beak.

 

@pault What sort of travel time to the park from say Bangkok ?

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Black and Yellow Broadbill photo looks great.

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beautiful broadbill - one of my favourite birds from southern thailand! came out fine,but i'm looking at the larger photo that you had later loaded. 

Look forward to hearing why april is better than December. 

can you talk a bit about logistics too, please, even though you are on a busy week schedule!

 

 

 

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Hi @Caracal Guess what my next sentence is going to be? :D

 

With a really good road most of the way, Kaeng Krachan is nowadays a little under 3 hours from Bangkok, and more relevantly for many tourists, about 90 minutes from the coastal resorts of Hua Hin and Cha-am. It is difficult but not unrealistic to get there by public transport (you have to get to the right bus station in Bangkok, change to a minibus in Petchaburi and arrange to get picked up from where the minibus drops you in Kaeng Krachan town (or take a motorcycle taxi if you are really game). It is probably best if you have limited time to hire a car and driver from either Bangkok or Hua Hin or drive yourself (not the easiest to navigate if you stay where I do, but not difficult to get to the general area, and (relatively) a safe drive as long as you understand that the rule at any rural intersection is "Who is the chicken?" and not "Who has the right of way?". 

 

I stayed at Baan Maka Nature Lodge, a place owned, run and used mostly by birding enthusiasts (anyone walking around without a big camera or binoculars may be stared at, while bringing a huge tripod to breakfast will not raise an eyebrow) but if you go far enough down this page you will see there are a couple of other activities signaled as probably being "for kids".

http://www.baanmaka.com/facilities.html

 

The reason the birders love it, apart from the obvious affinity of the managers, is that it is set on 3 hectares, including a number of different habitats, and so your birding begins when you wake and ends at dark. You can carry on after that with a torch too, if you like. They now even have hides on the property, next to likely spots (mostly, but not exclusively, feeding stations). It's nice enough for non-birders too, especially if you like nature, but you're just not taking full advantage. Prices are around USD 40 per night but there are big differences between rooms, and some are much better than others - book early to get a nice one, but actually you will spend most of the time outside anyway. I had the worst room this time due to late booking, but it was near a feeding station and the restaurant (Squirrel Central) so it had its advantages too. If you can book 2-3 rooms together you can get what is practically a house.

 

There are a number of other places to stay, most reasonably priced and fairly basic as it is very much a nature tourist area. Campsites with facilities are easy to find, including inside the park. Boathouse is the poshest, but I have stayed there and it is not really all that. I'm a Baan Maka boy now, although think you could get a similar (not equal) service elsewhere for a slightly lower price, and some places seem to do "shared" trips into the park, which would save you some money as a single traveler.

 

The main activities are visiting the national park, visiting hides set up for birdwatching next to feeding stations that have been in place for a long time (most originally set up by poachers, who are now happy to collect $6 per person per day from birders instead and hopefully not poaching any more) and driving walking around the countryside, since you can actually see a lot of birds outside the park boundaries - it is a relatively remote area. I prefer the first two as for someone who lives in Thailand the national park is the only area I would call pretty in any way - most of the area is bog standard Thai countryside and even the tourist attraction reservoir is "not bad" rather than "beautiful" (in my opinion).

 

EDIT: Ban Maka now offers an option to have someone drive you into the park and then pick you up at a pre-arranged place and time. You can also hire a portable hide from them, which can be handy. They have a good map of the park at the lodge that you can photograph to take with you and it shows some likely spots. You are on your own for the day but it is a cost-effective option which means you can do the whole trip on your own and on the cheap without renting a car, if you are so inclined.

 

Breakfast at Baan Maka (actually late breakfast - they seem to arrive after 9 am) - Himalayan striped squirrel 

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Bog standard Thai countryside - enlivened by a huge statue of a monk (be warned, it gets old quickly).

 

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Lotus pond at Baan Maka (boggy, but not "bog standard")

 

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A closer look at the lotus pond... and a warning - the area is swarming with bees. Think twice if allergic to stings.

 

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My roommate for my April stay

 

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Red-legged crake on Baan Maka grounds..... you can buy worms and place them on a log next to the bog it lives in and then call it in. No bird calls needed though - "Oi! Crake!" will do fine.

 

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Jacana (bronze-winged I believe, although Thailand has the fantastic and much more photogenic "pheasant-tailed" too - apparently, as I have never seen one) can be seen on the lotus pond from the hide along with other water birds and kingfishers. Tough  to get within 30 meters of any of them in Thailand without a hide (or maybe a boat functioning as one, although even that would be rare).

 

This is not one of the jacanas of course.

 

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And the same bird with the same focal length, after it had begun suspecting there was someone in the hide - as close as it got.

 

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Oriental pied hornbill pair in the tall trees at Baan Maka - you'll regularly see hornbills in the area around the park but they seem to know they are not in a protected area and be a bit more skittish. A group of about 10 birds in amourous mood flew over Baan Maka one morning and spent some time in the trees.

 

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Hornbill being dropped (literally) by his bride-to-be

 

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Edited to be more informative - not to save blushes. 

Edited by pault
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Thanks @pault for the useful info and recommendation. sounds good for a short stay and trip. 

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Great to read about Kaeng Krachan, I stayed at Baan Maka back in 2011 on a Thai birding tour, a nice place to stay.

 

I'm afraid I have to correct one of your bird ID's, your jacana is actually a white-breasted waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus), interested to see your shot of the red-legged crake, I've just checked my bird list and I evidently never saw one anywhere, maybe they're not around in February or they just weren't feeding them at Baan Maka back then. 

 

Looking forward to learning what else you saw, especially if you made use of any of the hides, as I've seen great photos taken from them, I don't know if they were being used by tourists when I went, because it's not something I've done. Even without visiting the hides, Kaeng Kachran was a major highlight of my last visit to Thailand.  

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Please stick around to correct bird IDs @inyathi. There will doubtless be more errors. That is a typically stupid one since there are jacanas there, but that is not one of them!!

 

I will certainly be taking you into the hides! As you say, they are a highlight. I’d imagine they would have been newish then (first was 2008 or something) and quite possibly fully booked.

Edited by pault
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In the park

 

Both times I visited I was as much interested in testing out a new camera as in actually taking photographs to keep. The second time it was only new firmware, but the updates basically changed the focusing system so it was like a new camera. That means I kept particular lenses on and didn't take many or any "scenery" shots. Maybe there is something on my phone and if so I'll post it later - otherwise this is all I have to set the scene for the park.

 

December

 

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April

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At the moment part of the road in the national park is closed for upgrading to tarmac. Whether it will actually happen is another matter, but for now you can only drive from the gate to the campsite and park HQ - a single road of maybe 10km(?). There are a few tracks you can take to walk from the campsite but basically a significant part of the park is not currently open and may not be for another 1-2 years. This shouldn't put you off visiting as there is still a lot to see, but it means you can see all you can see in a single day - two if you do a lot of time-consuming staking out of nests and likely sites like most guides will encourage you to do. 

 

Due to the road closure you can certainly see 85% of the park you see with a guide without having a guide - just drive the road and walk the marked tracks from HQ/ campsite. You can even ask the rangers and other campers for some tips if you stay at the campsite - trickier if you don't speak Thai I imagine. However, I would still always take a guide because I know I would have missed a lot of the good stuff I saw if I had not had one. Many of the good shots taken were shots taken more than 20 minutes after arriving at a site. My guide (I used the same one twice, booking him through Baan Maka) was able to advise me on whether it was worth waiting at particular sites, roughly how long a wait could be expected (so I could choose to find some shade and lean against a tree, or get a good angle and prime the camera for imminent action) and he was usually right. Unfortunately my guide's English was weak in any trickier areas, and I am not good at the bird names in Thai so while we could converse fluently about most stuff in the world, the subject of the day (birds and the natural world) saw us struggling sometimes. Of course he knows many of the names but it is the most interesting ones he struggles with .... and  those are the ones I probably needed! Occasionally I found myself looking frantically for what is clearly a very exciting bird without having a clue what I was looking for - but I think we always got there in the end. Piak - he's good.

 

Of course there are more fluent English speaking guides around but (I) they may not be very good at their job (ii) they may not be local - which is okay if they come frequently and have friends among the local guides (iii) they may be much more expensive - not an issue in a group but more so as a single traveler. 

 

Cost is around $80 per day for a proper guide with vehicle and dodgy English. Since that is fine for me I cannot advise on prices for English-speaking guides, although Games (who currently runs Baan Maka) charges $130 or so per day. You could get guide and interpreter but if the interpreter knew the names of the birds and could discuss them he/she would be doing the guiding! You can also get probably get dodgier guide with dodgier vehicle cheaper too. 

 

Generally speaking, don't expect a high standard of guiding in Thailand anyway. Most I have met are knowledgeable but lacking social skills (shy is okay for me, priggish is less lovely by mid-afternoon) or sociable but lacking any deeper knowledge. Of course there are exceptions and you can doubtless find names online - I am talking about if you are working at shorter notice.

 

Most of the pictures from the park come from April because when I went in December it poured down for much of the morning. As a result the photos (which I was mostly taking to test out a camera and lens combination) were dull or a bit shaky and I haven't processed many at all. Another thing, we did not see a great number of birds at photographable distance, or at all. 

 

And that is the difference between December and April. December is the end of the wet season, while April is towards the end of the dry season. Of course it rarely rains all day any month and there  is a chance of rain any month, but your chances of bluer skies and short thundershowers (if it does rain) are much better in April than December. The dryness also brings more birds and animals to permanent water sources and livens the feeding stations at the hides up, so it is a good time to come BUT....... be aware it can be scalding hot and a bit sticky too - most Thais will avoid it at this time of year for that reason; they will head to the beach.

 

I'll take you through our April visit as a "sample", while omitting the embarrassing bits like getting up late.

 

I woke up to the sound of banging on my door, which I opened to find Gan standing there with a huge smile, as usual - I never met anyone who can smile as much as Gan and I live in the "Land of Smiles". Somehow I had slept through two alarms. I never do that so I must have been closer to exhaustion that I realized. Anyway, Piak waited for me to get some coffee and pack my bag and we got off by 8am, which was well over an hour later than intended. It's worth getting in early March to August as the light comes earlier and you might see something exciting on the road if you get in early. There should also be quite a bit of bird activity early. I'd missed that but as it turns out nobody we met that day had seen much that we hadn't so I felt a bit better about that (In contrast in December there is little point getting in too early as the birds may well not get really active until well after 7).

 

Our first stop was to stake out a half-built nest. A pair of black and red broadbills were doing the building. They were shy and careful - it took over 30 minutes before they first came out into the open, even though they had been around with the beaks full of building materials for 15 minutes before that. 

 

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Because they were coming and going, with some long disappearances, we were there for over an hour. As with most sightings this was roadside - not only is there little light otherwise, but it is very difficult to find anything away from the roads or tracks.

 

After the broadbills we moved on to a place I remembered from last time. We'd seen a black-capped kingfisher, the hornbill that started this post and something else I could not remember. We were there for the thing I couldn't remember but Piak felt it wasn't coming (Don't worry we'll get it later!! Not going to tease you too much) so I followed his urging to move on. 

 

Before I agreed to leave a couple of  brown hornbills flew overhead (Tickell's I guess)

 

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Way up high there was also what I thought was a marsh harrier and then lost confidence with that ID and started to think Chinese sparrowhawk, before giving up completely. 

 

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A black-headed snake eagle perhaps. We couldn't tell at the time because its crest isn't really visible and it was quite difficult to make out against a bright sky. The miracles of the modern camera make ID easier for me and you than it was for Piak. What do you think?

 

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Of course we were heading towards the most exciting sighting of the day. Everybody wants this sugary-cute picture......  me too!!

 

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Out of time... park visit to be continued.

 

EDIT: My guide was not Piak but Piak's protégée - a Piak for when Piak is not available, so to speak. Piak was actually the guide with the Chinese group. He has considerably more English (although still limited) and really knows his birds, including names in English - pronunciation permitting. I have described a visit to the park with Piak himself in May 2019 below. No harm done except name confusion so I am not going to edit every mention. 

Edited by pault
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On 4/22/2019 at 8:18 AM, pault said:

"Oi! Crake!" will do fine.

In English or in Thai :blink: :D

 

The broadbills alone are worth to visit Thailand; airlines often offers excellent prices to Bangkok. BTW which is the camera gear you have used?

Edited by xelas
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BEAUTIFUL photos @pault. I really love all the broadbill pics especially that last one. The expression is hilarious! They are so beautiful and colourful, you've captured them so nicely.

 

I also love that crazy blue lizard in your room. I've never seen anything like it!

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We stayed with the black and yellow broadbill for maybe 45 minutes. It had been called in (not too insistently I was glad) but this is its territory - the calling was to encourage it out of the denser trees to take a look at where that other black and yellow broadbill was. Another guide with a group of 8 Chinese photographers - all with massive lenses and tripods (quite a sight for some passing motorists as a couple were clearly more experienced and the others tended to gather as close to them as possible to get the same angle, which meant all 8 were consistently gathered in a very tight space - they seemed like friends but they may have been a photography group with a leader) started the calling and Piak joined in further down the road. In fact the calling didn't seem to have worked, and Piak went walking down the road to take a look in another location. I decided I should join him - seemed I should be with my guide rather than the other tourists - and it turned out to be a lucky decision. The moment I caught up to Piak the broadbill emerged from wherever it had been hiding and perched nicely - even more nicely once Piak had done a quick runaround and found me a nice clear angle to shoot from. This was fortunate as very soon I would be jockeying for positions with 7 big tripods moving in unison (they were polite but it's still a bit of an obstacle, as the trees are very leafy and angles to shoot from can be very limited). Why not 8? One guy had a slightly more mobile kit like mine and was doing his own thing. Soon there were also 3-4 local birders in there too, with the numbers eventually swelling to 20 and causing every car to stop to try to see what was going on. However, fortunately there weren't many cars and the crowd would of course have been much more reasonable without the "get 1 get 9" bird photography group. This was also over a holiday and you have to understand the bird is a distance away,  about 10 meters up in a tree. To get a shot you have to be on the other side of the road, so there is no crowding of the bird and so feeling of crowding when you have your eyes to the lens or binoculars. I didn't see anyone behave badly all day.

 

A bit further away, but you can see why it is called black and yellow...

 

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One more pose

 

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Since we had got to the bird some time before most others (a couple who knew Piak quite well due to very regular visits to the park had followed me down the road) we decide to leave when the crowd got to 20 and the vehicles became more frequent because it was approaching lunchtime and we were only a couple of kilometers before the campsite/ HQ which is the only place to buy lunch/ drinks or set up for a picnic relatively free of biting ants, wasps and bees. 

 

Before we stopped at the visitor center next to the campsite for our our lunch though, we drove past it and half way to the nearby park HQ as Piak knew a pair of green-eared barbets were currently feeding their chick(s) there. This was a sure thing and the only question was would we need to wait for 5 minutes or 30 - Piak didn't think it would be any longer than that with two birds feeding the chicks. In the end it was about 15. The scene was shaded and backlit (a morning visit would have helped a bit with this) but not too bad, and the action was very nice.

 

Fruit to start

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Still hungry... back to work

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Followed by some protein

 

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Both male and female were feeding (you can see the first one has an out-of-place blue feather on its back) but I couldn't really tell which was which, and still can't.

 

We ate lunch at the restaurant run by rangers' families (I think). Only place to eat but prices are still very reasonable and the food is actually good (basic Thai fast food choices only of course, although outside busy times you might be able to order something else). It's a basic but happy place, full of birders and hikers and campers.

 

 

 

 

 

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stunning broadbill and barbet. There is really no discernible difference between male and female green-eared barbets. 

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I'll just finish off the park visit as we are unfortunately nearly done. 

 

It was really hot by lunchtime so there was no way I was going to set out walking the trails immediately (this was what we had planned to do next, especially since plans to do the same in December had been squelched by heavy rain). So after lunch I walked the very short distance down the hill to the river and the dung display, which is one of the main attractions of Kaeng Krachan. 

 

"Nothing like a good dung display, lad" my dad used to say as we queued in the rain for tickets for the 1971 Aberdeen Dung Exposition..... 

 

Okay, that bit was made up - I've been good so far too. :D  In fact and of course, the dung was on display like pretty flowers because it attracted the butterflies and someone had the bright idea to fill what were probably intended to be supervised campfire pits with dung, so that people could sit in a circle around the dung rather than the campfire ( it's really hot enough already!). There were even log stools to contemplate the excrement from, and a large, permanent sign calling it a "butterfly observation park" or similar.

 

Okay, let's cut the BS - or rather let's cut TO the BS, and attendant butterflies.

 

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I was the only admirer who stayed more than long enough for a quick selfie, which was for two reasons (I) it was a bit smelly (ii) it was burning hot (my skin is still red) and there were just as many butterflies in partial shade at a salt lick down by the river. I soon headed down to the river myself - you can sit in the pools here and even swim, although I didn't.

 

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The concentrations of butterflies, especially in hot and dry weather, is another attraction of Kaeng Krachan, although I didn't see anything I considered exciting - it was volume more than anything. You can get partially covered in butterflies if you sit still and are a bit salty. They were even gathering on my lens, which Piak took as evidence that I did not clean my gear often enough.

 

:D My foot has swollen to double normal size. I think it is broken! I have to go to hospital now before it gets too big for my shoe. So...... still a little bit of the park to come.

 

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23 hours ago, xelas said:

In English or in Thai :blink: :D

 

The broadbills alone are worth to visit Thailand; airlines often offers excellent prices to Bangkok. BTW which is the camera gear you have used?

 Sony A9 and Canon 400/4 DOIi or Sony 100-400  

I used the APS-C setting on the camera for some bird shots but mostly 400mm with many cropped to 500 - 800 mm equivalent. 

 

Waiting for my x-ray....

Edited by pault
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hoping your toe is still in one solid piece with no fractures or broken bones......

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michael-ibk

Beautiful photos of some extremely cool looking birds, Paul! 

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Stunning photos, and as always very much enjoying your writing 

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Thanks all... a fractured toe, so still in one piece. Drugs are slowing me down though - typos and errors might be worse than ever if I continue now but I really want to get the park finished.

 

When I came back from looking at the butterflies I found Piak talking to a friend in the restaurant and joined them. It turned out the friend lives near me and that he shoots the same brand camera as me. More interestingly, it turned out that he was Piak's very special friend today because he had found a pair of blue- bearded bee-eaters in a remote location next to the river. We took a pop-up tent hide and a less fancy "tie it between trees" waterproof sheet hide (i.e. a camouflage tarp with a whole in the middle for camera or gun) and headed off down one of the nature path tracks maintained by the rangers. After 20 minutes walking (mostly the wrong way as our friend got a bit lost) we found the location, which was 200m off the paths, and set up the hides to wait. It didn't take long - maybe 5 minutes - for the birds to start coming to the expected branch. And of course they had bees - no shortage of bees in Kaeng Krachan. Unfortunately it was clouding over badly and just starting to rain and so under the canopy it was quite dark, but the photos came out okay I think.

 

Blue-bearded bee-eater

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A pair of them (but it was much too dark to stop down to get them both in focus)

 

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As we had the shots in the bag, when it started to rain quite heavily we headed straight back to the visitor center. There was a lot of thunder noise by now and although Piak was keen that we stay out in case it cleared up, I wasn't as optimistic (remember I have lived here 30 years so I can read the weather too). Once the cloud came down to a certain level, I told him we should just go back to the lodge - there was little to be gained waiting for clear weather that I did not think would come. In the end we compromised on heading slowly back towards the park entrance, but if it cleared up in the meantime we would start birding again. The rain did slow to drizzle and so we did stop to find a creature that I had asked for but forgotten about. This required a walk off the road into what appeared to be just unmarked forest, but there was actually a small, faint path there. I would have completely missed it.

 

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As we were coming out the clouds broke and it started to rain more heavily. Now neither of us believed it might clear and we drove a bit faster. It had been a good day anyway, even though it had started late and was going to finish early. However, it wasn't quite over. Remember where we stopped in the morning and didn't have any luck? Guess who was nesting and sheltering from the rain. I had to get out for a couple of shots, and since Piak was kind enough to hold an umbrella over me stayed 10 minutes or so in the end. We also so an oriental pied hornbill and some mynah thing (a mynah thing is as close as my meds let me get) but the visibility was too poor to bother with any photos  - other than these.

 

Waiting out the rain...... or is it the hornbill nearby?

 

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And the rain did settle in for 2-3 hours so it was a good decision to leave early. Caught a giant monitor lizard crossing the road but I was literally a second late getting the camera out (and monitors are hardly rare here) but otherwise that was that. Arrived back at the lodge to find the power off though - clearly it had been much worse in that area than in the park and a tree had taken out the power lines. Power was restored just as I was finishing my freezing cold (clearly water is bored) shower. HAHA

Edited by pault
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Great report and stunning pictures @pault.  I don't know if I missed it but what is the strange looking creature in the last post?

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Love it @pault

I am so used to seeing African birds that it is always a thrill to see just how fantastic the birding is in other parts of the World. So many vibrant colours. 

More please.

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Thanks for sharing @pault, very interesting to hear about a park I’d never heard of.  I agree with @Zim Girl, what is that odd insect in your last post?

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11 hours ago, Zim Girl said:

Great report and stunning pictures @pault.  I don't know if I missed it but what is the strange looking creature in the last post?

 

It is a lanternfly @Zim Girl Sorry, I was not all there yesterday.

 

And now I can’t remember what the bird in the tree is either! I identified it before but now it’s a blank. A recurring problem when you don’t have any real knowledge to fall back on. 

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In hindsight I think I underestimated my December trip and the photos I got. I think I was a bit too focused on getting action shots having just spent a fortune on a camera for that! :rolleyes: While there wasn't as much action to capture as I had hoped for and it certainly wasn't as good as April, I decided to finish processing the photos today and was pleasantly surprised. 

 

A few sightings from inside the park between (and even during) the rain. These ones are mostly at 560mm and f/5.6, which meant slower shutter speeds than the April ones.

 

Oriental pied hornbill with very pretty colouring

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grey-capped pygmy woodpecker (I think)

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Slightly frustrating sighting of a dusky langur - it was raining and the sky was bright white, making it difficult to see clearly, never mind photograph. I did manage to recover more than I expected even though the leaves are in slightly better focus than the langur.

 

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We first saw the collared falconet (now I stopped taking the painkillers I remember what it is - although I thought it was a shrike at first as I saw it flying and it really does look like one in flight, it is not) in its nest here, and because it hadn't rained yet the pictures are actually better than from April.

 

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Highlight of the day was in the rain from the car. We were driving across a bridge over a river and Piak spotted an eagle perched on a tree almost at eye level as the tree was growing from the bottom of the small valley that the bridge crossed. We were too close for me to get out of the car - in fact we barely dared to move, but fortunately we were driving with the windows fully down and I had my camera in my lap, so i just had to slowly and gently get it pointed at the eagle and slump down enough to see through the viewfinder.

 

Crested serpent eagle (at least I am pretty sure that is what it is)

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It was looking a bit sorry for itself in the rain and looking around and calling frequently. I wondered out of complete ignorance if it was a juvenile looking for a parent, but Piak thought I should shut up and get some shots before it flew away. It went on like this for 10 minutes, and it was getting a bit boring. I have to admit we were both thinking of going, but you so rarely get this close to an eagle so it seemed worthwhile to wait for it to fly - even though it showed no sign of wanting to do so.

 

The calls suddenly got more frequent and its feathers puffed up, but I  wasn't expecting anything after all this time. I will never make such a mistake again (a lie) as all I needed to do was to up the shutter speed from 1/800 and damn the ISO.

 

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Hello!

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Move!

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Change of the guard

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Unfortunately the new eagle was smarter and more skittish and spotted us right away. And when it flew off you know of course it was away from us and right up behind those leaves hanging down. 

 

The December park trip was called off early due to torrential rain but we did do a bit of birding in the surrounding area once we found somewhere that the rain was not as heavy. Not much to see in the rain even then, but I wanted to show you that we tried! In the rain the best resource was the electricity wires. All are cropped very significantly even at 560mm.

 

a green bee-eater

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Another!

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Greater racket-tailed drongos are even more common in the area.

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And you are bound to see kingfishers, although usually at quite a distance.

 

White-throated kingfisher

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And we stopped for this egret dodging traffic (very few vehicles in this area though) to get at some roadkill.

 

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Back into the road to struggle with the roadkill. Squirrel is my guess.

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And then back off the road when the sound of a vehicle came.

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And we stopped by a pond to look for jacanas. They were there but too far away for a photo as soon as we got out of the car.

 

I am actually not sure what this is  but I am pretty sure it is not a jacana!

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I found a couple more photos of the lotus pond at Baan Maka too.

 

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I will get on to the hides next.                                                                                   

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