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Kaeng Krachan, Thailand


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pault
15 hours ago, xelas said:

 Could it be that you only had one?! I hope there is a way to recharge the batteries while at the lodge.

I had two in the camera in the vertical grip. But the second had almost no power for some reason. No problem with charging at the lodge. Power strip in every room. 

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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 a

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

I visited three hides during my December and April visits. There are more, mainly because one hide is actually a set of three. they are all on private or military-owned land and (with the exception of

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pault

Piak showed me where the owl was a Baan Maka but as it was getting a bit dark and my toe was really hurting, I decided to sit in the hide at the pond and come back and take a photo next day. A mistake because of course when I came back it was not there. However it is usually there so, next time!

 

So I charged a battery for 45 minutes and then went down to the hide at the water. There was very little action and all i got was a waterhen - really not a exciting sighting since I see them on the road ( we are in a very quiet area next to a marsh) nearly every day when I open the gate to drive to work - as long as I leave before the joggers arrive. Prettier surroundings though.

 

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As people were coming down to sit and watch the sunset from the water and I could clearly hear all the bird action was going on out of view, I abandoned the hide and took a look at the trees. Nothing really happening there either, so I settled for some drongo action. This one appeared to be vandalising a tree, although I am sure there is a better explanation.

 

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After dinner I came outside to take a picture of my new roommate. Room 9 has a bigger companion that Room 12 - easily 8 inches long. You can see clearly where his tail will detach in emergency. 

 

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The next morning I woke up, walked outside to catch the last of the dawn and saw a blue-winged pita right in front of my room on the road. Grabbed my camera but it was on to me and disappeared between my cottage and the next before I could get a shot (which would have been tail anyway). I took my camera down to breakfast as it had been heading that way and I know it comes out for worms sometimes, but it was a bit murky there and pretty quiet, dominated by the usual suspects. No more pita - will have to give up trying to get it unaided and buy the worms next time.

 

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Out and about again only the usual suspects were showing. Lots of bird life but high in the trees and nothing worth the effort of an ID-only quality photo.

 

The open-billed stork had found a friend since last time. I was very glad. Maybe even a mate, although I am pretty sure mating season for them is November or so.

 

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So I headed down to the hide at the pond see if waiting even longer I could get the jacana at last and maybe a kingfisher that was not obscured by branches.

 

It was really quiet at first - the stork, alone again, catching snails across the other side of the pond and a single, distant duck was the only action, although from all the noise I could tell they were definitely not alone.

 

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Suddenly a white-throated kingfisher landed right in front of me, but it was a case of the sighting being too good, as it was looking right at me through the hole in the hide and as soon as I moved to get the camera on it, it flew. Definitely a good place for kingfishers though!

 

Another bird landed in the same spot but was less aware of me and allowed me to get a couple of shots. I am guessing it is a zitting ciistiola, but it's an LBJ with orange bits so that would be more than a bit of a guess.

 

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And finally, the jacana came out for me. It would not come really close (not because it was aware of me but just because whatever it was hunting went the wrong way, but I had a good sighting and some photos at last.

 

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After jacana success and kingfisher fail it seemed to be getting noisier behind me so I decided to go out and investigate. Sure enough there were a group of greater-necklaced starlings and an oriental pied hornbill ceashing about in the same tree - they were not exactly interacting but I think they were each annoying the other party. the hornbill flew to another tree for some palm fruit.

 

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And then... well clealry now I am going to have clear sightings of jacanas all the time! It ran for it as soon as it saw me from the water, but too later to escape the camera.

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Back around the cabins there was a shama making a nest in what I think was the wifi relay box for Room 8. No wonder wifi had not been working in our rooms!

 

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I saw the pita very briefly again when I walked around the side of my cabin to see what was making a noise - teasing me!  I also caught a flash of orange twice and so decided to sit and wait and see what that was. The sound from the trees was a strong clue! It didn't really notice me there and so it was either not as shy as it had been pretending or felt safe enough at that height.

 

A greater flameback I think

 

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Scaling the tree on a hunt. 

 

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And then I went for lunch and to catch up on my phone stuff as wifi was fine down at the restaurant. And before long it was time to get packed and head back to Bangkok.

 

 

I nearly forgot my bug. These tiny little red ones are common (maybe 1/2 cm long). Not as pretty as some up close though.

 

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inyathi

@pault Although my mind is on African birds at the moment, I know that the bird that wouldn't turn around for you in post 49 is a trogon, the shape of the tail, the general posture of the bird and also the distinctive barring on the wings gives away that it's a trogon and having dug out my copy of the Birds of Thailand I can say for certain that it is a female orange-breasted trogon, from the maps there are only two trogons in Kaeng Krachan, the other one is the red-headed and both male and female have a red-breast, so the little bit of yellow means it has to be the orange-breasted. It's just a shame it didn't turn around for you as they are such beautiful birds, it looks like from my Thai birdlist that I saw it at least twice in Kaeng Krachan and then saw the red-headed at least twice in Khao Yai.  

 

Nice shots of those broadbills, it seems I missed both of those and only saw silver-breasted and long-tailed.

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pault

@inyathiThank you again. I would have been more excited (and much more disappointed about it not turning around) had I known. I have never seen a trogon clearly before. I will also have to listen more carefully to my guides as the illustrations in my books (I have the Robson one in English and a slightly more comprehensive one in Thai) look little like it in the flesh. In fact now I wonder if I haven't seen a few trogons from behind and dismissed them as dull cuckoo-type thingies. 

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pault

Hooray! I wore closed footwear for the first time since Kaeng Krachan 3 yesterday and no pain. Very happy to be back on two feet but a few inactivity kilos to lose.

 

I have added a few edits, just so anyone reading the report for the first time doesn't learn potentially important information on page 2 or 3, which they might never get to. 

 

Do do let me be your local guide for a weekend if you come birding to Thailand. I may not know the names of the birds in English, never mind Thai, but I can read them from a book, which has to be worth something. I am very cheap too. :P

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Kitsafari

that's a lovely orange-breasted trogon - a bird we missed while at Fraser's Hill. such a shame it didn't turn around to flash its bright orange at you. 

The greater flameback looks so similar to the common flameback we have in Singapore! what a treat to see the larger woodpecker. 

the zitting cisticola looks very much like a tailorbird, which has a rusty/brownish crown, but I can't be too sure. 

Your report really makes me want to take a trip to Kaeng Krachan. What is the weather like in end-October or early November, @pault ?

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pault

It only opens 1 November after closing in August so still potentially wet but it’snot Consistent year-to-year. @Kitsafari

Worth a punt in early November if you are here anyway?

 

The greater flame back looks very similar to lesser so far as I can see in my books  - just thicker or more pronounced  black lines. I would never have dared identify it as one or the other except for my books showing them side by side - and confidence that someone will be kind enough to correct me if I do go wrong.

 

I always identify those LBJs in the grass over water as tailorbirds but couldn’t find one with enough color in my books. You are more likely to be right than me though. The books are not completely reliable.

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xelas
On 5/20/2019 at 6:40 AM, pault said:

I am very cheap too. :P

 

Aha. Duly noted. What about "The Real Piak", would we need him also :ph34r:?!

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pault
21 hours ago, xelas said:

 

Aha. Duly noted. What about "The Real Piak", would we need him also :ph34r:?!

Depends on expectations. And if one kingfisher is enough for a day’s birding! :D

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Atravelynn

The bright subject just pops out of the darkened shadows!  Time and again.   Heidi-ho!  What hides!   The birds and the butterflies have such pronounced colors.  That insect in the middle of #20 is the oddest thing I have seen. 

 

Sorry about your toe and I hope you got your Piaks sorted.

 

How long in total did you spend to get this fabulous assortment?

 

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pault

@Atravelynn Three half days at hides. Three and a half days in the park. A combined total of two days at Baan Maka. 2-3 hours cruising the local roads in the rain.

 

So like the equivalent of 13-14 game drives - I know that will give you a clearer picture.

 

But you can cram in everything known to be around in two days with planning and manic dedication.

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Atravelynn
1 hour ago, pault said:

@Atravelynn Three half days at hides. Three and a half days in the park. A combined total of two days at Baan Maka. 2-3 hours cruising the local roads in the rain.

 

So like the equivalent of 13-14 game drives - I know that will give you a clearer picture.  You have to speak game drive to me so I understand.  Thanks.

 

But you can cram in everything known to be around in two days with planning and manic dedication.  I think I'd be exhausted.

 

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  • 5 months later...
gatoratlarge

Paul!  Such fantastic birds and the variety is impressive!  Thanks for sharing !

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