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Sri Nakorn Kuen Khan Park
(Updated 11/11/16)
 Introduction
Sri Nakorn Kuen Khan, is in an area known as Bang Krajao which is often referred to as the "Green lung of Bangkok". In fact the area is actually in Samut Prakarn province but when it is seen on a map it is an obvious green area in a loop of the Chao Praya river and completely surrounded by the city of Bangkok.

The park itself, which was opened in 2003, is medium-sized and consists of some landscaped gardens next to a lake but at least half of the park is un-manicured and overgrown coconut plantations which are surprisingly wild and attract a lot of birds, particularly in migratory periods. The park is also surrounded by lots of similar habitat making an obvious green oasis amongst the concrete jungle, a fact which is not lost on migrating birds.

Although Sri Nakorn Kuen Khan park is geographically in the centre of a huge urban area it is only accessible by one small road, meaning that it is usually very quiet and that the only visitors are usually a few bird watchers, joggers and cyclists.
 
Pink-necked Green Pigeon
(Photo by Nick Upton)
This is an excellent location for a morning's birding for those people who are staying in Bangkok. At all times of the year a good number of resident species can be seen, including some scarce ones, and during migration this may just be the best spot in the city to be if you want to find something rare.
 Birding Highlights
Sri Nakorn Kuen Khan park is a good place to see plenty of resident species in a morning, including a few which are fairly scarce in Thailand; Vinous-breasted Starling, Pink-necked Green Pigeon and Stork-billed Kingfisher.

In fact, Pink-necked Green Pigeon and Stork-billed Kingfisher are probably more common at this site than anywhere else I know in Thailand. The pigeons are easily seen and occur in quite large numbers but Stork-billed Kingfisher is not so easy to observe even though it is fairly common. However, with a little luck visitors should be able to track it down by its call and see one at any time of the year. A few Vinous-breasted Starlings occupy the more well-kept parts of the park.

A few forest species, surprisingly, breed in the park; Greater Racket-tailed Drongo is quite common and splendid with its long tail rackets, Green-billed Malkoha is also fairly numerous and a few pairs of Laced Woodpeckers breed here too.
 
Vinous-breasted Starling
(Photo by Nick Upton)

Narcissus Flycatcher
(Photo by Nick Upton)
  During migration, particularly in April, the park really comes alive with passage migrants and this is an exciting time for birders to visit this site as there is the possibility of finding some real rarities here. Malayan Night Heron, Narcissus Flycatcher, Ruddy Kingfisher, Northern Boobook and Green-backed Flycatcher have all been recorded and there is the real possibility of something like Fairy Pitta, Siberian Thrush or a rare Crake being found here.

A number of species are regular passage migrants including the beautiful Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Mugimaki Flycatcher, Drongo Cuckoo, Crow-billed Drongo, Forest Wagtail and Black Baza; all great birds for a Bangkok park!

If weather conditions are right for grounded migrants in September, October and April a high number of species can be seen in a morning. For birders who enjoy finding rarities, this is one of the best sites in Bangkok during these months.
A checklist of the birds for this location can be found here - Sri Nakorn Kuen Khan park
  Bird Watching Trips:
If you need help organizing a bird watching trip to Thailand, take a look at the suggested itineraries for ideas on creating a tailor-made trip and contact me for advice: Thailand bird tours.
 Travel Information
Use the interactive map below to plan your journey to Sri Nakorn Kuen Khan park. The blue line shows the route from Suksawat road (Blue Pin) to the park (Red Pin).

View Sri Nakorn Kuen Khan Park in a Larger Map
Although Sri Nakorn Kuen Khan park is set in an obscure part of the city it is relatively simple to find given that there is only one possible route into it. The first thing to do is to get to Suksawat Road on the west bank of the Chao Praya river; the expressway system goes to Suksawat road and as soon as one crosses the huge bridge over the river take the first exit off of the expressway onto Suksawat road, it is sign posted.

Head south on Suksawat road and a sign for the park will be seen. Sometimes signs get covered up or removed so if you do not see the sign take the left hand turn to PrapraDaeng at a large T junction, roughly 2 kilometres south of coming off of the expressway. Follow this road for about 2km and turn left just before the end of the road. The streets are narrow here and often full of market traders but after taking this turning simply continue straight on, cross a small bridge as one goes under a massive bridge and continue for about 6km when there will be blue signs directing you to the park which will involve one more left hand turn.

I have never visited the park by public transport and while it would be simple enough to take a taxi there finding one to get back out would be impossible, although finding a motorcycle taxi may be possible if one is passing the park entrance. The best way to visit is using your own vehicle or arrange a time and price for a taxi driver to come and collect you.
 Finding Birds
Sri Nakorn Kuen Khan park is not huge in size and birders can easily cover all parts of it in a morning visit. Pink-necked Green Pigeons and Stork-billed Kingfisher can be found almost anywhere but most of the passage migrants collect in the Eastern side of the park, so it is best to concentrate efforts here in migratory periods.

Different parts of the park do hold different species and here I will outline the hotspots around the site.
Park Entrance & Lawns: The only place to park when visiting this location is the entrance driveway and this is where the birding begins. In the morning this area can be alive with birds, mostly common species such as Asian Koel, Oriental Magpie Robin, Indian Roller, Streak-eared Bulbul and suchlike but it is quite likely that birders will spot their first Pink-necked Green Pigeon of the visit; there will be plenty more.

Oriental Magpie Robin
 
Asian Koel

Collared Kingfisher
 
Black-collared Myna
(Photos by Nick Upton)
  The driveway leads over a small bridge and into the park opening out into a well-tended area of lawns and flower beds; this is probably the best region to look for Vinous-breasted Starling which is a scarce bird throughout most of its range in Thailand. This species used to be seen in Lumphini Park years ago but not any more - I suspect the small population moved to Sri Nakorn Kuen Khan. The Starlings can usually be found foraging on the ground underneath small trees close to the park entrance.

It is as one comes over the bridge at the park gate that it is likely that visitors will spot their first Collared Kingfisher; a pair are usually to be found there and nest in the area. Stork-billed Kingfisher can be found right here too, sometimes they will sit in the open and call or be spotted flying across the entrance road.

This area is not usually well-used by passage migrants although a couple of fruiting trees here have the potential to pull in some passing Eyebrowed Thrushes to join the commoner birds such as Yellow-vented Bulbul and Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker that will usually be found on such trees.
The Pools: The park's main pool has rather sterile edges and attracts few waterbirds, although a large tree on an island attracts large numbers of Pink-necked Green Pigeons, Black-naped Orioles and other species when it is in fruit. However, the smaller pools that branch off of the main water body and the surrounding trees attract a few birds of interest.

Chinese Pond Heron
 
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
(Photos by Nick Upton)
  Bird Watching Trips:
Sri Nakorn Kuen Khan park makes for a nice morning's birding, particularly when migration is in full swing, and is a good addition to a longer birding trip to Thailand.

Adding this location to a birding trip to Thailand will give photographers the chance to get close to several photogenic species and birders will get the opportunity to see a few species that are otherwise scarce in Thailand.

Contact me to arrange a birding trip and/or to discuss the best bird watching options for you: nickupton@thaibirding.com
  As stated, the main pool is fairly sterile with usually just Asian Palm Swifts and Hose Swifts swooping around above it but the smaller pools have scruffy edges and islands in them which attract several species.

Once again, Pink-necked Green Pigeons seem to like to sun themselves on the exposed branches around the pools in the early morning and both Javan and Chinese Pond Herons can be found although they are indistinguishable from eath other until March when they come into breeding plumage. A few Striated Herons lurk around the edges of these pools too and I have also seen Yellow Bittern on a couple of occasions.

Large fish and Monitor Lizards can also be seen in the water.

The areas around the pools consist of trees with a well-tended ground layer which means that bird life is limited. However, Drongos seem to favour this habitat and the park has a healthy population of Greater Racket-tailed Drongos and Ashy, Black and Hair-crested Drongos are likely to be seen in the dry season with a few Crow-billed Drongos passing through on passage migration.

Of all the areas around the pools, the nursery area is perhaps the most interesting with migrants such as Forest Wagtail, Eyebrowed Thrush and Drongo Cuckoo passing through in April and Asian Brown Flycatcher and Leaf Warblers throughout the dry season.
Bird Watching Tower: A purpose built bird watching tower in the middle of the most overgrown part of the park gives a good view over the surrounding area and is particularly good for viewing birds sitting in the tree tops in the early morning as well as raptors on passage migration. The tower itself is well-built and a good place to rest and watch birds but the walkway leading to the tower is beginning to suffer from neglect, so take care when walking on it.

Black Baza
 
Female Pink-necked Pigeon

Streak-eared Bulbul
 
Ashy Minivet
(Photos by Nick Upton)
  The best time to be birding from the tower is in the early morning as the sun begins to hit the tops of the trees and insects begin to emerge. Birds then come into the canopy to warm or dry themselves in the sunshine and feed on the insects. Species which are always common in parks, such as Asian Koel, Streak-eared Bulbul, Oriental Magpie Robin, Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker, Brown-throated Sunbird and Pied Fantail can often be seen in large numbers in the mornings and these are also joined by lots of Pink-necked Green Pigeons.

Some of the larger migrant birds also perch in the tree tops in the mornings with Black-naped Oriole, Ashy Drongo, Chinese Pond Heron, Dollarbird and Blue-tailed Bee-eater all likely at the right time of year (October and April).

Asian Openbill continues to become more and more common and birders will see small groups of this species sitting around in trees and soaring. During migratory times passing raptors are best spotted from here and the spectacular Black Baza is one of the more regular species to be seen as well as Japanese Sparrowhawk, Chinese Sparrowhawk, Shikra and Oriental Honey Buzzard.
Eastern Section: The eastern section of the park is by far the least tended part and usually the best area for finding birds. This area consists of old orchards that have been left to become overgrown and are a magnet for migrants and resident birds too. A network of dirt tracks running off of a central paved road allow bird watchers to investigate this area thoroughly and find a wide variety of species and I have personally found some quite rare migrant species here in the month of April several years running.

Forest Wagtail
 
Eastern Crowned Warbler

Yellow-rumped Flycatcher
 
Drongo Cuckoo
(Photos by Nick Upton)
  In this part of the park Collared Kingfishers are common and several pairs nest here each year. Although Stork-billed Kingfisher is less common it is still fairly abundant and this area is probably the best area to find one. Common and Dark-necked Tailorbirds share the understorey with Plain Prinia and the waterways have an abundance of White-breasted Waterhens. If you are looking for Laced Woodpecker this is the region you are most likely to find one and Green-billed Malkoha can be encountered anywhere here.

Migrating birds, in the months of September-October and April are a real attraction to birders wishing to find some rare species. Asian Brown Flycatcher, Mugimaki Flycatcher and Yellow-rumped Flycatcher are frequent while Green-backed and Narcissus Flycatchers have also been recorded. Migrating Leaf Warblers are also likely to be encountered with Radde's, Arctic, Yellow-browed, Eastern Crowned and Pale-legged Leaf Warblers all quite commonly seen. Flocks of migrating birds are attracted to flowering and fruiting trees here; the species forming these flocks usually consist of Ashy Minivet, Black-winged Cuckooshrike, Crow-billed Drongo, Black-naped Oriole and Ashy Drongo.
Quite frankly the variety of migrants that have been seen here means that almost anything could be found and it is worth taking time to visit several days in a row when birds are on the move and weather conditions are right in spring and autumn. Other species that are frequent on passage migration are Drongo Cuckoo, Forest Wagtail, Eyebrowed Thrush and Black Bittern while rarer species recorded include Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Malayan Night Heron, Ruddy Kingfisher, Hodgson's Hawk Cuckoo and Oriental Cuckoo.

Other species that I have seen here and nowhere else in the park are Red-breasted Parakeet, Hill Myna, Red-billed Blue Magpie and Tanimbar Corella. The latter is obviously of escaped origin while the provenance of the former three is not so easy to determine.
 Facilities

Bird Watching Tower
(Photos by Nick Upton)
  Facilities for the visitor are few here. There is no food available, but there is a small kiosk at the park gate where cold drinks and snacks can be purchased. The lady here also sells fish food for visitors to give to the large fish that live in the pools.

Clean toilets are situated in the buildings to the right as one passes over the small bridge into the park. There is a donation box for the upkeep of the toilets.

The bird watching tower is an excellent facility for birders to use to get up high and look out over the treetops and as of 2016 there are a number of interpretative panels featuring birds and most boardwalks have been repaired (although, sadly, not all).

Lots of convenience stores will be passed on the way from the expressway to the park and these sell a variety of breads and drinks that can be eaten for breakfast in the park. The 7-11 convenience stores sell hot coffee too. If birders are hungry after a morning of birding here, Suksawat road has several large Big C and Tesco Lotus stores that have a variety of restaurants in them.
This location is not a National Park and there is no charge to go birding here.
 Some Useful Books
 Other Related Pages
Sri Nakorn Kuen Khan Park Bird Checklist

Birdwatching Trips


Other Central Thailand Birding Locations

The Birds of the Bangkok Area

Birding in (near) Bangkok
 Photo Galleries
lake
The Main Pool
across-the-treetops
View from Bird Watching Tower
pools
Leafy Pool
wooded-trail
Wooded Trail
roots
Large Tree Roots
  Bird Watching Trips:
Sri Nakorn Kuen Khan Park is a great site to visit during migratory periods when a large number of species can be found, including some very scarce passage migrants; a great place to add to a birding trip in April or October.

Look at some suggested itineraries, Thailand bird tours, or contact me for more information: nickupton@thaibirding.com.
 Related Blog Entries
  • Late October Migrants - posted on 29/10/16
  • A Morning at Sri Nakorn Kuen Khan - posted 24/03/16
  • Migrant Watching at Sri Nakorn Kuen Khan Park - posted 26/04/15
  • Last of the Migrants? - posted on 23/04/14
  • Migrants in Bangkok's Parks & Elsewhere - posted on 08/04/14
  • Black-collared Starling in Bangkok - posted 18/03/14
  • Common Birds - posted 05/12/13
  • More Migrants In the Park - posted 16/04/13
  • Sri Nakorn Kuan Kan Park Again - posted 15/04/13
  • Sri Nakorn Kuan Kan - More Migrants - posted 14/04/13
  • Migrants At Nakorn Sri Kuan Kan Park - posted 07/04/13
  • Sri Nakorn Kuan Khan Park - posted 10/04/12
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