by Nick Upton
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Birdwatching at Ban Suan Saipan Resort, Saraburi

I am frequently asked to recommend places where casual birdwatchers might stay and do a little birding or for places where birders can see some nice species while on holiday with non-birding friends and/or family. My attention was drawn to such a location recently by Ivor Oke, who spent some time in early February 2007 at the Ban Suan Saipan Resort in Saraburi province, just an hour or so outside of Bangkok.

This resort is situated in low, forested hills and is about halfway between Bangkok and Khao Yai National Park and looks very comfortable and attractive on their website: Ban Suan Saipan.

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Ivor had this to say about his stay:

"The Saipan resort, where I stayed at the weekend, was rather laid back and ideal for a beginner to get a relaxing weekend, not move too far and add a number of birds to their collection."

Whilst this area is not a location where a large number of the highly sought after species will be found, it is obviously a place where plenty of the more common species can be observed.

"I managed to take in a large number of the more common birds. The haul included some Chinese Pond Herons, White-breasted Waterhen, Green-billed Malkoha, Blue-throated Bee-eater, Black-collared Starling, Black-crested Bulbul, Sooty-headed Bulbul ( yellow and red rumps ), Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Indian Roller, Brown-throated Sunbird, Ashy Drongo, Oriental Magpie Robin, Taiga Flycatcher, Yellow vented Bulbul, Spotted Dove, Greater Coucal and Verditer Flycatcher."

The region to the west and south of Khao Yai National Park has many similar resorts to this and there are a number of waterfalls and places to walk where species similar to those seen by Ivor occur. I saw my first Rufous-bellied eagle at the Sida Resort to the south of Khao Yai in 1999.

Nick Upton, 22 February 2007.
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