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
Although it is necessary to be out very early for the best birding
in Thailand, my girlfriend Srasri and I couldn't drag ourselves out
of bed until about 7.30 am after a long week dealing with rowdy students.
Not wanting to stay in I suggested a trip to Bang Pra Non-hunting
area, easily reached in a little over an hour from our home in Bang
Na. Srasri needed a little convincing, but was persuaded with the
promise of a seafood lunch at nearby Bang Saen beach.
We made this trip in our own car, a Honda Civic saloon. The
highway from Bangkok to Pattaya is a very good road and Bang
Pra is just a few kilometres from this and any vehicle is suitable
and can be parked at various places around the reservoir.
Notes on Finding Birds
We arrived far too late for any serious birding as Bang Pra
is one of the hottest and most humid locations I know, meaning
that if one wants to find a lot of species, including some of
the harder to find ones, arriving early is essential. However,
we were just enjoying a few hours of casual birding and Bang
Pra is a good site for doing this as spotting birds in open
country is easy.
On arrival, at about 9am, we parked at the small lake at the South
Eastern end of the reservoir, where the usual Little Cormorants sat
perched in a tree with a few Cattle Egrets for company and two Brown-backed
Needletails swooped past. However, we noticed that the water level
of the main reservoir was very low, and headed towards the water's
edge to see what could be found there. On our way through the dry
grassland a number of colourful birds revealed themselves; Green Bee-eaters
hunting from their perches; an Indian Roller on a telegraph pole and
one of my favourite species- a Hoopoe feeding on the ground. All common
species but spectacular when one gets good views like this.
we got closer to the water, Srasri pointed to some large birds
soaring overhead; a pair of Spot-billed Pelicans. These birds
are always a fantastic sight, even when one knows that they
originate from the nearby Khao Khieo open zoo. Another bird
originating from the zoo was a single Painted Stork amongst
the numerous Little, Great and Intermediate Egrets. It is
worth remembering that although the storks here originate
from the zoo, they do breed outside of the zoo's bounds.
the shallows of the main lake a number of waders were feeding.
I was hoping to find something unusual (northern Lapwing has
been seen here in the past), but only small numbers of common
species were present; Kentish Plover and Little Ringed Plovers
Common Greenshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper and Common
Sandpiper, Temminck's Stint and a lone Long-toed Stint amongst
the ever present Red-wattled Lapwings and Black-winged Stilts.
emergent vegetation in some wet areas contained a calling
Yellow-bellied Prinia, which is a really nice little bird,
and an Oriental Reed Warbler.
late morning sun was taking its toll on us so we decided to
walk back to the car. Searching the grassy areas as we went,
numerous Indochinese Bushlarks revealed themselves, their
wide rufous wings were obvious as they flew away. Also of
interest were a small party of Chestnut Capped Babblers in
reeds, a species less often seen than one might expect, but
this is always a good place to look for them. Other small
birds in this grassy habitat included Zitting Cisticolas,
which never really gave us a good view as they were busy "zitting"
in flight, Eastern Stonechat, Paddyfield Pipit, Richard's
Pipit and Plain Prinia.
I had more or less decided that we would go back to the car
and leave, being a birder I could not walk past anything that
looked interesting and we began to boil as I took time to
look at a Lesser Coucal, a bird that I often see here, and
some Red-rumped Swallows hunting with large numbers of Barn
Swallows and Asian Palm Swifts.
was also keen to scan through the mynas that were feeding
on the ground and flying past at all times to see if I could
spot Vinous-breasted Starling, a species that should occur
here (I have seen it on subsequent trips) but only came up
with Common Myna, White-vented Myna and a couple of Black-collared
Trips to Bang Pra Reservoir: If you have only a short time
for birding from Bangkok, Bang Pra is an excellent
day trip location,
when combined with a visit to Muang Boran Fishponds.
At all times of the year a good selection of interesting
species can be found.
at the car the air-conditioning was a life-saver, but a splendid Greater
Racket-tailed Drongo complete with tail plumes excited Srasri enough
to get her out of the car again. Having been revitalised by the car's
cool air I was ready to take a look around some of the wooded areas,
however, Srasri reminded me of my seafood obligations, so we left
for nearby Bang Saen.
There was time, though, for one more bird; a fish-catching Osprey
at the dam, observed at close quarters after a screeching halt. A
great spectacle to prepare us for barbecued prawns and crab!
you are interested in arranging a bird watching tour you can see some
suggested itineraries here - Birdwatching
Trips - and you can contact me at the above email address to discuss
the best options.