by Nick Upton
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Rainy Season Birding Tour of Thailand, 1st-14th July 2009
  Bird Watching Trips:
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Last year Robert King joined me for a wet season birding trip around Thailand (Wet Season Birding Tour of Thailand, 17-25th July 2008) which proved to be surprisingly successful. However, there were a number of birds, both common and scarce, that we didn't see and Robert decided to return for another visit at the same time of year. Whilst July is not the prime time for birding in Thailand, this is when Robert has his main holiday and actually a number of resident birds proved to be more easily located at this time of year than during the dry season. Of course all the winter visitors are absent and some of the residents are tricky, but once again we managed to see a large number of really good birds.
A great benefit of travelling in Thailand during the wet season is that there are fewer tourists around and there is no need to book hotels in advance, making for a lot of flexibility - something that proved very useful to us. With the lack of tourists this is a good time of year to get a good deal on car hire and accommodation too.

Car Hire
We used a two-door Toyota Vigo from Thairentacar. I collected it from their Bangkok office at 9pm (they have 24-hour pickup and drop off from their Bangkok office) and it was collected from our hotel in Chiang Mai on completion of the trip at 8pm. This was a very good vehicle for 2 people, but for more it would be too cramped and difficult for the person in the back to get out quickly when roadside birds were spotted. The vehicle was extremely economic on fuel (diesel) and handled potholed roads well, even at high speed, and allowed us to negotiate the muddy, rutted tracks at Thatorn.
Road Quality
The road system in Thailand is pretty good, but it is common to find huge potholes and ruts in highways; when driving small saloon cars or high-sided vehicles, these can prove quite dangerous. However, wide, sturdy vehicles like our Vigo deal with these problems well and one can drive with safety.

At Mae Ping, the roads are good but the first few kilometres of the road to Tung Gig were unsealed and became slippery in the wet. The habitat is flat and there are no ditches to fall into so if a car did go into a slide it would just slip into some bushes or a tree - if driving a vehicle without 4-wheel drive it is possible that it could be difficult to get back up the small gradient due to lack of traction, but only in very wet conditions. One could drive any vehicle along this road in most conditions except when very wet, as it was on our visit.

The roads in Khao Yai, Doi Ang Kang and Doi Inthanon are fine and any vehicle is suitable. However, automatics really struggle up Doi Inthanon and at Doi Ang Kang, so it was excellent to have a car with manual transmission which sped up the mountains.

The road up Doi Lang is okay but there are a few giant potholes and a saloon car would not be suitable, although with care they would make it. However, the care needed would slow the journey considerably and make spotting birds from the vehicle difficult.

The tracks on the fields at Thatorn are firm in the dry season but some turn into a swampy mess in the wet, although it is possible to get to the Jerdon's Bushchat site on firm tracks, the only problem with mud comes when one takes a wrong turning like we did.

At Khao Yai we stayed at Duangporn Resort.
In Nakorn Sawan we stayed at the Asia Nakornsawan Hotel which is excellent value for money at 550 baht per night.
In Chiang Mai we stayed in the Traveller's Inn on Loi Kroh Road. This is reasonably priced at 600 baht per night for an air-conditioned room, although some of the rooms are a getting a bit tatty so check them beforehand.
At Li (Mae Ping) we stayed at Ing Fa Guesthouse which has pleasant, clean bungalows available for 400-700 baht. Fan or aircon rooms are available and all have private bathrooms/showers.
At Doi Inthanon we stayed at the very pleasant Inthanon Highland Resort.
At Doi Ang Kang we stayed at the pleasant bright blue hotel which is on the back street of Ban Khoom: the rooms are clean and have hot showers.
At Thatorn we stayed at Garden Home Nature Resort.

One of the great things about travelling in Thailand is the abundance of excellent food at cheap prices. However, early starts in remote places can cause a few problems in terms of finding food.

On the first morning, as we drove to Khao Yai, we stopped in a roadside 7/11 store where we got toasted sandwiches and coffee. Although we could have stopped to eat something more substantial, we didn't want to waste birding time. These morning 7/11 stops proved helpful in a number of places.

In Khao Yai national park food options are poor and get poorer all the time. Seemingly, park staff cannot be bothered to cook when there are not crowds of people and both at Haew Narok and Pa Gluai Mai campsite we were dealt with fairly rudely when told that there was no food. This is very unusual in Thailand but unfortunately not unusual at Khao Yai. Food is always available at the restaurant at HQ but is of variable quality. In a country where finding bad food is usually really difficult, the park staff at Khao Yai have really excelled in providing poor fare. Fortunately, outside the park there are many places that sell excellent food at low prices.

At Nakorn Sawan there are loads of really good restaurants and here we had possibly the best meal of the whole trip.

In Chiang Mai there are so many options that one could stay there a month and still find new places to eat. We ate at our favourite pizza restaurant opposite the Tha Pae gate where they make excellent pizzas with quality, fresh ingredients.

For Mae Ping national park food was a small problem. The town of Li has an excellent restaurant opposite the Ing Pa Guesthouse but very little else. Inside the national park there was no food available. We had a 7/11 breakfast, helped along by fruit from a nearby market. We also bought microwave meals in 7/11 where they were heated up and remained at least warm for lunch - in fact with some barbecued chicken from the nearby market they weren't bad. The market was about 100 metres from the 7/11 store in Li.

At Doi Inthanon we had great breakfasts (5.30am) and dinner at Inthanon Highland Resort and lunches were taken at Mr Daeng's.

At Doi Ang Kang restaurants don't open until about 7am so breakfast can be a problem. Decent food can be had at any of the restaurants at Ban Khoom and really good food can be found at the restaurant in the King's Project or the Ang Kang Nature Resort.

There are no facilities at all at Doi Lang so breakfast was eaten in Thatorn before heading up the mountain - as the top was covered in cloud and rain until late morning, there was little worry about not getting up there early enough. Lunch consisted of sandwiches and fruit prepared by the staff at Garden Home and snacks bought at a local store.

Notes on Finding Birds

At Khao Yai there was very little bird activity and finding birds was difficult, requiring a lot of patience. There were no feeding flocks and most birds that were easily seen were just very common species; interesting species had to be tracked down by knowing their habits and calls - basically, birding was very slow and difficult.

In the north things were different. When there were breaks in the rain, activity was high but when the rain was falling arboreal birds were virtually impossible to find. In contrast, ground birds were still active and findable. With lots of rain we had to stay out in poor weather and be very persistent so that we were able to take advantage of the patches of fine weather.

Taking afternoon breaks would have been a bad idea as between 10am and 2pm most of the breaks in the rain occurred and consequently, that is when we saw most of our best birds. Particularly on northern mountains the early mornings were plagued by cloud and rain, and birding was very slow. In hindsight we could have had a lie-in on most days and seen the same birds. This is quite different in the dry season though.

Our patience and perseverance were the key to finding the birds that we did. There were many periods when birds were inactive, not calling, or even if they were calling, they did not respond. Many birds disappeared before we could identify them and the rain kept fogging up our binoculars. Many other birders would have let this frustration get to them, but Robert's relaxed attitude allowed us both to remain positive and find lots of good birds - this is a real key to finding lots of good birds in Thailand; remain relaxed, accept that there will be slow periods, enjoy being out in the forest and eventually the birds will come.

Bird Calls

At this time of year a number of species are still calling and this helps in tracking them down. However, there was very little response to call playback - just about the only bird which showed a strong reaction to call playback was a Tickell's Blue Flycatcher on the last afternoon.

Pittas were very quiet, with only 2 distant Blue Pittas heard at Khao Yai and a very distant Rusty-naped Pitta at Doi Inthanon. Another Rusty-naped Pitta called close to us at Doi Lang but did not respond to call playback, in fact it stopped calling and disappeared.

Bird calls used were from The Birds of Tropical Asia and a few calls downloaded from Xena Canto.
Field Guides
1. A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand by Craig Robson
2. Guide to the Birds of Thailand by Philip D. Round & Boonsong Lekagul
3. Raptors of the World by James Ferguson-Lees & David Christie
4. A Guide to the Large Mammals of Thailand by John Parr.
Birding Highlights

Khao Yai : Banded Kingfisher, Scaly-breasted Partridge, Red-headed Trogon, Orange-breasted Trogon, Collared Owlet, Banded Broadbill, Dusky Broadbill, Great Hornbill, Great-eared Nightjar, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Black-and-buff Woodpecker.
Bueng Boraphet: Spot-billed Pelican, Cotton Pygmy Goose, Pied Kingfisher, Striated Grassbird, Asian Golden Weaver.
Mae Ping: Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, White-rumped Falcon, Blossom-headed Parakeet, Black-headed Woodpecker, Great Slaty Woodpecker, White-bellied Woodpecker, Crested Treeswift, Burnese Shrike, Chinese Francolin, Rufous-winged Buzzard, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch.
Doi Inthanon: Slaty-bellied Tesia, Grey-bellied Tesia, Black-tailed Crake, Bay Woodpecker, Eyebrowed Wren Babbler, Pygmy Wren Babbler, Ashy Woodpigeon, White-gorgetted Flycatcher, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Brown-breasted Flycatcher.
Doi Ang Kang: Giant Nuthatch, Scaly Thrush, Spot-winged Grosbeak, Black-throated Parrotbill, Spot-breasted Parrotbill, Grey-headed Parrotbill, Red-faced Liocichla, Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-babbler, Lesser Cuckoo, Green Cochoa.
Doi Lang: Himalayan Cutia, Yellow-browed Tit, Black-throated Tit, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, Black-eared Shrike-babbler, Scarlet-faced Liocichla.
Thatorn: Jerdon's Bushchat, River Lapwing.
Wat Tam Pa Plong, Chiang Dao: Hill Blue Flycatcher, Buff-breasted Babbler.
Huay Tueng Tao: Tickell's Blue Flycatcher.
Daily log

1st July : I met Robert at the Majestic Grande Hotel in Sukhumvit Soi 2 at 5am and we arrived at Khao Yai National Park at around 7.30am. Our first stop was at the layby at Km 33, where a number of good birds can often be found. This morning things were a little slow but we were rewarded with a group of 4 Great Slaty Woodpeckers which stayed in the area for some time. There were a number of common birds around, bulbuls, Asian Fairy Bluebird, barbets etc but there were few of the key species calling. After some patience we tracked down a couple of Green Magpies and a Greater Flameback but there remained very little activity. Some Oriental Pied Hornbills were nice and a Great Hornbill was excellent. This species is relatively common in Khao yai but it is superb and I always get a thrill out of seeing it; this must have been my 20th or 30th Great Hornbill sighting this year but I was still pleased to see it.

After an hour or so we moved along the road a little, stopping at the first layby in the grassland that one comes across. Here it was easy to find Bright-headed Cisticola, a surprisingly attractive little bird with a big call. We also saw a distant Dollarbird and some Red-whiskered Bulbuls before moving along.

Stopping at the TAT lake we walked around hoping for White-crested Laughingthrush but found Plain-backed Sparrow, Blue-bearded Bee-eater, Hill Myna and Scarlet Minivet instead. Heading down the road to Haew Narok we made a series of stops, finding Orange-breasted and Red-headed Trogons and Green Magpie on the way. There was little activity along the trail to Haew Narok and we were disappointed to find no food available at the restaurant. On asking about food the staff guffawed at me as if I was an idiot for even thinking such a thing!

Nosing around Pha Gluai Mai campsite we turned up Buff-bellied and Scarlet-backed Flowerpeckers and a walk along the road to Haew Suwat was where we found Golden-crested Mynas - they are always to be found along here. However, things were pretty quiet along here too so we moved back to the old TAT restaurant at 6pm to wait for the emergence of Great Eared Nightjar. Over the lake here at this sort of time Brown-backed Needletails are regular and we saw 6 flying in formation. They really are a spectacle when seen close up and quite large. More surprisingly was a single Silver-backed Needletail which was easy to pick out due to its colouration and size.

2 Great Eared Nightjars performed for us before heading back for an excellent dinner.

2nd July : Over all this was another slow day although we managed to find some good birds. Our first stop was the loop trail which starts at old HQ. In the past I have seen Eared Pitta here so hopes were high. Unfortunately the trail was very quiet although we were lucky in finding a calling male Banded Kingifsher very easily. Very little else of note was seen along this trail although we did get nice views of some gibbons.

Walking along trail B turned out to be bad idea as it was so muddy and leech infested. The only birds we saw were a Little Spiderhunter, a couple of Abbott's Babblers and a Puff-throated Babbler.

Better luck was had back at Km 33. Along the trail here we heard some Dusky Broadbills and some call playback brought them out although they were quite difficult to view right up in the canopy. A little further along I noticed something on the ground only 5 metres away which from its brown colouration and hopping movement I could tell was an Eared Pitta. I pointed it out to Rob but as both of us got our binoculars up the bird hopped away. We both saw this through out bins but it was a disappointing view. That's how it goes sometimes, we got into the right area, we found the bird, just that our luck was out. However, a little more walking and we heard a pair of Banded Broadbills and after much searching we got decent views of one bird.

After exiting the trail we moved to Km 32 where another trail begins. A short distance along we encountered something in the ground foliage - a Siamese Fireback. Again, luck was not on our side as it was only viewable for a second or two, in which time Rob was bringing his bins up to his eyes...........frustrating! We went a bit further down the trail and heard the call of some nearby Wreathed Hornbills which we located without too much trouble.

Back at Km 33 trail we hoped for the pitta but found a Collared Owlet instead by following the noise of some mobbing songbirds.

Rob was after White-crested Laughingthrush so I took him to an area of the old golf course where I have frequently seen them and this time luck was with us; 2 of these beautiful birds showed well.

In an attempt to see a Siamese Fireback we spent the last hours of light along the first few kilometres of the Khao Khieo road. No pheasants but quite a lot of activity at some fruting and seeding trees gave us Lesser Yellownape, Greater Flameback and Velvet-fronted Nuthatch. After about 6pm there was no activity so we went back for a relaxing evening.
3rd July : With yesterday's experiences fresh in our minds we decided to concentrate our efforts on Km 33 and 32. At Km 33 there was quite a bit of activity and the best birds were 2 Grey-headed Woodpeckers, 3 Laced Woodpeckers and a Scaly-breasted Partridge which came out to call playback. Along here we also saw White-crested Laughingthrush in a mixed flock with Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush and a female Red-headed Trogon.

Along at the trail at Km 32 we saw little although a kilometre or so along the trail there is some nice forest with great trees - one in particular is a great example of a strangler fig. On the way back we located a Black-and-buff Woodpecker.

After some lunch we moved out of the park to a small government compound a couple of kilometres from the park gate. Here we got the car off the road and safely observed a flock of Red-breasted Parakeets, Black-collared Starling, some Coppersmith Barbets and finally, a Lineated Barbet.

With these birds in the bag we drove to Nakorn Sawan, a journey which took about 3 hours.
  Strangler Fig
(Photo by Nick Upton)
4th July : After three days of hard forest birding we opted for a slightly later start so that we could take advantage of the free breakfast buffet at the hotel. This consists of toast and coffee as requested, from 6.30am and a Thai buffet from 7am. As birding from the boat is easy and finding waterbirds is not really dependent on the time of day, a late start does not really stop birders from seeing anything.

After the short drive from Nakorn Sawan to the "Birdwatching Park" on the south side of Bueng Boraphet we were ready for birding by about 8am and on the boat with Khun Phanom very shortly after. This style of birding is very relaxing and was very pleasant after slogging around in the forest for 3 days. From the comfortable boat we quickly saw lots of Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, beautiful in their breeding plumage, Purple Swamphens, Little Cormorants, Little Grebes and Asian Openbills and it wasn't long before we saw Cotton Pygmy Goose which was a bird that Robert had missed on a number of previous trips so it was nice to see plenty of them at close range. Heading across the lake we saw a Spot-billed Pelican amongst some vegetation which duly took off, giving us excellent views and further across, at an island where there is an active heronry, another 17 Pelicans were loafing and preening in the treetops. Also present at this heronry were large numbers of Black-crowned Night Herons, Cattle Egrets, Little Cormorants and Little Egrets with smaller numbers of Great Egrets, Indian Cormorants, Oriental Darters and Purple Herons.

Whilst these were all nice sights we were after another new bird for Robert, Straited Grassbird, so we moved on to an area with low vegetation - reeds, mimosa and other scrub. Running the boat aground we managed to see all three species of weaver and pick up some common species such as Pied Fantail, Peaceful Dove, Plain Prinia and Scaly-breasted Munia. After a short while we located two Grassbirds by their call and managed to get nice views through the telescope. As we were leaving we enjoyed the sight of a Pied Kingfisher hovering and diving to catch a fish.

Those wishing to see Spot-billed Pelican at Bueng Boraphet would be well advised to come at this time of year as they are very infrequent in the dry season.

Having enjoyed a few hours on the lake we decided it was time to head back and think about beginning our journey to Chaing Mai but on the way back we saw a nice pair of Chestnut Munias which looked great contarsting against lush green vegetation.

Once back at the "Birdwatching Park" we had a little drive around to see what we could find but apart from some House Sparrows and an Indochinese Bushlark it had got a bit hot to see much. We then went to the north part of the lake, the Fisheries Research Station, to look for a few species but again we had little success due to the heat, adding only Brown-throated Sunbird to our list, although it was remarkably common. After a typically Thai lunch of barbecued chicken, sticky rice and somtam we began our journey to Chiang Mai at around 2pm.

The traffic was quite light and we took about 5.5 hours to get from Bueng Boraphet to Chiang Mai and it was very pleasant to have a hot shower, before heading out for a pizza and a few beers in town.
5th July: Leaving Chiang Mai at 6am we arrived at the park gates of Doi Inthanon shortly after where we were charged just 100 baht per person for entry. Unfortunately the weather was not as accommodating and we waited for thirty minutes at Km 37.5 for the rain to stop before moving up to the summit. Although it was raining hard at the summit a few birds could still be seen due to their tameness and whilst having a hot chocolate we observed Chestnut-tailed Minla, Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush, Dark-backed Sibia and Flavescent Bulbul feeding on a banana put out by the staff of the coffee/hot chocolate stall.

We tried to lure in some Rufous-throated Partidges at a well-known stakeout behind the rangers' kitchen but we were told that the birds had not been seen in over 6 weeks and they didn't really use the spot in the wet season. With this we moved around the boardwalk seeing many of the summit residents including many White-browed Shortwings, a Snowy-browed Flycatcher, Rufous-winged Fulvettas, Yellow-bellied Fantail and Ashy-throated Warbler. We also took a look at the Ashy Woodpigeon roost but couldn't see anything through the mist and rain so moved down the mountain.

The rain had eased a little so we took a walk along the Km 37.5 jeep track but the light was horrible and birds were very difficult to see due to the drip dripping of water droplets on all the leaves. We did track down a Pygmy Wren Babbler which eventually gave us good views and saw a couple of Rufous-backed Sibias creeping around on mossy branches high in the canopy. There have been a couple of reports of possible Cutias along this trail recently but it is quite possible/probable that these sightings are brief views of the superficially similar Rufous-backed Sibia which even had me fooled for a few seconds - be careful to get good views before reporting birds in logbooks and trip reports!

The rain teemed down again so we retreated for lunch at Mr Daeng's. Here there is a birding logbook and free wireless internet access as well as generous portions of food. Mr Daeng also has rooms for rent and he can be contacted at
Chestnut-tailed Minla (Renamed: Bar-throated Minla)

(Photo by Nick Upton)

Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush (Renamed: Silver-eared Laughingthrush)
(Photo by Nick Upton)
After lunch the weather was still awful but we took a visit to Siriphum waterfall where through the rain we added Silver-eared Mesia, White-crowned Forktail and Blue Whistling Thrush to our list but the weather really was against us and birding was next to impossible. This made us take refuge in the hide which overlooks the Black-tailed Crake pools in the campsite near HQ.

We began our wait for the crake at about 3pm and a photographer had set up his hide some distance in front of us but curiously kept getting out of the hide and walking across the crake zone to his car. On one occasion he walked right into the viewing area in an attempt to entice the crake out with some Tom Yum Gung flavoured corn chips - not a part of this bird's ecology that I was aware of! After about 1hour 45 minutes there was a movement at the back of the area we were watching which looked like a crake but shortly after another photographer noisily strolled down and slowly put up his hide. The first photographer then got out and a very loud conversation ensued. We could only laugh at our misfortune to be here on the day that such noisy people were also in the area. Bread, potato chips and mealworms were put down from the bird and a huge flash unit installed with the new hide just a few metres away from the bait. Then the second photographer's friends turned up in a car and drove onto the crake viewing area, out jumped a guy in a flourescent pink rain coat and another noisy conversation about the crake began - this was becoming something of a comedy now but with the rain still hammering down we just waited it out. Some more car driving, shouting and walking around was then followed by half an hour of quiet in which time the crake did not appear. At about 5.45pm the two photographers began packing up and Rob and I thought that this extra noise meant that there was no chance of seeing our bird. I had a chat with one photographer who said that the noise and disturbance hadn't stopped the crake from coming out and that it was tame! In my experience it is a very shy and nervy bird but I didn't want to argue. Then, in that funny way that things tend to happen, ten minutes after the photographers had left a single Black-tailed Crake came out, almost exactly at 6pm and paraded around nervously for us to see. Every time there was a noise or slight disturbance it hurried back into the reeds, only to come out once it was happy that things were safe. Predictably enough it was not interested in the corn or potato chips but after watching it for 5 minutes we were happy to go for a shower and dinner.

My advice for those wishing to see the crake would be to sit quietly and be patient in the late afternoon.

The Black-tailed Crake zone and photographer's hide at the campsite near HQ, Doi Inthanon.
This photo was taken from inside a wooden hide which overlooks the area.
(Photo by Nick Upton)

6th July: With low cloud and rain covering the whole of Doi Inthanon we decided that birding would be next to impossible due to the weather conditions. Our theory was that as Mae Ping was at much lower altitude than most of Doi Inthanon and the forest much more open, we may stand a chance of finding birds there - frankly the possibility of rain for the rest of the trip was on both our minds and we were trying to think how we might salvage some birding.

The drive to Li, near Mae Ping, took longer than expected, around 2 hours, and the whole journey was accompanied by driving rain. With the weather looking like birding would be impossible here too we weighed up our options and seriously considered heading back to Chiang Mai for a decent lunch. However, we made the decision to take a look at Mae Ping before doing so. The drive from Li to Mae Ping took about 20-30 minutes (we saw a Barred Buttonquail crossing the road on the way) and as we arrived at the park gates the rain all but stopped! In total contrast to Khao Yai, the staff here were very friendly and helpful and directed us to the campsite at Tung Gig where they said the best birding would be. Tung Gig was about 13 kms from HQ but we stopped along the way, quickly finding a flock of Black-headed Woodpeckers along with 2 Rufous Woodpeckers and some White-crested Laughingthrushes.

On arrival at Tung Gig we experienced something of a birders' Holy Grail - the high level of activity that is supposed to follow rain. In this area we quickly saw a large number of the species key to this habitat; Crested Treeswift, Burmese Shrike, Lesser Yellownape, Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Common Flameback, Blossom-headed Parakeet, Black-hooded Oriole, Common Woodshrike, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, Rufous-winged Buzzard and Golden-fronted Leafbird.

We could not have hoped for a better start and our first hour at Mae Ping was possibly the most rewarding hour of birding either of us had ever experienced - we did not really have to track down any of the species, they just showed up! Possibly the best sighting was a Chinese Francolin calling from a dead tree just a few metres away from the car as we arrived at the campsite.

After some snacks we headed back along the road to HQ, moving slowly, stopping every time we spotted some birds. It turned out that we just kept running into Black-headed Woodpeckers which seemed to form the core of loose flocks of birds. In this way we spent the rest of the day finding a couple of pairs of Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, two White-rumped Falcons behaving in a very uncharacteristic nuthatch-like fashion, an Indochinese Cuckooshrike, several Large Cuckooshrikes and a small flock of Small Minivets. Virtually every flock of birds contained Sooty-headed Bulbuls, Golden-fronted Leafbirds, Lesser Yellownapes, Common Flamebacks, Greater Racket-tailed Drongos and Common Woodshrikes, also White-crested Laughingthrush was very common although harder to see.

Late in the afternoon we went back to Tung Gig where we saw most of the same species as in the morning but the only bird we added was a Yellow-eyed Babbler, although we found a group of 4 Great Slaty Woodpeckers along the road as we were leaving. After a long day we then went back to Li for a shower and a nice meal.

7th July : After organizing some food at 7/11 and the local market we went staright back into Mae Ping national park. After so many good birds seen the day before it was going to be hard to find new birds in this type of habitat. However, as we were driving along the dirt road we stopped to find a couple of Rufescent Prinias that were calling from the undergrowth. Tung Gig turned up pretty much the same birds as yesterday, although the activity levels were much lower and this was true of the whole day. Whilst we didn't see any Common Woodshrikes on this day and few Golden-fronted Leafbirds which had been so common the day before we did come across large numbers of Black-headed Woodpeckers once again.

One stop along the road resulted in excellent scope views of a Banded Bay Cuckoo which obligingly called as we watched and after hearing a number of White-bellied Woodpeckers we finally saw one - our 12th woodpecker of the trip so far! After a walk along the road which resulted in a few White-crested laughingthrushes, an Ashy Drongo and a few more woodpeckers we returned to the car where 2 Black Bazas and a Crested Goshawk were circling giving us some nice views.

Whilst bird activity was nowhere near as high as the previous day we still found plenty of Common Flamebacks amongst the Black-headed Woodpecker flocks, lots of Greater Racket-tailed Drongos, several Velvet-fronted Nuthatches and Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpeckers and a few Black-hooded Orioles. After hearing Rufous Treepies we eventually saw a flock of 8 as they passed over the road and we also got improved views of Large Cuckooshrike and Lineated Barbet.

We continued with our strategy of driving and stopping at the numerous lay-bys along the road to Tung Gig but as the afternoon approached finding birds became difficult. This deciduous forest has much lower biodiversity than moister forest and we had seen so many of the key species on the day before that new birds were few and far between. However, we did come across two Collared Falconets, the only ones of our trip, before heading back towards Doi Inthanon in hope of better weather than previously.

The journey back to Doi Inthanon was tricky as there were signposts to Chom Tong in English which suddenly ceased. After some time and a little concern that we were lost I noticed some small signposts in Thai pointing the way towards Chom Tong. For those who cannot read Thai, a good map would be essential - don't rely on signposting.

8th July : Our second attempt at birding Doi Inthanon began with slightly better weather than the first, although it was cloudy, there was no rain and a group of 7 Red-billed Blue Magpies foraging on the road just beyond the park gate seemed like a good omen.

We headed straight to the Km 37.5 jeep trail as that is where we felt we could find the most new birds. Although there was no rain, the light was fairly poor making watching birds in the canopy extremely difficult. However, ground-dwelling and lower-storey-dwelling birds were quite active. We quickly found a singing Lesser Shortwing, a bird which was very common at higher altitudes, but this was the only one we saw. Shortly after we came across a female White-tailed Robin, another bird which can be difficult to observe.Feeding flocks were quite common on this occasion with lots of Grey-cheeked and Rufous-winged Fulvettas joined by smaller numbers of Brown-throated Treecreeper, Yellow-cheeked Tit, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Golden Babbler, Davison's (White-tailed) Leaf Warbler, Yellow-bellied Fantaila and White-throated Fantail. Amongst these flocks we also found a single Chestnut-fronted Shrike-babbler and 2 Grey-throated Babblers. However, our real targets here were Green Cochoa and Slaty-bellied Tesia. Despite much listening, some call playback and watching birds in the canopy, there was no sign of the Cochoa, however, a number of Slaty-bellied Tesias were in song and after some patience one finally came into a viewable position. This is a very active little skulker and getting a view can be tricky; when you do see it, the sighting often lasts a second or two only. We were lucky and saw one bird very clearly for a few seconds.

A little further along the trail we had a brief glimpse of what seemed like a female Small Niltava. I played a short burst of the call and very quickly a beautiful male came out and sat singing just about 5 metres away from us. Shortly after we got a nice view of both male and female Large Niltava, a fairly common bird here. Other nice birds included a couple of Pygmy Wren Babblers seen in the undergrowth and an Eyebrowed Wren Babbler collecting nest material in the trail but possibly the best bird of the day were a pair of White-gorgetted Flycatchers which we fist located by call and then managed to get good views of in bamboo.

With this success we decided to head to Mr Daeng's for lunch, but when we got back onto the road I heard a couple of Bay Woodpeckers. This species is certainly not rare but it can be really hard to see well. With a brief play of the call one flew into view but quickly moved out of sight when a nearby car door slammed, however, it flew onto a tree only about 4 metres away and at head height giving us superb views of this beautiful bird which has a wonderfully contrastingly coloured bill compared to its rufous body. This was definitely our cue for lunch, particularly as this was when the rain began.

After lunch the rain had made way for clear skies so we quickly moved up to Km 34.5 jeep trail. We found a Collared Owlet once again through observing a flock of birds mobbing it and further along we tried to locate a calling Great Barbet, a bird that Rob had seen poorly on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, he added this as another unsatisfying view as the bird flew away just as we located it. This was disappointing but not as much as the weather which began to close in followed by the next birds - two possible (probable) Purple Cochoas. I spotted these birds coming up off the ground and saw just the rufous belly of what seemed like a female. Rob and I got into position as the two birds moved higher up a tree but just as we hoped to get a good view the rain poured down. We then got a glimpse of one bird as it hopped along a mossy branch and this behaviour along with the patterning I could see on the wing made me believe that it was a male Purple Cochoa but the mist and rain on my binoculars meant that I had a very blurred view in poor light. Moments later we saw a bird which looked like either a juvenile Large Niltava or juvenile Purple Cochoa but we could not see its head and again the light was really poor. This was just one of those birds we had to let go as we couldn't reloate it in the rain after it left. Whilst I think the birds we saw were Purple Cochoas the views we had were inconclusive and certainly not tickable for Rob - I have the luxury of having seen this bird before under better conditions.

We waited but the rain did not ease off so we headed down the mountain a little to Siriphum waterfall to look for some more birds. Once again here we found Silver-eared Mesia and Blue Whistling Thrush but also got fine views of a Golden-throated Barbet feeding on fruit. More rain ensued but on the way back down to the car we managed clear views of a Brown-breasted Flycatcher.

Although it was still raining we decided to go back to the Km 37.5 jeep trail and put in another effort at Green Cochoa. Once again there was no sign of this species but we did get an unbelievable sighting of a pair of Grey-bellied Tesias jumping around just a metre or so away from our heads, displaying to each other for about 1 minute in clear view - unfortunately the light conditions were not good enough for photography. We persisted along the trail but to no avail and with light failing we moved back down the mountain for a shower and a good meal at Inthanon Highland Resort. Whilst eating we heard the screech of Asian Barred Owlet which we then easily spotlighted just behind the restaurant for the final bird of the day.

9th July : Sadly we woke up to more rain but with little option we just headed up the mountain determined to make the best of it. Our first stop was the summit where birds were once again feeding on bananas put out for them. The rain was heavy but we managed to see most of the regular species around the boardwalk. Back in the garden a break in the rain turned up one of the summit specialities - Green-tailed Sunbird feeding on some flowers. The clouds also parted long enough for us to see 13 Ashy Woodpigeons through the 'scope. These birds were in their regular place and search as we might, we could not locate any Speckled Woodpigeons. I have never seen Speckled Woodpigeon here despite it regularly appearing on other trip lists from this spot - usually they are seen a few kilometres downhill. I have spent many hours watching the Ashy Woodpigeons in hope of a Speckled showing but to no avail in probably 40-50 visits. I am not saying that others have not seen Speckled Woodpigeon here but do not assume that you have seen both if you see the birds flying around.

Unfortunately the rain never really stopped for any length of time throughout the day but we did see quite a few birds along both Km 37.5 trail and Km 34.5 trail although the clouds came in again along the latter where we finally saw a Blue-winged Minla, usually a common bird. We also added Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Stripe-breasted Woodpecker, White-browed Shrike-babbler and Chestnut-vented Nuthatch to the trip list but only I got a decent view of some Black-throated Parrotbills in bamboo a short way along the Km 34.5 trail. This seems to be a good place to look for them, try along the first few hundred metres of the track where there is a lot of bamboo on the right of the trail. In the grassy areas about 2km along the trail we got within a few metres of a singing Russet Bush Warbler but the vegetation was too thick to see it.

With the weather getting worse again we opted for an early trip back to Chiang Mai so that we could dry off, eat and have a few drinks.

10th July : Leaving Chiang Mai at 5.30am got us to Doi Ang Kang in beautiful sunshine for about 7.45am. Our first stop was the Chinese Cemetery where we walked uphill and then turned right, walking through the forest back down to the road at Km 34. According to Ralph Parks this is a strategy for finding Hume's Pheasant if you didn't see it from the road at Km 34. We were unsuccessful with this bird despite putting in a lot of effort walking through suitable habitat. It would appear that due to thick undergrowth, the wet season is not a good time to look for this species.

However, this was to be a good day and we soon came across Spot-winged Grosbeak in a roadside pine, a Scaly Thrush and as we were watching that, a Giant Nuthatch flew into our field of view giving us a superb view in excellent light. Along with these three excellent birds we also found Grey Bushchat, 3 White-browed Scimitar-babblers, Chestnut-vented Nuthatch, 2 male White-tailed Robins, 2 Hoopoes, some Japanese Tits (Parus cinereus according to the new Thai checklist) and many Blue-winged Minlas.

A stop a little further along the road produced the only Black-winged Cuckooshrike of the trip, a bird which is very common in the dry season but seemingly scarce in the wet.

However, our most profitable location over the two days at Doi Ang Kang was our next stop at Km 21 where we walked a short distance along the "scrub trail". Here we quickly caught up with one of Rob's target birds: Spectacled Barwing. In fact, this species was remarkably abundant around this site on this occasion. Moments after the barwing we were watching some Crested Finchbills when a couple of Grey-headed Parrotbills flew in. At first we struggled to get onto these birds but more and more of them kept flying in and we had some wonderful opportunities to observe these birds. The flock must have numbered 30-40 birds. At this stop we also found Scarlet-faced Liocichla which although was skulking in the undergrowth was easy to pick out because of its bright red face. Eventually, the birds came out into a clear patch giving us an excellent view. This was a suitable point to head for lunch.

After lunch we took a walk along the Mae Per forest trail. With good weather this time of day didn't produce many birds although we did see more Spectacled Barwings, Silver-eared Mesias and Rufous-backed Sibias in a mixed flock and a couple of Plain Flowerpeckers which are remarkably common at Doi Ang Kang in the wet season but mysteriously absent in the dry - hardly most people's main target bird but interesting to note anyway. As we were moving back to car movement in the bamboo attracted our attention and a male Mountain Tailorbird was foraging with at least one Black-throated Parrotbill - shortly after a pair of White-browed Piculets revealed themselves.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent back at Km 21where we were hoping to find Hume's Pheasant and/or Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-babbler. Whilst we managed brief views of the scimitar-babbler, there was no sign of the pheasant. Walking some distance along the trail we found a few more Red-faced Liocichlas, Brown-breasted Bulbuls and a couple of Spot-breasted Parrotbills; our third species of parrotbill of the day.

Happy with a successful day we drove to Ban Khoom for dinner.

After dinner we walked a way down the Mae Per forest trail where we had been tipped off of a Hodgson's Frogmouth. The bird is supposed to come in to call playback at around 9pm at the first open area, a small orchard on the right where one can see across the valley. We expended much effort but there was no sign of this bird. I guess it could be another of those birds which is difficult in the wet season.

11th July : Up early and as it appeared, earlier than the birds. We tried again at Km 34 for Hume's Pheasant, again to no avail but a flock of White-headed Bulbuls was a nice sight. However, almost zero bird activity and hungry stomachs made us go back to Ban Khoom for some breakfast. At Doi Ang Kang I have experienced this lack of early morning activity a number of times and things usually only get going after the first warmth of the morning sun stirs the birds - this meant we could relax and eat breakfast without worrying about missing too much.
Our decision proved well made, not only did food and drink give us the energy to search for birds but shortly after entering the trail at Km 21 I heard the call of a Green Cochoa overhead. We almost went into a panic trying to get a view of this bird which very few people get to see clearly (most observations along the jeep trail at Doi Inthanon seem to be very brief and obscured) but fortunately it didn't take long for it to reveal itself on a pine tree with little foliage on it. The light here was not so good though but when the bird moved to a bare branch on another tree we got an improved sighting.

Once again this trail proved very profitable for us and we found a male Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush, got excellent views of a pair of Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-babblers (a bird that I always see along here) and a male Little Pied Flycatcher as well as a number of other species that we had seen before. We also walked along the ridge trail, but whilst the views were nice we didn't see very many birds. But, on returning to the road we located the call of a Lesser Cuckoo. This bird is a wet season visitor to a very small part of northern Thailand and reacted very quickly to call playback although it took us about twenty minutes of searching to eventually get a clear view of it.

After this long walk lunch was very welcome and our afternoon session saw us along the Mae Per trail where we once more saw a Great Barbet in flight but couldn't obtain tickable views for Rob. Some more searching for Hume's Pheasant at Km 34 was fruitless so happy with our success at Doi Ang Kang we moved on to Thatorn, a journey which took us a little over an hour.

12th July: Leaving at 5.30am we were up on the highest ridge of Doi Lang by 6.30am, seeing several flocks of Mountain Bamboo Partridges and a couple of Oriental Turtle Doves on the road on the way up. Despite the weather lower down being fine, up here there was a thick fog making birding virtually impossible. Luckily for us the sun eventually burned off the cloud and by about 9.30am we found a couple of Yellow-browed Tits amongst a feeding flock of birds which also included some colourful Whiskered Yuhinas.
  Wet Season Birdwatching Trips In Thailand:
The early wet season (April to July) is a great time to find many
of Thailand's resident forest birds. Species such as Pittas, Broadbills and forest Kingfishers are much easier to find than at other times of the year.

Contact me to arrange a trip and/or to discuss the best birdwatching options for you:
Over the next few hours until about 2pm the weather was largely okay with just a few misty patches confounding us. Birding throughout the middle of the day (when usually birders would take a break) brought us a lot of good birds. In various flocks we found Grey-chinned Minivet, Grey Treepie, Yellow-cheeked Tit, Yellow-bellied Fantail, Striated Bulbul, Golden Babbler, Spectacled Barwing, Red-faced Liocichla, White-browed Shrike-babbler and many others. Whilst these were all nice birds we were itching for some of Doi Lang's specialities and at exactly midday we got excellent views of a male Black-eared Shrike-babbler, a bird which seems much commoner here than at other locations in the north of Thailand. This was shortly followed by a Mountain Hawk Eagle which approached us through the mist and gave us good views before disappearing behind some trees.

The next excitement was a calling Crimson-breasted Woodpecker which unfortunately flew away before we could locate it.

As time wore on the weather began to close in but we were lucky enough to locate a flock of around 10 Black-throated Tits in the tree tops at about 2pm and although the light was poor and it was difficult to see any colouration looking up into the treetops, our luck held and they descended onto some mossy branches giving us great views of these cute little birds.

With the weather rapidly getting worse we expected rain but thick mist was the worst it got. Through this mist I heard another Crimson-breasted Woodpecker calling from some big, moss-covered trees. After some searching and a little luring using the beginning of the call of Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker (which got a response from the Crimson-breasted) the bird was located. Unfortunately the bird flew off just before Rob got onto it. Another 5 minutes later we had another opportunity to view it as it hopped along a dead snag and Rob managed to view it for a short time for another lifer. We hung around trying to get a better view and both of us were drawn to some movement high up in one of the mossy trees, and we both saw a female Cutia! This is a very seldom seen bird in Thailand and the second time I have seen it in the same location. We had plenty of time to observe the colours of this female feeding quietly in the canopy. Those hoping to find Cutia, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker and Black-throated Tit would do well to get up onto the highest ridge at Doi Lang (after checkpoint 2) and be vigilant in areas with spread out, large mossy trees that have lots of dead snags. I have seen all 3 of these species in this type of habitat on a number of occasions now at Doi Lang.

We very soon after added Orange-bellied Leafbird to our tally; a bird which is not so abundant in the wet season.

On our way down we stopped to look for Jerdon's Bushchat in the rice paddies but no habitat for this species remains. We did have time to find a pair of Short-billed Minivets and have another incident with a Great Barbet which left us with another view of it as it flew away! I just don't think Rob is destined to ever see this not uncommon bird properly.

Before dinner we attempted to lure out a Brown Hawk Owl which had been calling the previous evening from the wooded area on the hill with the temple at Thatorn. No luck!
13th July : We awoke a little tired by our efforts of the previous twelve days. However, optimistically we drove up the mountain in very poor weather conditions, hoping that some breaks in the cloud may come later in the day. We came across more Mountain Bamboo Partridges in the road on the way up and several Red Junglefowl. I am not sure of the provenance of these birds, given the amount of deforestation and human activity, but they did fly away which would imply that they are wild.

Unfortunately the weather was persistently terrible all morning and the sunny spells never came. We tried hard to find some target birds but other than a male Orange-bellied Leafbird our search was fruitless. We tried to track down some Barred Cuckoo Doves that we heard calling, but we just found leeches for our troubles. Some Spot-throated Babblers were singing nicely in grass about 1km before the second checkpoint but were impossible to find in the dense undergrowth so we had to simply admire its rich song. We also tried a couple of trails which lead off the road on the highest ridge to see if we could locate any skukling birds which can sometimes be quite responsive to call playback at this time of year, even in these conditions. We did locate a calling Rusty-naped Pitta but failed to get even a glimpse of it.

This photo will give an impression of the conditions we were trying to birdwatch in. As we were very tired and birding was hopeless we decided to go back to Thatorn for lunch, take a rest and try for a Jerdon's Bushchat out on the agricultural land at Thatorn.
  Rain & Fog at Doi Lang
(Photo by Nick Upton)
Revitalized by a nap and with the rain having stopped at least in the lowlands we headed out to the area that others have seen Jerdon's Bushchat - the white water tower. However, this tower is now not white but a rusty colour with vestiges of white paint, but still easy to see next to the river (a couple of kms downstream from Thatorn) and after one wrong turning we found it. This water tower is accessible by robust gravel roads and no muddy tracks need to be negotiated. If you end up on grassy, muddy tracks you have gone the wrong way. We parked at the water tower and walked along a little, quickly locating 6 River Lapwings on a sandy bar in the river. We also saw a Green sandpiper and several Red-wattled Lapwings. In the farmland, on the edge of some reeds we found Baya Weavers, 3 Racket-tailed Treepies, 1 juvenile Plaintive Cuckoo and lots of Pied Bushchats. We had several false Jerdon's Bushchats which turned out to be Magpie Robins but none of the real thing. It was nice to do some easy birding and as we headed back to the car several Black Drongos gathered in the reeds to roost. One last scan across the river produced a rather distant female Jerdon's Bushchat sitting on some submerged twigs in the river. A bit far away for satisfaction but we could clearly see its pale throat and other features.
After dinner we heard an Oriental Scops Owl calling from an orchard just outside the Garden Home Resort. Some call mimicking from me got it to fly in next to us but only for it to conceal itself in an unviewable spot at the top of the tree. With rain beginning we just put this down to bad luck. On trips such as these luck has a way of evening itself out and we weren't complaining about this little bit of bad luck as we had certainly had our share of the good luck.

14th July : Our blind optimism as far as the weather was concerned turned out to be exactly that - blind. Thick cloud and rain greeted us but ever hopeful we drove up Doi Lang in search of a break in the cloud and an improved view of Crimson-breasted Woodpecker. We spent a lot of time walking up and down, listening hard and very vigilant but any birds we were to see would have had to land on our noses such was the density of the rain and cloud. The only birds seen in 2 hours or so were 1 Striated Bulbul, 1 Large Cuckooshrike, 1 Golden-throated Barbet and 1 Long-tailed Shrike although we did see a number of parties of Mountain Bamboo Partridge on the way up.

Having seen so many of the likely birds and considering the weather it was time for us to make another decision on how to find some new birds. My opinion was that a stop at Wat Tampaplong, Chiang Dao and Huay Tueng Tao might reward us with a few birds, particularly a couple of the blue flycatchers that we had missed. With this in mind we made the journey to Chiang Dao which took a little over 2 hours. We had lunch at Chiang Dao cave where there are a couple of decent places to get good food, and then moved onto Wat Tampaplong. We sneaked around the limestone outcrops where the monks' quarters are and added Emerald Dove and Brown-cheeked Fulvetta to our trip list. Also, rather pleasingly we finally found Rob a Hill Blue Flycatcher, a juvenile male. A second lifer for Rob was a pair of Buff-breasted Babblers, hardly the most memorable bird to end the trip with but at least our decision to move away from the rain-covered Doi Lang had been justified.

Other Wet Season Trip Reports

So, the last stop of our trip was to be Huay Tueng Tao, a sort of park just outside of Chiang Mai. We weren't expecting much from here but I had seen Tickell's Blue Flycatcher in the same spot a couple of times so felt that we had a good chance of making a finish with another lifer for Rob. Having had very little response from call playback on the whole trip it was very satisfying to turn up at the spot I had seen the bird previously, play a short burst of the call and have a male Tickell's Blue Flycatcher jump straight out into view. After this success we had a short walk around adding Green Bee-eater and Wire-tailed Swallow to our trip list before heading back to Chiang Mai to celebrate an excellent trip.
Nick Upton (
 Species list with sites and notes
Khao Yai: KY
Bueng Boraphet: BB
Mae Ping: MP
Doi Inthanon: DI
Doi Ang Kang: DAK
Doi Lang: DL
Thatorn: TT
Huay Tueng Tao: HTT
Wat Tamplapong, Chiang Dao: CD
1. Chinese Francolin: 2 seen well at Tung Gig, MP, many others heard and 2 heard at HTT.
2. Barred Buttonquail: 2 on access road to MP.
3. Scaly-breasted Partridge: 1 came in to call playback on Km 33 trail, KY.
4. Mountain Bamboo Partridge: 3 at DAK, common on road at DL.
5. Red Junglefowl
: Many on road, DL. Provenance uncertain, look like feral birds to me.
6. Lesser Whistling Duck: Small flocks at BB and a few at TT.
7. Cotton Pygmy Goose:
100 or more at BB.
8. Little Grebe
: Common at KP.
9. Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker: Common at MP, a few at DAK, a few at DL, 1 at CD.
10. Stripe-breasted Woodpecker: 1 at DI, a few at DAK.
11. Crimson-breasted Woodpecker: 1 at DL.
12. Speckled Piculet: 1, DI.
13. White-browed Piculet: 2 at DAK.

14. Black-and-Buff Woodpecker: 1, KY.
15. Lesser Yellownape: 1 at KY, common at MP.
16. Greater Yellownape: Common at MP, a few at DI & DL.
17. Laced Woodpecker: 3 at KY.
18. Grey-headed Woodpecker: 2, KY.
19. Common Flameback: Common at MP.
20. Greater Flameback: A few at KY.
21. Bay Woodpecker: 3 at DI, heard at MP, DAK & DL.
22. Rufous Woodpecker: 2 at MP.
23. Great Slaty Woodpecker: 3 at KY, 4 at MP.
24. White-bellied Woodpecker: 1 seen in flight at MP.
25. Great Barbet: Glimpsed at DI, DAK & DL - infuriatingly not seen properly.
26. Lineated Barbet: 1 just outside KY & 1 at MP, heard at HTT.
27. Green-eared Barbet: Common at KY.
28. Golden-throated Barbet: A few at DI, DAK & DL.
29. Blue-throated Barbet: 1 DL.
30. Moustached Barbet: Common at KY.
31. Coppersmith Barbet: 2 outisde KY & common at MP, heard at HTT.
32. Oriental Pied Hornbill: Common at KY.
33. Great Hornbill: 2, KY.
34. Wreathed Hornbill: A small flock, KY.
35. Orange-breasted Trogon: 2, KY.
36. Red-headed Trogon: A few at KY & several on DI 37.5km jeep track.
37. Banded Kingfisher: 1m, KY.
38. White-throated Kingfisher: A few, BB.
39. Pied Kingfisher: 1, BB.
40. Blue-bearded Bee-eater: A few at KY, 1 at DAK.
41. Green Bee-eater: 2, HTT.
42. Blue-tailed Bee-eater: Abundant, BB, a few at TT.
43. Greater Coucal: Many locations.
44. Lesser Cuckoo: 1 seen well at DAK and several others heard. 1 heard at DL.
45. Banded Bay Cuckoo: 1 at MP.
46. Plaintive Cuckoo: 1 juvenile at TT.
47. Asian Koel: 1 at BB.
48. Green-billed Malkoha: Common at KY.
49. Indian Roller: Common at KY & MP.
50. Dollarbird: Common, KY.
51. Vernal Hanging Parrot: Several seen whizzing overhead, but not seen properly at KY.
52. Blossom-headed Parakeet: Up to 12 at Tung Gig, MP.
53. Red-breasted Parakeet: Around 10 just outside KY.
54. Hoopoe: A few, DAK.
55. Himalyan Swiftlet: Abundant MP, DI, DAK & DL.
56. Asian Palm Swift: Everywhere.
57. Fork-tailed Swift: DAK & DL.
58. House Swift: Flocks seen in Chiang Mai & TT.
59. Silver-backed Needletail: 1 at TAT pond, KY.
60. Brown-backed Needletail: Several, KY.
61. Crested Treeswift: Around 12 at Tung Gig, MP.
62. Collared Owlet: 1 at KY & 1 at DI.
63. Asian Barred Owlet: 1 seen at Inthanon Highland Resort.
64. Great Eared Nightjar: 2, KY.
65. Rock Pigeon: BB, TT, HTT.
66. Ashy Woodpigeon: 13, DI.
67. Mountain Imperial Pigeon: Common at KY.
68. Oriental Turtle Dove: A few flushed from road, DL.
69. Spotted Dove: KY, BB, DAK, TT, HTT.
70. Red-collared Dove: BB.
71. Peaceful Dove: BB.
72. Yellow-footed Green Pigeon: 4, MP.
73. Emerald Dove: 1 fly past, CD.
74. White-breasted Waterhen: 1, MP.
75. Purple Swamphen: Common, BB.
76. Black-tailed Crake: 1 at campsite bog, DI.

77. Pheasant-tailed Jacana: Common, BB.
78. Bronze-winged Jacana: 3, BB.
79. Green Sandpiper: 1, TT.
80. Black-winged Stilt: A few, BB.
81. River Lapwing: 6 at TT.
82. Red-Wattled Lapwing: Abundant, KY, TT, BB, HTT.
83. Black Baza: 2, MP.
84. Oriental Honey-buzzard: 1, KY.
85. Shikra: 1m, KY.
86. Crested Goshawk: 1, MP.
87. Rufous-winged Buzzard: 3 at MP.
88. Crested Serpent Eagle: Several at KY, 1 at DAK & 1 at DL.
89. Mountain Hawk Eagle: 1, DL.
90. Black-shouldered Kite: 1 at TT.
91. White-rumped Falcon: 2 at MP.
92. Collared Falconet: 2 at MP.
93. Peregrine Falcon: 1, DAK.
94. Oriental Darter: Several at BB.
95. Little Cormorant: Common at BB.
96. Indian Cormorant: A few, BB.
97. Little Egret: Many, BB.
98. Great Egret: A few, BB.
99. Cattle Egret: Many, BB.
100. Purple Heron: Common at BB.
101. Black-crowned Night Heron: Many, BB.
102. Yellow Bittern: A few at BB, 1 at TT.>
103. Cinnamon Bittern: A few at TT, 1 at HTT.
104. Asian Openbill: Very abundant at BB.
105. Spot-billed Pelican: 18 at BB.
106. Eared Pitta: 1 seen frustratingly briefly at KY.
107. Banded Broadbill: 2 at KY.
108. Dusky Broadbill: A group of 4, KY.
109. Blue-winged Leafbird: Several, KY.
110. Golden-fronted Leafbird: Common at MP.
111. Orange-bellied Leafbird: 1m & 1f at DL.
112. Asian Fairy Bluebird: Common, KY.
113. Burmese Shrike: 1m at Tung Gig, MP.
114. Long -tailed Shrike: Several, BB, DAK & DL.
115. Black Drongo: A few at BB, TT & HTT.
117. Ashy Drongo: 1 at MP, a few at DI, DAK & DL.
118. Bronzed Drongo: A few, KY, DI & DL.
119. Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo: 1 DI, 1 DAK.
120. Greater Racket-tailed Drongo: Common, KY & MP.
121. Large-billed Crow: A few, BB & MP.
122. Red-billed Blue Magpie: 7 near park gate, DI.
123. Common Green Magpie: Several, KY.
124. Rufous Treepie: Common, MP.
125. Grey Treepie: A few seen briefly, DAK & DL.
126. Racket-tailed Treepie: 3, TT.
127. Black-hooded Oriole: Common at Tung Gig, MP.<
128. Indochinese Cuckooshrike: 1m, MP.
129. Black-winged Cuckppshrike: 1m, DAK.
130. Large Cuckooshrike: Many, MP & a few at DL.
131. Small Minivet: A small flock, MP.
132. Grey-chinned Minivet: A few, DI, DAK & DL.
133. Short-billed Minivet: A pair, DI & DL.
134. Scarlet Minivet: A few, KY & CD.
135. Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike: 4, DI, a few at DAK.
136. Yellow-bellied Fantail: Common, DI & DL.
137. White-throated Fantail: Many, DI, DAK & DL.
138. Pied Fantail: 1, BB.
139. Common Iora: A few, MP.
140. Black-naped Monarch:A few, MP.
141. Asian Paradise Flycatcher: 3 indochinensis, DI & 1, CD.
142. Common Woodshrike: Common, MP.
143. Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush: 1m at DAK, 1f at DL.
144. Blue Whistling Thrush: 2 eugenei, DI.
145. Scaly Thrush: 1 at Km 34 DAK.
146. Green Cochoa: 1 seen well at Km 21.2, DAK.
147. Brown-breasted Flycatcher: 1 near HQ, DI.
148. White-gorgetted Flycatcher: 2 seen on Km 37.5 trail, DI. 1 seen on Km 34.5 trail, DI and many heard at DI, DAK & DL.
149. Snowy-browed Flycatcher: 1m, DI.
150. Little Pied Flycatcher: 1m, DAK.
151. Hill Blue Flycatcher: 1jm, CD.
152. Tickell's Blue Flycatcher: 1m, HTT.
153. Pale Blue Flycatcher: 2 at DAK.
154. Large Niltava: Common, Km 37.5 & km 34.5, DI.
155. Small Niltava: 2m & 1f, Km 37.5, DI.
156. Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher: Several, DI, MP, DAK, DL & CD.
157. Oriental Magpie Robin: A few, BB, DAK, TT & HTT.
158. White-rumped Shama: A few, KY.
159. Lesser Shortwing: 1 seen well at Km 37.5, DI. Heard frequently at DI, DAK & DL.
160. White-browed Shortwing: Abundant, DI summit.
161. Slaty-backed Forktail: 1 seen briefly at Mae Per, DAK.
162. White-crowned Forktail: 1 seen briefly DI & 1 briefly at DL.
163. White-tailed Robin: 1f seen at DI & 2m at Km 34, DAK.
164. Eastern Stonechat: A few seen briefly, DAK.
165. Pied Bushchat: A few, TT.
166. Jerdon's Bushchat: 1f seen at distance through scope at TT.
167. Grey Bushchat: Common at DAK & DL.
168. Ashy Woodswallow: Common, KY, DAK, DL, HTT.
169. Asian Pied Starling: Many, BB.
170. Black-Collared Starling: A few near KY, many at HTT.
171. Common Myna: Many, KY, BB, TT & HTT.
172. White-vented Myna: Many, BB, TT & HTT.
173. Golden-crested Myna: 6 at KY.
174. Hill Myna: Common at KY.
175. Chestnut-vented Nuthatch: A few, DI & DAK.
176. Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch: 4 at MP.
177. Velvet-fronted Nuthatch: 1 at KY, a few at MP.
178. Giant Nuthatch: 1 at Km 34, DAK.
179. Hume's (Brown-throated) Treecreeper: Common, Km 37.5 trail, DI.
180. Japanese Tit: Several, DAK.
181. Yellow-cheeked Tit: Several, DI, DAK & DL.
182. Yellow-browed Tit: Several at DL.
183. Black-throated Tit: Two flocks of about 10 birds each, DL.
184. Barn Swallow: Small numbers at BB, TT & HTT.
185. Wire-tailed Swallow: 2 at HTT.
186. Striated Swallow: A few, Mp, DI & DAK.
187. Crested Finchbill: Abundant, DAK & DL.
188. Striated Bulbul: A few, DL.
189. Black-headed Bulbul: A few, KY .
190. Black-crested Bulbul: Abundant, KY & CD.
191. Red-whiskered Bulbul: Many, KY & DAK.
192. Brown-breasted Bulbul: Abundant DAK.
193. Sooty-headed Bulbul:Common at DAK, DL, TT & HTT.
194. Stripe-throated Bulbul: A few, KY.
195. Flavescent Bulbul: Abundant DI, DAK & DL.
196 Streak-eared Bulbul: BB, TT & HTT.
197. Grey-eyed Bulbul: 2, CD.
198. Puff-throated Bulbul: Common, KY.
199. Mountain Bulbul: Common DAK.
200. Black Bulbul: A couple flew past, DAK.
201. White-headed Bulbul: A flock of about 20 at DAK.
202. Bright-headed Cisticola: 2m, KY.
203. Hill Prinia: A few, DI & DAK.
204. Striated Grassbird: 2, BB.
205. Rufescent Prinia: Several, MP.
206. Yellow-bellied Prinia: 1, TT.
207. Plain Prinia: A few, BB.
208. Mountain Tailorbird: Abundant, DI, DAK & DL.
209. Common Tailorbird: 2, CD.
210. Dark-necked Tailorbird: 1, KY.
211. Slaty-bellied Tesia: 2 seen on Km 37.5 trail, DI. Many heard at DI, DAK & DL.
212. Grey-bellied Tesia: 2 seen remarkably weel at Km 37.5 trail, DI.
213. Ashy-throated Warbler: Several, DI.
214. Blyth's Leaf Warbler: A few, DI.
215. Davison's (White-tailed) Leaf Warbler: Abundant, DI, DAK & DL.
216. Oriental White-eye: Numerous, DI & DAK.
217. Chestnut-crowned Warbler: A few, DI.
218. White-crested Laughingthrush: A few, KY & MP.
219 Lesser-necklaced Laughingthrush: 1, KY.
220. White-browed Laughingthrush: Several groups, DAK & 1 bird, DL.
221. Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush: A few at summit DI, 1 DAK & 1, DL.
222. Red-faced Liocichla: 4, DAK & a couple at DL.
223. Abbott's Babbler: Several, KY.
224. Buff-breasted Babbler: 2 at CD.
225. Puff-throated Babbler: 1, KY.
226. Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-babbler: 2 seen at DAK, many more heard at DAK & DL.
227. White-browed Scimitar Babbler: 3, DAK.
228. Eyebrowed Wren Babbler: 1, Km 37.5 trail, DI.
229. Pygmy Wren Babbler: Several seen, DI summit, Km 37.5 trail, DI. Heard commonly, DI, DAK & DL.
230. Striped Tit Babbler: Many, KY.
231. Yellow-eyed Babbler: 1, MP.
232. Rufous-fronted Babbler: 1, CD.
233. Golden Babbler: Several, DI, DAK & DL.
234. Grey-throated Babbler: 2, DI.
235. Silver-eared Mesia: Several groups, DI & DAK.
236. Himalayan Cutia: 1f, DL.
237. Blyth's (White-browed) Shrike-babbler: Several, DI, DAK & DL.
238. Clicking (Chestnut-fronted) Shrike-babbler: A few, DI.
239. Black-eared Shrike-babbler: 1, DL.
240. Blue-winged Minla: 1 at DI, common at DAK.
241. Chestnut-tailed Minla: Common, summit DI.
242. Rufous-winged Fulvetta: Common, summit & Km 37.5 jeep track, DI & DL.
243. Brown-cheeked Fulvetta: A few small groups, CD.
244. Grey-cheeked Fulvetta: Common DI, DAK & DL.
245. Whiskered Yuhina: Common, DL.
246. White-bellied YuhinaErpornis: A few, KK & DI.
247. Spectacled Barwing: Fairly common at DAk, a few at DL.
248. Rufous-backed Sibia: Fairly common, DI, DAK & DL.
249. Dark-backed Sibia: Common DI, DAK & DL.
250. Grey-headed Parrotbill: A large flock of about 40 birds, DAK.
251. Spot-breasted Parrotbill: 2, DAK.
252. Black-throated Parrotbill: 1 at DAK.
253. Plain Flowerpecker: Common, DAK.
254. Fire-breasted Flowerpecker: A few, KY.
255. Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker: KY.
256. Brown-throated Sunbird: Common, BB.
257. Ruby-cheeked Sunbird: 1, KY.
258. Olive-backed Sunbird: 1, KY.
259. Green-tailed Sunbird: A few, summit DI.
260. Black-throated Sunbird: Several, KY, DI, DAK & DL.
261. Little Spiderhunter: 1, KY.
262. Streaked Spiderhunter: Fairly common, DI, DAK & DL.
263. Paddyfield Pipit: 1 at MP.
264. Indochinese Bushlark: 1 at BB, 1 at MP.
265. House Sparrow: A small flock, BB.
266. Plain-backed Sparrow: Several, KY.
267. Eurasian Tree Sparrow: Ubiquitous.
268. Streaked Weaver: Small numbers, BB.
269. Baya Weaver: Abundant, BB, a few at TT.
270. Asian Golden Weaver: Small numbers, BB.
271. Scaly-breasted Munia: A few at BB, TT & HTT.
272. White-rumped Munia: A few, DAK.
273. Chestnut Munia: 2, BB.
274. Spot-winged Grosbeak: 1f & 1j, DAK.
Species heard only: I list here the species heard only to give others some idea of where to search for them.
1. Rufous-throated Partridge: Calling on DI & DL
2. Brown Hawk Owl: 1 calling from hill temple, TT.
3. Collared:Scops Owl: A few heard around orchards, TT.
4. Barred Cuckoo Dove: Several, KY & DL.
5. Blue Pitta: 2 near Haew narok, KY.
6. Rusty-naped Pitta: 1 on summit ridge, DL.
7. Long-tailed Broadbill: Mid elevations of DL.
8. Eurasian Jay: MP.
9. Ashy Bulbul: DAK.
10. Grey-breasted Prinia: HTT.
11. Russet Bush Warbler: DI & DAK, in farmland.
12. Black-throated Laughingthrush: KY & DL.
13. Spot-breasted Laughingthrush: In valley near scrub trail, DAK.
14. Spot-throated Babbler: In grass a little before 2nd checkpoint, DL.
1. Northern Treeshrew: DI.
2. Pig-tailed Macaque: KY.
3. White-handed Gibbon: KY.
4. Black Giant Squirrel: KY.
5. Variable Squirrel: KY.
6. Grey-bellied Squirrel: KY & DI.
7. Burmese Striped Squirrel: DI, MP, DAK & DL.
8. Indochinese Ground Squirrel: MP.
9. Small Asian (Javan) Mongoose: KY.
10. Asian Elephant: KY.
11. Muntjac: KY.
12. Sambar: KY.
Nick Upton can be contacted at
More information on Khao Yai
More information on Bueng Boraphet
More information on Doi Inthanon
More information on Doi Ang Kang
More information on Huay Tueng Tao
If 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.

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