Inthanon, 25-28th Jan 2002
Inthanon there is a nature trail called Geo Mae Baan,
at around 2000m allevation. This trail takes you through some of the
best preserved primary evergreen, broad-leaved forest in the country.
It leads to a natural meadow and steep cliffs overlooking valleys
and mountain peaks below.
Here the national flower of Tibet, a red blossoming Rhododendron,
flourishes. Its flowers attract a myriad of Green-tailed
Sunbirds, Chestnut-tailed Minlas,
Chestnut-crowned Laughing Thrushes and
Black-headed Sibias. If you are blessed
enough you may even spot a very rare serow, a mountain dwelling goat
like animal that still survives in the remote western mountains of
Thailand. Having spent quite some time in these wonderful surroundings
, we (8 kids, 6-11 years old) and a couple of adults started heading
back down the trail. This is when I had the most outstanding experience
of this year’s visit to Doi Inthanon. The clear and attractive
call of a Brown-throated Tree-creeper
penetrated the air. Having wanted to see this bird for a long time
I was 'ready for a rendezvous'. Sure enough, here in the middle of
a fantastic forest of tall and erect mountain dwelling tree species,
a single bird kept working its way towards us. It has a peculiar habit
of sort of 'dropping it's head' side ways, falling down a bit and
then climbing up the same trunk again. Then off to another tree, starting
all over from down below, working it's way up. Colors drap, but oh
so well blended. Simply a gorgeous bird!
As much as this was the highlight of the trip it also was the greatest
let down. Too my despair I discovered the film in my camera was finished
and realized my other films were in the car far away!
The Summit was windy and cold. About 6 degrees Celcius, but the wind
made sure that non-prepared tourists barely got out of their cars
before climbing back in and heading down for warmer and lower grounds.
We actually found a grass patch free from the biting wind and here
the highly unusual encounter with frost was a first for many of us.
This year, the military radar station opened up their doors for us
(came in company with Thais) and I had a first look at what’s
on the ‘other side of the fence’. Disappointingly there
were no visiting Thrushes in sight but a very handsome Chestnut-bellied
Rock-Thrush entertained us for almost an hour.
The road to Mae Baan waterfall was deemed driveable and so we went
for an adventurous dip in the cold waters there. The natural pool,
formed by the continual dropping of cold, icy water, took our natural
senses by storm as we emerged ourselves. A stream, Huay Sai Leuang,
near the lodging facilities at the sub station, held both male and
female Plumbous Redstarts.
A River Chat was kind enough to put on
a display for all the kids at the bottom of Vatchiratan waterfall
on our day of arrival. Inspite of tourists being present in the fall
it had decided to greet us warmly before it flew off down the cascading
waters. The famous Black-tailed Crake
now has grown to 3-4 individuals, all according to Mr Daeng at the
birding shop. My first Crake was viewed standing some 40 meters away,
hiding in the surrounding pine trees, as Mrs. and Mr. Crake gently
and quickly crossed the little path next to the small bridge in the
marshy area behind campground by headquarters. Here also a Great
Tit kept feeding each day and close views of Hill
Prinia was a delight.
Our two days ended quickly. A long drive all the way from Bangkok
but for the kids a memorable experience.
seen in order of event at Doi Inthanon
Hill Blue Flycatcher
Blue Whistling Thrush
Golden Spectacled Warbler
Ashy Wood Pigeon
Pygmy Wren Babbler
heard but not seen
Asian Barred Owlet
Ericsson can be contacted at email@example.com
for more information on Doi