I have always wanted to visit Huay Kha Kaeng wildlife sanctuary
in the province of Uthai Thani. This sanctuary is part of the large
forest complex of Western Thailand and is situated around 300 km
As it was, I
needed to do a trip to visit a needy school for Burmese refugees
at Mae Sot. On my return I decided on a short visit to Huay Kha
I arrived at
the turn off with a big sign to the sanctuary around 4 pm. Here,
stands of deciduous broadleaf forest started to line the road. I
heard some shrilling shrieks and stopped the car. It didn’t
take long to identify a pair of Black Baza’s. These birds
are resident in the area and always a bird to be enjoyed. Several
Yellow-footed Pigeons were stirred up by their antics. These Green
Pigeons are hard to see well as they blend so well with the lush
trees during the wet season. The Pigeons are normally found on low
elevations and are rather uncommon birds.
As I drove on,
the forest changed into a very healthy looking dry dipterocarp forest,
much looking like the one in Mae Ping National Park in the North.
This type of forest is more open, with relatively short trees and
often hold good numbers of medium sized birds. It didn’t take
long before I heard the characteristic laughter of Black-headed
Woodpeckers. These birds are most often seen by visiting birders
at the lower levels of Doi Inthanon but by no means a guarantee.
The best place I have found is at Mae Ping. I tried real hard to
stalk the birds for some images but they always seemed to stay one
step ahead of me. They move about in small parties and make a lot
of noise as they go. Their red rumps flashed brilliantly as they
flew from tree to tree.
I got within
arms reach of a Collared Falconet which was just as startled of
the encounter as I was. Unfortunately the camera settings were wrong
so I missed out on a picture.
fee is 200 Baht for foreigners and is paid 9 kilometers before headquarters.
I kept driving till I got to the headquarters. I was impressed how
well kept the huge lawn and adjacent buildings were. Many a ranger
seemed to be about. The sanctuary holds an impressive number of
mammals and lots of research and various projects are being conducted.