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Kaeng Krachan National Park, 4th July 2000
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In my earlier writings about my escapades in Kaeng Krachan I mentioned that I would be back for the Pittas.
As usual the main problem is to find time away from work and family to go birding. However this year so had it that my whole family (wife and children) all wanted to go to a resort outside KK park for some outdoor adventure. Of course I heartily agreed and off we went.

I made arrangement for entering the park early next morning and much to my surprise was met with a 'new policy' of charging foreign tourists 200 Baht in entrance fee instead of the fee for locals of 20 Baht. Thank God I speak Thai, so I claimed my rights for the lesser charge and all went well.

This time I was prepared with tapes to call out the Pittas. I did my birding all around km 15-18 hopelessly trying to call out a Hooded Pitta. This bird is a passage migrant in the park and so has limited time frame to observe before it is off again.

Blue Pitta with its two-syllable whistle kept calling on both sides of the road. I stalked this elusive little fellow for half an hour until it finally decided to perch on a branch in full view. Oh so colorful, but oh so hard to get.

Blue-winged Pitta turned out to be much easier. A handsome bird simply came hopping on the graveled road in full daylight. The deep red on its lower belly, shiny blue wings, green back and calm behavior made it a cheer delight to watch.

I only stayed in the park for half a day and had planned for another day later on. Then another surprise set in. Her Royal Highness the Queen of Thailand was about to visit the park and so the park was to be closed for 3 full days. I much admire the Queen’s interest in nature and conservation but pity the circumstances that make it impossible to announce her arrival in advance mainly due to security reasons. All I could do was pray. And so I did. The following 2 days I inquired about her departure and to my elevated joy she had left the park one-day earlier then planned.

My last day on vacation arrived and I again could go up into the park. This time I arrived way, way early and simply sat in my car as the sounds of the first birds awakening came rolling into my ears. I again tried my tapes but with no gain except for a Spot-necked Babbler that was curious to see who was calling. Again Blue Pitta surprised me and simply and slowly crossed the road right in front of me. Its red/orangish head with bright blue plumage makes it a very worthy sight.

The highlight though was to be another Pitta, the Eared Pitta. This less colorful bird but by no means less interesting were incubating in a nest situated right next to a smaller trail not too far from the stream that runs parallel to the road. Unfortunately I didn't have enough time to wait for the bird to leave the nest so that I could view its full splendour but never the less got to 'tick off' another life bird.

Another possible Pitta was Rusty-naped but the whereabouts of this species is unknown to me and so will have to be left for the future.

Another two lifers were Buffy Fish-Owl and Black-bellied Malkoha.

Peter Ericsson
Peter Ericsson can be contacted at
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