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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pitta was Rusty-naped but the whereabouts of this species is unknown
to me and so will have to be left for the future.
lifers were Buffy Fish-Owl and Black-bellied