just had the opportunity to travel with my immediate family for
a 10 days journey to the South of Thailand. My father has settled
there and wanted me to visit the completion of his new house. We
decided to combine it with our annual vacation and make it into
an experience for all. Though rains fell heavily at times, it helped
to keep temperatures down and the intensity of the rainforests greenery
are a few short highlights from the birding side of things.
Prachuab Kirikan province, 400 km south of Bangkok. Several Black-naped
Terns, resident birds, fed near shoreline. Blue-throated
Bee-eater did sorties for flying insects at the resort while
kids were playing at the beach. Nice stopover on our way.
resort some 16 kilometer north of SriPangnga National Park, Pangnga
province, were to be our next stop. Very tranquil and surrounded
by green lush hill slopes. Bungalows of a high standard and relatively
cheap. Highly recommendable resort.
In spite of
the rain in the morning I went ahead to the National park. Some
200 square kilometers of reserved forest lies within the boundaries,
waiting to be discovered.This time of year the forest was very quiet
though. My highlight was a flowering tree that had attracted many
and Spiderhunters. Best bird and my
first lifer was Red-throated Sunbird
(4th of June), a pair. This Sunbird is rare and difficult to find.
My last Sunbird outside of Fire-tailed. Hairy-backed
and Grey-bellied Bulbuls were also
special for me as I seldom get to birdwatch down south. A young
Red-bearded Bee-eater was hunting for
insects in the area adding to the charm of the forest as did a Rufous-winged
Flycatcher. I had intended to camp out here but was forced
to seek refuge at the resort (much to everyone’s delight).
5th of June, I went for a quick visit to the Mangrove National Park
of Pangnga town. No sooner had I stepped out of the van but a Streak-breasted
Woodpecker came in front of me. I was immediately greeted
by several Mangrove Pittas calling
from all over. It didn’t take long to track one down for better
views. This was my 2nd lifer. Brown-winged
Kingfisher is easy here but what caught my attention was
the rather explosive whistle of something from inside the mangroves.
After a bit of searching a Mangrove Whistler
came in full view and my 3rd life bird was recorded.
We then spent
2 nights at an Eco-resort half an hour outside of Pangnga town.
Unbeknownst to me, my father had arranged accommodations for us
here only a 5 minutes drive from Song Praak waterfall, Tonpariwat
wildlife sanctuary. The fall is rather large and good amounts of
water whipped up a bit of a torrent down the stream. Kids enjoyed
some exciting rafting and swims surrounded by hillslopes covered
in rubber trees on lower levels and native trees on higher grounds.
I visited the sanctuary (200 square km) and was impressed with the
potential of the area. Gibbons could be heard calling and apparently
many mammals can still be found. My next lifer was to be here (6th
of June), a Blue-banded Kingfisher
came swiftly flying up along the stream. Never got to see it perched
but the ice cool blue back/rump band gave it away, along with its
call. Other nice birds here was Grey-rumped
and Whiskered Treeswifts as well as
Lesser Green Leafbird.
One day we spent
discovering the island of Phuket. It is now possible to drive along
the coast line from beach to beach. This southwestern part of the
island still holds patches of secondary growth and along with the
many hills and beaches makes for a beautiful setting. At the cape
of the island several Brown Needletails
were doing acrobatics. A cup of coffee in a restaurant while enjoying
my first World Cup match (Sweden-England) was another pleasure.
Then an outing
the 9th of June to Ramon waterfall just outside of Pangnga town.
The park is too small to be declared National Park but still enjoys
protection from the Forestry department. One have to travel through
many fruit orchards with trees heavily laden with rambutans, mangosteen
and durian. Finally at the water fall a smaller lawn and restaurant
welcomes the visitor. Along the 8 tiers waterfall (not very steep)
there is a nature trail. It was just beautiful to be inside this
wonderful piece of nature looking for birds. I was rewarded with
my target bird and 5th lifer, Chestnut-capped
Forktail. A pair of Sooty-headed Babblers
came in view as well.
In the afternoon
we took a boatride to James Bond island. Lots of tourists out there
but still a pair of Brown-winged Kingfishers
were displaying for all of us to see. A few resident Blue
Rock Thrushes were seen on the limestone outcrops giving
me identification problems (I was unaware of their existence).
I ended up with
over 100 species for the journey which actually was a family adventure
and not a birding trip. As long as I made sure everyone’s
needs were taken care of it seemed that I was blessed with many
special moments in God’s Glorious Creation.