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A Report from birdtours.co.uk

Southern Thailand, April 5th-16th 2002,

Mark and Sandra Dennis

MCDennis@colbirds.fslife.co.uk

Ever since the 1970s and the British Birds magazine reports of exotic trips, Thailand has been an ambition destination. As ever, time was at a premium so we opted for a flights and car package booked through Wildwings who have never let us down. In all we managed ten days of fairly intensive birding, identifying 216 species and missing out on a handful of others. We dipped on seeing Gurney's Pitta and hope, when we finally return to Southern Thailand, there might still be a few to enjoy, somehow though I doubt it.

The Thai people are very friendly and we found it to be very safe everywhere. We never felt threatened and we had no hassle of any description. We tried to tell as many people as possible why we were in Southern Thailand and happily showed them birds in the scope which thoroughly delighted them. Eating was easy everywhere and we used cafes, restaurants and roadside vendors with no ill effects. We had Doxycycline as a Malarial defence but kept forgetting to take it. We had a fair few gnat bites and I got leeched at KNC but that was all part of the experience. We saw a few snakes which fled on approach, a few big wood spiders and one superb black Scorpion at KNC which joined us for dinner briefly. We used 100% Deet on our boots at KNC and Khao Sok and leech socks from the Oriental Bird Club (except for when I got leeched). The temperatures were high with the car recording 46 on one day. Mammals were few and far between but butterflies and dragonflies were everywhere and spectacular. Southern Thailand is one of the nicest places we've been and we will go back.

Expenses

The Thai currency is the Baht and the exchange rate was 58B = £1.00 sterling.

The flights were scheduled departures from Heathrow with transfers to Phuket from Bangkok and return @ £473.69pp, we also had to pay† £17.24 each 'service' tax upon our return to the UK. Luggage was checked through and we did customs in Phuket both ways. Outward was on time, the return was slightly delayed in Bangkok. We flew with Thai Airlines which was fine although the food was as bad as any we have had. Thai Airways have more leg room than any other cattle class flight we have done which was welcome. The flight was around 12 hours London - Bangkok and 1.25 hours Bangkok - Phuket. Its worth birding Bangkok Airport from the internal departure lounge. We had Javan (White-vented) Myna with the many Common Mynas flying through from a local roost. Thai Airlines do not require reconfirmation of flights as at 16/04/02. Their UK number is 0870 6060911. Hand luggage was not a problem although I forgot to remove the scissors from the first aid kit and they were confiscated at Phuket Airport.

We had pre booked a car from Holiday Autos/Budget. We paid £251.49 for the period April 5th-16th inclusive. The car booked was the cheapest four wheel drive, a Suzuki Caribbean (all hard top with air conditioning). It was rubbish so we took it straight back and upgraded to a Honda @ £120.00 extra. Personal transport is not needed if you only intend to visit Krabi or Kao Nor Chuchi (KNC) as little bus things and bikes are every where and go everywhere. We, however, like the freedom of our own transport and saw many of our birds because of it. Fuel is cheap and we only spent c£25.00 on fuel in total. Driving is very easy. They drive on the left and have a higher standard than any UK city. Bikes are the most numerous vehicle, often with two or three aboard, our record was five.

Accomodation is freely available everywhere and of varying standards. We had used the Internet and pre booked Wanna's Place at Ao Naang (Krabi Resort) @ £22.41 per night. All prices are for the room, they do not charge per person. Wanna's was OK and it allowed us to explore locally and go down to Krabi to sort boat trips. At KNC we stayed at the Morokot Resort for £6.89 per night including breakfast. They have five chalets which are good and clean with fans. It is probably best to pre-book. We didn't but were lucky to get three nights. We decided to stop for another two but they were then full so it was not possible. Telephone 01 2281475 or 01 4151982. There is a birding log book there which is very helpful, the food is great and the girls who run it are lovely. They can also put you in touch with Yothin Meekaeo who is must if time is short and you 'need' Gurney's Pitta amongst other things.

In Krabi we stayed at the Krabi Meritime. Its expensive (£50.70 per night) and the Royal just opposite would probably have done. The Meritime grounds are worth doing with many Mangrove Pitta calling at dawn and dusk and various birds in the grounds or by the boat jetty.

At Khao Sok we used Bamboo Two and† rented a 'charmless concrete bungalow' to quote the guide book. It cost the same as The Morokot without breakfast and was OK but not very clean. The family that owned/ran it seemed to rely on their overburdened young daughters to do everything. The view from the balcony was good and we saw a few good birds from there. We used Mossie nets at both the Morokot and Khao Sok. Other accommodation is available at Khao Sok but, being in our 40s, we were a bit old for it and I'm not having my foreskin pierced for anyone!

Our last two nights were rather luxurious, mainly down to misreading the prices which I thought were £51.72 for both nights when it was for just one, whoops. We stayed at the Khao Lak Bayfront Resort and it was a beautiful setting. It allowed us to do a Similan Islands trip and find a few nice birds at a local waterfall site and it also allowed us to be reasonably fresh for the flights back.

Itinerary

April 5th-7th - Ao Naang, Krabi
April 7th-11th - Khao Nor Chuchi, Krabi
April 11th-12th - Krabi, Khao Sok
April 12th-15th - Khao Sok, Khao Lak
April 16th - Khao Lak, Phuket.

Sites visited

Krabi Resort/Ao Naang

It is rather busy in the Ao Naang area and traffic noise could be troublesome. We birded a small park which is 2Km outside Ao Naang on the road which goes north (A4203). It has two toilet blocks and not much else but is well off the road. We just parked up and did the general area of the park and surrounding secondary growth.

We also birded the area further on at the junction of the A4202. The beach here is very busy during the day but first light sees a small roost of both sand plovers and a few Kentish Plovers. We also had Collared Kingfishers feeding on the open beach and various other species but no Malaysian Plover. At various places along the A4202 are tracks which lead to farmland and small settlements. These were also quite good. To the south of Ao Naang (Krabi resort) is a road to Fossil Shell Beach. Just before the shell beach is a left turn to a school, this was also quite good for various species.

Krabi

We did a trip out to the tidal sand bars at the mouth of the river with Mr Dam. He charged £13.79 between us for three hours which was plenty. We landed on the bar which is attached to the mangroves on the south side of the river. It was about 1.5 hours before high tide and was very good. Plenty of waders and we tracked down one Nordmann's Greenshank and a single winter plumage Red-necked Stint along with the commoner stuff. We also had a single Chinese Egret here. This area can be viewed from land by taking the road which loops out of Krabi to the north. Go past the obvious street market and continue to a roundabout. Go left at the next set of lights and then turn left to the Krabi Port Authority building which has just been built. The mangroves here were good as we birded here and from the various other derelict roads. You can also scope tidal flats for waders and egrets from here. We birded the grounds of the Meritime Hotel a couple of times and found the best areas to be from the parking area (just outside the main entrance) and around the lawns which verge the mangroves. The boat jetty area was also good.

We did a mangrove trip with Mr Dai. He charged 2,000 Bahts, £34.00 between us, for four hours booked through Chan Phen travel. It was a good trip and we saw most of what we hoped for. We had no trouble booking through Chan Phen and it was much easier than trying to find him on you own. We tried four times in the early morning and missed him each time. The mangrove birding could be done from a Kayak as Mr Dai does not go very far past the Meritime jetty. It might be worth asking at the Meritime about hiring one of their Kayaks and getting out from the Meritime jetty at first light.

Phenombencha Waterfall

A nice spot where most people go to dip Chestnut-backed Forktail. According to the staff they are still there but, as with most people, we failed to find them. We did see a few other good birds here and its worth the trip but you now have to pay to get in. We also met a fat bloke with a camera and lots of security here. He was on a flying visit and bore a string similarity to the bloke on the Bahts, I showed him a Raffle's Malkoha, he seemed happy.

Khao Nor Chuchi

Lots of information about this site is available on the web. Based at the Morokot it is easy to bird the forest trails and transport is not really needed. If you want to explore the area more fully you do need a jeep. Most people just seem to go to get the Gurney's but there is much more to it than that. At the Morokot you can get a photocopy map, don't go onto the trails without one. When we first got there we went off and 'did' Q, N and a bit of H trail. It was very dense on the former trails and ill defined as a trail in parts. You hear lots of birds but seen virtually none. H trail is nice and wide and easy to bird and we had a nice bird wave one afternoon which cheered us up no end. U trail is the best bet for Gurney's Pitta but they do wander. We tried it twice, once from in position before first light. We heard two birds but did not go off trail to chase them, the visual tick being less important than leaving the birds undisturbed, our choice. We birded B trail once and ended up doing a hike of several other poorly defined ones. It then rained and we have never been wetter than during the 2Km walk back to the car. It took two days to dry everything and I stripped my scope down completely to dry it. My Bausch and Lombs and Sandra's Zeiss Victories were unaffected.

We birded the trail inland from the Morokot (up the hill) and out into the farmland areas. Just the other side of the hill is a large patch of trees. These hold Grey-rumped Treeswifts. We also had a bit of raptor passage over the hill near where locals dump rubbish. Going the other way, .75Km past the first bridge as you leave the Morokot for Krabi is a house being built. They have Banded Woodpeckers breeding in the dead palm in the garden. Just further on is a small hill. We parked there at dusk each day and had Spotted Wood Owl and plenty of Great-eared and Large-tailed Nightjars.

The area around the Morokot is also worth a look with Black-and-Red Broadbills nesting in a dead tree by the pond and various other things feeding or passing through the gardens.

Khao Sok

It only took a couple of hours to get to Khao Sok from Krabi. The accommodation is just outside the park gates. You buy a three day ticket to get in. According to the chappie in the info centre 'maps finished'. We found the best bit to be left at the visitor centre, over a rickety bridge and then a broad track goes left past a small booth. This first bit was excellent and the trail is well worth doing early in the morning. Other trails are available and there is a birding log book in the info centre. Hornbills are common here but hard to see and we only managed one species. Pittas also occur here and we were delighted to call out a Hooded one morning. The whole area has a lot of potential but is generally off the beaten track for Southern Thailand visitors. Birders with plenty of time ought to give it a go.

Khao Lak

A tourist area but with a few good sites nearby. We birded Chong Fa waterfall c5Km north of the resort and sign posted off the main road. We saw lots of good birds here and recommend it. The last kilometer before the park entrance was best, especially early morning. We also took a Similan Islands trip to try for Nicobar Pigeon. We knew we needed to land on island number four to stand a chance. Our trip was from 7.30am-5.30pm @ £75.00 for two, food and snorkelling gear included. As it turned out we did not snorkel as we did not take swimming gear with us and we only landed on island eight. To land on four you have to stop overnight although a Fastcat thing out of Phuket offers four hours ashore. As it was we enjoyed the trip, saw most of what we hoped for plus a couple of bonus birds so we will have to try for Nicobar Pigeon another time. The benefit of the boat out of Khao Lak over Phuket is that you can sit out on the roof and bird whereas the Phuket boat keeps you inside.

Phuket

Because our flight did not depart Phuket until 21.30, we had time to kill. There is very little info on birding on Phuket so we had a mooch around and found a few sites. In some ways our last day was one of the best general birding days. Just north of the airport is an area of grazing land criss-crossed by tracks. The birding here was pretty good and we added a fair few to the species list. It is accessed by going north from the airport and taking a left off the main A402 sign posted to Mai Khao. Just before Thung Kha is a right turn into the grazed areas. We just drove and birded these quiet roads. Coming from the south end of Phuket, take the main airport turn and continue almost until you reach the junction with the A4031. On the right is a marsh which is slowly being filled in. There is a road which skirts the east side. We birded this area at dusk and it was very good for Yellow Bittern, Watercock and a Great-billed Heron came in to feed. If any other birders have any Phuket info, please post it on a trip report as there must be other good spots to lose a few hours in.

Birding

In the jungle it is very difficult. Tapes are an advantage and you will see more than us if you use them but we only used a pre prepared CD for reference and not to attract. We preferred to see and identify birds or whistle them in manually and, as ever, it is all a question of choice. The best way to see more at KNC is to hire Yothin. He was on holiday at Khao Sok while we were there and so we did not have the pleasure of his company. Had we known how busy he was we would have pre booked through his fax (075623472) and we would certainly have seen a lot more, possibly including the Gurney's. Mr Dai is relatively expensive and other boatman can be found who are cheaper, however, don't expect them to be as effective or understand the requirements of mangrove birding. We were disappointed not to see a few species which we thought to be fairly common and, as usual, it took a couple of days to get used to the birding environment in the jungle and the family groups. We largely ignored brown type bulbuls once we had clinched a few and we saw another four species of babbler which we just could not get adequate views of. Using slacker criteria we could probably have included another ten species in the systematic list, especially at KNC. We always judge a place by whether we would return. In Southern Thailand, we would and, hopefully, soon.

References

We used 'A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand' by Lekagul and Round and found it indispensable. We backed it up at base with 'A Field Guide to the Birds of South-east Asia' by Robson and it helped solve a few puzzles. We used Birdtours and Urs Geiser's extensive collections of trip reports posted on the web, especially those by Paul Bamford, Gary George, David Kelly, Aiden Kelly, Anders Hangard, Nick Ransdale and Corazin Dye, Phil Benstead and finally Chris Gooddie to whom we are greatly indebted for supplying maps and extra info, many thanks Chris.

A Field Guide to the Birds of South-East Asia
Craig Robson: Buy from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk

  • A new flexi-cover edition of this superb and influential book is now available (UK) making it far more useful in the field. The birds of South-East Asia details the identification, voice, breeding, status, habitat and distribution of the 1250 species and distinctive sub-species of the region covering Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, West Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. The illustrations are excellent and Craig Robson's text reflects his position as one of the foremost ornithological authorities of S.E.Asia. Indispensable for anyone visiting the area.

The Birds of Thailand
Craig Robson: Buy from Amazon.com orAmazon.co.uk

  • At last, the quality of field guides for the Far East has caught up with those of Europe and America. Craig Robson's "Birds of Thailand" is a tour de force...950 mouth watering species all beautifully illustrated and expertly described, each with its own distribution map. The natural riches of Thailand make it an ever more popular birding destination and this indispensible guide will set the standard there for years to come.

We bought maps in the UK and used† Nelles Thailand and Periplus Travelmaps Phuket.

Systematic list: of 216 species seen or heard. The sequence and names used mostly follow Robson, 2000.

Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus
We heard them, we saw them, we ate them.

Lesser Whistling Duck Dendrocygna javanica
Seen at KNC while watching nightjars, over the Krabi mangroves and at Phuket airport marsh.

Rufous Piculet Sasia abnormis
Superb views of one low down in Bamboo on the apporach road to Chong Fa waterfall on April 16th.

Grey-capped Woodpecker Dendrocopos canicapillus
Two seen from the farm track at Ao Nanng, one in the grounds of the Morokot and two near Phuket Airport in trees on the grazing land.

Banded Woodpecker Picus mineaceus
A pair were at a nest near the Morokot at KNC. The nest is next to a house being built and the family within came out and scoped their birds. We showed them the names in Thai and the pictures in the book which they seemed to enjoy.

Streak-breasted Woodpecker Picus viridanus
One seen at KNC and one on Mr Dai's mangrove trip.

Bamboo Woodpecker Gecinulus viridis
One showed very well at close range at Khao Sok along the broad track. Other drummers in that area were probably also this species.

Gold-whiskered Barbet Megalaima chrysopogon
Seen on the Chong Fa waterfall approach road on April 16th.

Red-throated Barbet Megalaima mystacophanos
Heard virtually every day but not seen.

Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima haemacephala
Seen well in the park near Ao Naang and in tree near Phuket Airport. Heard frequently.

Brown Barbet Calorhamphus fuliginosus
Seen briefly at KNC but well at Chong Fa where a group performed in high trees.

Helmeted Hornbill Buceros vigil
One flew over the valley opposite our chalet at Khao Sok. Readily identifiable by its ridiculous tail.

Hornbill sp

Four preceded the previous species (causing me to set the scope up and clinch the helmeted). They were only seen through bins and had broad, completely black wings but no other details were visible.

Common Hoopoe Upupa epops
The only one seen was in the park at Ao Naang.

Orange-breasted Trogon Harpactes oreskios
One at KNC on U trail was so close that we were looking past it trying to find it as it called.

Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis
Seen near Ao Naang and around the grazing fields near Phuket Airport.

Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis
One at KNC, one at Krabi and several in trees around the Phuket grazing fields

Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting
One showed very well on the wooded pool just right of chalet five at the Morokot.

Brown-winged Kingfisher Halcyon amauroptera
Seen around the boat jetty at the Meritime and from Mr Dai's mangrove trip.

Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda
Several were heard from Mr Dai's boat trip but he just could not whistle one out.

White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis
A fairly common roadside bird.

Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata
Seen on both boat trips out of Krabi.

Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus chloris
Seen on the Krabi estuary trip and feeding on Ao Naang beach but, strangely, not on Mr Dai's trip.

Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis
A lovely bird. We saw them at many places including the park at Ao Naang.

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater Merops leschenaulti
Fairly common and often seen from the roadside.

Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus
Once we learned its miserable call we saw several. One was regular around the Morokot.

Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris
One seen well on H trail at KNC during a bird wave.

Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea
Fairly common but not seen much.

Black-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus diardi
Seen well on H trail at KNC

Chestnut-bellied Malkoha Phaenicophaeus sumatranus
Seen at KNC along H trail and in a roadside plantation near Krabi

Green-billed Malkoha Phaenicophaeus tristis
Fairly common and seen at several sites.

Raffle's Malkoha Phaenicophaeus chlorophaeus
One showed well at Phenombencha waterfall near the shrine.

Red-billed Malkoha Phaenicophaeus javanicus
One was on the broad trail at Khao Sok.

Chestnut-breasted Malkoha Phaenicophaeus curvirostris
Seen at Krabi in the Meritime gardens.

Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis
Fairly common.

Lesser Coucal Centropus bengalensis
One was opposite our chalet at Khao Sok and scoped up.

Vernal Hanging Parrot Loriculus vernalis
Seen at KNC, Khao Sok and Chong Fa waterfall.

Black-nest Swiftlet Collocalia maxima
Very tricky to ID and probably seen in good numbers, especially at dusk around Ao Naang. The only birds I was happy with were at dawn at Ao Naang and from our room on the seventh† floor at the Krabi Meritime where you get a better look at them.

Edible-nest Swiftlet Collocalia fuciphaga
Common and assumed to be the commonest swiftlet. Birds which conformed to the differences noted in the field guides were seen at most sites.

Asian Palm Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis
Common and seen at several sites in small numbers.

Silver-rumped Needletail Rhaphidura leucopygialis
Seen high up at KNC and very well at Chonga Fa waterfall.

Brown-backed Needletail Hirundapus giganteus
Fairly common and seen at several sites.

Fork-tailed Swift Apus pacificus
A couple were over the farmlands at KNC. At Khao Sok they were the commonest swift.

House Swift Apus nipalensis
Seen most days but not in any great numbers.

Grey-rumped Treeswift Hemiprocne longipennis
Seen at KNC, mainly around 'their' tree but also from the hill and around the Morokot. More were present along the coastal strip around Khao Lak

Whiskered Treeswift Hemiprocne comata
We found some near Chong Fa waterfall which was a relief as we just could not find any at KNC. They tend to stick around their preferred tree more than the previous species.

Buffy Fish Owl Ketupu ketupu
We disturbed one while on Mr Dai's trip and he relocated it perched up. It showed very well for a while before flying off back into the depths of the mangroves. This was some compensation as we had missed one at the Morokot when we had our pre-dawn walk for the Gurney's. To add insult to injury it was fishing behind our chalet and we must have walked past it.

Spotted Wood Owl Strix seloputo
We saw or heard a single each time we went nightjaring at KNC. The nearby stakeout held birds but they were hard to see apparently.

Brown Hawk Owl Ninox scutulata
One was roosting in the mangroves and showed well on Mr Dai's trip. We also heard what we think was this species near the Krabi Port Authority building at dusk but a shower put them off from emerging.

Javan Frogmouth Batrachostous javensis
Birds are known to frequent the coffee plantation at KNC and we heard and probably saw one after dark there.

Great Eared Nightjar Eurostopodus macrotis
Birds showed very well pre-dusk at KNC c2Km west from the Morokot on the obvious rise in the road.

Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus
Seen well at KNC in the same place as the Great-eared Nightjars. Also seen on the Morokot approach road displaying by headlight. Birds called near the Krabi Port Authority building on one date.

Rock Pigeon Columba livia
Fairly common.

Pied Imperial Pigeon Ducula bicolor
Seen well on a trip to the Similan Islands with around 40 seen. Also said to be on Chicken Island off Krabi.

Thick-billed Green Pigeon Treron curvirostra
Our first was on a fruiting tree on farmland near Khao Lak. After that we found a fair few near the Chong Fa waterfall and around the grazing land near Phuket Airport.

Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis
Common, seen most days.

Red Collared Dove Streptopelia tranquebarica
Seen at Bangkok Airport as we boarded the Phuket flight and one was seen near Krabi.

Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica
Seen at several forest sites, including KNC and Khao Sok. All were disturbed from cover and seen flying away.

Zebra Dove Geoplelia striata
One showed well in the Ao Naang park.

Slaty-breasted Rail Gallirallus striatus
One showed very well as it walked along the side of the road by the Krabi Port Authority road. Another was at Phuket Airport marsh.

White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus
Several seen at various wetland sites.

Watercock Gallicrex cinerea
At dusk on April 16th two female types were on the Phuket Airport marsh.

Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
One was on the Phuket Airport marsh.

Snipe sp:
One watched walking around one of the grazing fields near Phuket Airport on April 16th became disturbed and flew a short way into a small copse in a Jack Snipe like manner i.e up, low and then quickly down. In flight it had no white trailing edge to the wings which seemed rather blunt and broad. It was possibly a Pintail Snipe although the manner of flight suggests Swinhoe's.

Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
Several on the tidal mud at Krabi on April 6th.

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
A couple on the tidal flats at Krabi, April 6th.

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Seen in the Krabi area on several occasions. Another was off Khao Lak on rocks at low tide.

Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata
Three at Krabi on April 6th and a couple a few days later off the Krabi Port Authority jetty.

Common Redshank Tringa totanus
Seen off Krabi on two dates.

Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
Around ten on the Krabi tidal flats on April 6th.

Nordmann's Greenshank Tringa guttifer
One seen very well on the tidal flats at Krabi on April 6th.

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
One seen feeding in a borrow pit on the grazing fields near Phuket Airport.

Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus
At least 15 on the tidal flats at Krabi on April 6th and several a couple of days later off the Krabi Port Authority jetty.

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucus
Common in the mangroves.

Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

Two fed on rocks off Khao Lak at low tide on April 16th.

Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis
A single in winter plumage on the Krabi tidal flats on April 6th.

Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva
Around ten on Krabi tidal flats on two dates, all in winter plumage.

Grey Plover Pluvialis squaterola
A couple on Krabi tidal flats.

Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus
Small numbers seen on Ao Naang beach early on April 7th.

Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus
Fairly numerous on Krabi tidal flats and at Ao Naang beach.

Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii
Small numbers on Krabi tidal flats on two dates and at Ao Naang beach.

Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus
One seen near Khao Lak on April 14th seemed destined to be the only one until we birded the grazing fields near Phuket Airport where there were 20+ pairs, some with young.

Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum
A nice flock of 23 greeted us as they fed over the strip of grass between the runways at Phuket Airport when we landed there on April 5th. No more were seen until April 16th when two were in one of the grazing fields near Phuket Airport.

Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus
A nice adult was seen on April 15th from the Similan islands cruise ship.

Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica
One in winter plumage was around one of the bays on Phuket in April 16th.

Great Crested Tern Sterna bergii
A single was in the mouth of the river as we left port on the Similan Island cruise ship

Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii
Two adults with Common Terns just offshore from the mainland on the Similan Islands trip.

Black-naped Tern Sterna sumatrana
Fairly common around the Similan Islands on April 15th.

Common Tern Sterna hirundo
Seen at Krabi along the river and on the Similan Island trip.

Little Tern Sterna albifrons
Seen at several sites and seemingly fairly common.

Bridled Tern Sterna anaethetus
Around 30 seen from the Similan Islands cruise ship on April 15th.

Oriental Honey-buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus
Several seen at various sites, particularly around the Khao Sok area.

Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus
Two around the grazing fields at Phuket Airport on April 16th.

Brahminy Kite Halistur indus
Fairly common along the coast and around the Similan Islands.

White-bellied Sea Eagle Halieetus leucogaster
Seen around Krabi on several dates and around the Similan Islands.

Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela
Seen a few times around KNC and in the hilly areas around Khao Sok.

Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus
Fairly common and seen at several sites. They fluff up their white undertail coverts in the manner of Northern Goshawk when displaying and fly 'Common Sandpiper' style.

Shikra Accipiter badius
One flew along the coast on at Khao Lak on April 16th, our only one.

Japanese Sparrowhawk Accipiter gularis
Several seen including a couple flying over the hill at KNC and odd ones at Khao Lak.

Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus
Four flying over Similan Island number nine were very surprising.

Rufous-bellied Eagle Hieraatus kienerii
A splendid adult seen over Khao Sok on April 13th.

Blyth's Hawk Eagle Spizaetus alboniger
A couple seen around KNC.

Oriental Hobby Falco severus
One seen chasing hirundines at Khao Sok on April 13th.

Little Cormorant Phalcrocorax niger
Several seen from Bangkok Airport on April 5th. A few were seen along the coast at Khao Lak and a couple were around the Phuket Airport marsh on April 16th.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Failry common at coastal sites with water.

Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes
One was present, feeding on the edge of the mangroves on the Krabi tidal flats on April 6th.

Pacific Reef Egret Egretta sacra
Singles seen at Krabi, Ao Naang and on the Similan Isles, all dark birds.

Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana
Just before dusk one flew over and dropped into the Phuket Airport marsh on April 16th. Not expected.

Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
One was on a small pool near Khao Sok.

Great Egret Egretta albus
Several seen.

Intermediate Egret Mesophoyx intermedia
A single on marshland eight Km south of Phuket Airport.

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Seen at Bangkok Airport as we left for Phuket and then again on the Khao Lak area. On April 16th many were on Phuket around the grazing fields.

Chinese Pond Heron Ardeola bacchus
Common and seen at many sites. Around 50% were in full summer plumage.

Javan Pond Heron Ardeola speciosa
One was with Chinese Pond Herons off the Krabi Port Authority jetty on April 11th. It was in full summer plumage.

Striated (Little) Heron Butorides striatus
Fairly common around the Krabi mangroves.

Yellow Bittern Ixobrychus sinensis
A male was on the Phuket Airport marsh on April 16th.

Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus
A probable flew over us at KNC while nightjaring. One flew into the stream by our chalet on April 14th and fed briefly before disappearing into vegetation on an island.

Banded Pitta Pitta guajana
One was heard calling along B/C trail at KNC just before we got monsooned.

Gurney's Pitta Pitta gurneyi
Two different birds calling pre dawn on U trail on April 10th. One was around the first gully you cross, the second 20m before the second gully. We waited for movement but saw none and when we retraced our steps along the trail, the second bird shut up and did not call again. We only birded from the trail and valued an undisturbed bird more than the tick.

Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida
On our second walk of the broad trail at Khao Sok we had a bird calling c50m away. Fortunately a trail led down the hillside to an orchard and I mimicked the call, persuading the bird to investigate. We had several reasonable views both perched and as it flew around in fairly dense vegetation. A nice bonus.

Mangrove Pitta Pitta megarhyncha
Birds were calling frequently at dusk from the Meritime boat jetty area but none showed. On our trip with Mr Dai we heard around 15 and saw three very well.

Green Broadbill Calyptomena viridis
Heard daily at KNC but only one was seen.

Black-and-Red Broadbill Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos
Heard around KNC and finally seen when the birds which breed in the grounds of the Morokot were present on our last day there. We had just had breakfast and had been checking the nest frequently from the path. I mentioned to Sandra that they had added some blue material as decoration to the nest and then realised it was the female's bill!. She flew off but both later returned and gave good views.

Black-and-Yellow Broadbill Eurylaimus ochromalus
Heard at all of the forest sites visited but none seen.

Dusky Broadbill Corydon sumatranus
Glimpsed on B/C trail at KNC and heard a couple of times but not seen until one flew over a road near Khao Sok.

Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis
Seen very well at KNC and Phenombencha waterfall.

Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus
A adult and an immature seen in the grounds of the Krabi Meritime, no others.

Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus
Odd ones seen around the KNC farmlands and on roadsides. On April 16th we had at least 40 around the grazing lands near Phuket Airport.

Racket-tailed Treepie Crypsirina temia
One was on wires at the side of the road near Khao Sok on April 13th.

Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos
Fairly common.

Dark-throated Oriole Oriolus xanthonotus
One seen well along Q trail at KNC, others heard.

Lesser Cuckooshrike Coracina fimbriata
One showed well at Chong Fa waterfall approach road on April 16th.

Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus
One at Phenombencha, April 11th.

Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus picatus
Several seen at Khao Sok and one at Chong Fa waterfall.

Pied Fantail Rhipidula javacina
One in the mangroves by the Krabi Port Authority complex and three in the mangroves on Mr Dai's trip.

Black Drongo Dicrurus marcocercus
Common at most coastal sites.

Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus
Not really looked for until the last day when several seen in the Phuket area.

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicurus paradiseus
About ten seen at various sites.

Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azuea
Seen at several sites. At Khao Sok a pair were nesting in a 1.5m sapling next to the path, the incubating bird sat tight each time we passed.

Asian Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone paradisi
Several seen including two white jobbies with full tails.

Common Iora Aegithina tiphia
Common.

Green Iora Aegithina viridissima
Seen at Chong Fa waterfall approach road only.

Great Iora Aegithina lefresnayei
Heard at KNC but no views.

Rufous-winged Philentoma Philentoma pyrhopterum
Seen twice at KNC, both times in pairs.

Large Woodshrike Tephrodornis gularis
Three at Phenombencha on April 11th.

Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius
One on the karst opposite the Krabi Meritime on April 10th. It was presumably the same bird which sang from our balcony on the morning of April 11th.

Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa daurica
Fairly common at any wooded site.

Yellow-rumped Flycatcher Ficedula zanthopygia
At least five males and three females seen long the Khao Sok broad trail, especially in the small plantation at the beginning. A male was at Chong Fa waterfall access road on April 16th.

Tickell's Blue Flycatcher Cyornis tickelliae
One from B trail at KNC.

Mangrove Blue Flycatcher Cyornis rufigastra
One seen briefly on Mr Dai's trip. It was singing and he called it out.

Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher Culicacapa ceylonensis
One seen well along B trail at KNC just prior to the monsoon.

Oriental Magpie Robin Copsuchus saularis
Ubiquitous and seen at every site we visited.

White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabricus
Several seen well along the broad track at Khao Sok.

Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis
Only seen in urban areas, especially Krabi where they breed on the buildings on the riverside.

Common Myna Acridotheres tristis
Very common.

Jungle Myna Acridotheres fuscus
Seen only in Takua Pa where two were at the roadside.

Javan (White-vented) Myna Acridotheres javanicus
A couple passed through Bangkok Airport, post roost, with large numbers of Common Myna on April 5th.

Dusky Crag Martin Hirundo concolor
Common around most limestone karsts and also around mangroves.

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Ignored until the last day when we realised we had not logged one. Common along the coast at Khao Lak.

Pacific Swallow Hirundo tabitica
Common.

Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica
Uncommon, only a couple seen.

Striated Swallow Hirundo striolata
Fairly common around Krabi and along the roads in and out.

Asian House Martin Delichon dasypus
During our trip to the Similan Islands we anchored off island number nine. While the majority of the passengers bobbed around in their orange life jackets, we birded from the boat. At fairly close range I picked up two small, white-rumped hirundines. They were clearly martin types but looked darker underneath and did not seem to have such a clear extensive white rump expected from House Martin. Closer views eliminated House Martin and we referred to Lekagul and Round for clues. The only options seemed to be Nepal House Martin and Asian House Martin. We identified them as the latter on the basis of an obviously forked tail and clean chin. We did not note undertail coverts as the boat moved on and we lost them at the back of the island.

Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps
Common in the forests.

Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus melanicterus
Common in the forests.

Stripe-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus finlaysoni
Common around gardens and in secondary growth.

Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier
Common in secondary growth and around cultivation.

Streak-eared Bulbul Pycnonotus blandfordi
Seen around cultivation at a couple of sites.

Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex
Common at KNC and one or two other sites.

Red-eyed Bulbul Pycnonotus brunneus
Only a couple seen, mainly due to an apathy towards 'brown' bulbuls.

Ochraceous Bulbul Alophoixus ochraceus
Fairly common at forest sites.

Grey-cheeked Bulbul Alophoixus bres
One seen at KNC.

Yellow-bellied Bulbul Alophoixus phaeocephalus
Seen at a couple of sites.

Hairy-backed Bulbul Tricholestes criniger
Only one logged.

Grey-eyed Bulbul Iole propinqua
One seen at KNC

Buff-vented Bulbul Iole olivacea
Several logged.

Streaked Bulbul Ixos malaccensis
One seen at Phenombencha waterfall on April 11th.

Rufescent Prinia Prinia rufescens
Common in grasslands.

Yellow-bellied Prinia Prinia flaviventris
One was at Khao Sok but we probably missed lots.

Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius
Fairly common.

Dark-necked Tailorbird Orthotomus atrogularis
Seemed to be the commonest tailorbird.

Ashy Tailorbird Orthotomus ruficeps
One seen near the Krabi Port Authority building on April 11th.

Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis
About ten seen at KNC and Khao Sok.

Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus
A couple seen well around KNC.

Ferruginous Babbler Trichastoma bicolor
One at KNC.

Abbott's Babbler Malacocincla abbotti
Fairly common at KNC, nest building next to the Morokot.

Puff-throated Babbler Pellorneum ruficeps
Seen at KNC and Khao Sok.

Rufous-crowned Babbler Malacopteron magnum
One at KNC.

Rufous-fronted Babbler Stachyris rufifrons
One at Khao Sok.

Grey-headed Babbler Stachyris poliocephala
One at KNC.

Striped Tit Babbler Macronous gularis
A couple at Khao Sok.

Brown Fulvetta Alcippe brunneicauda
A couple at KNC.

Brown-cheeked Fulvetta Alcippe poioicephala
Seen at KNC

Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker Prionochilus maculatus
Seen at several sites.

Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker Prionochilus thoracicus
Seen at KNC on two dates.

Thick-billed Flowerpecker Dicaeum agile
One at Khao Sok.

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker Dicaeum trigonostigma
Common.

Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker Dicaeum cruentatum
Fairly common.

Plain Sunbird Anthreptes simplex
Two at Khao Sok fed in the small plantation at the start of the broad trail. Seen on two dates.

Brown-throated Sunbird Anthreptes malacensis
Common.

Red-throated Sunbird Anthreptes rhodolaema
Seen only at Khao Sok on two dates.

Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Anthreptes singalensis
Common.

Purple-naped Sunbird Hypogramma hypogrammicum
A pair were at Chong Fa waterfall approach road on April 16th.

Olive-backed Sunbird Nectarina jugularis
Seen on five dates.

Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja
Seen on April 6th only at the Krabi Meritime.

Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra
Common.

Thick-billed Spiderhunter Arachnothera robusta
Seen on two dates at KNC.

Spectacled Spiderhunter Arachnothera flavigaster
Seen at KNC and Chong Fa waterfall area.

Yellow-eared Spiderhunter Arachnothera chrysogenys
One seen at KNC.

Grey-breasted Spiderhunter Arachnothera affinis
Seen at KNC on three dates and one at Khao Sok.

House Sparrow Passer domesticus
A couple were on Phuket and one was at Krabi.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
A common urban sparrow. They look and act different enough to be a separate species.

Forest Wagtail Dendronanthus indicus
A confiding bird was seen daily around chalet five at KNC. Two were on Similan Island number eight.

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
About 15 around the grazing fields near Phuket Airport. Both Motacilla f angarensis and macronyx present.

Richard's Pipit Anthus richardi
Seen at a couple of sites, mainly roadsides.

Paddyfield Pipit Anthus rufulus
A couple around the grazing fields near Phuket Airport.

Red Avadavat Amandava amandava
An unexpected surprise was a female at Khao Sok on April 13th

White-bellied Munia Lonchura leucogastra
Two seen well at Khao Sok. Other munias seen, mostly in flight,† were not identified

Other stuff

Loads of butterflies and dragonflies.
Flying Fish and Barracuda at sea, also loads of unidentified fish off the Similan Islands.
Green Turtles eating water melon off the Similan Islands
Flying lizards, water monitors, loads of skinks, ghekos and lizards etc.
Squirrels of various flavours
Short-tailed Macaques
Mouse Deer at Khao Sok
A Martin species.. A few bats.
Gibbons hooting at Khao Sok.
Several snakes.. Black Scorpion.
Leeches!

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