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A Report from

Unexpected SE Asia: Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia. April 9 - May 9, 2003,

Garry George


Garry George
Joseph Brooks
Joseph Thompson (Thailand)


Uthai Treescon, Thailand
Frederic Goes, Prek Thoal Bird Sanctuary, Tonle Sap, Cambodia for Wildlife Conservation Society (formerly NY Zoological Society) arranged by Natalie Nivot-Goes for OSMOSE    ecotourism
Dennis Yong, Malaysia


A Guide to the Birds of Thailand, Lekagul & Round, Illustrated by Wongkalasin and Komolphalin, 1991, Saha Karn Bhaet Co., Ltd.
A Guide to the Birds of Southeast Asia, Craig Robson, 2000, Princeton University Press,
Oriental Bird Club Special Issue on Thailand, June 2000
Taxonomy: Clements, Dr. James, BIRDS OF THE WORLD: A CHECKLIST
Threatened Birds of the World, several editors, BirdLife Intl & Lynx Edicions,


Day 1 - Depart Los Angeles
Day 2 - Lost day crossing International Date Line
Day 3 - Transfer in Hong Kong, arrive Bangkok, Drive Khao Yai
Day 4 - Khao Yai, Drive Bangkok
Day 5 - Fly Siem Reap, Cambodia, Temples of Angkor Wat
Day 6 - Prek Toal Sanctuary, Tonle Sap
Day 7 - Temple of Angkor Wat, Fly Bangkok
Day 8 - Fly Chiang Mai, drive Doi Inthanon
Day 9 - Doi Inthanon
Day 10 - Doi Inthanon
Day 11 - Doi Inthanon
Day 12 - Doi Inthanon, drive to Doi Ang Khang with stops at Huay Hongkrai, Doi Saket, Military training camp, Wat Thum Psaplong and Doi Ang Khang
Day 13 - Doi Ang Khang
Day 14 - Doi Ang Khang
Day 15 - Doi Ang Khang
Day 16 - Doi Ang Khang
Day 17 - Drive Doi Ang Khang to Chiang Mai with stop at Wat Psaplong, fly to Bangkok, drive to Khao Yai NP
Day 18 - Khao Yai NP
Day 19 - Khao Yai NP
Day 20 - Khao Yai NP
Day 21 - Drive to Kaeng Krachan NP with stop in Samut Sakhon
Day 22 - Kaeng Krachan
Day 23 - Kaeng Krachan
Day 24 - Sites South of Bangkok, fly to Kuala Lumpur
Day 25 - Drive to Kuala Selangor
Day 26 - Kuala Selangor, evening at Sungai Karang Peat Swamp Forest
Day 27 - Drive to Frasier's Hill with stop at Hulu Yam
Day 28 - Frasier's Hill
Day 29 - Frasier's Hill
Day 30 - Drive from Frasier's Hill to Kuala Tembling, boat to Taman Negara
Day 31 - Taman Negara
Day 32 - Taman Negara
Day 33 - Taman Negara
Day 34 - Taman Negara
Day 35 - boat from Taman Negara, drive to Kuala Lumpur, fly to Bangkok
Day 36 - Fly to Los Angeles


SE ASIA is always of great interest because of the diversity of species from it's proximity to the Equator and it's species movement from sources including India to the West, China to the North, Mekong Delta to the East and from Java and Sumatra to the South. The area is well studied from the time of Alfred Russell Wallace but new discoveries continue.

This was our third trip to the region in an attempt to fill in the big holes in our list. We planned April because the big holes might be calling. The Spoonbill Sandpiper reliable for the past few years at Kok Karm were another factor. We had expectations. But one of the great joys of birding and nature is the unexpected event that interrupts the flow of expectation and awakens us from our numbing assumptions, much like the Buddha's teaching.


Unexpected: SARS panic is at the zenith. I've got bronchitis and 100 degree fever just 6 hours before boarding my Cathay Pacific flight stopping in Hong Kong. Bangkok airport is checking temperatures of arriving passengers. I decide to bring Tylenol, thermometer and codeine cough syrup in hopes that a 20 hour rest on the flight will reduce my symptoms. Mostly I sleep in the luxurious four seats in the empty aircraft as I pass over Pacific Ocean. Or I read about birds.


I'm crossing the International Date Line asleep courtesy of codeine.


I take my temperature and a slug of codeine secretly before landing and touch my good luck charm. It's the crucial moment I've worried about and I try not to think of the birds I'd miss while in 10 days of quarantine, nor about the SARS I might actually get there. Joyfully, the thermometer reads 98.7. The Tylenol works! Relieved, I pull on my surgical mask for landing at Bangkok. We are greeted by a team of doctors and nurses before immigration who plaster strips on our foreheads. Mine is sweating. They wave me through.

Unexpected: Spoonbill Sandpipers have left the salt pans of Kok Karm early this year. After conferring with Uthai via taxi driver's cell phone (birding communications have certainly changed in ten years) we reverse direction and head for Khao Yai NP for an extra day even though we'll go there later. We arrive at dusk and rush up stairs of abandoned monastery across the road from our hotel Juldis Khao Yai for a try for unexpected Limestone Wren Babbler Uthai has seen there. No luck but plenty of mosquitoes.

We fall into bed at Juldis Khao Yai exhausted and expectant. for information on the park and the hotel.


Early morning finds us back at the abandoned monastery with the same results - no Limestone Wren Babbler. Joseph adds Linneated Barbet to his list. We enter Khao Yai National Park and look for Golden-crested Mynas and Heart-Spotted Woodpeckers at the pullout with a view inside the park but no luck. We do hear Coral-billed Ground-Cuckoo and decide to go off road and try to see it. One and a half hours later only Uthai and I have managed to get a glimpse of a piece of a Cuckoo skulking through the undergrowth. We decide to go further downhill where we find a stream and a small hill on which to stand and play tape. Before the tape is played Joseph discovers a large hole in the vegetation fifty feet away where three Cuckoos are visible in a circle facing each other. I climb to his vantage point and we are astounded as they start yipping like dogs and raising their heads. Two birds turn and run uphill and one downhill leaving us breathless. Was it breeding or territorial display?

Thrills return after lunch when we view a waterfall and find a Brown Hornbill (Austen's) and a White-throated Rock-Thrush near the guest cabins. We drive back to Bangkok in the afternoon to meet friends from the States.


We fly to Siem Reap in Cambodia and run the gauntlet of immigration officials and fees. Tourism has increased explosively in the last few years. There's a new airport and we counted six new huge hotels in construction on the way into town. Our guide gives an excited speech about ten centuries of Cambodian kings but we look out the windows.

We check in at our fancy hotel and note that the "Celebrity Bar" has three photos: Jacqueline Kennedy, Charlie Chaplin and Somerset Maugham. That's as select a group as I ever seen on a wall of a bar.

Afternoon in temples. The only birds are carved in stone. click Hotel Directory, Siem Reap Grand Hotel D'Angkor


Unexpected: three weeks before departure from LAX we read a trip report on BIRDCHAT by Genie Silver about Prek Toal, a bird sanctuary on Tonle Sap, the biggest lake in SE ASIA. Coincidentally, there is an appeal for used spotting scopes for rangers of Prek Toal in the current Oriental Bird Club bulletin. I contact the email address for Wildlife Conservation Society  (formerly New York Zoological Society) and am referred to ecotourism company OSMOSE in Siem Reap to schedule a visit. A short competition ensues between our Thailand travel agent (whom I've already paid for the day), their Cambodian ground agent and OSMOSE about the day's car, boat and visit. I insist on a guide that knows the birds well. This is the turning point. The Cambodian ground agent finally surrenders but keeps most of the money for the day. Later he asks me "why do you want to go there? It's hot and smelly and takes long time". Arrangements are made for Conservation Project Director Frederic Goes to guide us, and arrangements for payment is made through OSMOSE run by Frederic's wife Nathalie. Natahalie sends us details of OSMOSE's mission and explanation of flow of funds to the local fishing community in Prek Toal. Fishermen and former bird poachers are paid in tourism dollars to conserve the birds rather than eat them. We happily pay.

Frederic picks us up at 5:30 am and we drive 1.5 hours through Siem Reap to the muddy boat landing across the road from a lotus pond, then cross brown Tonle Sap lake for 2 hours. In the heat we pass floating fishing villages that reek of dead fish or sewage, and long lines of poles that hold nets stuck in the brown water. 70% of the freshwater fish eaten in SE Asia comes from Tonle Sap. The favorite species is Snakehead which we find later on our fancy hotel menu as "Serpent fish" presumably so as not to scare the tourists. It's delicious. Perched on the poles and flying past the boat are Whiskered Terns in breeding plumage, a rare treat for us N. Americans. We spot land and stand on the front of the boat to see rare Lesser Adjutants roosting on huge nests on the tops of trees. We find a swampy area and identify Little Ringed Plover and Common Greenshank. We enter the fishing village of Prek Toal via a river off of the lake, register at the headquarters, visit with Sanctuary officials and rangers, buy wooden stork mobiles before changing boats and heading for the Sanctuary.

Unexpected: the river to the nest viewing platforms has been dammed in the last few days by fishermen. Outside the dam is a lot of activity and we swivel in our seats to see a pair of rare Gray-headed Fish-Eagles fly over. A pair of Black-headed Ibis fly over the mangroves to the right. A few flocks of Spot-billed Pelicans land in the river for study. Beyond the dam we have to walk in sinking mud to peek through mangrove bushes at the hundreds of storks flying in a huge kettle, legs outstretched and noses down for clumsy landings one after another to feed in the shallows and mud. We comb through the kettle to find two huge endangered Greater Adjutants, four or five Lesser Adjutants and hundreds of Asian Openbill and Painted Storks. It's 11 a.m. and we've seen six of the most threatened and endangered species of birds in SE Asia. We comb through the Painteds for a Milky without the black breast band, but no luck. They are nesting near the viewing platforms but they are too long by foot. It's scary hot now, we're blinded by sun and in our excitement we forgot to bring water. We trudge back in the goop to the boat for the long journey back to Siem Reap.

In Siem Reap we visit Frederic and Nathalie's house and are inspired by their water gardens in pots in their courtyard, especially when we find a pair of frogs that have taken up residence in one. We meet the Cambodian orphan they've just adopted, and we swap tales of tropical diseases and close calls. Our malaria stories tie but Frederic trumps me with Dengue Fever. My recent fer-de-lance encounter in Costa Rica pales next to his Hooded Cobra bite in the bathroom on a Saturday night. We listen inspired to Frederic's recounting of an expedition to see Giant Ibis, once inaccessible because of land mines, and Bengal Florican two weeks earlier with BirdQuest guide Pete Morris. They proudly show us the nesting Baya Weavers in their back yard saving us a half a day drive in Thailand. We visit the new Wildlife Conservation Society building nearby, pick up some literature and donate a spotting scope and tripod from Los Angeles Audubon Society before heading back to our fancy hotel now abuzz with new arrivals from the States. In Tevas and silks they stare at us in our wet, muddy, sweaty, smelly clothes and hats as we carry our equipment across the fancy lobby, wondering if they are going to meet the same fate viewing the temples. The dichotomy of a day in broiling poverty in Prek Toal and air-conditioned luxury hotel in Siem Reap is not lost on us.

1 Spot-billed Pelican (Pelecanus philippensis)-VULNERABLE
2 Indian Cormorant (Phalacrocorax fuscicollis)
3 Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
4 Little Cormorant (Phalacrocorax niger)
5 Darter (Anhinga melanogaster)
6 Gray Heron  (Ardea cinerea)
7 Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
8 Great Egret (Ardea alba)
9 Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
10 Chinese Pond-Heron (Ardeola bacchus)
11 Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
12 Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
13 Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis)
14 Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala)
15 Asian Openbill (Anastomus oscitans)
16 Lesser Adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus)-VULNERABLE
17 Greater Adjutant (Leptoptilos dubius)-ENDANGERED
18 Black-headed Ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus)-NEAR THREATENED
19 Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
20 Lesser Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna javanica)
21 Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus)
22 Gray-headed Fish-Eagle (Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus)-NEAR THREATENED
23 Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio)
24 Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)
25 Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
26 Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybridus)
27 Asian Palm-Swift (Cypsiurus balasiensis)
28 Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia)
29 Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier)
30 Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia)
31 Yellow-bellied Prinia (Prinia flaviventris)
32 Dark-necked Tailorbird (Orthotomus atrogularis)
33 Pied Fantail (Rhipidura javanica)
34 House Crow (Corvus splendens)
35 White-vented Myna (Acridotheres grandis)
36 Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montana)
37 Baya Weaver (Ploceus philippinus)


We tour more temples of Angkor Wat and Angkor Tom. The Buddhas are amputated, limbs and heads chopped off by collectors and theives, faces cut out of the wall carvings. The nuns in the temples are amputated as well, feet and hands blown off by land mines. I buy incense from them and offer it to the Buddha. I'm drawn to the musicians playing outside the temples and find artificial legs standing beside them, faces disfigured, fingers missing. One of them plays a leaf, beautifully. Tired of the stones and the war stories I run to any sign of life - Red-breasted Parakeets in the trees, Cotton Pygmy Geese in the moats. Like good tourists we climb a hill opposite the temples at sunset to see the amazing view but I'm transfixed by a flock of giant 500 Brown-backed Needletail swifts feeding at eye level.

1 Cotton Pygmy-goose (Nettapus coromandelianus)
2 Shikra (Accipiter badius)
3 Brown-backed Needletail  (Hirundapus giganteus)
4 Lineated Barbet (Megalaima lineata)
5 Coppersmith Barbet (Megalaima haemacephala)
6 Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia)
7 Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
8 Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava)
9 Streak-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus blanfordi)
10 Common Hill Myna (Gracula religiosa)

We fly back to Bangkok in the evening and are relieved to find the medical gauntlet abandoned. I guess no SARS cases have been reported from Cambodia.


Unexpected: It's Song Khrai, the Thai New Year celebrated by throwing water on any moving object that might contain people. It's restrained in the domestic terminal in Bangkok where flight attendants sprinkle droplets from water bottles but in full force as we drive to Doi Inthanon after landing in Chiang Mai. We are dosed every two blocks by a bucket of water from the roadside or back of a pickup truck full of Thai celebrants. This continues for three days, our only shield the forest of Doi Inthanon.

Located in Chiang Mai Province, Doi Inthanon National Park encompasses the highest mountain In Thailand as well as several lesser summits. The doi (mountain) is largely a granite batholith intruding a southerly extension of the Shan Hills range and forming the divide between the Nam Mae Ping river to the east and the Nam Mae Chaem river to the west. Lower elevations in the most easterly pant of the park are limestone formations and contain a number of caves.

Formerly known as Doi Angka, the mountain now bears (since 1899) a shortened version of the name of Chiang Mai's last sovereign, King Inthawichayanon. During his reign, he had, with great foresight, expressed his concern for the forests of the northern hill country as the watershed for all of central Thailand. The modern study of rain forest hydrology has borne out his early convictions and given substance to Thai folklore which describes this hill region as the home of the Phiphannam, the 'spirit who shares water'. Before the King died near the turn of this century, he commanded that his remains be placed at the top of this mountain: his ashes at the summit stupa are visited by thousands of people each year.

The dry lowlands fascinate and after much anticipation we happily see Black-headed Woodpecker, Collared Falconet, Black Baza and a Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch. The Nuthatch goes in and out of a nest hole carrying insects while we watch in the scope. Expected White-rumped Falcon eludes. Night walks in rocky scrub lowlands give quick flyaway noisy Oriental Scops-owl and fantastic views of flying and calling Indian and Savannah Nightjars. Pre-dawn gives a calling Chinese Francolin first perched then walking towards us seen by Uthai and Joe only. The area around Inthanon Highland Resort where we stay gives us close views of Spotted Owlets at dusk as we follow them around a residential area, we find our only Rufous Treepie and Garry and Joe find an unusual Bush-warbler eight feet up in a dead scrub tree feeding in a ball of leaves like a vireo. Completely white underneath from vent to throat, warm gray on top, yellow lower mandible, long white eyebrow, and graduated long, wide tail and pink legs. Researching non-calling bush-warblers is difficult as the illustrations and descriptions vary greatly in the field guides. After going back and forth between two rare winter visitors to Thailand - Paddyfield Warbler and Chinese Bush-warbler - we settle on the latter from:  1) worn winter plumage description and illustration and 2) distinctive graduated long, wide diagnostic Bradypterus tail and 3) all white underparts.

Unexpected: New Year's celebrants in the Park ride inner tubes down the river so no Black-backed Forktail. Unexpected: We flush a lingering migrant Chestnut-winged Cuckoo for fantastic views as we hike through the rocks.

On more than one day we bird the higher altitude Jeep Trail looking for one of the fruiting trees that delighted so many birders in trip reports just weeks ago with Purple and Green Cochoas and Siberian Thrush. Unexpected: no fruiting trees, no Cochoas, no Thrush. Unexpected: winter migrants are still here and White-tailed Robin and Phylloscopus warblers surprise. Resident Lilliputian Slaty-bellied Tesia fascinates all. Our last visit to the trail produces a calling Rusty-naped Pitta but an hour's tiptoe up a hill in noisy dry leaves leaves our binoculars empty and we surrender. Unexpected: we identify Indochinese Cuckoo-shrike but Uthai explains that Indochinese is difficult to ID in the field since more common Black-wing has tail and wing feather variations that can be mistaken. It's better identified in the hand. We tick Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike and we never got a positive ID on an Indochinese on the entire trip.

The Summit at Doi Inthanon, the highest in Thailand at 2,565 metres is active, weather is good and we think we've ascended into heaven. A flock of perched Speckled Wood-Pigeons and male Green tailed Sunbird give scope views before we go on the boardwalk. Two Dark-sided Thrushes with big honking beaks confide and feed in the wet parts with an unexpected Eurasian Woodcock. Male white-browed Shortwings are everywhere one day and nowhere the next. White-browed Flycatcher, the first of four Ficedula flycatchers in this location, sits on the boardwalk an arm's distance away. Flocks of Chestnut-tailed and Blue-winged Minlas, Gray-cheeked Fulvettas and others come through. Pygmy Wren-Babbler delights in close up. Joseph spots a Yellow-browed Tit in a feeding flock and swears he announced it although the two of us who missed the bird have a different story. Rufous-throated Patridge proves difficult and we spend too much time on them. Unsuccessfully we pursue a calling pair into the forest behind the boardwalk past the shrine to the helicopter pilot created around the piece of engine that crashed there. I get a male Slaty-backed Flycatcher and a fly though Ashy Wood-pigeon as a consolation prize but I'm not the one that needs the pigeon. A foray into the dry forest area behind the headquarters gives Uthai and Joseph decent looks at the partridge with some Chestnut-headed Laughingthrushes feeding on the ground. Joe and I spend another two hours trying to sneak around in dry leaves and are rewarded with poor views of the top half of two partridges running away from us.

1 Chinese Pond-Heron (Ardeola bacchus)
2 Black Baza  (Aviceda leuphotes)
3 Oriental Honey-buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus)
4 Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus)
5 Collared Falconet (Microhierax caerulescens)
6 Rufous-throated Partridge (Arborophila rufogularis)
7 White-breasted Waterhen  (Amaurornis phoenicurus)
8 Eurasian Woodcock (Scolopax rusticola)
9 Speckled Wood-Pigeon (Columba hodgsonii)
10 Ashy Wood-Pigeon  (Columba pulchricollis)
11 Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis)
12 Chestnut-winged Cuckoo (Clamator coromandus)
13 Large Hawk-Cuckoo (Cuculus sparverioides)
14 Banded Bay Cuckoo (Cacomantis sonneratii)
15 Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea)
16 Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis)
17 Oriental Scops-Owl (Otus sunia)
18 Spotted Owlet (Athene brama)
19 Indian Nightjar (Caprimulgus asiaticus)
20 Savanna Nightjar  (Caprimulgus affinis)
21 Asian Palm-Swift  (Cypsiurus balasiensis)
22 Fork-tailed Swift (Apus pacificus)
23 White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)
24 Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis)
25 Chestnut-headed Bee-eater (Merops leschenaulti)
26 Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis)
27 Golden-throated Barbet  (Megalaima franklinii)
28 Blue-throated Barbet (Megalaima asiatica)
29 Stripe-breasted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos atratus)
30 Black-headed Woodpecker (Picus erythropygius)
31 Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica)
32 Asian Martin (Delichon dasypus)
33 Large Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina macei)
34 Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina melaschistos)
35 Small Minivet (Pericrocotus cinnamomeus)
36 Long-tailed Minivet (Pericrocotus ethologus)
37 Short-billed Minivet (Pericrocotus brevirostris)
38 Gray-chinned Minivet (Pericrocotus solaris)
39 Striated Bulbul (Pycnonotus striatus)
40 Black-crested Bulbul (Pycnonotus melanicterus)
41 Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus)
42 Sooty-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus aurigaster)
43 Streak-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus blanfordi)
44 Mountain Bulbul (Ixos mcclellandii)
45 Black Bulbul (Hypsipetes leucocephalus)
46 White-headed Bulbul (Hypsipetes thompsoni)
47 Golden-fronted Leafbird (Chloropsis aurifrons)
48 Orange-bellied Leafbird (Chloropsis hardwickii)
49 Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia)
50 Blue Whistling-Thrush (Myophonus caeruleus)
51 Dark-sided Thrush (Zoothera marginata)
52 Lesser Shortwing  (Brachypteryx leucophrys)
53 White-browed Shortwing (Brachypteryx montana)
54 Hill Prinia (Prinia atrogularis)
55 Gray-breasted Prinia (Prinia hodgsonii)
56 Slaty-bellied Tesia (Tesia olivea)
57 Pale-footed Bush-Warbler (Cettia pallidipes)
58 Chinese Bush-Warbler (Bradypterus tacsanowskius)
59 Yellow-streaked Warbler (Phylloscopus armandii)
60 Buff-barred Warbler (Phylloscopus pulcher)
61 Ashy-throated Warbler (Phylloscopus maculipennis)
62 Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus)
63 Blyth's Leaf-Warbler (Phylloscopus reguloides)
64 White-tailed Leaf-Warbler (Phylloscopus davisoni)
65 Chestnut-crowned Warbler (Seicercus castaniceps)
66 Slaty-backed Flycatcher (Ficedula hodgsonii)
67 Red-breasted Flycatcher (Ficedula parva)
68 Snowy-browed Flycatcher (Ficedula hyperythra)
69 Little Pied Flycatcher  (Ficedula westermanni)
70 Large Niltava (Niltava grandis)
71 Small Niltava (Niltava macgrigoriae)
72 Gray-headed Canary-flycatcher  (Culicicapa ceylonensis)
73 Oriental Magpie-Robin (Copsychus saularis)
74 White-rumped Shama (Copsychus malabaricus)
75 White-tailed Robin (Cinclidium leucurum)
76 White-throated Fantail (Rhipidura albicollis)
77 White-crested Laughingthrush (Garrulax leucolophus)
78 Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush (Garrulax erythrocephalus)
79 White-browed Scimitar-Babbler  (Pomatorhinus schisticeps)
80 Golden Babbler (Stachyris chrysaea)
81 Gray-throated Babbler (Stachyris nigriceps)
82 Black-eared Shrike-Babbler (Pteruthius melanotis)
83 Chestnut-fronted Shrike-Babbler (Pteruthius aenobarbus)
84 Blue-winged Minla (Minla cyanouroptera)
85 Chestnut-tailed Minla (Minla strigula)
86 Rufous-winged Fulvetta (Alcippe castaneceps)
87 Gray-cheeked Fulvetta (Alcippe morrisonia)
88 Black-backed Sibia (Heterophasia melanoleuca)
89 Striated Yuhina (Yuhina castaniceps)
90 Gray-headed Parrotbill (Paradoxornis gularis)
91 Black-throated Parrotbill (Paradoxornis nipalensis)
92 Great Tit  (Parus major)
93 Yellow-cheeked Tit (Parus spilonotus)
94 Yellow-browed Tit (Sylviparus modestus)
95 Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch (Sitta castanea)
96 Chestnut-vented Nuthatch (Sitta nagaensis)
97 Brown-throated Treecreeper (Certhia discolor)
98 Purple Sunbird (Cinnyris asiaticus)
99 Green-tailed Sunbird (Aethopyga nipalensis)
100 Black-throated Sunbird (Aethopyga saturata)
101 Streaked Spiderhunter (Arachnothera magna)
102 Oriental White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus)
103 Maroon Oriole (Oriolus traillii)
104 Common Woodshrike (Tephrodornis pondicerianus)
105 Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus remifer)
106 Hair-crested Drongo (Dicrurus hottentottus)
107 Ashy Woodswallow (Artamus fuscus)
108 Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius)
109 Rufous Treepie (Dendrocitta vagabunda)
110 Black-collared Starling (Gracupica nigricollis)
111 Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montana)


We leave Inthanon Highland Resort early to arrive dawn at Huai Hongkrai Royal Project established in 1982 by King Poommipol the Great as a watershed and protected forest. Scopes up we comb the lake for Green Peafowl roosting in the trees. Excitement spreads when we hear one calling nearby but it's coming from the cages where peafowl are captive. There are a lot of captive birds here. We walk through the "zoo" enjoying a hybrid Lady Amherst's Pheasant and taping a calling Gray Peacock-Pheasant for use later at Kaeng Krachan. We finally find a male wild Green Peafowl walking the fence between the "zoo" and the more open forest of the reserve. It's not a captive bird in that it's not in a cage, but in a sense the entire preserve is a cage like most islands of habitat. Still, we're grateful to see a "wild" male.

1 Chinese Pond-Heron (Ardeola bacchus)
2 Striated Heron (Butorides striatus)
3 Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus)-VULNERABLE
4 Black-capped Kingfisher  (Halcyon pileata)
5 Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis)
6 Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius)

We stop at paddyfields near Doi Saket hoping for Red-throated Pipit. They must have already started back North although we find plenty of other pipits, bushlarks, snipe and one scared buttonquail. Nearby scrub gives expected prinias, cisticola and munias. We are rewarded with an unexpected life Dusky Warbler. Ironic that we didn't bother to go see the vagrant Red-throated Pipit or Dusky Warbler that were in Southern California a few years ago. 

1 Great Egret (Ardea alba)
2 Intermediate Egret (Egretta intermedia)
3 Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
4 Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
5 Striated Heron (Butorides striatus)
6 Yellow-legged Buttonquail (Turnix tanki)
7 Greater Painted-snipe (Rostratula benghalensis)
8 Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)
9 Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis)
10 Rufous-winged Bushlark (Mirafra assamica)
11 Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
12 Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica)
13 Oriental Pipit (Anthus rufulus)
14 Richard's Pipit (Anthus richardi)
15 Golden-headed Cisticola (Cisticola exilis)
16 Rufescent Prinia (Prinia rufescens)
17 Plain Prinia (Prinia inornata)
18 Dusky Warbler (Phylloscopus fuscatus)
19 Pied Bushchat (Saxicola caprata)
20 White-vented Myna (Acridotheres grandis)
21 Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis)
22 Asian Pied Starling (Gracupica contra)
23 White-rumped Munia (Lonchura striata)
24 Nutmeg Mannikin (Lonchura punctulata)
25 Pintail Snipe (Gallinago stenura)
26 Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

We make one more stop at a military training center just off the highway to look for migrant Citrine Wagtail. It's already moved on as well perhaps because the pond is dry. We catch up with a few lowland specialties like Rufous-winged Buzzard and Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker as we look around the lake and nearby scrub forest. Joseph gets on a Siberian Rubythroat but I miss it.

1 Rufous-winged Buzzard (Butastur liventer)
2 Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)
3 Zebra Dove  (Geopelia striata)
4 Plaintive Cuckoo   (Cacomantis merulinus)
5 Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos macei)
6 Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis)
7 Thick-billed Warbler (Acrocephalus aedon)
8 Siberian Rubythroat (Luscinia calliope)

Our last stop for the day is Wat (Thai for "Temple") Thum Psaplong in Doi Chiang Dao to see the Crested Treeswifts that are usually there. Unexpected: they aren't. But it's just before a storm and Indochinese swiftlets (split from Himalayan) fly above the temple. How could we identify a rare migrant Himalayan if it were in there? We walk the road to the wat and talk about a sighting of Deignan's Babbler reported here some years earlier. Odd that Thailand's only two endemic species - Deignan's Babbler and White-eyed River Martin - are so mythic and exist only in specimens. Uthai tells us that the Asian Brown-Flycatcher we see is the resident ssp. siamensis. Unexpected: a calling Rusty-naped Pitta. We climb up the trail and play tape. Joe and I are looking down the hill when the Pitta flys across. Sadly, Joseph is looking up. We climb the stairs of the wat and find a pair of Brown-cheeked Fulvettas at eye level just beyond the carved stone nagas, snakes that protect the temple. Streaked Wren-Babbler pops in and out of the limestone. Off to the right near the top is a stream bed trail and another Rusty-naped Pitta tortures us from deep inside the thick foliage. Joseph tries to be philosophical about this bird as two misses elevate it's importance. 

1 Asian Drongo-Cuckoo (Surniculus lugubris)
2 Green-billed Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus tristis)
3 Indochinese Swiftlet (Aerodramus rogersi)
4 Great Barbet (Megalaima virens)
5 Blue-throated Barbet (Megalaima asiatica)
6 Speckled Piculet   (Picumnus innominatus)
7 White-browed Piculet (Sasia ochracea)
8 Black-crested Bulbul (Pycnonotus melanicterus)
9 Stripe-throated Bulbul (Pycnonotus finlaysoni)
10 White-headed Bulbul (Hypsipetes thompsoni)
11 Blue-winged Leafbird (Chloropsis cochinchinensis)
12 Orange-bellied Leafbird (Chloropsis hardwickii)
13 Great Iora (Aegithina lafresnayei)
14 Common Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius)
15 Asian Brown Flycatcher (Muscicapa dauurica)
16 Gray-headed Canary-flycatcher  (Culicicapa ceylonensis)
17 White-rumped Shama (Copsychus malabaricus)
18 Slaty-backed Forktail (Enicurus schistaceus)
19 White-throated Fantail (Rhipidura albicollis)
20 Black-naped Monarch (Hypothymis azurea)
21 Asian Paradise-Flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi)
22 Puff-throated Babbler (Pellorneum ruficeps)
23 Streaked Wren-Babbler (Napothera brevicaudata)
24 Gray-throated Babbler (Stachyris nigriceps)
25 Striped Tit-Babbler (Macronous gularis)
26 Brown-cheeked Fulvetta (Alcippe poioicephala)
27 Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis)
28 Little Spiderhunter (Arachnothera longirostra)
29 Streaked Spiderhunter (Arachnothera magna)
30 Oriental White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus)
31 Black-hooded Oriole (Oriolus xanthornus)
32 Maroon Oriole (Oriolus traillii)
33 Asian Fairy-bluebird (Irena puella)
34 Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus)
35 Gray-backed Shrike (Lanius tephronotus)
36 Bronzed Drongo (Dicrurus aeneus)

The storm hits hard and we drive up the mountain to Doi Ang Khang in driving rain and wind. No chance for a jungle nightjar when we arrive Ang Khang Nature Resort.

DAYS 13,14,15,16 - DOI ANG KHANG

Doi Ang Khang in Northern Thailand near the province of Doi Chiang Dao is in the mountains that border the Shan (mountain) states of Myanmar, formerly Burma. There is a concentration of Thai and Myanmar military along this border and the Myanmar side is known for it's cultivation of poppies for narcotic mostly heroin processing and distribution. Nomadic hill tribes from Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Southern China use the Thai side for agricultural cultivation. Unprotected, some mountain forest remains that historically has contained interesting species that might be in less accessible political areas further North of Thailand, and winter migrants.

The sky is clear and the storm has passed at 5:30 am as we depart the Resort for the road towards Myanmar. Uthai has a surprise for us. We stop at kilometer 34 on the old road and pull over and park. "Look" he says calmly and points to the windshield. Ahead of us on the road is a male Hume's Pheasant slowly prancing the way male pheasants sometimes do when they think no one's watching. He's crossing the road, four or five foot white tail with slate stripes carving the air behind him. He doesn't look anything like the field guides, the greens more blue, more luminescent and vivid. Field guide illustrations are flat aren't they? Like the finger pointing to the moon. Not the moon. Here's the moon and we gasp. I want video and after we've all had a good look I ask if anyone minds if I try to get some? I try to lean out slowly but the bird responds by putting head and tail down and running off the road. I pull back in and as we are all talking excitedly, here he comes again. The Mrs. has refused to come across the road and he's going back to get her. He does this three times to our delight and then disappears up the hill. This is a hell of a way to begin birding in a destination! Up the highway to the border patrol we spend the morning admiring the view of the clouds below and find three Giant Nuthatches with broad black eye lines for great views in the scope and Pale Blue Flycatcher. Uthai hears a surprise and we go off the highway and after some time find a male Green Cochoa that pops out of the mist to perch on a branch nearby just above eye level giving us stunning views.

Over three and a half days we bird the traditional sites of Doi Ang Khang including "Paradise Valley" where we find expected Crested Finchbills, Red-faced Liocichla, Maroon Oriole, a fruiting tree with Wedge-tailed Pigeon and pine trees with female Common Rosefinch and Phylloscpus warblers. We don't know whether to look up or down as trees are full of birds. Mountain Bamboo-Partridges call in the scrub and we try unsuccessfully to see them a few times, finally getting a glimpse of one scurrying through the bamboo. This unsatisfying view is corrected when we find two feeding beside and crossing the road on our departure. We find Aberrant Bush-warbler here and puzzle over it's call until it finally pops up and gives us a view. Up at the firebreak we find a small flock of Yellow-breasted Bunting that have stayed longer than usual in winter migration. We hike the trail from the pines described in Moira and Graeme Wallace's trip report on to look for Cutia in a feeding flock but see the same flock with look-alike Rufous-backed Sibia in it instead.

At night near an entrance to "Magic Valley" a Hodgon's Frogmouth obliges. During the day near the same site a pair of Eye-browed Wren-babblers chatter and hop inside a large bush while we peer inside with our binoculars.

Down inside "Magic Valley" we hike beside the stream bed looking for the prized Black-browed Parrotbill in all of the bamboo. No luck.  Unexpected: We stumble upon two flycatchers in a display - hunkered down with some slight wing shaking. The visible tear drop behind the eye is interesting and reminds us of our empidomax flys back home. We get as much detail and video as possible. We show the video to Phil Round who arrives that evening, and he reckons it's a rare (in Thailand) Brown-breasted Flycatcher. He goes the next day and sees the same two birds in the same area and confirms the ID by the moustachial stripe. If they were breeding, it might be the first breeding record in Thailand. Unexpected: tiny Chestnut-headed Tesia runs away from the stream as we pass, and Pygmy Wren-Babbler shows again. Hill tribe people are collecting medicinal herbs in the forest and making a racket. We are uneasy as we remember hearing that someone was murdered while camping here. Uthai shows us the exact site. When home, I research the story and find a newspaper report that Kevin Bourke, 23, and Sheri MacFarlane, 25 from Australia decided to camp right by the river in the valley rather than with the rest of their group higher up in the campsite. During the night they were robbed. MacFarlane was hit with a rifle butt and Bourke killed by two 18 year old Chinese Haw assailants who recently confessed to the crime. The newspaper reported that Chiang Dao district's Nong Ook village is a Chinese Haw village known as a drug transit point.

"Bird Watching Trail" yields yet another calling Rusty-naped Pitta just beside the trail but it flushes as we tiptoe closer to peek into the underbrush. Will we ever see this bird?

1 Crested Serpent-Eagle (Spilornis cheela)
2 Shikra (Accipiter badius)
3 Japanese Sparrowhawk (Accipiter gularis)
4 Mountain Bamboo-Partridge (Bambusicola fytchii)
5 Hume's Pheasant (Syrmaticus humiae)-VULNERABLE
6 Wedge-tailed Pigeon (Treron sphenura)
7 Asian Emerald Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx maculatus)
8 Green-billed Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus tristis)
9 Hodgson's Frogmouth (Batrachostomus hodgsoni)
10 Fork-tailed Swift (Apus pacificus)
11 Golden-throated Barbet (Megalaima franklinii)
12 Speckled Piculet  (Picumnus innominatus)
13 White-browed Piculet (Sasia ochracea)
14 Gray-capped Woodpecker (Dendrocopos canicapillus)
15 Stripe-breasted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos atratus)
16 Lesser Yellownape (Picus chlorolophus)
17 Bay Woodpecker (Blythipicus pyrrhotis)
18 Long-tailed Broadbill (Psarisomus dalhousiae)
19 Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
20 Long-tailed Minivet (Pericrocotus ethologus)
21 Scarlet Minivet (Pericrocotus flammeus)
22 Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike (Hemipus picatus)
23 Crested Finchbill (Spizixos canifrons)
24 Striated Bulbul (Pycnonotus striatus)
25 Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus)
26 Brown-breasted Bulbul (Pycnonotus xanthorrhous)
27 Sooty-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus aurigaster)
28 Flavescent Bulbul (Pycnonotus flavescens)
29 Mountain Bulbul (Ixos mcclellandii)
30 Dark-sided Thrush (Zoothera marginata)
31 Eyebrowed Thrush (Turdus obscurus)
32 Lesser Shortwing  (Brachypteryx leucophrys)
33 Hill Prinia (Prinia atrogularis)
34 Chestnut-headed Tesia (Tesia castaneocoronata)
35 Aberrant Bush-Warbler (Cettia flavolivacea)
36 Russet Bush-Warbler (Bradypterus seebohmi)
37 Brown Bush-Warbler (Bradypterus luteoventris)
38 Mountain Tailorbird (Orthotomus cuculatus)
39 Buff-barred Warbler (Phylloscopus pulcher)
40 Hume's Warbler (Phylloscopus humei)
41 Greenish Warbler (Phylloscopus trochiloides)
42 White-tailed Leaf-Warbler (Phylloscopus davisoni)
43 Brown-breasted Flycatcher (Muscicapa muttui)
44 White-gorgeted Flycatcher (Ficedula monileger)
45 Little Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula westermanni)
46 Verditer Flycatcher (Eumyias thalassina)
47 Rufous-bellied Niltava (Niltava sundara)
48 Pale Blue-Flycatcher (Cyornis unicolor)
49 Hill Blue-Flycatcher (Cyornis banyumas)
50 Gray-headed Canary-flycatcher  (Culicicapa ceylonensis)
51 White-bellied Redstart (Hodgsonius phaenicuroides)
52 White-tailed Robin (Cinclidium leucurum)
53 Green Cochoa (Cochoa viridis)
54 Common Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)
55 Gray Bushchat (Saxicola ferrea)
56 White-throated Fantail (Rhipidura albicollis)
57 Spot-breasted Laughingthrush (Garrulax merulinus)
58 White-browed Laughingthrush (Garrulax sannio)
59 Red-faced Liocichla (Liocichla phoenicea)
60 Buff-breasted Babbler (Pellorneum tickelli)
61 Spot-throated Babbler (Pellorneum albiventre)
62 Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-Babbler (Pomatorhinus erythrogenys)
63 Streaked Wren-Babbler (Napothera brevicaudata)
64 Eyebrowed Wren-Babbler (Napothera epilepidota)
65 Pygmy Wren-Babbler (Pnoepyga pusilla)
66 Rufous-fronted Babbler (Stachyris rufifrons)
67 Golden Babbler (Stachyris chrysaea)
68 Silver-eared Mesia (Leiothrix argentauris)
69 White-browed Shrike-Babbler (Pteruthius flaviscapis)
70 Spectacled Barwing (Actinodura ramsayi)
71 Gray-cheeked Fulvetta (Alcippe morrisonia)
72 Rufous-backed Sibia (Heterophasia annectens)
73 Black-backed Sibia (Heterophasia melanoleuca)
74 Gray-headed Parrotbill (Paradoxornis gularis)
75 Spot-breasted Parrotbill (Paradoxornis guttaticollis)
76 Yellow-cheeked Tit (Parus spilonotus)
77 Chestnut-vented Nuthatch (Sitta nagaensis)
78 Velvet-fronted Nuthatch (Sitta frontalis)
79 Giant Nuthatch (Sitta magna)-VULNERABLE
80 Streaked Spiderhunter (Arachnothera magna)
81 Fire-breasted Flowerpecker (Dicaeum ignipectus)
82 Oriental White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus)
83 Slender-billed Oriole (Oriolus tenuirostris)
84 Maroon Oriole (Oriolus traillii)
85 Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach)
86 Ashy Drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus)
87 Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus remifer)
88 Gray Treepie (Dendrocitta formosae)
89 Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montana)
90 Common Rosefinch  (Carpodacus erythrinus)
91 Yellow-breasted Bunting (Emberiza aureola)
92 Chestnut Bunting  (Emberiza rutila)


We reluctantly leave Doi Ang Khang and drive to Chiang Mai for flight back to Bangkok. We stop on the way again at Wat Thum Psaplong to see expected Crested Treeswift but again no luck. Joe and I take the right and left side of the van and scan every dead tree on the drive to the airport. We are rewarded two hours later stopping for gas when a Crested Treeswift flys in a circle above us and disappears. Joe's screams in the gas station to get our attention makes patrons nervous.

1-Crested Treeswift (Hemiprocne coronata)

We fly to Bangkok and drive to Khao Yai National Park.

DAYS 18,19,20 - KHAO YAI NP

This time the abandoned monastery pays off and yields a pair of Limetone Wren-Babblers, different from the Viet Nam population in call and morphology. And more. A pair of calling Blue-winged Pittas. Where were they two weeks ago? We stir them up a little with tape and one flies in a tree above us. Not visible. That's that. We're compensated two days later with good views of a calling Hooded Pitta perched high in a tree and with fantastic views of male Blue Pitta calling and preening in the forest just off Radar road.

We enter the park welcomed by the theramin calls of two species of gibbons. We spot the gorgeous apes now and again far off in the distance, feeding on fruiting trees, swinging from perch to perch.

Radar Road gives up our first Siamese Fireback as I spot a male drumming in the forest through the van window. It's taken three trips over four years to see this bird, and I take the time to really enjoy it. Later we see the male resting by the side of the road in the sun, and practically walk up to it. On the other side of the road a Blue Pitta calls and we head into the forest slowly and quietly. Joseph nabs a glance and the pressure is on me. I sneak ahead of the voice, hide behind a tree, and have a look to my right. There in the open is Blue Pitta on a small branch alternately calling and preening.

Off road in the park we pursue a pair of Scaly-throated Partridges down the side of the hill into a gully where they cower at the base of a rattan below us. I sneak around in front of them a get a glimpse at them huddled, then running. We notice gashes in the trees. Uthai explains that poachers are harvesting aloeswood for insence. They gash the trees and a fragrant fungus develops as an immune response. The fungus is then harvesting, leaving a dying tree. This is currently one of the biggest threats to the park.    

We drop Joe Thompson at the garbage dump at the campsite so he can watch for the Ground-Cuckoo. The pressure is on for him as he wasn't with us on Day 1. We hang around the campground and visit with a European who has retired, bought a house outside the park, runs a business renting camping equipment and spends most of his time exploring the park. He fascinates us with his stories of watching a pair of tigers bring down a baby elephant, thirty-five elephants bathing in a river, Clouded Leopard hunting in the grass."What time is it?" he asks suddenly, and takes us to a fruiting tree on the river behind the campsite to watch a pair of White-handed Gibbons feed.

Two hours later as we are birding on Radar Road we hear the Ground-Cuckoos. Uthai sends the van back to rescue Joe from his perch at the dump and they go in for the Cuckoo and a Blue Pitta while we enjoy walking the road in search of Silver Pheasant. Unexpected: we never find one. Joe leaves for Bangkok and home and we set out with Uthai in the afternoon to find Chestnut-capped Babbler - the one bird Uthai has guaranteed on the trip with a money back guarantee. Unexpected: it's not in the grass along the road to the hide at the top of Park where it's always been seen. We start counting the money as we walk to the hide beside the water hole, Oriental Pied-Hornbills in the distance.

A storm is brewing and we can smell as well as see the clouds build up in the open sky as we walk. Swifts circle above the water hole, and we find all three species of Needletail - White-throated, Silver-backed and Brown-backed - almost at eye level in a frenzy of feeding. Is the low pressure weighing on the insect wings and bringing them low over the pond? The storm cracks with thunder and lighting forcing us behind the hide for shelter. It's temporary. The storm is fierce and water runs at our feet and deepens. We run inside the hide up the stairs to the viewing area. The corrugated tin roof is not only leaking, it's blowing and banging in the wind like a handkerchief, and I'm hoping it doesn't fly off. The wind howls, lighting sizzles, thunder claps and now hail. Rain and hail pour in sideways forcing us bit by bit into the only dry corner of the room where we huddle and protect our faces with our hats. In an instant it's over. The storm clouds pass as we wait for the trail to transform from a river to a muddy road. The light, the smell, the sound, the feelings saturate our senses. Thank God there's no sappy soundtrack or swelling of strings to manipulate our experience! Still no Babbler. Unexpected: Uthai owes us money!

Our last morning in the park three Asian elephants eat ginger by the side of the road. I hope it isn't too spicy for them.

1 Crested Serpent-Eagle (Spilornis cheela)
2 Crested Goshawk (Accipiter trivirgatus)
3 Shikra (Accipiter badius)
4 Rufous-bellied Eagle (Aquila kienerii)
5 Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
6 Scaly-breasted Partridge (Arborophila chloropus)
7 Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus)
8 Siamese Fireback (Lophura diardi)-NEAR THREATENED
9 Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)
10 Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
11 Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica)
12 Thick-billed Pigeon (Treron curvirostra)
13 Mountain Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula badia)
14 Red-breasted Parakeet (Psittacula alexandri)
15 Vernal Hanging-Parrot (Loriculus vernalis)
16 Green-billed Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus tristis)
17 Coral-billed Ground-Cuckoo (Carpococcyx renauldi)
18 Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis)
19 Lesser Coucal (Centropus bengalensis)
20 Collared Owlet (Glaucidium brodiei)
21 Indochinese Swiftlet (Aerodramus rogersi)
22 White-throated Needletail (Hirundapus caudacutus)
23 Silver-backed Needletail (Hirundapus cochinchinensis)
24 Brown-backed Needletail (Hirundapus giganteus)
25 Asian Palm-Swift (Cypsiurus balasiensis)
26 House Swift (Apus nipalensis)
27 Red-headed Trogon (Harpactes erythrocephalus)
28 Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis)
29 Oriental Pied-Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris)
30 Great Hornbill (Buceros bicornis)
31 Brown Hornbill (Anorrhinus austeni)
32 Wreathed Hornbill (Aceros undulatus)
33 Lineated Barbet (Megalaima lineata)
34 Green-eared Barbet (Megalaima faiostricta)
35 Moustached Barbet (Megalaima incognita)
36 Coppersmith Barbet (Megalaima haemacephala)
37 Laced Woodpecker (Picus vittatus)
38 Great Slaty Woodpecker (Mulleripicus pulverulentus)
39 Banded Broadbill (Eurylaimus javanicus)
40 Long-tailed Broadbill (Psarisomus dalhousiae)
41 Blue Pitta (Pitta cyanea)
42 Hooded Pitta (Pitta sordida)
43 Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
44 Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica)
45 Scarlet Minivet (Pericrocotus flammeus)
46 Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike (Hemipus picatus)
47 Black-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus atriceps)
48 Black-crested Bulbul (Pycnonotus melanicterus)
49 Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus)
50 Stripe-throated Bulbul (Pycnonotus finlaysoni)
51 Flavescent Bulbul (Pycnonotus flavescens)
52 Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier)
53 Streak-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus blanfordi)
54 Puff-throated Bulbul (Alophoixus pallidus)
55 Gray-eyed Bulbul (Iole propinqua)
56 Ashy Bulbul (Hemixos flavala)
57 Blue-winged Leafbird (Chloropsis cochinchinensis)
58 Golden-fronted Leafbird (Chloropsis aurifrons)
59 White-throated Rock-Thrush (Monticola gularis)
60 Blue Whistling-Thrush (Myophonus caeruleus)
61 Golden-headed Cisticola (Cisticola exilis)
62 Plain Prinia (Prinia inornata)
63 Dark-necked Tailorbird (Orthotomus atrogularis)
64 Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus)
65 Pale-legged Leaf-Warbler (Phylloscopus tenellipes)
66 Yellow-bellied Warbler (Abroscopus superciliaris)
67 Asian Brown Flycatcher (Muscicapa dauurica)
68 Hill Blue-Flycatcher (Cyornis banyumas)
69 White-rumped Shama (Copsychus malabaricus)
70 White-crowned Forktail (Enicurus leschenaulti)
71 Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush (Garrulax monileger)
72 Black-throated Laughingthrush (Garrulax chinensis)
73 Abbott's Babbler (Malacocincla abbotti)
74 Large Scimitar-Babbler (Pomatorhinus hypoleucos)
75 White-browed Scimitar-Babbler (Pomatorhinus schisticeps)
76 Limestone Wren-Babbler (Napothera crispifrons)
77 Striped Tit-Babbler (Macronous gularis)
78 White-bellied Yuhina (Yuhina zantholeuca)
79 Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis)
80 Fire-breasted Flowerpecker (Dicaeum ignipectus)
81 Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis)
82 Asian Fairy-bluebird (Irena puella)
83 Gray-backed Shrike (Lanius tephronotus)
84 Large Woodshrike (Tephrodornis gularis)
85 Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus)
86 Ashy Woodswallow (Artamus fuscus)
87 Large-billed Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos)
88 Common Hill Myna (Gracula religiosa)
89 Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis)
90 Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montana)


Uthai breaks up the drive from Khao Yai to Kaeng Krachan by stopping at Wat Chong Lom in Samut Sakhon. The revered Buddhist monk Laung Pu Kieo lies entombed in an altar in the wat surrounded by thousands of Germane's Swiftlets (formerly ssp. of Edible-nest Swiftlet). They fly in and out of the wat and cling to the nests on the walls with tiny feet like hummingbirds, their taxonomic neighbor. Monks go about their business in a rain of feathers and droppings unaware of the health hazards. The swiftlets are said to be Laung pu Kieo's followers reincarnated to follow him. The nests are so valuable for soup that the doors are closed and locked every night to prevent poachers. Swifts outside must remain outside. We buy a medallion to commemorate the bird monk. Samut Sakhon is on a rivermouth, now filthy but still populated by Whiskered Terns and shorebirds and occasional rarities. Historically there were River Terns and Great Thick-Knees here but now gone.

We stop for breakfast and lunch provisions at a supermarket and reach Kaeng Krachan Country Club ( outside the National Park at dark.

The 2,915 square kilometers of mountain and lowland forest above a reservoir created by a large dam on the Petchaburi River in Southwest Thailand became Kaeng Krachan National Park in 1984. It is the largest national park in Thailand and popular for waterfalls and rivers. It's location at the head of a peninsula here called Tenerassim and in the South becoming Malaysia is interesting for species on the Eastern end of their range in Myanmar the Northern end of their range from Malaysia and Java and as a funnel for migrants. There is only one main road in the park keeping human interference at a minimum and the wildlife exceptional. New species are added to the list every year.

In the higher elevations of the park we hear a Gray Peacock-Pheasant. Kaeng Krachan is one of the few locations in SE Asia to see this bird. We scan the dense forest behind the ridge twenty feet above us and can only glimpse part of a tail of a bird perched about six feet up in a tree in dense forest. Is it preening? Perhaps the tape of the captive bird from Huay Hongkrai will lure him out. No recognition. I'm wondering if the captive bird didn't learn some other pheasant's call from another cage. Our target flies from his perch and that is that. That is until we see him closer, now out on the rim of the ridge just above us walking slowly from left to right. He ambles through twenty feet right on the edge in the sunlight, stopping now again to preen, while we watch enchanted. Four or five minutes later he is finished with us, flies down on the road twenty feet from us and walks slowly into the forest on the other side of the road.

Unexpected: as we drive back down the road we spot a male Rusty-naped Pitta feeding in the road in full view. God doing for us what we can't do for ourselves! Rare Rusty-cheeked Hornbill is a bonus and our second Brown Hornbill of the trip.

We walk the road past the second stream at night. A large owl flies from a perch in a dead tree beside the river but only our driver sees the shadow. Uthai tests his spotlight. Unexpected: his beam accidentally lands on a rare White-fronted Scops Owl perched on a limb with one wing outstretched. Is it lame or being seductive? After long looks and video of the bird we call in smaller Collared for comparison. Then another White-fronted Scops calls nearby and we spotlight that one. Two for the night!

Unexpected: one morning in the lowlands along the highway we find a pair of Blue-winged Pittas in plain sight

We take Olive Bulbul off our list. Our last guide in this location pointed us to what he said was an Olive Bulbul in the highlands. Uthai says they are impossible without a three day hike from here. We were doubtful then and off it goes, another lesson about guides giving birds. You really have to check everything yourself. As the Buddha said: "Don't take anyone's word. Find out for yourself if it's true."

1 Oriental Honey-buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus)
2 Crested Serpent-Eagle (Spilornis cheela)
3 Crested Goshawk (Accipiter trivirgatus)
4 Rufous-bellied Eagle (Aquila kienerii)
5 Mountain Hawk-Eagle (Spizaetus nipalensis)
6 Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus)
7 Gray Peacock-Pheasant (Polyplectron bicalcaratum)
8 White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)
9 Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)
10 Little Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia ruficeps)
11 Thick-billed Pigeon (Treron curvirostra)
12 Violet Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus)
13 Asian Drongo-Cuckoo (Surniculus lugubris)
14 Green-billed Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus tristis)
15 Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis)
16 White-fronted Scops-Owl (Otus sagittatus)-VULNERABLE
17 Collared Scops-Owl (Otus lettia)
18 Asian Barred Owlet (Glaucidium cuculoides)
19 Great Eared-Nightjar (Eurostopodus macrotis)
20 Large-tailed Nightjar (aprimulgus macrurus)
21 Fork-tailed Swift (Apus pacificus)
22 Gray-rumped Treeswift (Hemiprocne longipennis)
23 Red-headed Trogon (Harpactes erythrocephalus)
24 Banded Kingfisher (Lacedo pulchella)
25 White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)
26 Black-capped Kingfisher (Halcyon pileata)
27 Blue-bearded Bee-eater (Nyctyornis athertoni)
28 Oriental Pied-Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris)
29 Great Hornbill (Buceros bicornis)
30 Rusty-cheeked Hornbill (Anorrhinus tickelli)-NEAR THREATENED
31 Wreathed Hornbill (Aceros undulatus)
32 Green-eared Barbet (Megalaima faiostricta)
33 Greater Yellownape (Picus flavinucha)
34 Streak-breasted Woodpecker (Picus viridanus)
35 Common Flameback (Dinopium javanense)
36 Greater Flameback (Chrysocolaptes lucidus)
37 Bamboo Woodpecker (Gecinulus viridis)
38 Orange-backed Woodpecker (Reinwardtipicus validus)
39 Heart-spotted Woodpecker (Hemicircus canente)
40 Great Slaty Woodpecker (Mulleripicus pulverulentus)
41 Dusky Broadbill (Corydon sumatranus)
42 Black-and-yellow Broadbill(Eurylaimus ochromalus)
43 Silver-breasted Broadbill (Serilophus lunatus)
44 Rusty-naped Pitta (Pitta oatesi)
45 Blue-winged Pitta (Pitta moluccensis)
46 Forest Wagtail (Dendronanthus indicus)
47 Gray Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)
48 Lesser Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina fimbriata)
49 Scarlet Minivet (Pericrocotus flammeus)
50 Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike (Hemipus picatus)
51 Black-crested Bulbul (Pycnonotus melanicterus)
52 Stripe-throated Bulbul (Pycnonotus finlaysoni)
53 Ochraceous Bulbul (Alophoixus ochraceus)
54 Buff-vented Bulbul (Iole olivacea)-NEAR THREATENED
55 Blue-winged Leafbird (Chloropsis cochinchinensis)
56 Eyebrowed Thrush (Turdus obscurus)
57 Spotted Bush-Warbler (Bradypterus thoracicus)
58 Dark-necked Tailorbird (Orthotomus atrogularis)
59 Arctic Warbler (Phylloscopus borealis)
60 Greenish Warbler (Phylloscopus trochiloides)
61 Korean Flycatcher (Ficedula zanthopygia)
62 Hill Blue-Flycatcher (Cyornis banyumas)
63 White-rumped Shama (Copsychus malabaricus)
64 White-throated Fantail (Rhipidura albicollis)
65 Black-naped Monarch (Hypothymis azurea)
66 Asian Paradise-Flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi)
67 White-crested Laughingthrush (Garrulax leucolophus)
68 Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush (Garrulax pectoralis)
69 Golden Babbler (Stachyris chrysaea)
70 Striped Tit-Babbler (Macronous gularis)
71 White-browed Shrike-Babbler (Pteruthius flaviscapis)
72 White-hooded Babbler (Gampsorhynchus rufulus)
73 Brown-cheeked Fulvetta (Alcippe poioicephala)
74 Striated Yuhina (Yuhina castaniceps)
75 Crimson Sunbird (Aethopyga siparaja)
76 Yellow-vented Flowerpecker (Dicaeum chrysorrheum)
77 Everett's White-eye (Zosterops everetti)
78 Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis)
79 Asian Fairy-bluebird (Irena puella)
80 Black Drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus)
81 Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus remifer)
82 Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus)
83 Green Magpie (Cissa chinensis)
84 Racket-tailed Treepie (Crypsirina temia)
85 Common Hill Myna (Gracula religiosa)
86 Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis)


It's departure day for Malaysia and we head back to Bangkok to find some species on the way to the airport. We go to the campus of Kasetarts about one hour south of Bangkok hoping for a sighting of Rain Quail that is seen there, but the lawns have just been mown and they've flown somewhere else. The ponds and reeds are active and we find a Pallas' Warbler calling and moving around in the reeds. We laugh when we add Little Grebe to the trip list. It's taxonomically the number one bird.

At Royal Gems Golf Resort we find a colony of Asian Golden Weavers between holes still managing to survive and breed in a patch smaller than my house.


1 Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
2 Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
3 Chinese Pond-Heron (Ardeola bacchus)
4 Lesser Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna javanica)
5 Common Moorhen(Gallinula chloropus)
6 Bronze-winged Jacana (Metopidius indicus)
7 Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
8 Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)
9 Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis)
10 Zebra Dove (Geopelia striata)
11 Plaintive Cuckoo (Cacomantis merulinus)
12 Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis)
13 Stork-billed Kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis)
14 White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)
15 Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis)
16 Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis)
17 Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
18 Richard's Pipit (Anthus richardi)
19 Sooty-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus aurigaster)
20 Streak-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus blanfordi)
21 Yellow-bellied Prinia (Prinia flaviventris)
22 Pallas' Warbler (Locustella certhiola)
23 Plain-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis)
24 Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis)
25 Asian Pied Starling (Gracupica contra)
26 Plain-backed Sparrow (Passer flaveolus)
27 Asian Golden Weaver (Ploceus hypoxanthus)-NEAR THREATENED
28 Chestnut Munia (Lonchura atricapilla)

We catch our evening flight to Kuala Lumpur and check into the airport hotel where Malaysian bird expert Dennis Yong will pick us up at 6:00 a.m. We haven't seen him in ten years.


The drive from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Selangor is short but we can see the change in Malaysia. What once was lowland forest is now acres and acres of oil palms in a ten year agricultural boom. Low cost palm oil fills fryers in fast food chains and fills processed foods (read your labels) despite it's health hazards and environmental damage. Barn Owl might be the only species to profit from the enormous increase in this introduced plant species. We pass plantation after plantation, mostly oil and few rubber. Malaysia is a Muslim country with a secular government that has resisted extremist religious leaders partly because the strong middle class is invested in the growth of the economy and investment from foreign governments, and oil palms partly fuel that boom.

It's hot and humid in this town on the mouth of the Selangor River on the west coast of Malaysia. We've returned here for a few species we missed on our last visit to Taman Alam (Nature Park) - 800 acres of mudflats, mangroves and mosquitos. We enter the park just after dawn greeted by a troup of Silvered Leaf Monkeys. As we cross the small stream we peak through the viewing holes in the hides in hopes that occasional Masked Finfoot might be there for us. The resident race of Ruddy Kingfisher is one of our targets but it's not to be. A Mangrove Whistler slowly appears from the back of the mangroves after a great deal of nagging from us, and a Golden-bellied Gerygone entertains us with a little bit of color, always welcome in this overwhelmingly brown palette. We recall the Smooth Otters we watched at play here ten years ago, and see a White-bellied Sea-Eagle nest on the radio tower exactly as then. By eleven o'clock it's broiling and we head to town for Chinese food, avoiding the big seafood restaurant on the river that throws it's garbage right out the back into the river.

1 Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
2 Great Egret (Ardea alba)
3 Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
4 White-bellied Sea-Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)
5 Crested Serpent-Eagle (Spilornis cheela)
6 White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)
7 Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis)
8 Zebra Dove (Geopelia striata)
8 Long-tailed Parakeet (Psittacula longicauda)-NEAR THREATENED
10 Chestnut-bellied Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus sumatranus)-NEAR THREATENED
11 Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis)
12 Blue-throated Bee-eater (Merops viridis)
13 Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis)
14 Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
15 Pied Triller (Lalage nigra)
16 Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier)
17 Olive-winged Bulbul (Pycnonotus plumosus)
18 Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia)
29 Yellow-bellied Prinia (Prinia flaviventris)
20 Common Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius)
21 Ashy Tailorbird (Orthotomus ruficeps)
22 Mangrove Blue-Flycatcher (Cyornis rufigastra)
23 Mangrove Whistler (Pachycephala grisola)
24 Golden-bellied Gerygone (Gerygone sulphurea)
25 Ruby-cheeked Sunbird (Chalcoparia singalensis)
26 Plain-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis)
27 Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis)
28 Oriental White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus)
29 Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis)
30 Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus)
31 White-vented Myna (Acridotheres grandis)

In the afternoon we drive narrow roads through rice paddies to a peat swamp forest on the Sungai (river) Karang. Dennis re-discovered Dusky Eagle-owl here as soon as he considered it extirpated in Malaysia, but hasn't seen it in a few years since humans moved back into the small hut at the entrance. We walk through the small section of undergrowth above the tannin-colored water that floods this forest and delight when we hear a Black Hornbill followed by the sight of a female with black beak perched in a dead tree.

At dusk, we stand near the hut looking over the rice paddies as flocks of Long-tailed Parakeets and House Swifts fly in the open sky. We turn to face the forest when we hear the call of Malaysian Nightjar as it flies above the forest briefly then back in.

1 Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus)
2 White-winged Tern  (Chlidonias leucopterus)
3 Long-tailed Parakeet (Psittacula longicauda)-NEAR THREATENED
4 Malaysian Nightjar (Eurostopodus temminckii)
5 Fork-tailed Swift  (Apus pacificus)
6 House Swift (Apus nipalensis)
7 White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)
8 Collared Kingfisher (Todirhamphus chloris)
9 Black Hornbill (Anthracoceros malayanus)-NEAR THREATENED
10 Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)
11 Cream-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus simplex)
12 Red-eyed Bulbul (Pynonotus brunneus)
13 Oriental Magpie-Robin (Copsychus saularis)
14 Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker  (Prionochilus percussus)
15 Ashy Drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus)
16 Nutmeg Mannikin (Lonchura punctulata)
17 White-breasted Woodswallow (Artamus leucorynchus)

DAY 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 - FRASIER'S HILL

It's a relief to leave the heat and humidity of Kuala Selangor and head on the Karak Highway into the cool Central mountains of Malaysia even though the drive is all oil palms until we're too high for them. We stop on the way at Hull Yam, a traditional site for White-headed Munia to find it has become a housing development. At last we find two White-headed Munia in flocks of Nutmeg Mannikins in a patch of weeds between houses.

1 White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)
2 Javan Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina javensis)
3 White-headed Munia (Lonchura maja)

The sounds of Siamang apes and the sight of the trees bending on the ridge of the mountain get our attention. We are on Frasier's Hill, 104 km from Kuala Lumpur and one of Malaysia's top birding destinations. We reach the gate at the Gap where we wait for one way traffic to go our direction up the forested private property to the top of the hill. As we go through the gate we drive up the windy road looking into the forest on both sides. Our first sighting is a birder, identified by microfiber cargo pants, wide brimmed soft hat, wet hiking boots, plant material on shoulders and back but mostly by the accessories: cassette player, field guide, binoculars around neck and telescope on shoulder. But not only do we recognize the species, we recognize the individual! It's Tony Morris with whom we toured Madagascar three years ago! And he's here with his son Rob who kindly lent us his trip report and contacts for a successful trip to Taiwan. Warm greetings are interrupted by the call of a Bamboo Woodpecker they've been tracking. We have to hurry up the road before the traffic turns.

Unexpected: Rob has been told of a Cutia nest which we find in a dead bromeliad just next to a condominium project at a communications tower at the top of the mountain. We gather with scopes on the steep road in hope that what is now a tail will soon become a full bird. Reunions being what they are we aren't looking in the split section when the female and male switch at the nest. The thought of missing the bird dims our conversation until the male turns in the nest and we can make out a head with large curved bill, barred underparts, rufous back for a look at this enigmatic Himalayan species stuck taxonomomically between mesias and shrike-babblers.

The next three mornings in the cool mists on High Pine and Bishop's Trail were sheer pleasures in birding. A flock of Long-billed Partridge teased twice with their raucous calls before we got serious and spent three hours making our way slowly through the rattan trying to get below or across from them. Finally, one of us got a look at a female leaving the last calling location in what was a small payback for the effort. White-crowned Hornbills called in the mist but we could never see them. We carefully searched the trail at least once a day for rare Mountain Peacock-Pheasant but only thought we may have heard one once.

Walks along the road to the Gap led us to a pair of Marbled Wren-Babbler calling from a wet gully beside the road. We followed them carefully through spiny rattan up and over the mountain for almost two hours until we finally got a look down at them in the gully on the other side. Gold-whiskered Barbet appeared fairly close to the delight of all. Rufous Piculet hammered away in the bamboo while a flock of Black Laughingthrushes noisily crossed the road. A migrant male Mugimaki Flycatcher showed briefly. This is great road birding.

Unexpected: One morning a Short-tailed Gymnure (in the hedgehog family) wanders out of the forest and across the lawn much to our amusement.

1 Long-billed Partridge (Rhizothera longirostris)-NEAR THREATENED
2 Little Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia ruficeps)
3 Thick-billed Pigeon (Treron curvirostra)
4 Yellow-vented Pigeon (Treron seimundi)
5 House Swift (Apus nipalensis)
6 Red-headed Trogon  (Harpactes erythrocephalus)
7 Orange-breasted Trogon (Harpactes oreskios)
8 Red-bearded Bee-eater (Nyctyornis amictus)
9 Gold-whiskered Barbet (Megalaima chrysopogon)
10 Black-browed Barbet (Megalaima oorti)
11 Speckled Piculet (Picumnus innominatus)
12 Rufous Piculet (Sasia abnormis)
13 Long-tailed Broadbill (Psarisomus dalhousiae)
14 Silver-breasted Broadbill (Serilophus lunatus)
15 Gray-chinned Minivet (Pericrocotus solaris)
16 Black-crested Bulbul (Pycnonotus melanicterus)
17 Scaly-breasted Bulbul (Pycnonotus squamatus)-NEAR THREATENED
18 Ochraceous Bulbul (Alophoixus ochraceus)
19 Mountain Bulbul (Ixos mcclellandii)
20 Ashy Bulbul (Hemixos flavala)
21 Greater Green Leafbird (Chloropsis sonnerati)
22 Blue-winged Leafbird (Chloropsis cochinchinensis)
23 Orange-bellied Leafbird (Chloropsis hardwickii)
24 Mountain Tailorbird (Orthotomus cuculatus)
25 Chestnut-crowned Warbler (Seicercus castaniceps)
26 Mugimaki Flycatcher (Ficedula mugimaki)
27 Large Niltava (Niltava grandis)
28 Oriental Magpie-Robin (Copsychus saularis)
29 Slaty-backed Forktail (Enicurus schistaceus)
30 White-throated Fantail (Rhipidura albicollis)
31 Black Laughingthrush (Garrulax lugubris)
32 Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush (Garrulax mitratus)
33 Marbled Wren-Babbler (Napothera marmorata)
34 Streaked Wren-Babbler (Napothera brevicaudata)
35 Golden Babbler (Stachyris chrysaea)
36 Cutia (Cutia nipalensis)
37 White-browed Shrike-Babbler (Pteruthius flaviscapis)
38 Black-eared Shrike-Babbler (Pteruthius melanotis)
39 Blue-winged Minla (Minla cyanouroptera)
40 Mountain Fulvetta (Alcippe peracensis)
41 Long-tailed Sibia (Heterophasia picaoides)
42 White-bellied Yuhina (Yuhina zantholeuca)
43 Blue Nuthatch (Sitta azurea)
44 Purple-naped Sunbird (Hypogramma hypogrammicum)
45 Black-throated Sunbird (Aethopyga saturata)
46 Streaked Spiderhunter (Arachnothera magna)
47 Yellow-vented Flowerpecker (Dicaeum chrysorrheum)
48 Fire-breasted Flowerpecker (Dicaeum ignipectus)
49 Black-and-crimson Oriole (Oriolus cruentus)
50 Asian Fairy-bluebird (Irena puella)
51 Large Woodshrike (Tephrodornis gularis)
52 Rufous-winged Philentoma (Philentoma pyrhopterum)
53 Bronzed Drongo (Dicrurus aeneus)
54 White-rumped Munia (Lonchura striata)
55 Nutmeg Mannikin (Lonchura punctulata)

DAY 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - TAMAN NEGARA

We drive from Frasier's Hill down the east slope to Kuala Tembling where we board the boat for the two hour drive to our favorite lowland forest in Asia, the magnificent Taman Negara. Covering 1,677 sq mi (4,343 sq km) of virgin jungle it's one of the oldest forests in the world and one of the great destinations for tropical birding.

Taman Negara has changed a lot in ten years. Access is not only by boat now but also by vehicle as the road on other side of the river from the boat landing is completed. New hostels, resorts, restaurants, shops have sprung up along the road and on the river. Unexpected: every four hours now amplified muzzim intone the call to prayer every four hours, the earliest at 4:30 a.m. drowning out the dawn chorus! Rock music fills the night! The mammals have moved away from the chalets and crowds of hikers from the other side of the river come over daily. What hasn't changed is the oppressive heat and humidity that builds up during the day with huge cumulus white clouds, the afternoon showers, the heavy rains all night (we only lost one morning), the hypnotic drone of the cicadas and the leeches and mosquitos. Unexpected: Usually immune, I get at least two leech bites every day everywhere from my neck to my ankles while Joseph gets none.

Unexpected: Species we struggled so hard to see in the past present themselves for killer views now that we don't need them. A pair of Malaysian Rail-Babblers scurry across the trail in front of us. A Banded Pitta hops just off trail in no hurry. Great Argus displays on a branch ten feet away, then flys down and slowly walks into the bush, six foot tail trailing behind. Unexpected: Scarlet-rumped Trogon, seen on a previous trip, calls daily near our chalet sounding exactly like Slaty Antshrike from South America.

Targets cooperate. We finally see the holy grail Masked Finfoot flee into the mangroves, then come out into the river in the sun to feed on our second boat ride, our fourth total if you count the boat rides ten years ago. Our first boat ride yields a pair of Lesser Fish-Eagles in the morning mist, a few Blue-banded Kingfishers flying along the river banks and a Red Broadbill building a nest over the river. Every time we venture onto mosquito ridden Swamp Trail we can hear but can't see Malayan Peacock-Pheasant. Finally, just before lunch we tiptoe along the trail and ten feet in front of us a male prances through the only spot of sunlight stopping to preen in full view on the way. On an earlier try we find a small pool of water with bathing birds in the afternoon including Gray-chested Jungle-Flycatcher and Short-tailed Babbler. Male Maroon-breasted Philentoma looks and sounds like a vanga from Madagascar as it sits on a liana and blasts away. We eventually see all of the woodpeckers in Malaysia, and all the lowland Wren-babblers at Taman Negara giving us a clean sweep of all the Wren-babblers on the trip. Unexpected: Giant Pitta calls on the River Trail responding to tape but only comes so far. We have to move to see it. It flushes and we see only the dreaded shaking branch. Sad story. No wonder the muzzim sounds so mournful.

At night we tiptoe for an hour through the Swamp Trail but can't locate a calling Gould's Frogmouth in the dense thicket. But the mosquitos locate us. Another night, we strike out again on the River Trail. The third night is the charm as in short order the forest gives up an Oriental Bay-owl perched sideways and a female Gould's Frogmouth in the spotlight defending her territory with her unique call.

One morning we head out the River Trail and the campground is covered in a mist. A termite swarm has started at dawn and there are six or seven Needletails of three species swooping through the clearing as low as six feet so we can see their tails, and a male Green Broadbill darts in and out enjoying the feast. So do we.

Asian birding does not get much better than Taman Negara.

1 Lesser Fish-Eagle (Ichthyophaga humilis)-NEAR THREATENED
2 Crested Fireback (Lophura ignita)-NEAR THREATENED
3 Malayan Peacock-Pheasant (Polyplectron malacense)-VULNERABLE
4 Great Argus (Argusianus argus)-NEAR THREATENED
5 Masked Finfoot (Heliopais personata)-VULNERABLE
6 Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica)
7 Little Green-Pigeon (Treron olax)
8 Blue-rumped Parrot (Psittinus cyanurus)
9 Large Hawk-Cuckoo (Cuculus sparverioides)
10 Black-bellied Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus diardi)-NEAR THREATENED
11 Raffles' Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus chlorophaeus)
12 Red-billed Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus javanicus)
13 Chestnut-breasted Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus curvirostris)
14 Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis)
15 Oriental Bay-Owl (Phodilus badius)
16 Gould's Frogmouth (Batrachostomus stellatus)-NEAR THREATENED
17 Silver-rumped Needletail (Rhaphidura leucopygialis)
18 Silver-backed Needletail (Hirundapus cochinchinensis)
19 Brown-backed Needletail (Hirundapus giganteus)
20 Red-naped Trogon (Harpactes kasumba)-NEAR THREATENED
21 Scarlet-rumped Trogon (Harpactes duvaucelii)-NEAR THREATENED (HEARD ONLY)
22 Blue-banded Kingfisher (Alcedo euryzona)-VULNERABLE
23 Stork-billed Kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis)
24 Rufous Piculet (Sasia abnormis)
25 Banded Woodpecker (Picus mineaceus)
26 Checker-throated Woodpecker (Picus mentalis)
27 Olive-backed Woodpecker (Dinopium rafflesii)-NEAR THREATENED
28 Maroon Woodpecker (Blythipicus rubiginosus)
29 Buff-rumped Woodpecker (Meiglyptes tristis)
30 Buff-necked Woodpecker (Meiglyptes tukki)
31 Gray-and-buff Woodpecker (Hemicircus concretus)
32 Black-and-red Broadbill (Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos)
33 Green Broadbill (Calyptomena viridis)-NEAR THREATENED
34 Banded Pitta (Pitta guajana)
35 Garnet Pitta (Pitta granatina)-NEAR THREATENED
36 Giant Pitta (Pitta caerulea)-NEAR THREATENED (HEARD ONLY)
37 Straw-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus zeylanicus)
38 Red-eyed Bulbul (Pycnonotus brunneus)
39 Ochraceous Bulbul(Alophoixus ochraceus)
40 Gray-cheeked Bulbul (Alophoixus bres)
41 Yellow-bellied Bulbul (Alophoixus phaeocephalus)
42 Hairy-backed Bulbul (Tricholestes criniger)
43 Blue-winged Leafbird (Chloropsis cochinchinensis)
44 Common Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius)
45 Dark-necked Tailorbird (Orthotomus atrogularis)
46 Arctic Warbler (Phylloscopus borealis)
47 Yellow-bellied Warbler (Abroscopus superciliaris)
48 Gray-chested Jungle-Flycatcher (Rhinomyias umbratilis)-NEAR THREATENED
49 Rufous-chested Flycatcher (Ficedula dumetoria)-NEAR THREATENED
50 Tickell's Blue-Flycatcher (Cyornis tickelliae)
51 Gray-headed Canary-flycatcher (Culicicapa ceylonensis)
52 Oriental Magpie-Robin (Copsychus saularis)
53 White-rumped Shama (Copsychus malabaricus)
54 Black-naped Monarch (Hypothymis azurea)
55 Asian Paradise-Flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi)
56 White-chested Babbler (Trichastoma rostratum)-NEAR THREATENED
57 Abbott's Babbler (Malacocincla abbotti)
58 Short-tailed Babbler (Malacocincla malaccensis)-NEAR THREATENED
59 Black-capped Babbler (Pellorneum capistratum)
60 Moustached Babbler (Malacopteron magnirostre)
61 Sooty-capped Babbler (Malacopteron affine)-NEAR THREATENED
62 Scaly-crowned Babbler (Malacopteron cinereum)
63 Rufous-crowned Babbler (Malacopteron magnum)-NEAR THREATENED
64 Chestnut-backed Scimitar-Babbler (Pomatorhinus montana)
65 Striped Wren-Babbler (Kenopia striata)-NEAR THREATENED
66 Large Wren-Babbler (Napothera macrodactyla)-NEAR THREATENED
67 Gray-headed Babbler (Stachyris poliocephala)
68 Black-throated Babbler (Stachyris nigricollis)-NEAR THREATENED
69 Chestnut-rumped Babbler (Stachyris maculata)-NEAR THREATENED
70 Chestnut-winged Babbler (Stachyris erythroptera)
71 Striped Tit-Babbler (Macronous gularis)
72 Fluffy-backed Tit-Babbler (Macronous ptilosus)-NEAR THREATENED
73 Malaysian Rail-babbler (Eupetes macrocerus)-NEAR THREATENED
74 Velvet-fronted Nuthatch (Sitta frontalis)
75 Ruby-cheeked Sunbird (Chalcoparia singalensis)
76 Purple-naped Sunbird (Hypogramma hypogrammicum)
77 Temminck's Sunbird (Aethopyga temminckii)
78 Long-billed Spiderhunter (Arachnothera robusta)
79 Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker (Prionochilus maculatus)
80 Asian Fairy-bluebird (Irena puella)
81 Tiger Shrike (Lanius tigrinus)
82 Rufous-winged Philentoma (Philentoma pyrhopterum)
83 Maroon-breasted Philentoma (Philentoma velatum)-NEAR THREATENED
84 Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus)
85 Crested Jay (Platylophus galericulatus)-NEAR THREATENED
86 Black Magpie (Platysmurus leucopterus)-NEAR THREATENED
87 Large-billed Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos)
88 Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis)


Full trip list: Birds   &   Mammals

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