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A Report from

Northern Thailand 6-13th of October, 2004/10/15,

Peter Ericsson

October is not exactly a time when foreign birders flock to Thailand to fill up their bird lists. (Many migrants are not here yet and some who have arrived are still only in small numbers.)  However, Rich Waldrop of the US, formerly Ecuador, was to attend an International conference in Pattaya and so asked me if I could organize a trip for him. He had been to Nepal, southern Malaysia and Khao Yai years ago so I deemed it best to go to the North to get as many new ticks as possible. We did not allow for very long stays at each site and so missed out on some normally seen birds but by incorporating more sites he would get more lifers this way. He has a list of over 4000  and added 68 from this trip. I myself had my secret wishes but had to be satisfied with one new bird: Pale-footed Bush Warbler at Doi Angkhang.

6th. Headed to Beung Borapet some 3 hours drive North of Bangkok. No surprises but a good variety of wetland birds, which included a flock of White-shouldered, and Chestnut-rumped Starlings.

In the afternoon we entered Mae Ping National Park with its fabulous dry dipterocarp forest. The main reason for going here is the Black-headed Woodpecker, a favorite of mine. It didn't let us down but even let us see 4 birds simultaneously on one tree.

A treat was to have a Changeable Hawk Eagle obligingly perched some 25 meters away.

A Crow-billed Drongo was a rare sight.

We stayed at a hotel right by the T-junction at Jom Thong town. This is only a few kilometers before the entrance to Doi Inthanon and the hotel offers clean beds, hot showers and there is a nice restaurant across the road.

7th. The lower levels of Doi Inthanon was a disappointment. I prefer Mae Ping, which has the same type of forest but is more alive.

We stayed at Doi Inthanon for the day. Got most of the normal things but were set back by the news that just the day before a local hill tribe boy had tried his sling shot on the endangered Black-trailed Crakes and succeeded in killing two of them. No wonder the remaining 4 birds didn't show up as usual.

We camped for the night, as the park bungalows have to be booked in advance from Bangkok. An alternative is to use the Eco lodge run by local hill tribes a few kilometers before headquarters. Their accommodations looked better then previous years and definitely would be considered an alternative from the long drive back down to Jom Thong.

8th. We waited in earnest at the second checkpoint in the wee hours of the day. Birds often come to feed on insects that have died while being attracted to the neon lights at the checkpoint. We were not to be let down but such normally elusive specie as the Large Niltava decided to come out fully in the open.

The graveled road at km 34.5 has a gulley that produced its normal Slaty-bellied Tesia. Great bird!

The Summit had most of the common birds but also included Mrs. Gould's Sunbird which was a surprise to me seeing that it is still early in the season.

In the afternoon we drove to Chiang Mai town and dropped by Mae Hia agricultural research station. Not far from here we found some Wire-tailed Swallows, which thrilled our hearts.

We proceeded to Doi Chiang Dao where we stayed at Malees guesthouse. She has built another two bungalows and is ready to take on more birders.

9th. Did the temple grounds in the morning but nothing unusual.

Decided to take the scenic route to Doi Angkhang. Follow road signs to the left not far after Chiang Dao town. This road has a good number of checkpoints and is well guarded by the Thai Army. We arrived at Angkhang at noon and checked into Bahn Looang resort. This is the most price friendly resort and offers newly built bungalows. Everything else is pricey except for at Mae Pleu watershed station where accommodations are cheaper. Also possible is camping and a number of Thais were doing so.

Doi Angkhang is always a challenge as the birds there have been hunted out and so what remains tend to be shy end elusive. Never the less, so many species are not found else where and being surrounded with unfamiliar calls is a thrill.

This was my first time to have very good looks of Crested Finchbills, a specialty of the mountain. My only lifer came here as mentioned above. We did dip on some other things but still felt we had a worthwhile visit.

10th. Drove to Chiang Mai but passed by Mae Taang Irrigation project where we enjoyed

some lowland birds. This included Wire-tailed Swallows and Sand Martins feeding over the flowing waters.

11th. Stayed at Prince Hotel in town, which is of good standard and comes at 600 Baht for a double room. The night market is only 10 minutes walk away and I had the local specialty, Khao Soi for dinner.

12th. Visited Huay Krong Krai some 20 minutes drive out of town. Immediately picked up a flock of Green Peafowls as well as an Asian Barred Owlet.

Then we started the long drive to Khao Yai. Tried for Limestone Wren Babbler at a temple but failed. We got a room at a resort to the right, right before the park gates. Very spacious and inexpensive.

13th. Khao Yai has undergone a major face-lift as far as infra structure goes. Over a million annual visitors makes the park very attractive for tourism. Still, birding is as good as ever and the vast majority of visitors are seldom seen on any of the trails.

Slaty-backed Forktails were feeding at Wang Jumpee. No Pheasants at the radar station.

We found a flowering tree at Pah Gloay Mai campsite, which held Thick-billed, Buff-rumped, and Yellow-vented Flowerpeckers.

That night we stayed in a tent in pleasant temperatures. After a morning in the park we headed to Khok Kham at Samut Sakorn where we had a good variety of waders. Terek Sandpiper, Broad-billed SP, Great Knots etc. (No Spoon-billed SP has been seen yet this season).


The following is a list of birds seen. Some more were heard but are not included.

1.       Green Peafowl - half a dozen birds in the early morning at Huay Klong Kray, CM
2.        Lesser Whistling Duck - wetlands outside BKK and Beung Borapet
3.        Grey-capped Woodpecker - a pair at Mae Ping
4.        Rufous Woodpecker - fleeting glimpse of one at Mae Ping
5.        Laced Woodpecker - pair, trail 6, KY
6.        Black-headed Woodpecker - several at Mae Ping
7.        Common Flameback - DI
8.        Greater Flameback - KY
9.        Lineated Barbet - Mae Ping
10.      Green-eared Barbet - campground KY
11.      Golden-throated Barbet - Doi Angkhang, DI
12.      Blue-throated Barbet - common at temple Doi Chiang Dao
13.      Blue-eared Barbet - fig tree at campground KY
14.      Coppersmith Barbet - Beung Borapet
15.      Pied Hornbill - Khao Yai
16.      Hoopoe -  woodlands Salaburi
17.      Orange-breasted Trogon - temple Doi Chiang Dao and radar road KY
18.      Indian Roller - common
19.      White-throated Kingfisher - common
20.      Black-capped Kingfisher - widespread
21.      Blue-bearded Bee-eater - DAK and KY
22.      Green Bee-eater - Beung Borapet, Mae Hia
23.      Blue-tailed Bee-eater - Beung Borapet
24.      Plaintive Cuckoo - Beung Borapet
25.      Green-billed Malkoha - Mae Ping, DI, KY
26.      Greater Coucal - common
27.      Vernal Hanging Parakeet - KY
28.      Himalayan Swiftlet - Angkhang, KY
29.      Asian Palm Swift - common
30.      Pacific Swift - Angkhang
31.      House Swift - Chiang Dao
32.      Crested Treeswift - DI
33.      Asian Barred Owlet - Huay Klong Kray, CM
34.      Rock Pigeon - common
35.      Spotted Dove - common
36.      Zebra Dove - common
37.       Red Collared Dove - Mae Hia
38.       Barred Cuckoo Dove - trail 21.5 Doi Angkhang
39.       Mountain Imperial Pigeon - Angkhang, KY
40.       White-breasted Waterhen - Beung Borapet
41.       Purple Swamphen - Beung Borapet
42.       Common Redshank - Khok Kham
43.       Marsh Sandpiper - Khok Kham
44.       Wood Sandpiper - Khok Kham, Mae Taang
45.       Terek Sandpiper - Khok Kham
46.       Ruddy Turnstone - Khok Kham
47.       Great Knot - Khok Kham
48.       Rufous-necked Stint - Khok Kham
49.       Long-toed Stint - Khok Kham
50.      Curlew Sandpiper - Khok Kham
51.      Broad-billed Sandpiper - Khok Kham
52.       Pheasent-tailed Jacana - Beung Borapet
53.       Bronze-winged Jacana - Beung Borapet
54.       Black-winged Stilt - Khok Kham
55.       Pacific Golden Plover - Khok Kham
56.       Little Ringed Plover - Khok Kham
57.       Kentish Plover - Khok Kham
58.       Lesser Sand Plover - Khok Kham
59.       Greater Sand Plover - Khok Kham
60.       Red-wattled Lapwing - common
61.       Whiskered Tern - Khok Kham
62.       Collared Falconet - DI flying overhead
63.       Black-shouldered Kite - common
64.      Crested Goshawk - one at KY
65.      Common Buzzard - DI
66.      Changable Hawk Eagle - one perched at Mae Ping
67.      Common Kestrel - female at KY
68.      Little Cormorant - Khok Kham, Beung Borapet
69.      Little Egret - common
70.      Great Egret - common
71.      Cattle Egret - common
72.      Chinese Pond Heron
73.      Javan Pond Heron
74.      Little Heron - KY, Khok Kham
75.      Asian Openbill - common along the highway out of BKK
76.      Asian Fairy Bluebird - common mixed decidious forests
77.      Blue-winged Leafbird - Chiang Dao, KY
78.      Brown Shrike - common
79.      Long-tailed Shrike - not hard
80.      Grey-backed Shrike - one going down Angkhang
81.      Eurasian Jay - DI
82.      Rufous Treepie - Mae Ping
83.      Grey Treepie - several at Angkhang
84.      Ashy Woodswallow - common
85.      Black-naped Oriole - many sites
86.      Black-hooded Oriole - Mae Ping, Chiang Dao
87.      Indochinese Cuckooshrike - DI
88.      Black-winged Cuckoshrike - KY
89.      Ashy Minivet - single bird at KY
90.      Grey-chinned Minivet - Angkhang
91.      Short-billed Minivet - DI
92.      Scarlet Minivet - DI
93.      Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike - DI
94.      Yellow-bellied Fantail - common summit of DI
95.       White-throated Fantail - Jeeptrack DI, Angkhang
96.       Black Drongo - common
97.       Ashy Drongo - common
98.       Bronzed Drongo - common in forest
99.       Crow-billed Drongo - Mae Ping
100.    Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo - Angkhang, KY
101.   Greater Racket-tailed Drongo - common lowland forest
102.   Black-naped Monarch - DI, KY
103.   Asian Paradise Flycatcher - Chiang Dao
104.    Common Iora - common in parks, secondary growth
105.    Blue Rock Thrush - common
106.    Blue Whistling Thrush - Chiang Dao
107.    White-browed Shortwing - the bog at DI
108.    Asian Brown Flycatcher - widespread
109.    Red-throated Flycatcher - widespread
110.    Little Pied Flycatcher - DI, KY
111.    Verditer Flycatcher - Angkhang
112.    Large Niltava - checkpoint 2, DI
113.    Blue-throated Flycatcher - DI
114.    Hill Blue Flycatcher - KY, DI
115.    Grey-headed Flycatcerh - Chiang Dao
116.    Siberian Blue Robin - trail 6, KY
117.    Oriental Magpie Robin - common
118.    White-rumped Shama - KY, Chiang Dao, Mae Ping
119.    Slaty-backed Forktail - Wang Jumpee KY
120.    Common Stonechat - common
121.    Pied Bushchat - common in fields in the North
122.    Grey Bushchat - common Angkhang
123.    Hill Myna - KY
124.    White-vented Myna - common
125.    Common Myna - common
126.    B lack-collared Starling - Beung Borapet, Mae Hia Mae Taang
127.    Asian Pied Starling - Beung Borapet
128.    White-shouldered Starling - Beung Borapet
129.    Chestnut-tailed Starling - Beung Borapet
130.    Chestnut-vented Nuthatch - DI, Angkhang
131.    Velvet-fronted Nuthatch - DI
132.    Great Tit - Angkhang
133.    Yellow-cheeked Tit - DI
134.     Sand Martin - Mae Taang
135.     Barn Swallow - common
136.    Pacific Swallow
137.    Wire-tailed Swallow - Mae Taang, Mae Hia
138.    Striated Swallow - common in North
139.    Crested Finchbill - 4 birds at trail 21.5 km Angkhang
140.    Striated Bulbul - DI, Angkhang
141.    Black-headed Bulbul - several places
142.    Black-crested Bulbul - common
143.    Red-whiskered Bulbul - common Angkhang and vicinity of Chiang Mai
144.    Brown-breasted Bulbul - many at Angkhang
145.    Sooty-headed Bulbul - common
146.    Stripe-throated Bulbul - KY
147.    Flavescent Bulbul - common DI. Angkhang
148.    Streak-eared Bulbul - Beung Borapet
149.    Puff-throated Bulbul - KY
150.    Grey-eyed Bulbul - KY
151.    Ashy Bulbul - radar road KY
152.    Mountain Bulbul - DI, Angkhang
153.    Black Bulbul - Angkhang, flock of 20 birds
154.    Hill Prinia - DI, Angkhang
155.    Rufescent Prinia - Mae Ping
156.    Grey-breasted Prinia - Chiang Dao
157.    Plain Prinia - common
158.    Oriental White Eye - KY
159.    Japanese White Eye - Chiang Dao
160.    Slaty-bellied Tesia - km 34 DI
161.    Pale-footed Bush Warbler - ridge Angkhang
162.    Oriental Reed Warbler - Beung Borapet
163.    Mountain Tailorbird - DI
164.    Common Tailorbird - common
165.    Dark-necked Tailorbird- common
166.    Orange-barred Leaf Warlber - DI
167.    Ashy-throated Warbler - common DI
168.    Yellow-browed Warbler - common
169.    Two-barred Warbler - one at KY
170.    White-tailed Leaf Warbler - DI, Angkhang
171.    Sulphur-breasted Warbler - KY
172.    Grey-crowned Warbler - Angkhang, low in trees
173.    Plain-tailed Warbler - trail 6 KY
174.    White-crested Laughingthrush - KY
175.    Black-throated Laughingthrush - KY
176.    White-browed Laughingthrush - Angkhang
177.    Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush - DI, Angkhang
178.    Abbott's Babbler - KY
179.    Puff-throated Babbler - Chiang Dao
180.    White-browed Scimitar Babbler - Angkhang, KY
181.    Golden Babbler - DI
182.    Grey-throated Babbler - DI
183.    Striped Tit Babbler - common
184.    Silver-eared Mesia - DI, Angkhang
185.    Spectacled Barwing - DI, Angkhang
186.    Blue-winged Minla - DI
187.    Chestnut-tailed Minla - common summit DI
188.    Rufous-winged Fulvetta - common DI
189.    Brown-cheeked Fulvetta - Chiang Dao
190.    Grey-cheeked Fulvetta - DI, Angkhang
191.    Dark-backed Sibia - DI, Angkhang
192.    Rufous-backed Sibia - DI, Angkhang
193.    White-bellied Yuhinna - KY
194.    Thick-billed Flowerpcker - campground KY
195.     Buff-vented Flowerpecker - KY
196.     Fire-breasted Flowerpecker
197.     Plain Flowerpecker - Chiang Dao
198.     Yellow-vented Flowerpecker - KY
199.     Ruby-cheeked Sunbird - Chiang Dao
200.     Purple-naped Sunbird - Chiang Dao
201.     Olive-backed Sunbird - common
202.     Mrs. Gould's Sunbird - DI, Angkhang
203.     Green-tailed Sunbird - summint DI
204.      Little Spiderhunter - KY, Chiang Dao
205.      Streaked Spiderhunter - Chiang Dao
206.     House Sparrow - Mae Taang
207.     Eurasian Tree Sparrow
208.     White Wagtail - common
209.     Grey Wagtail - common
210.     Yellow Wagtail - Khok Kham
211.      Richard's Pipit  - Mae Taang
212.      Paddyfield Pipit - Mae Hia
213.      Olive-backed Pipit - Angkhang
214.      White-rumped Munia
215.     Scaly-breasted Munia - grasslands


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