Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Indian Peafowl

Lesser Whistling Duck

Painted Stork

Asian Openbill

Black-headed Ibis

Eurasian Spoonbill

Indian Pond Heron

Grey heron

Cattle Egret

Great Egret

Little Egret

Spot-billed Pelican

Little Cormorant

Darter

Indian Thick-knee

Black-winged Stilt

Yellow-wattled Lapwing

Red-wattled Lapwing

Gull-billed Tern

Spotted Dove

Rose-ringed Parakeet

Green Bee-eater

Blue-tailed Bee-eater

White-throated Kingfisher

Common Kingfisher

Red-vented Bulbul

Asian Paradise Flycatcher

Yellow-billed Babbler

Common Myna

Indian Robin

 

Other animals:

Asian Elephant

Tufted Grey Langur

Ruddy Mongoose

Asian Leopard

Sloth Bear

Wild Boar

Spotted Deer

Indian Buffalo

 

Indian Peafowl

Lesser Whistling Duck

Painted Stork

Asian Openbill

Black-headed Ibis

Eurasian Spoonbill

Indian Pond Heron

Grey Heron

Purple Heron

Cattle Egret

Great Egret

Intermediate Egret

Little Egret

Little Cormorant

Darter

Grey-headed Fish Eagle

White breasted Waterhen

Purple Swamphen

Pheasant-tailed Jacana

Indian Thick-knee

Great Thick-knee

Black-winged Stilt

Yellow-wattled Lapwing

Red-wattled Lapwing

Kentish Plover

Common Redshank

Common Greenshank

Green Sandpiper

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

Curlew Sandpiper

Brown-headed Gull

Gull-billed Tern

Caspian Tern

Sandwich Tern

Spotted Dove

Alexandrine Parakeet

Rose-ringed Parakeet

Jacobin Cuckoo

Green Bee-eater

Blue-tailed Bee-eater

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater

White-throated Kingfisher

Barn Swallow

Yellow Wagtail

Blyth’s Pipit

Red-vented Bulbul

Yellow-billed Babbler

Common Myna

Indian Blackbird

Purple-rumped Sunbird

Indian Silverbill

Other animals:

Asian Elephant

Toque Macaque

Tufted Grey Langur

Black-naped Hare

Ruddy Mongoose

Wild boar

Spotted Deer

Indian Buffalo

 

 

IMG_0726

From Kandy, i took the train through the beautiful route to Ella.The views are superb and a must for those travelling there.After 3 hours i stopped in Nuwara Elliya.Nuwara Elliya is the highest town in Sri Lanka, at 1889 m.It’s popular known as ” Little England”  due to the weather and some of its colonial style houses.

I wasn’t impressed by this town.It’s fully crowded of tourists and the town doesn’t have the old flavour and charm of Kandy or Ella.However my porpouse of visit was Victoria’s Park,one of the best places in Sri Lanka to get a glimpse of some of the most beautiful endemic birds there.

Accommodation is a bit overpriced,but there are some affordable guesthouses.I paid 2500 rupees for a decent guesthouse beside the lake.I spent the afternoon relaxing on a restaurant while watching a Brahminy Kite soaring the clear skies above the crystal waters of the lake.

Next day,i woke up at 6 o clock, being eager to find new species of birds at Victoria’s park.The park is quite beautiful indeed and very well mantained.I roamed around the paths for a while when one of the endemics popped up and showed its stunning greenish-yellow and white pattern.It was an Sri Lanka White-eye.It appeared to be a bit common here.Another nice bird to see was the great Tit,that catched my sight many times along the park.

After one hour, another endemic, a Dull blue Flycatcher,appeared on a tree on the main path through the park.

Opposite the gate,there is a board with pictures of the endemic specialities of the place.There it starts a small path through the forest,where i spent most of the time.Just behind the board,on the thick shadow i could spot the magnificent Sri Lanka Bush Warbler,skulking on the ground.Forest wagtail was a common sight along this small path.At the end of the path,there is a small house, where behind it i could catch a glimpse of one of the most beautiful bulbuls i have ever seen, a Yellow-eared Bulbul.Unfortunately my camera battery was charging at that time.

After spending 5 hours in the park, i felt pretty satisfied.I saw 4 endemics easily in a short period of time !!

I packed my things and did my next stop in my trip: Ella.The route from Nuwara Eliya to Ella by train offered me the best views of the tea plantations.

Ella is a beautiful town with stunning views of the countryside.Although it s a tourist town and new hotels are being built in hurry,the town still preserves its hill-country village appearance.Accomodation is plentiful and offers great quality for the price.I choose a guesthouse beside Eeshani Guest Inn,that lays beside a small forest, and has superb rooms at a great price ( 2000 rupees ).

I was surprised that the forest that it’s beside the guesthouse it’s an excellent place for bird watching.Just walking around,I got an excellent view of the Sri Lanka Scimitar Babbler,just one meter in front of me !!

IMG_0848

IMG_0861

Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill was another good bird to see in that forest.Loten’s Sunbird is a superb bird that i spotted easily while walking there.Scarlet Minivet,a female of Sri Lanka Junglefowl and Lesser Goldenback were nice birds seen in that area as well.

IMG_0873-2

Another good spot for birdwatching was Eeshani’s garden. Loten’s Sunbird and Purple-rumped Sunbird were found feeding  on nectar on its colourful flowers.Black-hooded Oriole was singing from a banana tree,next to the garden.

Early in the morning i went to explore Little Adam’s Peak road.After the junction,just 100 m further,there is a big fig tree on the left side of the road,that was an excellent site to spot some incredible birds.Crimson-fronted Barbet is a great endemic bird that i spotted in this tree.Even more, there were plenty of Lesser Hill Myna here.

Just a few meters after,there is a water source on the left side.Here I could see White-bellied drongos perched on leafless trees and a White-Rumped Munia flying on a small bush.

On the right side of the road,there is a short trail that goes through a tree plantantion.Here I got a incredible view of the Yellow-fronted barbet,an endemic barbet,nesting on a hole of a tree ( see picture at the top of the post and below ).

IMG_1088

Continuing walking along the road,on the right side,a group of Layard’s parakeet came to feed on a tall tree.This is an excellent endemic Sri Lanka bird to see on the wild.

IMG_0939

A small Sri Lanka Vernal Hanging Parrot flew nervously across the road.Great Tits were a nice addition found as well around this area and a Loten’s Sunbird appearance made a great day for bird watching !!

My next stop was Tissamaharama, the  ideal base town to explore Yala and Bundala National Parks !! See you soon my friends !!😉

Sri Lanka Junglefowl*

Indian Pond Heron

Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot*

Layard’s Parakeet*

Greater Coucal

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater

White-throated kingfisher

Yellow-fronted Barbet*

Crimson-fronted Barbet*

Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill*

Lesser Goldenback

Scarlet Minivet

Brown Shrike

Black-hooded Oriole

Large-billed Crow

White-bellied Drongo

Red-vented Bulbul

Common Tailorbird

Sri Lanka Scimitar Babbler*

Yellow-billed Babbler

Lesser Hill Myna

Common Myna

Oriental Magpie Robin

Purple-rumped Sunbird

Loten’s Sunbird

Sri Lanka White-eye*

Great Tit

House Sparrow

White-Dumped Munia

 

* endemic birds

 

Indian Pond Heron

Cattle Egret

Brahminy Kite

White-breasted Waterhen

Spotted dove

Large-billed Crow

Grey Wagtail

Yellow-eared Bulbul*

Common Tailorbird

Sri Lanka Bush Warbler*

Common Myna

Oriental Magpie Robin

Dull blue Flycatcher*

Forest Wagtail

Pale-billed Flowerpecker

Sri Lanka White-eye*

Great Tit

Scaly-breasted Munia

 

* endemic birds

IMG_0175

 

After exploring Wippattu National Park, I went to visit the majestic temples and stupas in Anuradhapura.Even there, specially around a lake near the temples,nature still manifests in any possible ways.Tufted Grey Langurs and Cattle Egrets are embedded  in this particular landscape of  precious and defiant temples !!

IMG_9942

IMG_9990

Afterwards i got into a bus and head towards Nilaveli.Nilaveli is a small town,near Tricomalee, that can be reached by bus or tuk tuk from Tricomalee ( 800 rupees ).Accomodation here seems to be somehow expensive,but Pigeon Island View Guesthouse gives some decent rooms with reasonable prices.

My main reason to stay there was to visit Pigeon Island National Park,a small island located 1 km offshore that offers a great  chance to see beautiful corals,reef fish, blacktop reef sharks ( not dangerous ) and turtles.Further offshore,Sperm Whales can be spotted in its peak season ( April-May ).
Next day i went by boat to the island.It took me only 15 minutes.Once there there are 2 areas to snorkel.You need a guide to bring you to the shark area,in case you are not enough fit to swim for a long time.In that area,i have clear views of 2 blacktop reef sharks swimming very close to me and one sea turtle that appeared a meter deep.On the other side of the island,there is an excellent area where you can snorkel spotting great coral fish of stunning colours.

From there i got a private bus to Dambulla,where i visited its fantastic caves and Sigiriya,a massive rock which on top lays the remains of an old civilization.

Finally, after 3 hours driving from Dambulla i arrived in Kandy,the gate to the mountain area of Sri Lanka.Kandy seemed a bit disappointing, crowded with cars.However,the superb lake and its old town and temples help to maintain its old flavour and charm.

Once there,I stayed in Expeditor Guest House,a great value accommodation which owners are expertise in birds and organise trips to Knuckles Range,a birdwatching hot spot worth to explore.Near Kandy,just north of the lake, there is a forest called Udawattakelle Sanctuary, good for birdwatching, that offers good chances to spot Layard’s Parakeet,an endemic bird that seems quite common in this forest,among other bird specialities of that area.

Surprisingly,i found a roosting area on the trees that hang around the lake.Indian Pond Herons(see picture above ),Black-Crowned Night Herons,Little Egrets and Little Cormorants choose this lake as a roosting place.It offers plenty of opportunities to take close pictures of these birds,that seem not disturbed by human activity.I got some poo of the roosting birds when taking photographs,so a cautious “warning” is advised !😉

IMG_0196

IMG_0193

IMG_0498

From Kandy, train is the most recommended mode of transportation to visit and get excellent views of the mountainous part of this beautiful island, where you can enjoy the sights of the famous tea plantations.

Nuwara Ellya and Ella were my next stops, ( explained on my next posts ) that are excellent locations to spot some of the endemic bird specialities of the island !!

IMG_9613

Sri Lanka is a paradise of birds and mammals.The island of Sri Lanka,with its 65,610 square kilometres, hosts more than 450 species of birds,which 30 of them are endemic.This island is rich in mammal species as well, with 126 species recorded at present.Sri Lanka has a “big four” plus one ( leopard,elephant,sloth bear and wild Asiatic water buffalo, plus the enormous blue whale found offshore ). This is determined by the variety of habitats types across the island:moist semi-evergreen forests, mixed evergreen forests, rainforests, submontane forests, cloud forests, plantations, scrub, grasslands, wetlands, agricultural lands and seas.

There are more than 100 areas under government protection,covering approximately 8% of the country.Of these, some of the most important remarkable birdwatching areas are Sinharaja National Wilderness Area, Kunckles Range, Bundala National Park, Yala,Wilpattu and Kumana National Parks,Mutthurajawela marsh,and Pootuvil Lagoon.

I arrived at night in Bandaranaike International Airport after a 3 hour flight from Bangkok.I woke up early,at 8 am and i went to Negombo bus station to head towards Wilppattu National Park.Although i went by public bus i recommend to go by private buses.They are more comfortable,not crowded and some of them have air con.Local buses are very crowded and very slow ( don’t get into red local government buses ).However roads are well paved and reliable.After getting 3 different buses i arrived in Saliyawewa.

Saliyawewa is a very small town close to the national park with just a few guesthouses.I decided to stay in Uthpalawanna Holiday Resort,which owner is a friendly guy and rooms are affordable ( 2500 rupees per night ).After booking for a half day safari for next day ( it costed me 5000 rupees plus park fees ),i started to do some birdwatching around the town.Along the road,i got excellent views of the stunning Brown-headed Barbet,that seemed to be quite common around this area !!

IMG_8557

Near the town,between  4 pm and 5 pm, i was surprised to see so many other interesting birds, as the magnificent and endemic Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill and the beautiful Rose ringed Parakeet, Crested Serpent Eagle, Lesser Goldenback and Red-vented Bulbul perched on some trees beside the road.

IMG_8588

On the rice fields, White-throated kingfisher, Common Kingfisher, Indian pond heron, White-breasted Waterhen, Little Cormorant and Red-wattled Lapwing were nice additions.

Next day i woke up very early,around 5 am, to head towards Wilappattu National Park.After 15 minutes of driving and paying the park fees i was inside the national park around 6 am.Just a few meters after the entrance,i could see a group of wild boars and spotted deer on the left side of the rough road.A few seconds later,a huge Asian Elephant crossed the road showing all its splendour.The superb and endemic Sri Lanka Junglefowl was found easily on the sides of the road !!

IMG_8941

When the jeep get in to the first lakes ( Wilppattu means natural lakes in Thamil ) the first interesting waterbird species appeared.A Darter was perched on a leafless tree in the middle of the lake.

IMG_8828

A couple of Malabar Pied Hornbill were perched on a tree on a side of the lake.Suddenly they flew and stood in a tree where i could have a close and excellent view of these stunning birds.

IMG_8874

On the lake area, I could have perfect views, among others, of Indian pond Heron,Painted stork,Wood Sandpiper,Great Thick-knee, Black winged Stilt, Grey Heron and Little Cormorant.

IMG_9223IMG_9248IMG_9276IMG_9351

While driving around I spotted one of the most beautiful birds in the world, Indian Peafowl, several times.One male was displaying its beautiful feathers during courtship.While seen in other parts of the world,it s nice to observe this stunning animal in the wild !!

IMG_9419

When it was already 10 am, in full daylight,I spotted an Indian Brown Mongoose crossing the road twice.Spotted deer ( the famous “Bambi”)  appeared to be quite common along the park,seen in groups, but not least spectacular nice addition.Asian water Buffalo was another great animal to observe in the wild.

IMG_9163

IMG_8980

IMG_9463

Some interesting reptiles that i had the privilege to see was the Mugger crocodile,several tortoises and the common Monitor Lizard.

IMG_9520

IMG_9498

When going to the gate,among the dense forest,the jeep driver stopped suddenly.He told me that a leopard was on the right side.It took me some seconds to find it,but i could distinguish clearly the tail and the shape of this impressive animal !!! It was just for a while,afterwards it disappeared like a ghost in the dense jungle.

I was deeply impressed of what i had seen in just 5 hours of jeep safari on the solitude,without the crowds of other national parks.Most of the sights were crystal clear,and i could approach very closely to the animals that i saw; quite uncommon for a national park !!!

 

IMG_3175-2

Hi to all my friends again ! A few days ago i found some pictures of the Irrawaddy dolphin of my last trip to Cambodia,and i decided to post them for you.

I decided to visit Kratie as it’s known as one of the best places to see this magnificent freshwater mammal. Kratie is a very calm and pleasant place to stay with some beautiful French colonial buildings surrounded by nice rice fields.

Once there i decided to arrange my trip to Kampi,the main entrance to the Mekong river for dolphin-watching.I woke up early at 7:00 am and i spent around one hour to get there while i enjoyed of excellent views of the countryside.Once there plenty of boats were waiting for tourists.I paid about 10 dollars and it took me a short time to reach  the main spot to see the dolphins.I could see several individuals on one bend of the river.While having perfect sights of the dolphins were not possible due to its shy behaviour, I could manage to take some shots of the flipper,head,and the small dorsal fin ( see second picture ).Notice the rounded head with a large melon ( organ used for communication and echolocation ) and no pointed beak as other dolphins have.

IMG_3195-2

IMG_3196

IMG_3197-2

Irrawaddy dolphin is a freshwater endangered species that inhabits in some parts of the Mekong river in Laos and Cambodia and in Bangladesh and Myanmar.They are hunted mainly for their oils or accidentally captured in nets while others are captured to perform in dolphinariums and there are fewer than 70 individuals left in Cambodia.

 

Sarus3

The Sarus Crane is one of the most beautiful and most elegant  bird i had seen in Cambodia.It’ s the tallest of the flying birds ( up to 1.8 m ) and live in open wetlands.This bird inhabits India,Australia and South-east Asia, remaining in India the largest population.Unfortunately, their numbers have declined greatly and there are just a few populations in South-east Asia,where the last remaining stronghold of this species is in Cambodia and adjacent areas of  Laos and Vietnam.

In Cambodia they are quite vulnerable because they are dependent upon two particular types of wetland habitat: temporarily flooded grasslands for breeding during the wet season, and permanent marshlands for feeding during the non-breeding dry season.The most important Sarus Crane Reserve in Cambodia is in Ang Trapaeng Thmor.Up to 350 individuals can be seen in this area, especially in the dry season, between January and the end of March.

I could enjoy with the majestic presence of a group of 20 individuals that allowed us to approach slowly up to 100 meters.They flew and land several times while we were approaching.Its flight was amazingly captivating and elegant !!! I could take this nice picture while they were taking off.Hope you like it !!🙂

Photo taken with a Canon 7d and Canon 400 5.6.

Pelican

Cambodia was one of the few countries in South-east Asia that I wanted to visit.Surprisingly this amazing country suffered the Vietnam war and the atrocities of the Khmer Rouges hosts many interesting bird species,which not found in other parts of Southeast Asia.Endangered birds as Sarus Crane, Bengal Florican, Giant Ibis, White-shouldered Ibis, Lesser and Greater Adjutants, Milky Stork, Spot-billed Pelican and the White-rumped, Slender-billed and Red-headed Vultures are the main highlights there as well as other animals such as the Irrawaddy Dolphin, Black Gibbon and Siamese Crocodile.Around Siem Reap, there are many bird watching locations that are worth a visit. Preak Toal, Ang Trapaeng Thmor, Tmatboey and the grasslands next to Tonle Sap are among them.

Once I arrived in Seam Reap by plane,I spent my first few days visiting the most impressive temples I’ ve ever seen: the temples of Angkor ( being Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom complex and Tha Prohm the most remarkable ones ).The following day I gathered information on how to get to Preak Toal Bird Sanctuary, on Tonle Sap lake.Going by your own is not difficult: get a taxi or a tuk tuk to Chong Neas village, then a boat to the environment office ( 55 $ ) and finally get another boat with a guide ( 30 $ ) to take you into the sanctuary.From December to the end of February are the most recommended months to visit the sanctuary, being February probably the best. However, at mid March the level of water is too low to allow you to visit the breeding colonies of birds.

Ang Trapaeng Thmor was the wisest alternative at that time ( March ) and offered similar bird highlights.However if you want to get there on your own you need a four-wheels vehicle and once there you are quite unlikely to find the main areas where to spot the birds.The only alternative was to hire a tour with Sam Veasna Center.This organization has very knowledgeable guides and the basic infrastructure to move around.While a tour for a single person is expensive ( 270 $ ), joining a group can cost you around 110 $ for a group of 3 people.Fortunately I could join an Australian couple and we set up everything to start our trip on Tuesday.

Owl

I woke up very excited at 5:oo am and the car pick me up around 5:30  am.We spent 1 hour and a half to get to the main entrance.We stopped there for a while and we spotted Baya Weaver flying on the top of palm trees.They were feeding their young inside their hanging nests.Other common birds were seen as well ( mynas,sparrows and drongos ).Afterwards we rode through some rice fields and stopped in an area where a Spotted Owlet was perched on a branch.After taking some shots,we moved to another area where we could see the stunning Great Slaty Woodpecker, the largest woodpecker in the world,climbing on a trunk.Just a few meters farther an impressive breeding colony of Painted Stork were perched on a couple of trees.We continued our trip along some rice fields and stopped to get a view of one of the largest owls in South-east Asia,the gorgeous Spotted Wood Owl.A  chick was perched on a branch,waiting for its mother to feed it on.It remained motionless, without noticing our presence.I had enough time to set up my tripod and take a picture using manual focusing.The result is quite outstanding, as you can see the picture above.

However its mother didn’t make its appearance so we moved to see the main highlight of this area, the strikingly beautiful Sarus Crane.On the way, we stopped on a rice field where a huge number of individuals of Oriental Pratincole where flying around.This bird is quite tame and i could approach enough to take a decent picture ( see below ).

Oriental Pratincole

Afterwards, we drove for 15 minutes until we arrived in a large grassland area.There were no sign of Sarus Crane.After waiting for a while, one of the rangers came to us and lead us to the place where we could spot this magnificent bird.This bird is quite sensitive to human presence so we had to remain somehow far from them.It was very hot and there was a lot of haze,so it was quite hard to take a good picture.Slowly we could approach a few meters nearer and luckily the birds remained on the same place.I took a lot of shots from 1o0 meters but the haze was my worst enemy to take a sharp picture of an individual.However, I could get an acceptable shot of the group.

Sarus2

It was almost noon, and it was annoyingly hot.We walked through the grassland to get into the car.I almost fainted but i was very pleased with what we had seen in the morning.We came back to the main office,had lunch and i laid on the floor to recover.Soon i felt better and full of energy to explore other parts of the reserve.At 2:00 pm we were lead to the reservoir of this reserve.This huge reservoir was created during the Khmer Rouge regime to irrigate the surrounding lands.

We waited for half an hour to a boat that would bring us to the breeding colonies.Once on a boat, the amount of different species we could saw was impressive: Comb Duck, Lesser-whistling Duck, Cotton Pigmy-goose, Little Grebe,Indian Spot-billed Duck, Chinese Pond Heron, Great, Intermediate and Little Egret,Black-backed Swamphen,  Common Moorhen,Common Coot, Black-winged Stilt, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Bronze-winged Jacana were found in good numbers.Spot-billed Pelican breeds in colonies there but  we could only see a few individuals ( maybe because we didn’t stay until 6pm,when most of these birds return to the breeding area ). However one of them flew close enough that allowed me to take a quite good picture ( see on the top of this article ) .Near the breeding colony area of Spot-billed Pelican,we could spot other remarkable birds as a large colony of Painted Stork ( see below ), one Oriental Darter and some individuals of Little and Great Cormorant perched on a tree.

Stork5

It was 4 pm, and my fellow birdwatchers had to come back to Seam Reap.We came back by boat and left the lake.We rode for one hour and a half more to Seam Reap.I felt tired and dizzy but extremely satisfied with what I have seen: lots of interesting and amazing birds !!!!! I promise to come back again to see other of these stunning feather creatures that populates the vast lowlands of Cambodia, but this will be another story !!

See you soon my friends !

P.S. I would like to thank Sam Veasna Center for their valuable information,support and knowledgeable guides.

P.S.S. Photos taken with a canon 7d and Canon 400  f 5.6

Comb Duck

Lesser-whistling Duck

Cotton Pigmy-Goose

Indian Spot-billed Duck

Little Grebe

Painted Stork

Asian Openbill

Little Cormorant

Indian Cormorant

Great Cormorant

Oriental Darter

Yellow Bittern

Chinese Pond-Heron

Javan Pond-Heron

Eastern Cattle Egret

Grey Heron

Purple Heron

Great Egret

Intermediate Egret

Little Egret

Sarus Crane

Spot-billed Pelican

Peregrine Falcon

Black-shouldered Kite

Black Kite

Eastern Marsh-Harrier

Rufous-winged Buzzard

Shikra

Watercock *

Black-backed Swamphen

Common Moorhen

Common Coot

Black-winged Stilt

Red-wattled Lapwing

Pheasant-tailed Jacana

Bronzed-winged Jacana

Common Snipe

Wood Sandpiper

Oriental Pratincole

Rock Dove

Red-collared Dove

Spotted Dove

Zebra Dove

Plaintive Cuckoo *

Asian Koel

Greater Coucal

Spotted Wood Owl

Spotted Owlet

Asian Palm-swift

Common Kingfisher

Indian Roller

Little Green Bee-eater

Blue-tailed Bee-eater

Great Slaty Woodpecker

Pied Fantail

Black Drongo

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo

Southern Jungle Crow

Racket-tailed Treepie *

Brown Shrike

Purple Sunbird

Baya Weaver

House Sparrow

Plain-backed Sparrow

Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Paddyfield Pipit

White-vented Myna

Common Myna

Black-collared Starling

Eastern Stonechat

Taiga Flycatcher

Oriental Magpie-Robin *

Australian Bushlark

Yellow-vented Bulbul

Streak-eared Bulbul

Barn Swallow

Dusky Warbler *

Oriental Reed-warbler *

Striated Grassbird

Zitting Cisticola *

Bright-headed Cisticola *

Plain Prinia

 

*heard

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue-breasted Quail

Small Buttonquail

Barred Buttonquail

Comb Duck

Lesser Whistling-duck

Cotton Pygmy-goose

Indian Spot-billed Duck

Garganey

Little Grebe

Milky Stork

Painted Stork

Asian Openbill

Wooly-necked Stork

Lesser Adjutant

Greater Adjutant

Black-headed Ibis

Little Cormorant

Indian Cormorant

Great Cormorant

Oriental Darter

Yellow Bittern

Cinnamon Bittern

Black Bittern

Black-crowned Night Heron

Little Heron

Chinese Pond-Heron

Javan Pond-Heron

Eastern Cattle Egret

Grey Heron

Purple Heron

Great Egret

Intermediate Egret

Little Egret

Sarus Crane

Spot-billed Pelican

Bengal Florican

Peregrine Falcon

Black-shouldered Kite

Black Kite

Brahminy Kite

Black-eared Kite

Grey-headed Fish-eagle

Hen Harrier

Pied Harrier

Western Marsh-harrier

Eastern Marsh-harrier

Rufous-winged Buzzard

Shikra

White-browed Crake

Watercock

Black-backed Swamphen

Common Moorhen

Common Coot

Black-winged Stilt

Red-wattled Lapwing

Little Ringed Plover

Pheasant-tailed Jacana

Bronze-winged Jacana

Greater Painted Snipe

Pintail Snipe

Common Snipe

Common Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper

Wood Sandpiper

Oriental Pratincole

Whiskered Tern

Brown-headed Gull

Black-headed Gull

Rock Dove

Red Collared-dove

Spotted Dove

Zebra Dove

Plaintive Cuckoo

Asian Koel

Green-billed Malkoha

Greater Coucal

Lesser Coucal

Spotted Wood Owl

Asian Barred Owlet

Spotted Owlet

Germain’s Swiftlet

Asian Palm-swift

White-throated Kingfisher

Black-capped Kingfisher

Common Kingfisher

Pied Kingfisher

Indian Roller

Little Green Bee-eater

Blue-tailed Bee-eater

Lineated Barbet

Green-eared Barbet

Coppersmith Barbet

Laced Woodpecker

Great Slaty Woodpecker

Rufous Woodpecker

Spot-breasted Woodpecker

Ashy Minivet

Black-naped Oriole

Ashy Woodswallow

Common Iora

Pied Fantail

Black Drongo

Ashy Drongo

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo

Black-naped Monarch

Southern Jungle Crow

Rufous Treepie

Racket-tailed Treepie

Brown Shrike

Purple Sunbird

Olive-backed Sunbird

Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker

Streaked Weaver

Baya Weaver

Red Avadavat

Scaly-breasted Munia

House Sparrow

Plain-backed Sparrow

Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Red-throated Pipit

Paddyfield Pipit

White Wagtail

Eastern Yellow Wagtail

Chestnut-eared Bunting

Yellow-breasted Bunting

White-vented Myna

Common Myna

Black-collared Starling

Asian Pied Starling

White-shouldered Starling

Siberian Rubythroat

Bluethroat

Blue Rock-thrush

Eastern Stonechat

Pied Bushchat

Taiga Flycatcher

Asian Brown Flycatcher

Oriental Magpie-Robin

Australasian Bushlark

Indochinese Bushlark

Oriental Skylark

Stripe-throated Bulbul

Yellow-vented Bulbul

Streak-eared Bulbul

Sooty-headed Bulbul

Common Sand-martin

Barn Swallow

Red-rumped Swallow

Yellow-browed Warbler

Radde’s Warbler

Dusky Warbler

Pin-striped Tit-babbler

Black-browed Reed-warbler

Manchurian Reed-warbler

Oriental Reed-warbler

Thick-billed Warbler

Rusty-rumped Warbler

Lanceolated Warbler

Striated Grassbird

Zitting Cisticola

Bright-headed Cisticola

Dark-necked Tailorbird

Common Tailorbird

Yellow-bellied Prinia

Plain Prinia

 

Courtesy of Seam Veasna Center

 

 

Black-and-red Broadbill, Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos, is an amazing broadbill seen in Kaeng Krachan.This little bird is found in Southeast Asia.This bird inhabits near streams and pools in subtropical and tropical lowland mangroves and rainforests.They make their nest near water during the dry season.These birds have a conspicuous large bill, pale blue in upper mandible and golden in lower mandible.Sexes are alike.

This species is classified as Least Concern.However it’s a species hard to find in Thailand.Kaeng krachan seems a good place to see this amazing bird, in Bang Krang Campsite.I took this video early morning, in poor lighting conditions, in a cloudy day.

Black-backed Kingfisher,Ceyx erythacus, is probably one of the most beautiful kingfishers seen in Thailand.This lovely bird can be found from India to Southeast Asia and South China.It’s a very small kingfisher,not more than 14 cm large.It inhabits in densely shade areas near small streams and pools in broadleaved evergreen forest,sometimes gardens and mangroves on migration,up to 915 m.

I took this video in Kaeng Krachan above a small stream before stream crossing 1, near Bang Krang Campsite.This is a shady area  with some low trees and bamboo beside the stream.The bird was going and coming back to the nest to feed their chicks.

chestlughdef2

Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush

Doi Inthanon is one of the most,or maybe the most,birding area in Thailand.It’s the highest mountain in Thailand ( 2565 m ) and it hosts more than 280 species of birds and some species of mammals.However, most of the mammals are threatened because of intensive poaching, especially in the past.There is such diversity of birds due to the different habitats found as the altitude increases.Some species of birds are found only there and a few more locations in northern Thailand.

To get there firstly i get into a bus from MorChit Station.The trip takes around 11 hours.Once in Chiang Mai i rented a motorbike for 3 days for a reasonable price ( 200 baths/day ).From Chiang Mai i get on the road which heads to the airport and continue to Chong Thong.I passed Hang Thong,San Pa Tong and finally arrived at Chong Tong.In Chong Thong there is a signpost to the national park.I drove for 20 kilometers until the main gate of the park.I paid 40 baths and continued to ride for 20 km more until i arrived to Mr.Daeng’s guesthouse at 4 o’clock.Mr. Daeng is a professional and well-known birdwatcher in Thailand.He had been doing bird watching for more than  30 years and he has a great knowledge of Doi Inthanon area.You just have to ask for one bird and he will tell you anything you want to know about it.Unfortunately, he cannot work as a guide as before due to his age.

sibiafinal

Black-backed Sibia

It was mid May, so many species of birds had already gone ( River Chat, Daurian Redstart, many flycatchers and thrushes ) and they will come in December again.However, Green Cochoa, a stunning blue and green bird, was breeding at that moment.It’s a shy, motionless and elusive bird that is more noticeable from March to June, when breeding.

I dropped my stuff in the room and i went to do some bird watching, near the guesthouse.Blue-throated Barbet and Oriental White-eye were the most remarkable birds seen late afternoon.After sleeping 8 hours, I woke up early, at 5 o’clock ready and excited to find some interesting species.We took my motorbike and rode for 6 kilometers until the second check point.Large Niltava was perched on a signpost and Grey-cheeked Fulvetta and Blue-winged Minla were moving fast among the bushes, on the left side of the road.We continue for 10 kilometers until we reached the summit.It was quite cold, indeed only 9 degrees ! and it hailed a few days ago.We stopped the motorbike and the bird festival started there !

wingedminladef

Chestnut-tailed Minla

Near the radar station Chestnut-Crowned Laughingthrush,Chestnut-tailed Minla and Black-backed Sibia were easily seen.Indeed, they are tame and beautiful species and you can even get close enough to take a picture of these nice birds.Around the visitor center it’s usually seen the magnificent Green-tailed Sunbird licking nectar from the flowers of the garden.However,i couldn’t see it at that time.Just a few meters from the visitor center, a gorgeous Golden-throated Barbet was feeding on a fruiting tree.Beside the cafeteria, there is another tree where the rangers put some food that attracts laughinghtrushes, minlas and sibias.

After that we walked along the boardwalk, where it seems you walk through an enchanted forest ( with mosses and many lichens hanging from the trees ).White-browed Shortwing and Chestnut-winged Fulvetta are some cute birds easily seen along the trail.But my surprise was to find 3 individuals of Rufous-throated Partridge around point 7.It’s an incredible bird with a strong yellow mark on the throat and bluish body.We tried to take a picture but there was poor light and the pictures weren’t sharp enough.Walking just 20 meters farther, a very cute and little bird appeared on the left side of the trail.It was the Pigmy Wren Babbler ! It leaped on the ground,jumped on a trunk and after disappeared among the bushes.

shorwingdef

White-browed Shortwing

Afterwards we went out of the trail and walked beside the road towards the radar station,where I could get a perfect view of the most  striking fantail in Thailand, the Yellow-bellied Fantail.It’s an unmistakable citrine yellow bird with a black narrow band between the eye and the beak.

We drove downhill for a few kilometers.Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush was perched on an exposed branched, on the right side of the road.It was singing during a few minutes, so we stopped the motorbike immediately and i could take a nice picture of this colourful bird.

rockthrushdefiniy23

Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush

While we were busy trying to get a good picture, a couple of Green-tailed Sunbird appeared on our left side.This bird is an incredible nectariniidae with a dark blue-green crown,throat and tail,yellow breast with a conspicuous red patch.This bird is not easy to photograph as they are moving all time.Around the chedis we found, among others, a Little Pied Flycatcher.

We came back to Mr.Daeng’s late morning.In his garden, we spotted a Black-throated Sunbird feeding on the flowers.In the afternoon we checked on the sides of the road for birds.At 200 m before the second checkpoint, we found a couple of the magnificent Long-tailed Broadbill.It flew from a dense tree to a trunk and after being motionless for a while, it came back to the former tree.Grey-chinned Minivet was seen flying in this area.Around 4 pm we went to check the waterfalls, seeing as the only remarkable bird, the Blue-whistling Thrush in Vatcharitan Waterfall at 5 pm.My last stop was the campsite area to find another interesting bird, Black-tailed Crake.I checked the small marsh at 6 pm but the grass was too tall and the visibility wasn’ t good.

GreychinMindef22

Grey-chinned Minivet

We decided to spend next day in km 37.5 ( second checkpoint ).I woke up as usual at 5 am.Once i got there,the first interesting birds to see were again a Large Niltava near the junction and many Grey-cheeked Fulvetta moving all time.Around 7 o’clock other great species appeared, as Brown-throated Treecreper, Yellow-cheeked Tit and Grey-throated Babbler around a dead tree near the junction.Maroon Oriole, a superb red oriole, was seen from the road.One hour later,I found Golden-throated Barbet and the stunning Silver-eared Mesia skulking among the leaves and moving quite nervously.Spectacled Barwing made its appearance at that time in a low tree near the road.Streaked Spiderhunter was spotted on the banana trees on the left side of the road.

Goldenthrobarbetdef

Golden-throated Barbet

I walked to the place where i saw Long-tailed Broadbill.Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon was perched on a dead tree on the other side of the road.Verditer Flycatcher and Lesser-racket tailed Drongo were seen as well.Afterthat i drove to km 34.5,where there is a jeep trail easy to follow.Some birdwatchers spotted Green Cochoa at the begining of the trail and near the junction where the trail split in two just a few weeks ago.I followed the trail,where i could locate Maroon Oriole,Golden-throated Barbet,Large Niltava,Yellow-cheeked Tit , Streaked Spiderhunter and Verditer Flycatcher as the most colorful birds in this area.Around the pine forest i couldn’t trace any sign of Cochoa.

indiancuckoo55def

Indian Cuckoo

In the afternoon i explored again this area with my wife.We stopped in the pine forest and we keep quiet waiting for the Green Cochoa.I continued the trail for a while after the junction but nothing worth to mention.My wife was waiting for me 50 meters before the junction.When i came back she told me she saw a Purple Cochoa on the left side of the forest.She described it as a dark bird with a grey crown and middle size perched on the middle storey.She told me she was 100% sure that was a Purple Cochoa.I had my doubts about it but finally i took it as truth,as it’s a bird that is quite easy to identify.Near km 37.5 I found Chestnut-vented Nuthatch climbing on a dead tree.Finally i went to the camping area at 6 pm where i saw Eurasian Jay on the top of a tree but again I wasn’t lucky enough to see Black tailed Crake.

Largenilsdef2

Large Niltava

Next morning I visited Siriphum Waterfall, where i found a Slaty-backed Forktail flying on a stream.Afterwards we came back to the 34.5 km trail.White-gorgeted Flycatcher and the other birds that i already mentioned before were seen along the trail.Early morning, i listened the typical mewing song of a Malaysian Honeyguide at the junction of the trail.To spot Green and Purple Cochoa was becoming an obsession so i decided at least to listen a reply of a call.I used a tape for both birds but no answer in the pine forest.

In the afternoon I went back to km 37.5.I put the tape ( i don’ t usually do it but i wanted to located it at any cost ) and eventually i received an answer from at least 5 different places.I was happy enough even i couldn’t see this little gem of bird.Near km 37.5 a Yellow-cheeked Tit perched on a pine tree close enough to take this picture.

YCTdef

Yellow-cheeked Tit

Doi Inthanon was an excellent experience with lots of magnificent birds seen !!! It’s impossible to choose one of them as they are so amazing and colorful enough !! My next report is another great birdwatching area : Kaeng Krachan National Park ! See you in my next reports with lots of photos and experiences to tell !!

LARGE NILTAVA

Large niltava55

The Large Niltava, is a beautiful and common bird in Doi Inthanon.It’s found from India to Southeast Asia and China, in tropical and subtropical mountainous forests.It’ s a bird about 20 cm large and dark electric blue body with lighter blue in crown,neck sides,rump,tail and in a shoulder patch.It inhabits in broadleaved evergreen forest from 900 to 2565 m in northern Thailand.

It’s a tame bird that like to perch in exposed areas, like signposts or exposed branches and sometimes drop to the ground.I took this picture in Doi Inthanon, at km 37  early morning, at  7 am.

Minla399

Chestnut-tailed Minla, Minla strigula, is a little and cute bird that is found from India to Southeast Asia. It’s an unmistakable bird, with a yellowish belly, olive-grayish back, rufescent crown and broad black bars on throat.  It’s a mountain bird that inhabits broadleaved evergreen forest from 1,600 m to 2565 m.

This bird is found in a few locations in northern Thailand. It’s fairly common in the summit of Doi Inthanon, the highest peak in Thailand.It’s a tame bird and you can get close enough to take a nice picture !

Rufous-throated Partridge

Malaysian Honeyguide ( heard )

Golden-throated Barbet

Blue-throated Barbet

White-throated Kingfisher

Indian Cuckoo

Collared Owlet

Spotted Dove

Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon

Long-tailed Broadbill

Brown Shrike

Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo

Eurasian Jay

Maroon Oriole

Small Minivet

Grey-chinned Minivet

Short-billed Minivet

Yellow-bellied Fantail

White-throated Fantail

Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush

Blue Whistling Thrush

Purple Cochoa

Green Cochoa ( heard )

Blue-and-White Flycatcher

White-gorgeted Flycatcher

Little Pied Flycatcher

Verditer Flycatcher

Large Niltava

Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher

White-browed Shortwing

Slaty-backed Forktail

Chestnut-vented Nuthatch

Brown-throated Treecreeper

Yellow-cheeked Tit

Flavescent Bulbul

Oriental White-eye

Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush

Pigmy Wren Babbler

Grey-throated Babbler

Silver-eared Mesia

Blue-winged Minla

Chestnut-tailed Minla

Rufous-winged Fulvetta

Grey-cheeked Fulvetta

Spectacled Barwing

Dark-backed Sibia

Green-tailed Sunbird

Black-throated Sunbird

Streaked Spiderhunter

Eurasian Tree Sparrow

 

Green-malkoha

Green-billed Malkoha, Phaenicophaeus tristris, is a species of non-parasitic cuckoo that is found widely from India to South-East Asia .It’s a large bird with a distinctive grey body, red facial skin,green bill and two feet long tail.It inhabits in broadleaved forest, freshwater swamps , secondary growth, coastal scrub, bamboo, and sometimes plantations ; up to 1600 m. They are commonly seen skulking among leaves and they are usually quite shy.

It’s a common species in Thailand and I found it in most of the national parks in Thailand.I took this picture in Huay Kha Kaeng Wildlife Sanctuary.It’s quite difficult to take a picture of this bird due to their behavior.

Blue Magpie22

Red-billed Blue Magpie, Urocissa erythroryncha, is a very beautiful bird found from western Himalayas to South-east Asia.This lovely bird is part of the Corvidae family that usually prefers predominantly hilly or mountainous country.It inhabits in deciduous forest, secondary growth, bamboo and open broad leaved evergreen forest, up to 1525 m.It s a quite conspicuous and noisy bird when present.

This bird is located mainly in northern and western Thailand.I found good populations of this stunning bird  in Huay Kha Kaeng Wildlife Sanctuary,Nam Nao National Park and Mae Wong National Park.Magpie444

Huay Kha Kaeng Wildlife Sanctuary is another superb site to spot wildlife.Located at 35 km from Lan Sak town,in Uthai Thani province.It was declared World Heritage Site by the United Nations in 1991 and with the adjoining Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary  make up the largest protected area in South-east Asia .It covers an area of 3,609,375 rai. This sanctuary host 120 species of mammals and around 400 species of birds. If you want to stay overnight you have to apply for a permit in advance ( only given to naturalists and researchers ). To get there you need your own transportation, as there are no public buses or any kind of transportation to take you to the sanctuary.

HKKL

I decided to go there in a trip organized by BCST ( Bird Conservation Society of Thailand ). BCST applied for a permit in December and they got it in April.I woke up early, at 4:00 am, and I met my other fellow birdwatchers at 5:00 am in a gas station in Bangkok.We spent 6 hours before arriving in the sanctuary.We passed Nakon Sawan,Lan Sak and finally we arrived in Huay Kha Khaeng at 11 o’clock.After showing the permit at the gate,the driver drove for 15 kilometers until the headquarters.

Huay Kha Khaeng map

Huaymap2

Along the road I could see some salt licks and water sites, excellent for spotting wildlife.Once there I was pretty excited to do some birding around the headquarters.We left our stuff in the rooms and we started to check the birds around.You are not allowed to go too much farther as there is a lot of wildlife around.The rangers told us that there are 9 tigers around the headquarters.There is a tiger trail for the most adventurous.Around the headquarters we could see Hog deers and Eld’s  deers that are breeding for reintroduction.

Eld’s Deer

Eld's deer

Hog’s Deer

Hog's deer

The first stunning bird that we saw is a Purple Sunbird.Red-billed Blue Magpie is a quite common bird around the headquarters, especially near the restaurant.Black-throated Oriole,Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush and Golden-fronted Leafbird are other superb birds that are surprisingly common there.

Black-hooded Oriole

Black Hooded Oriole

Himalayan Swiftlet,Asian Palm Swift,Fork-tailed Swift and Crested Treeswift were easily seen around this area.Near our rooms there is a forest where we spotted an Asian Barred Owlet and a Lesser Yellownape. Common Flameback was another nice addition that we found in a tree near the Scub’s Memorial.

In the afternoon we went to walk to the dry dipterocarp forest nature trail.There are lots of animal tracks along it ( I will talk about it in my next post ) and some remarkable birds as the Oriental Pied Hornbill and the Asian Paradise Flycatcher,another great bird to add to our list.We almost get lost,as there were some junctions along the trail and lots of dried leaves.Our bcst guide called the rangers to pick us up but eventually we found the way to come back.

Once we came back, a Green-billed Malkoha was perched on a branch in a tree near the headquarters and around 5 o’clock we saw the magnificent Black-headed Woodpecker, that is another extremely beautiful and common bird to see there.I think it’s the most beautiful woodpecker that I’ve seen in my life, with their black head with a red stripe crown ( only males ), their yellow throat and chest, pale green back and red rump.

Male Black-headed Woodpecker

Black-headed Woodpecker

At night, Large-tailed Nightjar were singing around the headquarters.Brown Fish Owl is usually found along the small river beside the headquarters. So at night, a small group of birdwatchers went along the river with flashlights but we were not lucky enough to find it.

We woke up at 5:30 am and we were ready for bird watching at 6 am.Early morning a superb Stork-billed Kingfisher was perched on a branch, just a few meters from us !! Thick-billed Green Pigeon was another interesting bird to see perched on a branch near the small river.Green Imperial Pigeon and Mountain Imperial Pigeon were seen flying around the headquarters.Scarlet Minivet was another nice bird to see at that time.

Around 10 am,near the visitor center a pair of Black-headed Woodpecker came to feed on the ground and climbed on a trunk.This bird usually flies quite low among trees and they seems to be very tame in this area.

In the afternoon,following the road to the main gate we stopped at Pa Teng Rang trail. Here, Large Cuckoo shrike and Black-headed Woodpecker were spotted flying around.Near the trail, I saw 5 individuals of Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, unmistakable with their blue back and red bill, climbing on a tree.

Pa Teng Rang trail entrance

trail

After that we went to the next point called Woodpecker Kingdom,at km 10 of the metaled road to the headquarters, where can be found up to 16 species of woodpecker.However,there was a low birding activity in that area.Next stop was at the Green Peafowl lek area.We couldn’t find the Green Peafowl, that is more easily seen in the morning than in the afternoon.There we spotted , among others, Asian Paradise Flycatcher and the magnificent Asian Emerald Cuckoo, a female,perched on a dead tree.I was walking around this area when suddenly a Siamese Hare run into the forest .

Our last stop was beside the gate.There is a water basin where we found Asian Paradise Flycatcher,White-rumped Shama and Pied Fantail drinking on that place.The ranger told us that beside the river there was a place where probably the nicest bird of Thailand, the Green Peafowl, usually come to drink water in the afternoon.We wait for a while but we couldn’t see it.

Place where the Green Peafowl usually comes to drink water, on the right side of the river

P1090717

It was a great experience to live and see this wildlife sanctuary, even only around the allowed area around the headquarters.Next time I will try to go by my own, but this will be another story !!! See you my friends !!

Chinese Francolin ( heard )

Red Junglefowl

Lesser Yellownape

Black-headed Woodpecker

Common Flameback

Lineated Barbet

Coppersmith Barbet

Oriental Pied Hornbill

Indian Roller

Common Hoppoe ( heard )

Stork-billed Kingfisher

White-throated Kingfisher

Green Bee-eater

Asian Emerald Cuckoo

Greater Coucal ( heard )

Himalayan Swiftlet

Asian Palm Swift

Fork-tailed Swift

Crested Treeswift

Asian Barred Owlet

Large-tailed Nightjar

Rock Pigeon

Spotted Dove

Thick-billed Green Pigeon

Green Imperial Pigeon

Mountain Imperial Pigeon

Red-wattled Lapwing

Chinese Pond Heron

Golden-fronted Leafbird

Red-billed Blue Magpie

Ashy Woodswallow

Black-hooded Oriole

Large Cuckooshrike

Scarlet Minivet

Ashy Drongo

Crow-billed Drongo

Bronzed Drongo

Spangled Drongo

Greater racket-tailed Drongo

Black-naped Monarch

Common Iora

Asian Paradise Flycatcher

Asian Brown Flycatcher

Oriental Magpie Robin

White-rumped Shama

Common Myna

Hill Myna

Velvet-fronted Nuthatch

Black-headed Bulbul

Black-crested Bulbul

Sooty-headed Bulbul

Streaked-eared Bulbul

Common Tailorbird

Dark-necked Tailorbird

White-crested Laughingthrush

Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush

Puff-throated Babbler

Stripped Tit Babbler

Olive-backed Sunbird

Purple Sunbird

White-rumped Munia

P1090203

Kuiburi National Park is one of the best national park in Thailand to spot wildlife.It’s probably one of the best places in Thailand to spot wild elephant with sightings almost guaranteed every day.Other interesting mammals in the park are gaur, banteng, wild boar, serow, leopard, tiger and Crested Fireback as the main bird attraction of the park.

To get there is not possible without your own transportation.However, I managed to arrived there quite well.Firstly I took a van in Sai Tai Mai Bus Station ( Southern Bus Terminal ) to Kuiburi.You can get into any van that goes to Prachuap Kiri Khan and stop in Kuiburi ( tell the driver to stop there ).Once there I had to find a place where to rent a motorbike.

There were 3 options in town: Vartika Resort ,X2 Kuiburi Resort and Suttangrat Resort.The later was the best option due to it’s located only 3 km from Kuiburi.When I arrived there the manager told me that they only had one motorbike available. But when I told her that I need it for 3 days she told me that it’s her own motorbike and I could only use it for one day.So I went to the next hotel, Vartika Resort, located 10 km from down town.Vartika Resort is a high-standard resort with friendly and helpful staff that accepted to rent me a motorbike for 350 baths a day.It was a little bit pricy but there were not many other options.X2 Kuiburi Resort is even farther,so I accepted the deal.However I highly recommend to rent a vehicle form Hua Hin or Prachuap Khiri Khan,as there are more offers and better renting prices.

Driving to the park is quite easily.There is a big signpost after 3 km from Kuiburi on the highway to Hua Hin.Once on the road to the park I just followed the signposts and I drove for 30 km.The last part of the road has many bumps but you can arrive to the headquarters without a four-wheels.The entrance fee is 200 baths,but as I work in Thailand I just paid 40 baths.

Once in the headquarters area I found the staff very friendly and helpful.There were some misunderstandings due to the staff doesn’t speak English very well but with my basic Thai I handled to get the information that I required. Accommodation inside the national park is not a problem .You can rent a tent for 270 baths or to sleep in a bungalow for 100 baths per bed.I chose to sleep in a tent.

Kuiburi National Park map

Map

To spot wildlife you have to go to Payang substation and rent a car and a guide.You cannot walk by your own.However it’ s allowed to walk and do some birding  around the headquarters area.

It was almost 2:30 pm and I was very excited to go to see wildlife.I talked to the staff to rent a car with driver and guide for 850 baths.Two other tourists joined us so we share expenses.At 3 pm  we went to Payang substation, a 20 km ride from the headquarters.We showed our tickets and the ranger lift the barrier.The driver drove slowly along the rough road until the first view point.In the first view point,we were lucky enough to spot a herd of 15 individuals roaming on the grasslands !!! There were females,a few males and some calves.It was a picturesque view…very nice to see and hard to forget !!! You can see the video that I took in my previous post !

Herd of elephants in Kuiburi National Park

Asian Elephant Herd

  Female Elephant with her calf

Female Asian Elephant

 Male Elephant

Elephant male

We stayed there for 10 minutes,when the staff told us that the elephants were so close that I would be dangerous to stay longer.So we went to the second view point.Along the road we saw an individual of elephant just a few meters from us ! But my expectations were higher.As I saw wild elephant many times, I wanted to see new species of mammals,and gaur was my main goal.On the second view point we stopped for one hour but no signs of gaurs.However we could see an individual of banteng quite far.

Around the second view point a White-throated Kingfisher was perched on a branch.When I walked around to explore around and try to find more birds, the guide told me to remain on the view point because there is a potential danger due to the high density of elephants and other dangerous animals. On the way back we spotted some sambar deers around the rangers station.Red Junglefowl is quite common and easy to see along the road around 4 pm.

No signs of leopards,tapirs and tigers, as they are nocturnal and shy animals and extremely hard to spot.I saw some pictures of them by camera trapping in the ranger station.

Sambar Deer

Deer

We had dinner in a stall that is located only 4 km from the headquarters.Excellent food and very cheap !! Only 25 baths per meal !!

Around the headquarters I could listened and see a large-tailed Nightjar flying away from the road when we came back to sleep.

I woke up at 6 am next day willing to find birds around the headquarters area.In front of the bungalows I spotted Lineated barbet and Coppersmith Barbet exposed and perched on branches around 6:30 am.On a small road to a lake I could see Coppersmith Barbet, Oriental Pied Hornbill,Common Flameback,and  Racket-tailed Treepie as the most remarkable birds.Beside the headquarters there are a few trees where Blue-winged Leafbirds, Common Iora,and Yellow-vented Flowerpecker,among others, made their appearance.

Coppersmith Barbet

Coppersmith Barbet

In the afternoon I rented again a car and another group of tourists joined us.Along the road to the first view point we saw another elephant but no signs of gaur on the second view point.A Green-billed Malkoha and a Greater Coucal crossed the road.Around the ranger station we saw some wild boars that are breeding for reintroduction.

Wild Boar

P1090471

Next day I went along the nature trail with a ranger, expecting to find Crested Fireback. Along the trail we  found some tracks of  this elusive and shy bird.

There is a big lake ( Yang Chum Reservoir ) at only 7 km from the Headquarters that seems interesting for birdwatching, but I didn’t have enough time to explore farther as I already booked a trip to Huay Kha Khaeng on May 4th.So I had to come back to Bangkok.

Kuiburi national Park was a pleasant experience, even without seeing some of the jewels that host this amazing national park with awesome views !! I promise to see you again !!

Red Junglefowl

Crested Fireback *

Lesser Whistling-duck*

Little Grebe *

Common Flameback

Lineated Barbet

Coppersmith Barbet

Oriental Pied Hornbill

Wreathed Hornbill *

Common Kingfisher*

White-throated Kingfisher

Blue-throated Bee-eater

Greater Coucal

Chestnut-winged Cuckoo *

Green-billed Malkoha

Indian Roller

Dollarbird

Vernal Hanging Parrot*

Common Hoppoe*

Large-tailed Nightjar

Spotted Dove

Red Collared Dove

Common Sandpiper *

Red-wattled Lapwing

Black Baza*

Cattle Egret

Chinese Pond Heron

Asian Openbill

Blue-winged Leafbird

Asian Fairy Bluebird

Burmese Shrike*

Greater racket-tailed Drongo

Common Green Magpie*

Racket-tailed Treepie

Black-naped Oriole*

White-throated Fantail

Common Iora

Oriental Magpie Robin

White-rumped Shama

Ashy Woodswallow

Common Myna

White-vented Myna

Golden-crested Myna*

Black-crested Bulbul

Red-whiskered Bulbul

Sooty-headed Bulbul

Streaked-eared Bulbul

White-crested Laughingthrush*

Yellow-vented Flowerpecker

Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker

Olive-backed Sunbird

Crimson Sunbird*

Grey wagtail*

Scaly-breasted Munia

White-rumped Munia*

* Birds reported by the park rangers, not seen by me.

Hello to all my followers !! i didn’t write these days because i went to visit Kuiburi National Park.I took this video of a herd of 15 elephants, with females,males and calves roaming around a grassland, from the watching tower in the first view point of this national park.Hope you like it !!

I will write my detailed report on my next post,with many pictures of mammals and birds.

drongo

 

The Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Dicrurus Paradiseus , is a beautiful and common bird found in many national parks in Thailand.Its large size, black body, tall crest and long forked tail with pendants makes this species easy to recognize it.It inhabits in broadleaved forests, secondary growth and plantations up to 1700 m.The are quite conspicuous and noisy, usually perching on exposed branches and they feed on insects.

I took this picture around the campground in Erawan National Park, where it s fairly common.

MALAYAN PORCUPINE

Malayan Porcupine

Malayan Porcupine , Hystrix Brachyura, is a species of rodent that inhabits South and South-east Asia.It’s a nocturnal animal that lives in all types of forests up to 1500 m.They feed on different types of food, usually roots, tubers, bark, fruits, insects and sometimes even carrion.Their weight ranges from 0.7 kg to 2.4 kg and they live in burrows.The spines are modified hair.

I found this species several times around the new campsite in Khao Yai National Park at night. However, I took the picture of this specimen in Bang Krang campsite, in Kaeng Krachan National Park, when the porcupine was foraging at garbage behind the restaurant by 8 pm.

ASIAN BARRED OWLET

Owl2

Asian Barred Owlet ( Glaucidium cuculoides ) is a species of true owl that inhabits South Asia and SE Asia.They range in size from 20 to 23 cm.It’s found mostly in open broadleaved forests and open areas with clumps of trees, up to 1800 m.This species of owl is located in northern,western,eastern and most part of central Thailand.

I spotted this bird during day, around 4pm, in Salak Phra Wildlife Sanctuary,around the park office.It was perched on a branch and remained still for few minutes,and when it noticed my presence it flew away.It was enough time to take this nice picture !!

This is a video about the great bird biodiversity in the Philippines.It s very well performed and if you wait till the end you can enjoy most of the incredible endemic birds of this beautiful country.Enjoy it !

MAMILANUTRIA

Giant Black SquirrelRatufa Bicolor, is one of the largest squirrels in Asia.It inhabits in South-east Asia,India.southern China,Nepal and Bhutan.It usually occurs in tropical and subtropical evergreen and dry deciduous forests.

Their overall length is up to 120 cm  !!! while the tail comprises half their total length.It’ s diurnal and arboreal occasionally feeding on the forest floor and they live a solitary life.They usually  feed on fruits,leaves and seeds.

I took this picture in Khao Yai National Park in 2012.I saw them many times along the road inside the national park and around Pa Gluay Mai campsite, where i took this nice picture !!

This is a video taken by me in Kaeng Krachan National Park.It s an Oriental Pied Hornbill feeding on a fruiting tree.I would like to apologize for the quality of the video due to I was in an uncomfortable position.However it s an interesting video to see how hornbills feed on a fruiting tree,beside the main office of Ban Krang Campsite.

Hope you enjoy it !!!

Maleo is an incredible and endemic bird of Sulawesi, that has a curious behavior.When nesting it makes a pile of sand and lay its eggs on it.The heat of the sun or of the volcanic soil  incubate its eggs.Unfortunately it´s a very threatened species, with only 5000-10,000 individuals on the north of the island !!!

Check the video until the end !!!