KRUN CHING AND SRI PHAN NGA.MAY 2013

Krung Ching is the most convenient alternative for those who would like to visit Hala Bala, probably the best national park in southern Thailand, and they cannot do it  due to political conflicts in that area. Krun Ching is located near Nakhon Sri Tammarat,  at 50 km from the town Tha Sala .It hosts more than   250 species of bird, and most of the important bird  highlights found in Hala Bala are found here as well.

I took a trip with bcst.I get into a van from Victory Monument and spent more than 12 hours to get there.We stopped for a while near Nakhon Sri Tammarat, next to some rice fields.We spotted some common birds like Indian Roller,Common Myna,Large-billed Crow,White-rumped Munia and Germain Swiftlet and some interesting grassland species, like Yellow-bellied Prinia.

We arrived in Krun Ching in the morning.We stopped at the check point and we started to walk to find species of birds.On a tall tree we spotted the superb Black-and-yellow Broadbill. However it was too far to take a decent picture.Another interesting birds to see were a Red-billed and a Raffle’s Malkoha. Dark-throated Oriole, Drongo Cuckoo, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Dark-necked Tailorbird, Ochraceous Bulbul,Grey-breasted Spiderhunter and Great Racket-tailed Drongo were seen as well along the road.Brownbarbet23Brown Barbet

Once we arrived in the headquarters we stopped in front of the tree beside the main office.We were waiting for a while for some nice birds to see.According to me the most beautiful bulbul in Thailand, the Scaly-breasted Bulbul,made its appearance.It’s a gorgeous bird with black and white ” scales” on the chest and belly found only in southern Thailand.

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Lesser Green Leafbird

The Red- throated  Barbet was another magnificent bird to see in that tree, as well as the Spectacled Spiderhunter with its large billed and its unmistakable spectacled eye.Another birds found only in the southern part of Thailand, Brown Barbet,Red-eyed Bulbul, Spectacled Bulbul  and Green Iora, popped up.Germain Swiftlet,Silver-rumped Needletail, Lesser and Greater Green Leafbird, Blue-winged Leafbird, Brown-streaked Flycatcher, Brown-throated Sunbird, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird and Orange-bellied Flowerpecker were another nice additions worth to mention.

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Red-throated Barbet

By 2 o’clock we started to walk along the birding trail for 2 km.We didn’t see anything worth to mention but we heard many interesting species of birds, like a Malayan Banded Pitta calling,a Little Spiderhunter,a Grey-breasted Spiderhunter and many different types of babblers, like Grey-throated Babbler,Pin-striped Tit Babbler,Chestnut-winged Babbler,Black-capped Babbler and Abbott’s Babbler.

Once we came back we visited the view point late afternoon.A Wallace-hawk Eagle was nesting on a tree and by 5 o’clock an impressive Masked Civet crossed the road.

At night we walked through the camping area with a spotlight checking for owls.The most  interesting to see was a Slow Loris feeding on a tree.

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Slow Loris

Next morning we organized 3 groups.One group went to the trail, the other one wait for the birds in front of the tree beside the office and the other one went to the view point, next to the last bus stop, where you can have splendid views of the two valleys.I decided to spend my time mainly with the last group.We spotted Green Broadbill, Dark-throated Oriole, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Spectacled Bulbul, Streak-throated Bulbul, Thick-billed Green Pigeon, Honey Buzzard Eagle and the Wallace-Hawk Eagle nesting on a tree.

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Red-eyed Bulbul

The other group saw a Black Hornbill, White-crowned Hornbill, Black-bellied Malkoha and Buff-rumped Woodpecker along the trail.

I was willing to see one of the highlights of this area, the Rufous-collared Kingfisher.While sitting in front of the tree,some fellow birdwatchers called me very excited.They told me that a Rufous-collared Kingfisher was heard near the main road.I run up for a few hundred meters and they pointed its location.It was hidden among the leaves and i couldn’t see it clearly.But after walking a few meters farther we could heard and see clearly an individual of a Rufous-collared Kingfisher calling from a branch.I had a great view of this stunning bird but due to the cloudy day and the poor conditions of light i couldn’t take a great picture and video.Indeed, most pf the picture that i took in Krun Ching had some noise because of that.My camera only perform well in good daylight conditions, that’s why I am planning to buy a professional camera in a near future.

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Rufous-collared Kingfisher

Next day we head to Sri Phan Nga National Park,at the western side of Peninsular Thailand.While we had two cloudy days in Krun Ching, rain was prominent in Sri Phang Nga.Once we arrived, we only could do some birdwatching a few hours before the rain started again.

At night we explored the camping area, where we found a beautiful  mangrove snake,with its colorful yellow and black stripes, on a branch but no signs of owls. Afterwards we went to sleep.Around 11 o’clock a fellow birdwatcher enter into our room shouting ” Buffy Fish Owl !!! Buffy Fish Owl !!! ” I woke up wondering if i was dreaming or it was real.I splashed some water in my face and I followed him.The guard told us that he saw it on a tree, above the ranger’s house.He pointed it with the spotlight and i got astonished !!! A large owl that flew away when he saw us  with such an enormous wings!!  It’s one of  the largest owl that i’ve ever seen !!!!

Next day we walked early in the morning along the trail.We found some interesting babblers ( Abbott’s Babbler and Chestnut-winged Babbler ) ,Great Hornbill, Chestnut-backed Forktail, Red-bearded Bee-eater, Common Iora, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Emerald Dove,Red-eyed Bulbul, Ochraceous Bulbul, Stripe-throated Bulbul and a Wiskered Treeswift perched on a branch.Finally we arrived near the weir.We sat on a bench waiting for the superb Banded Kingfisher, but maybe because of the rainy season this gorgeous bird moved to another part of the river.The group didn’t dare to continue along the small trail following the stream where i saw the Banded Pitta 2 months ago, because it was fully loaded of water and it was a bit risky to cross the stream.

Half an hour later, rain came again and the van run to pick up us.A fellow birdwatcher told us that he heard a Hooded Pitta at the beginning of the trail.

We had lunch, arrange our stuff and we headed to Bangkok.We stopped near Chumpon, where there is the largest colony of  Vinous-breasted Starling in Thailand.

We arrived around 1 am in Victory Monument.Next day I had to work.

Extremely tiring but very rewarding adventure !!! See you soon my friends with more pictures and adventures… next time in Khao Yai !!

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