Three weeks in Thailand 4

To: birding-aus <>, "Ebn " <>, birdchat <>
Subject: Three weeks in Thailand 4
From: Vader Willem Jan Marinus <>
Date: Sat, 19 Mar 2011 13:27:42 +0000

                                 THREE WEEKS IN THAILAND 4. KAEN KRACHANG NP

The last days of our VENT trip we spent in Kaen Krachang NP, a large forested 
area with only 2 roads and also quite few tracks. We stayed at a 
countryclub-like place outside the park, where our rooms were so far from the 
reception and restaurant, that we had to be transported by golf carts. 
Interesting rooms, as they contained a small zoo, it turned out: in my room 
there were three frogs of two different species, a very large flat spider, the 
usual small gekkos, and their predator, the tokeh, who announced his presence 
now and then with a loud 'gekko' (or 'tokeh'). In a loudspeaker in he 
restaurant a Hoopoe nested and had two small, but already crested young, and 
close to our room a nightjar sat on its eggs (?); more thorough studies showed 
that it was not the Large-tailed Nightjar that we heard a lot around here, but 
an Indian Nightjar.

Also outside the park proper is Ban Nok San, a place where a retired 
school-teacher has created a bird paradise by constructing a few pools and 
feeding regularly. There is a lee-screen from behind which one can observe the 
birds. Easy birding, this: one sits on a stool and peers through the holes, and 
lots of birds come and show themselves. There were Greater and Lesser Necklaced 
Laughing Thrushes, Siberian Blue Robin, Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, Abbott's 
Babbler, Buff-brested Babbler, and both Large and White-browed Scimitar 
Babbler. Red Jungle Fowl was a common visitor, and even the otherwise so shy 
Bar-backed Partridge could here be watched at leisure. There were also mammals 
here, Indochinese Ground Squirrel and Northern Tree Shrew, all clearly 
habituated to this place.

The park itself was a wonderful and wild place, full of colourful butterflies.  
One had to leave own transport at the gate, and we were within the park 
transported in open 'bakkies', a bit of a problem now and then, as we had 
several thunderstorms; fortunately things dry out quite quickly in these 
temperatures. We entered the first day through the one road, and found two bull 
elephants. Otherwise also here there were various squirrels, and the constant 
gibbon song, but this park also had two species of leaf monkeys, the common 
Dusky and the rarer Banded, and we watched both in their very hazardous-looking 
'long jumps' from tree to tree. A very large fruit tree that we had found the 
first afternoon, and which we hoped would be full of fruit-eating birds the 
next morning, was instead full of monkeys. There still were many leafbirds, 
fairy bluebirds and barbets, but the hornbills were clearly not willing to land 
there, as long as there were so many monkeys, and there were also fewer pigeons 
than usual, although we did find the uncommon Yellow-vented Pigeon (besides the 
often common Thick-billed Pigeon), and had close ups of a calling Mountain 
Imperial Pigeon.

Kaen Krachang was also the area for the broadbills for us this time. Earlier we 
had had several chances to admire the Long-tailed Broadbill, but here we found 
first the exquisite Silver-breasted Broadbill, and the next day the chunky 
Dusky Broadbill, almost a caricature of a bird. On the last day we chased also 
the Black-and-Yellow Broadbill for a long time, but although we heard its very 
characteristic 'boiling kettle' call all around us, we never got to see the 
birds themselves. But we did succeed in seeing the Green Magpie (A bird I 
missed so often during an earlier trip to Buthan, that I started doubting that 
it really existed), as well as the very uncommon-looking Ratchet-tailed Magpie, 
living here in an isolated local population. And of course also here we had a 
new flycatcher and a few more bulbuls, as well as the nice Spot-necked Babbler 
and lour first Orange-bellied Leafbird.

All in all this has been a wonderful trip, and I have seen many more birds than 
I ever could have found by myself. Many thanks Dion and Mike, and also Jane, 
Linda, Pamela, Sharon, David, Jim and Mike, who all showed me birds I had not 
found by myself and who also were such good company!

Wim Vader, Tromsø Museum

9037 Tromsø, Norway


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