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  1. #26
    I am in Jail

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    Nice pics as always ...thanks for sharing...

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by backtofront View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by birding View Post
    Phu Toei National Park
    The road up the valley crosses the park into Uthai Thani province cutting off a northern park, we haven’t visited the part of the park to the north of this road so don’t know what it is like.
    Found HQ and the Ranger 3 camp site. But where does one find the cut off in the north?

    Quote Originally Posted by birding View Post
    On one trip we drove up to the Karan Village which is a tortuous drive mostly in first gear up the hill and stopped at one waterfall
    We got as far as the camp site. But turned back as it was getting late and I didn't want to drive down in the dark. Not for the faint hearted that one. My wife says I do it alone next time. Is there any reason to visit the Karan? Food of any sort? Exotic textile weaving, jewellery or just a few farmers wondering who it is?


    Quote Originally Posted by birding View Post
    Friday I packed up and drove over the hill to the HQ camping area where there is mains power for charging batteries. After going out for a feed a couple of hundred meters down the road where an old lady puts on real nice Thai food I spent Friday afternoon then Saturday and Sunday mornings wandering around some of the old logging roads on that side of the park
    I assume this is not the "resort" at the turn off to HQ. Where is the best place to eat local? The old lady the closest? Have you tried the eatery at the gate to Tham Than Lod? Som Tam, larb and omelette are good.

    The road to the north is called Rural Road 4013. Check it out on Google maps. The place where I am hoping to get access to the forest north of there is in a stream called Pa Phak GPS 15.013748-99.365118 enter these numbers into google maps and you will see the place.

    Not really a reason to visit the Karan Village other than to explore somewhere new. There is a school you could visit, the kids dont see many outsiders. Indeed not a track for the faint hearted.

    The place we eat is a few hundred meters down the road, turn left out of the HQ road, again look on Google maps 14.942065-99408969.

    Hope that helps, Robby

  3. #28
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    How does one search using the GPS coordinates?

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by backtofront View Post
    How does one search using the GPS coordinates?
    Get the google maps page and enter the GPS numbers in the top left hand box "Search google maps"

    Click on the little bent arrow in the diamond and a frame will come up that tells you to 'chose a starting point'.

    Choose wherever you like, anywhere really, lets say Lop buri railway station.

    You will then see blue and grey lines drawn from your starting point to the GPS destination.

    Zoom in on the destination and you have it.

    If you use Lopburi it will show you the road over the north of the park, the grey line.
    Last edited by birding; 09-09-2016 at 07:50 PM.

  5. #30
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    Cheers. Figured out the coordinates? Is the old lady opposite the resort on the other corner of 4031 and 3142? Or is she on the right if you are coming from Ban Rai. Will have to let my wife find it. Otherwise it is automatically mai alloy.

  6. #31
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    I was way out. Should find it. Thanks
    Last edited by backtofront; 09-09-2016 at 08:02 PM.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by backtofront View Post
    Cheers. Figured out the coordinates? Is the old lady opposite the resort on the other corner of 4031 and 3142? Or is she on the right if you are coming from Ban Rai. Will have to let my wife find it. Otherwise it is automatically mai alloy.

    At those numbers you will see two blue roofed buildings on the left heading from Phu Toei entrance road and one on the right. It is the one on the right.

    Zoom right in to google earth and you will see the building from the road.

  8. #33
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    Huai Kah Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary.

    What an amazing place with 3 species of deer wandering the camping ground. Food security is very important there as were raided by monkeys during the day and wild pigs at night.



    Caught in the act, camp raider.


    Just on twilight one evening a large wild boar trotted past within 50 meters of our tent and when it saw me reaching for a camera gave a snort and departed at speed. A Hog Deer stag would visit me at breakfast time and try to get its nose into my plate, no way this is mine go eat grass.


    Wild boar.


    We took our tent and all our food and water and had planned to go and stay at the sanctuary for 3 or 4 nights and ended up staying 9, we would have stayed longer but had run out of some essential supplies. The weather was good for the whole trip with some rain when we arrived that cleared quickly and some light rain in the early morning of the day we left. The Ying wants to turn round and go back for a month but there are some things that must be done this month so we will wait to see what the weather brings after that.


    The staff there are very conscientious with strict rules as they don’t want to lose any ‘tourists’ (that was us) either in the forest or to wild animals. One of the rules is that nobody must go farther than 50 meters from a road without a staff member as a guide. As the Ying puts it I am very naughty and as I have hunted all my life I am confident in my abilities in the forest so ignored that one. What they didn’t know didn’t worry them.


    The only real danger there from animals are the elephants which are completely unpredictable and just as likely to attempt to stomp you as they are to run away. Everything else will run from people and that includes tigers. Yes there are tigers not very far from the camp ground, we saw tracks in the river bed less than 200 meters from our camp and the staff told us one had taken a deer behind the toilets while we were there.


    Elephants are also very close as we saw fresh sign of a large elephant in the river bed, it had been there only an hour or so before us, there is also ample older sign of their leavings everywhere we went. On several occasions I got a very strong smell of elephants, one of those was when we were returning in the evening from a lookout tower, a little farther down the track a large animal jumped out of a tree and ran off, very likely a leopard. Next a Sambar deer hind ran ahead of us. At this point Ying was getting very scared and almost climbing on my back.


    Samba Hinds.



    There are many species of animals to be seen there, we saw herds of 15 to 18 Banteng on 3 occasions all from watch towers in forest clearings, whether they were the same herd or not we couldn’t tell although the last lot I saw was about 9KM from where we saw the first just a few days before. As well as the deer in the camp ground I saw Sambar deer on 3 occasions, Eld’s deer, Feas Muntjac and a very small deer that was probably a Mouse deer. There was a Golden Jackal that disappeared before I could get a photo, wild pigs were everywhere and were seen on most days sometimes in large groups. Two species of monkey, as well as the Macaque around the camp ground and elsewhere there was a species of Langur which was probably Pahyre’s Leaf Monkey as that has been recorded there before. Squirrels were also abundant with Giant Black Squirrel, Himayalan Striped Squirrel, Pallas’s Squirrel and several others I couldn’t get good enough photos to ID. Also a Shrew type thing on the ground and I saw rodents a couple of times.


    Banteng bull and cow.


    There was a place where large cattle had been wallowing in a mud hole or possibly salt lick. They were probably Banteng although there are also Gaur in the sanctuary.


    There are 3 watchtowers one on the Home of the Tiger Trail, you can get to this one yourself, the others down the access road you will have to arrange with one of the staff to take you.



    Plenty of bird life about as well, I recorded over 40 species 8 of them new to me. They were sometimes in quite large mixed flocks with 3 or 4 species of woodpeckers, blue magpie, laughing thrush and drongo’s together. I was getting a bit picky towards the end “Ha just another Black Headed Woodpecker, Rufous Treepie or Golden Fronted Leaf bird” All birds I don’t see in many other places but common there.


    Read more about the place with general and detailed information : https://www.thainationalparks.com/hu...life-sanctuary

  9. #34
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    Brilliant stuff, mate. Thank you.

  10. #35
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    Carrying on NP's in the south

    Thaleban National Park


    Not a good start as the man on the gate ‘forgot’ to give tickets, Ying realised this when she got back to the car and went back and got them, she had one word “corruption” as the ticket stubs are the only record of entry money being paid without them the cash can just vanish, the tickets are also our record of having paid.



    Next we were told there had been a lot of rain every day so it would be best to put up the tent in a Sala, fair enough have done it before and agree but the Sala is around 100m from the car and guess who has to carry all the gear.

    Toilets although good are about the same distance away but that’s not a real problem. We are also told that there are few birds about due to the wet weather, this remains to be seen also watch out for the monkeys which get into everything including the rubbish bins which are all wired and tied shut.


    Place is set up for selfie taking tourists with new concrete ‘boardwalks’ and great displays of “Reserved animals” and Hornbill, also several houses for rent and another camping space close to the houses but the toilets there are in poor condition.


    Had a bit of a wander round and saw very little only thing that could be heard were a lot of very noisy frogs, the next morning I walked the nature trail seeing a Chestnut-naped Forktail on the road on the way, almost no bird sound or sight on the trail but a bit of pig sign. I noticed a side track that led round the lake. I took this track later in the day and it led to a rubber and palm-oil plantation which had a bit of birdlife including Whiskered Treeswifts sitting in a dead tree.


    Whiskered Treeswift


    We went up what is a road to Wang Pra ranger station (ranger station 3) which is 10km from the main road, on parts of that road we needed to use 4WD drive as the road was muddy from daily rain. We were told that we needed to have a staff member with us to walk farther into the park and we had to arrange permits at the HQ. Instead we visited the Yom Roi waterfall (ranger station 2) which is a likely area for birdlife with a Black and Yellow Broadbill nest about 4m directly above a picnic table at the entrance station.




    Black and Yellow Broadbill


    I started putting bird photos on the computer and had several staff watching including the man who does bird research at the park and he offered to arrange permits and take up to the Wang Pra Grassland the next day. We went with him but all I will say is that we were very privileged to be given access to the area as it is something given to very few.




    An interesting place that needs farther investigation, most of the birds I saw were around the camping and boardwalk area including many Black-and-yellow Broadbill which are easy to see. I was surprised there is no birdlife around or on the lake as I would have expected egrets, herons and kingfishers as there are plenty of fish present, nor were there any small birds evident in the reeds or other vegetation around the lake. One of the ladies in the restaurant told Ying that no hornbills had been seen in the HQ area for the last 10 years, we were told these birds can still be found in remoter parts of the park.


    There is a restaurant in the park with both Thai and European food the park entrance is only 3km from the Malay border where there are extensive markets that are supposed to be duty free. There is another new market about 100m up the road and on the other side of the road a good Thai place to eat which will also do laundry.


    Comment:
    This is a park well worth visiting however when visiting this park you should be aware of local politics and religion, staff are mostly Muslim and at first (rightly) suspicious of strangers. We stayed there 6 nights and after they got to know us and that we had no ulterior motives for being there they were very friendly and welcoming. The park director said that they would like to see more people there who are genuinely interested in nature and conservation.



    Comment 2
    Ying told the Director about not being given tickets and he thanked her and it would seem the one responsible has been moved on.

  11. #36
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    That's a nice looking bird, the Black and Yellow Broadbill.

  12. #37
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    Khao Luang Naional Park


    This park has several entry points the best known of which would be Kiri Wong Village (Kiriwong Village ? People, River, and Mountain | AECNEWS )which is well worth a visit for the tourist aspect alone but as I have visited several times we gave a miss on this trip, instead we first visited the HQ area then Krung Ching.

    The HQ is another place that is not used to having people camp and the camping ground reflects this, toilets are Thai style but clean.



    Large Cicada

    For those who like waterfalls this is the place to come as this would be the best and most accessible waterfall I have seen, you can drive within sight of the first level and the walk up to the seventh level which is concreted all the way is quite easy although there are a few steep bits, there are toilets at the first and seventh levels for those in need. Information boards along the track up to the waterfalls are very good with excellent English. Pools for swimming if you should wish.



    Level 7 waterfall

    There is a restaurant which serves Thai food and drinks and although they say there are guest houses it appears that some of these are occupied by park staff.

    There is a forest trail starting at the top of a steep concrete road that leads to the accommodation it is an old logging road from many years back and links up with the waterfall trail between the sixth and seventh waterfall, it also has information boards that are worth reading although the top few have disappeared.


    Quite a bit of bird activity along both trails and around the houses with Black-headed Bulbul prominent.

    Krung Ching, Kho Luang National Park

    The signs to Krung Ching Waterfall are easy to follow, the last few KM are through forest then down a hill from the helicopter pad (bus stop) to the visitor center and a spacious ‘green’ camping area with lots of bird calls and activity. Because of the daily rain we put up our tent in what is the covered dining area of the youth camp close to western style toilets but had to move out on to the grass after a couple of nights when 5 families was expected for the weekend. There are several bungalows, or ‘Bangalows’ as the sign says these are best booked in advance on the internet as they can be full particularly on weekends and almost guaranteed to be booked on long weekends when the camping area can also be full.


    We did not have to pay an entrance fee as we had already stayed at Khao Luang HQ and Krung Ching is part of the same national park. When Ying went to pay for our 6 nights camping one of the ladies ‘on duty’ was asleep and the other watching TV and they were not impressed with being disturbed, here was no receipt given for the payment and when Ying questioned them she was told they didn’t have receipts and had never had them. This is only the first time in our travels this has happened the only other time a receipt was not given immediately one was produced when asked for. I don’t mind paying when the money is accounted for and going to the park but when there is no accountability who knows where it goes.






    Jing Jok with a difference




    First morning I walked back up to the helicopter pad and got some photos of Rufous-breasted Malkoha along with other birds then back down to the visitor center where there were small birds flying in and out of fruiting trees, more photos.


    The waterfall is 3.7KM up a concrete path, for the first 2.5KM from the camping area the first KM is up hill and has some quite steep parts after that it is a walk in the park (forest). In the afternoon I explored up that trail for 2.2KM getting some photos of another small flock of Rufous-breasted Malkoha and a Scarlet-Rumped Trogon. I could hear hornbill in several places along the track but seeing them in the tops of tall trees was another thing. On the way back at the 800M mark there is a large fig tree and I could hear hornbill up in its topmost branches, a flock of 5 flew out and landed briefly in another tree before flying off, too quick for me to get photos or determine the species other than to say they were not Great Hornbill.






    Scarlet-rumped Trogon


    The next morning it was very misty and we had to move camp so I didn’t stray far but still got some photos. The third morning I planned to go all the way to the waterfall and almost got there but for a series of stairs disappearing down to the bottom of the fall and knowing I would only have to climb back up if I went down and there were almost 4KM to go back to camp I gave that bit a miss, well waterfalls aren’t my thing anyway.







    The track around the fall and the stairs were paved with stone concreted in place and were a bit slippery meaning care was needed.




    I had one more morning up the entrance road and around the camp ground and another up to the end of the concrete on the waterfall trail adding to my list of bird species every time.







    Red-bearded Bee Eater



    On the last evening Ying and I walked up to a small waterfall close to the camping area and got photos of Raffle’s Malkoha another new species for me.
    Information I had got from the internet on this place is a fair bit out of date as it mentioned resting at the first Sala at about 800M but that had collapsed in a heap several years ago, the second at 2.2KM is on a lean and looks like joining the first at any time, there is a third at the waterfall which is in better condition. The whole trail reflects neglect with all the small wooden bridges in a precarious state (being kind).



    The plumbing and electrical work around the camping area leaves a lot to be desired and there are also buildings in a sad state of repair that look like they are being ignored and left to fall down.



    We have seen this neglect and lack of maintenance in several parks and considering the amount of work that has been done in the past it is reprehensible that things are left to deteriorate in such a way, particularly when we see park staff who could do the work needed sitting around talking and generally doing nothing all day. The toilets were not cleaned until one of the families complained and cleaning stopped when they left. However there are lots of birds there and I ended up with photos of 35 species.


    I have been a bit hard on the staff for there are only 11 of them to look after the whole place, 6 of those are woman and 2 of the men stay in the visitor center at night, as Ying says the real problem is lack of a strong leader (director) to prioritise what is needed and ensure work is done.
    No phone or GPS coverage.


    In spite of that I would recommend the place to anyone interested in birds for there are a huge number of birds of many species present.


  13. #38
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    Are you going to collect all this amazing material into a book or books, mate?

    Brilliant stuff.

    Thanks.

  14. #39
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    Thai Rom Yen National Park


    We followed the GPS from Krung Ching and ended up on a track through the forest that degenerated into a real 4WD challenge with deep ruts and mud holes that requiring creeping along in first-low 4WD and took us 3 hours for the 45KM, Advise for anyone traveling between these parks, go via Surat Thani and follow the signs to Dat Fah Waterfall some of which are only in Thai.

    A good size camping and parking area, we camped up top in front of the food area but had to park down below. Thai style toilets with good showers but there are western style toilets in a bamboo building below the main toilets, intermittent phone and GPS coverage that can’t be relied on. Friendly staff but not telling where the best bird spots are but they will guide you for 500b. No thanks I will explore on my own. Snacks and drinks are available but food is only cooked on long weekends and holidays when there are a lot of visitors to the waterfalls.



    Male Asian Fairy Bluebird

    The bird numbers were so high at Krung Ching that this place seemed a bit of a let-down however one fantastic experience made up for the lesser numbers. First photo OP was a Chestnut-breasted Malkoha then later at the third waterfall a pair of White-crowned Hornbill were defending a nest hole against a determined Blythe’s Hawk Eagle. The eagle would land on a branch of a tall tree on the opposite side of the stream from the nest hole and the hornbill would fly at it and chase it off this happened repeatedly while I watched the show and tried to get photos.



    White-crested Hornbill

    Although there were many bird calls most of the other birds I got photos of were feeding on one small fruiting tree.



    Yellow-eared Spiderhunter

    Where we stayed is ranger station No 6 of Tai Rom Yen NP which is Dat Fah Waterfall there is a limited area up the waterfall stream so we had a look at another entry to the park at Khamin cave 17KM down the road but as they wanted 400b for entry and we didn’t really want to look at a cave so we turned round and headed back.


    One afternoon we visited Ranger Station No 8, 22KM from Dat Fah which is a Princess Chulabhorn project and it looked a great place to stay and to see birds and possibly other wildlife as we were told that elephants regularly walk the roads there. The place is quite high up with several concrete roads and some great views of the surrounding area. It is little visited because it has never been publisised. The lady at the gate was very welcoming and told us we could camp anywhere as long as the staff knew where we were. There are also houses for rent for 500b per night and we could get food cooked for us if we wanted.

    We went back the next morning, gate open at 9am, and got photos of some birds on a couple of fruiting trees near the accommodation and a Black-thighed Falconet on a dead tree at the Princesses residence at the top of the hill. We decided to have a night in one of the houses as our last night in that park so made the arrangements with the staff.



    Black-thighed Falconet


    Next morning we packed up at the waterfall and headed to the house we would stay in which had a double bed and 3 singles and a good toilet and shower. A crested Serpent Eagle posed on a power pole for us on the way in and most of the other birds I got photos of were on the same fruiting trees we saw previously. One of the senior rangers there is keen on birds and knows their Thai names he was very helpful as was his wife who cooked us a meal, did our laundry and sent us on our way with a basket of vegetables from her garden.



    Crested-serpent Eagle

    Next morning there was a real symphony of birdcalls and across from the house we stayed in a Crimson-winged Woodpecker was working on extracting breakfast from the trunk of a tall tree, drongos were flying around and bulbuls and leafbirds were feeding on the fruiting trees.

    There is plenty of potential for anyone interested in exploring this park farther however we only stayed 4 nights at the waterfall and one in the house then moved on.

  15. #40
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    First and last stops Keang Krachan NP

    I guess I don’t need to describe this place those who have been there will know it and those who haven’t can find plenty of information here: https://www.thainationalparks.com/ka...-national-park


    So a brief ‘what we did’, first stop: We had planned on 4 nights at Ban Krang and then another 4 at Phanoen Tung. After the first night at Ban Krang which was a Monday we were told that Phanoen Tung was likely to be crowded over the coming weekend and it would be better if we stayed there on weekdays. We took this advice and moved up on the Tuesday morning and moved back down Saturday morning. Our second visit on the way home we spent camped at Ban Krang and I drove up the road from there on 2 mornings.




    Asian Paradise Flycatcher, on the roadside


    Although there had been rain before we arrived the place was still very dry in the forest. On the way back in spite of daily showers it seemed even drier with less water in the streams. The place, as do most forests in Thailand, needs some weeks of heavy rain to see it over the winter and the next dry season.



    It is 15 kilometers up a one way rough road from Ban Krang to Phanoen Tung that requires 4WD in places, as it is only a single lane road there are set times when you can go up and down. There can be birds seen in many places along this road and sometimes mammals, a couple of places are notable as they often produce birds. At around 9 Kilometers there is a sharp bend to the left round a steep gully here there are usually hornbill both flying and sitting in trees, this is where I got a good view of my first Wreathed Hornbill sitting on a branch up the gully.








    About 3.5 Kilometers farther up there is a bird sign and a parking area which is known as the 27.5 KM area, from here an old road runs down to a stream where there are often a lot of birds. There is also a waterhole beside the road which attracts birds to bath and drink in dry weather, it is well worth sitting and waiting for birds to arrive as many species can be seen. There were at the time we were there nests of a pair of Long-tailed Broadbill hanging over the water and these beautiful birds put on a great show perching close to their nest and flying back and forth. I spent quite a bit of time there and added several new species to my collection of photos including Ratchet-tailed Treepie which is only found in Kaeng Krachan.




    Flying Lizard, capable of gliding a fair distance usually between trees.


    Around the Panoen Tung campsite there were Mountain Imperial Pigeon and Thick-billed Green Pigeons roosting in tall trees and barbets and bulbul flying around. A pair of Great Hornbill visited one day and on another a troop of Dusky Langur’s. Our camp was visited in the night by a group of Malayan Porcupines looking for any food that had been left out but we expect this sort of visit and are very careful of food security.




    Great Hornbill


    Farther up the road past a lookout spot which is where most of the visitors go to look at the morning mists which hang in the valleys there is a side road on the right going up the hill to the Royal residence where the Royal family stays when they visit the park, there is a lookout shelter on the left of that road at the top of the hill where it is worth sitting and watching both down into the valley and the surrounding trees.






    The road carries on up to a lookout and a steep trail to a waterfall. I didn’t go down this trail stopping at a parking area before the road goes steeply down-hill to the start of the trail, There were quite a few birds in the trees there as well as hornbill flying past.


    On the way back down the road to Ban Krang there was a pair of Kalij Pheasants with a brood of young foraging on the road, difficult to say how many chicks there were for they were ducking in and out of the roadside vegetation but there may have been as many as 8. We also saw Red Junglefowl Asian paradise Flycatcher, Emerald Dove which are common, and other birds on the road.




    Golden Jackel.


    Back down at Ban Krang there were Eyebrow Thrush feeding in the camping area and Laced Woodpecker, Yellow-rumped and Taica Flycatchers as well as other birds in the trees beside the stream, along with 3 Giant Black Squirrels. Pied Hornbill flew over on several days and Dusky Langur’s put on a great show of leaping from tree to tree across the road and at times crossing the camping area.







    Dusky Langur.



    Porcupines turned up most nights at the restaurant looking for food scraps and on a couple of nights on our second visit a Sun Bear which also raided our camp in the night getting hold of an old army mess tin which had a little left over rice in the bottom and destroying the tin in the process of extracting the last grain of rice. I came across an Elephant on the nature trail that goes to the right from the camping area and it walked down the road that night and round our tent.




    Malayan Porcupine


    There was a Silver-breasted Broadbill nest above the road about 60 meters back down the road from the parking area before the start of the single lane road up to Phanoen Tung, the birds were very photogenic taking no notice of the sometimes large group of cameras focused at them nor did they take any notice of vehicles passing directly under the nest but carried on flying back and forth with food for their chicks. I watched for some time and was interested to see that the male was carrying insects and the female fruit.




    Laced Woodpecker


    On the road out from Ban Krang to the checkpoint (15KM) there was a fruiting Fig tree which attracted a large group of Stump-tailed Macaque’s, Great and Pied Hornbill, barbets and bulbul.








    Stump-tailed Macaque.


    A great place and well worth the total of 12 nights we spent there. I will return.


    .................................................. .................................................. ..........



    Thats all from the south trip we are off again tomorrow to visit some more National Parks up north. Unlikely to have any internet access for a month but will do some reports when we get back.

  16. #41
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    As crackerjack says, amazing. You have a wonderful eye for catching wildlife in a lens.
    Appreciatiative of your input.

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    Arrived early afternoon and set up camp in what is an extensive camping area with 4 toilet blocks, old toilets are Thai only and new blocks are Thai and western with good (cold) showers and a disabled toilet and shower.
    Foreigner entry is a bit steep at 400b but as we plan to stay 3 or 4 nights it is OK per day.


    First afternoon I headed for the nature trail to find the entrance blocked by new buildings being constructed, so climb over the work and head down an easy trail but not a lot to see other than trees and butterflies to take photos of but when the butterflies are as beautiful as :



    Paris Peacock.




    Next morning I headed up the longer trails and decided to do the middle 4.5km trail, again not a lot to see other than where an elephant had slid down the hill and gone over the stream the night before, until I got up to the lookout at the highest point and started down through the pine trees where there were some birds high in the trees. Got my first bird photos with a new species for me a Neglected Nuthatch.




    Afternoon I went for an explore and drove up the 14km road to Phu Goom Kha, lots of animal sign, Gaur Deer and Elephant and birds on the road and in the trees at the barrier across the road as far as you can drive. Plan to come back tomorrow morning when hopefully there will be animals still out.


    Next morning a Muntjak ran across the road on the way up and there had been a herd of Elephants feeding along the road but they had gone before we got there, very messy eaters these things. On the way back a deer ran along the road for a way in front of us got a few photos of birds including :




    Common Flameback woodpecker


    Called in at the HQ on the way back and were told there was a big mob of people were expected the next day a Saturday with all the housed booked and a lot of campers coming so we decided to cut our stay down to 3 nights and head for the next destination, also told us the best time for birds is when the trees are in fruit in the spring.




    On the last morning I walked about 2 km down the Dong Peak track (4km) which is a couple of km west of the park entrance and wow the place is full of elephants with fresh sign everywhere but they had all moved away from the track before I got there, probably just as well, lots of sign of other animals and more birds than I had seen anywhere else in the park and another new bird species for me an Eurasian Jay.

    General

    A lot of construction going on making a lot of noise which has scared most of the birds and animals out of the area.


    The loop trails are best walked starting from the entrance on the road to the youth camp, from there it is about a kilometer to where the first trail forks off to the left. It is then about another KM through open pine forest to the lookout on the center trail. I did not walk the top trail so cant say where it joined in. Leeches were bad on the bottom part of the trails up the stream but none higher up.

    The trails on the south side of the road were the best for both animals and birds. It would be possible to do these trails without paying an entrance fee to the park as there was no check as we went drove past the ranger station on the way to Suan Son Phu Goom Kha and there is no ranger station on the road to the Dong Peak track.


    The pines and grass area from the junction of the first trail to the lookout was the best place for birds on the north side of the park. Two flights of hornbill went over on different days couldn’t get a good look at them but by the sound of the wings they were Great Hornbill.

  18. #43
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    Phu Khaio Wildlife Sanctuary


    Only 200b entrance this time, much better. A little rain as we arrived so we set up the tent in the Hong Bprachoom (Open sided meeting area) under cover and had a feed then went exploring to work out where to go in the morning.

    Heavy fog in the morning made an early start impossible as there was no chance of getting any photos. When the mist had cleared somewhat we headed to a watchtower past a lake where there was an Osprey sitting on a dead tree in the lake, the first bird photo from here. At the watchtower there were several Red Cheeked Bulbul flying around and smaller birds in some bushes.




    We then went for a drive along what is called a loop track but soon came to fallen trees across the road, walking from there we did not get far before more fallen trees so turned back to camp where there was a Crimson Sunbird flitting around some flowers, with a fair bit of patience I managed to get a reasonable photo of this small bird.




    In the afternoon I went up a track alongside a lake close to the Royal residence to find leeches galore but there were also birds, Gibbons and a species of monkey ( Pig-tailed Macaque) I haven’t seen before so I persevered although picking leeches off the boots and pants before they could get to flesh was a full time job. This track is part of what is called the Queens Loop track which circles the Royal residence.





    Pig-tailed Macaque, the see no evil one.


    It is possible to follow the road past accommodation and drive to a dam where there is a pump shed, (4WD) in the wet, this is part of the Queens Loop (other end). I did this the next morning after first having a look at what I thought was the track to Mon Lake, if it was it hasn’t been used for some time by other than deer and elephants. Several Pied Hornbill flew past me and I managed to get a photo of a small warbler.




    Deer out feeding on the grass lands.


    I then walked the nature trail past a big fig tree on to a narrow walkway across a swamp this branched in the middle with the branches going either side of a lake on to the main road, a bit of pig sign on this track but nothing worth taking a photo of until I got back on the road where there was a Common Kingfisher on a dead tree and a Grey Heron on an the remains of an old shack.




    Female Simese Fireback.




    Male Simese Fireback.


    Rain in the afternoon so I hung around camp getting some bird photos between showers. Rain most of the night and next day but managed to get some photos in the few brief clear periods.

    General


    Lots of deer about Sambar, Hog Deer and Muntjak mostly on the open grass area but a few around the camp area with one particularly cheeky Sambar hind that we were told would raid camps and eat anything, this proved to be true as it ate my soap.





    Common Muntjak.


    Got brief glimpses of 2 small flocks of Pied Hornbill but no photos unfortunately.
    In the mornings there were a lot of birds in the camping area, White-crested Laughingthrush, Red-billed Blue Magpie predominant. A lot of Red-eared Bulbul present, these birds which are mostly seen in cages are also in Tat Mok NP which is part of the same forest complex.


    A place well worth the visit in spite of the rain.

  19. #44
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    Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park

    Access is up a steep winding road through what must be one of the most difficult farming areas in the country with steep fields of cabbages, pineapples and corn with the occasional patch of dry land rice among large and small boulders. Entrance fee is a steep 500b for foreigners and the whole place is tourist orientated.




    One of the rock fields.


    Main attractions are rock fields and the old communist HQ which is what most of the selfie takers go to see. There are 2 large restaurants and gift shops and a small museum.




    Took me a little time to work that one out but I think I have it now.

    A place where they bury communists.


    We set up our tent under one of 2 large covered areas with attached kitchens. Toilets are good with both western and Thai toilets and good showers, cold water as usual, mains power.


    Really only 2 places to go other than the camping area which is large with lots of tents set up waiting for occupants with several houses for rent
    We walked round the rock fields in scattered rain but only saw a few bird species and not many of them.




    Flag cliff sign.


    Only ended up staying 2 nights as five truck loads of Uni students arrived and wanted to use the area we were camped in for a cooking and dining area, seems they had booked the place and were not happy we were there.






    Grey wagtail

  20. #45
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    Phu Soi Dao National Park


    Access is through a winding narrow road up a long valley where the main cash crop is pineapples, the road makes for a slow trip.





    Pineapple fields


    Entrance fee is 200b for foreigners 40b for Thai, Several good camping areas with the best toilets in camp ground 3 where we set up camp. The whole place is surrounded by heavy forest with few access points, the main one is at a waterfall a kilometer up the road from the camp a fee is charged for access but when I walked up the road one morning the ranger on duty asked if I was camped and when I said yes told me to go ahead no charge.





    Entrance to waterfall and trek track.




    There is a restaurant and small shop selling snacks and gifts.


    From the waterfall there is a track that leads to a high point which gives the park its name Phu Soi Dao which roughly translated means “Cliff where you can hold the stars”. This is a 8.5KM trek in for an overnight stay, porters are on hand to carry your gear no doubt for a fee, I didn’t ask as I was not intending to do the trek or stay. The only other access I found was an old road starting at the youth camp that led up the water supply pipeline. This is pretty overgrown with fallen bamboo so much so that I did not get to the water source before the track became very blocked, there has been a die off of bamboo in the area and the fallen trunks are everywhere.




    Blue-throated Barbet


    There is a road about 500m up the main road from the waterfall that I suspect in an access road to the top of the waterfall trail, it is concreted most of the way and is very steep 30 degrees plus in places. I struggled up this road to where it follows a ridge top but as I had not started till 1pm it was getting late by then so I didn’t follow to the end, a bit of wild pig sign and a lot of bird activity up there and I would like to get up there again starting early and spending the whole day but that will have to wait for another time.


    The whole place has an ambience that I liked it has mains power and internet access but no phone coverage. The lack of access into the forest means it is well protected as are its residents which appear to be mainly birds and small mammals as I saw no indication of larger animals other than pigs although they could survive in remoter parts for this park is part of a quite large area of forest along the Lao border that includes our next stop Phu Suan Sai NP.


    Most people that visit there go for the trek up the waterfall trail for an overnight camp we were told that there were about 60 people up there when we arrived on a Saturday but probably less on weekdays.

  21. #46
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    Phu Suan Sai National Park







    Only about 50KM of narrow winding road from Phu Soi Dao through forest and farmland.






    Pineapples are the main cash crop here.




    200b for entry. This park is known as a bird watching site and the place looks well kept with several camping areas and houses and small huts for rent.





    Camp ground and small huts.



    There is a small shop that sells snacks and drinks and a restaurant that does basic Thai Food. We set up camp in camp ground No1 close to the best toilet block. Then wandered around and found small Black-throated Sunbirds and Oriental White Eyes feeding on a flowering bush opposite the restaurant.




    Black-throated Sunbird, terrible things to try to get a photo of so small and rarely still for more than 2 or 3 seconds.


    We then drove up the road past a hill tribe village just to see what we could see. Next morning after a windy night I walked up the road to the second bridge
    There is a bird watching trail and a nature trail as well as a couple of hides set up for birding. I didn’t bother with either trail for with the help of a new friend I found the 2 hides, one is set up where Blue-naped Pita have been seen, with meal worms being fed out.




    Golden Babbler.


    The other is at a bird bathing spot and this hide proved to deliver some amazing sights when I visited it in the evening and on the next two evenings with Ying. At times there were at least 10 species of small birds bathing and drinking at the same time with Babblers being prominent. This gave a problem as to where to point the camera as some of these birds were species that are not easy to find anywhere let alone photograph, Birds like Golden Babbler, Rufous-fronted Babbler, Red-billed Scimitar Babbler and the large Collared Babbler.




    Collard Babbler.




    I spent most of the time there walking or driving the road or at the hides, at a parking spot just before the second bridge there is a big flame tree that was attracting a number of birds including Orange-bellied Leafbirds, the only leafbird species I had not seen before. There is also another of these trees at the second bridge but for some reason it doesn’t seem to have the same attraction.




    Orange-bellied Leafbird.


    The road down from the camp ground seemed to have the most bird activity early in the morning but also the most traffic with staff going to work. Flowering bushes across the road from the camp ground and across the road from the restaurant were attracting small birds but it needed persistence and patience to get photos.




    Oriental White-eye.

    A great place for birds and a place I hope to include in my itinerary on future trips to the north.

  22. #47
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    Khlong Wang Chao national park 23-26 November 2016.




    Entry 200b spacious camping grounds on both sides of the river with one toilet block on either side with western and Thai toilets and cold showers, several houses for rent on both sides of the river, no vehicle access to the far side only a swing bridge. The whole place is well kept and clean. On mains power with the place lit up at night and plenty of plugs for charging batteries.

    Road goes for around 35km up through both forest and agricultural land to a waterfall and research center where there are 3 chalets and a camping ground which looks to be a great place to camp although the road leaves something to be desired, definitely not suitable for a car, pickup or RTV needed preferably 4WD and not for a faint hearted driver.



    Local version of a two lane highway with log bridge.

    There are 3 villages up the road with 2 schools and the last village has a health clinic, school and 3 small shops as well as several new looking houses although most of the other houses are built of bamboo.



    Domestic Water Buffalo.

    There is a waterfall a few KM up the road from the camping area it is a short walk down from a parking area, no bird activity there at all. Farther up the road gets within sight of the river and I went down to the river and walked down stream a bit where there was buffalo wallowing in the river but no birds unfortunately.





    Yellow-vented Flowerpecker

    The most birds I saw were up around the visitor center and helicopter pad in the morning and on a fruiting tree by the swing bridge, not a lot of birdlife but a very pleasant place to spend a few days.



    Indian Rollar.

    General
    This park is the northern end of the western forest complex with the accessible part well populated with villages along the road. It is steep and mountainous and should hold animals in the more remote parts.

  23. #48
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    birding ... great OP ... a real gem.

    Looking forward to the updates as you travel.

    .

  24. #49
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    Lam Sang National Park 27-30 November 2016


    Entry 200b another clean and well-kept park with good toilets. After driving up to the visitor center close to the bottom waterfall which is as far as you can drive we set up camp by a toilet block close to the entry gate then I had a walk down a nature path from the waterfall to the youth camp, a branch off this trail to the right is supposed to continue on to a bridge over the stream close to our camp however the bridge has been washed out in floods and the track is almost non-existent.



    Hainan Blue Flycatcher.

    First morning it started to rain at 5am and continued for an hour and a half so no early start. It cleared to a misty overcast morning so I headed up the track to the waterfalls, this is an easy to follow popular track up a steep stream which levels out to a small basin after the Pa Noi waterfall. The track to the top waterfall heads up the hill before this basin is reached so to find it you must continue on up the stream. There has been a recent flood in the stream and a lot of debris has come down, there was a little animal sign in the basin area but the morning rain had washed most of it out. There is said to be Serow in the park so it is possible they may be in that area, also a bit of bird activity so worth having a look again on a better day.



    Pa Phung Waterfall.

    On the second day instead of attempting to find the track off the nature trail I Went up a small stream which the old track should cross and followed old animal tracks, no fresh sign but a few old tracks still visible. A lot of bird activity up there but mostly in the canopy of high trees and with an understory of bamboo it was almost impossible to see anything and even harder to get photos. I did get a couple of photos of woodpeckers which were with a mixed flock including drongos and laughingthrush.



    Thick-billed Green Pigeon.

    Day 3 I headed up the waterfalls again on another overcast day, this time I planned to go right to the top and got there no problem. The track leaves the stream about a kilometer and a half up and goes up to a ridge where there are high altitude trees and grasses as well as a few pine trees. It then sidles around above the stream to the Pha Te Waterfall. There was a flock of Spangled Drongos on the way up but again almost impossible to get photos or see if there were other birds with them.



    Pha Te Waterfall.

    General

    Mains power, phone and internet access, plenty of lighting and plugs for charging batteries and connecting my laptop, Hot water in the showers although the heater in the men’s toilet did not work, I showered in the woman’s on the nights we were the only ones camping. The usual houses for rent and there is a restaurant 2km down the road from the visitor center and another by the waterfall parking area, never ate at either so can’t say what the food is like, also a gift, snack, shop at the visitor center. It is also possible to camp close to the waterfall across the road from the visitor center. Another pleasant place, the hot water showers are real nice after cold water everywhere else.

  25. #50
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    30 Nov to 4 Dec 2016

    Entry 200B, good looking camping ground with individual bays each with water and lighting and power points that were not working, good toilets with western and Thai toilets, cold water showers and disabled toilets. Was late when we arrived so set up camp ate and into bed.

    Next morning I walked up the road a short way till it started to dive downhill and as I didn’t feel like waking up again I headed back to another camping ground above the road where there were birds in some trees and I managed to get a couple of photos but nothing exotic.



    Ying wanted to visit a King project at the end of one of the branch roads so we set off up what started off as a good road where a lot of work is being done. The road which is being upgraded and sealed up to the first village got progressively worse the farther past that village we went, after passing through several villages and steep farmed areas 44km later we arrived where they are growing non-traditional crops in an attempt to get the farmers to change to higher value crops for the corn they now grow barely makes a profit for what is a hell of a lot of hard work on steep country. A slow trip and another late arrival back in camp.



    Streaked Spiderhunter.

    Next morning I was on my own to explore some of the places we had seen on the trip up the road, first stop was a lookout at around 15km from camp. I arrived just before a family with twins and a van load of chattering tourists so no birds to be seen. Down the road at 11km from camp there is a sign in Thai saying it is a place where birds can be seen with another about a kilometer farther down. This is where an uncommon bird is said to be present the Rufous-headed Parrotbill but it didn’t put in an appearance for me. I did see a number of other species and got photos of 2 that are new to me. In the afternoon Ying wanted to go to the first village up the road to look for something which turned out to be sold out, we then went for a walk to a waterfall.



    Next day I went back to the bird signs where I concentrated my efforts for most of the rest of our stay. There is a lot of bird activity around that part of the road which is strange considering the amount of traffic which creates a lot of noise and dust. With many square KM’s of undisturbed forest to forage in the birds have plenty of scope and every reason to avoid the road.



    Vernal Hanging Parrot.

    There is a steep track goes up the hill from the top camping area and I climbed up just to see where it went, at the top there is a Chedi and a place where a monk stays but he wasn’t at home when I visited, on the last afternoon I walked about a kilometer up the nature trail without seeing much.

    General
    Well cared for camping area and clean new toilets with wheelchair access and the usual houses to rent, a lot of dogs around so food security important.
    Power is from solar panel supplemented by a generator from dark till 9.30. Food is available and as with most parks no English is spoken and farther up the road very little Thai also for the hill tribe people have their own language(s). The kids who have been to school speak Thai but use their own language at home.

    This park is a long way from anywhere so a full tank of fuel is essential before you get there.

    A place well worth the visit and more time than we spent there with 3 new bird species for me and many others as well although that special bird was not to be found.

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