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Old 22-12-2016, 10:28 AM   #51 (permalink)
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After a slight technical hitch we arrived just on dark and set up the tent for the night. Next morning dawned with a heavy mist down to bootlace level just as well for nobody could see that it looked like the tent had been pitched by a drunk so after straightening it up we set up the rest of the camp. By that time the mist had lifted and I went for an explore around the camp area.

I then drove up a road through the park that is supposed to go right through to the Salawin River which is the border with Burma but unless there is another road it would not be possible to go that far on the road from the camp area. I drove up to a small village on a branch road about 18km up the road then carried on up the main road till the road deteriorated to a rutted track and after a close encounter with a buffalo that left a dent in a back door I turned around and headed back stopping at a couple of places where I heard bird calls.



Golden-fronted Leafbird, male

Next morning I again drove up the road which is in the process of being graded and is very dusty. I stopped at about 6km where the road levels off on a ridge top where I had heard some birds the day before, yes there were birds there and I got my first photos. There are several tracks branching off the road leading to villages deep in the forest, I went about 2 kilometers down one which is on a long ridge without coming to any habitation but it was obvious someone lived farther down for there were motorbike tracks. These people will live down in the gullies where there is water which is well away from the road in isolated places


Olive-backed Pipit.

On the last morning before packing up I walked up the nature trail, after an initial steep climb it was an easy enough track both to follow and to walk. A fair bit of bird life with Drongos flying around and woodpeckers easy to hear, I managed to get photos of Black-headed Woodpeckers and a Crested Serpent Eagle, a bit of pig sign so there are animals about.


Black-headed Woodpecker.

General
Another well cared for camping and HQ area with new toilets, western and Thai, a disabled toilet and shower cold water again unfortunately. Camp ground is beside a lake where a flock of birds came down to drink one afternoon. They achieved this by diving into the water then flying up to a handy tree. I arrived back at camp in time to see the tail end this display but had little luck in getting good photos. Dogs are present hoping for handouts and are not averse to attempting to steal food at night
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Old 22-12-2016, 11:32 AM   #52 (permalink)
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Wonderful photos, birding. Great info also on facilities available in each of the parks.




Sorta makes me want to get out there in the wilderness again and....nah.
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Old 22-12-2016, 01:09 PM   #53 (permalink)
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Nice thread and photos mate. Makes a change from threads about road carnage,murders and suicide!
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Old 22-12-2016, 05:05 PM   #54 (permalink)
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Wonderful photos, birding. Great info also on facilities available in each of the parks.




Sorta makes me want to get out there in the wilderness again and....nah.
I tell you mate it sure beats the wilderness of BKK and other big cities with their traffic, crowds and pollution and Pattaya with its wilderness of bars bargirls and ladyboys.

Get out there and find out what fresh air really is.
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Old 24-12-2016, 05:37 PM   #55 (permalink)
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7 to 10 December 2016

Entry 100b.The road in to this park may deter some for it is a few hundred meters of rough dirt road but for birds it was to prove well worth the effort. Small camping ground a couple of houses for rent and what they call the Log Cabin which has 4 bedrooms with 3 beds in each and a large common area, each bedroom has its own western style toilet. Outside is a small toilet and shower block again western style.


Had a bit of a wander round after setting up camp and worked out where to look the next day which dawned cold and overcast meaning the birds didnít appear till fairly late but when they did there were plenty of them and over 20 different species including both male and female of the beautiful Scarlet Minivet.


Female Rosy Minivet.


Best places for birds were in front of the rental houses looking down past the HQ building and down the road to the staff accommodation. I never left the camp ground area that morning and got photos of 19 different species. Afternoon I went for a walk or climb round the Nature Trail which went up through pine trees and then round and down a steep gully, a few birds around but difficult to get photos
There were people staying overnight in the rental houses and a group in 3 of the rooms of the Log Cabin that night so next day which was cold again, well cold by Thai standards at 15c, the birds didnít put in an appearance in the same numbers but I did manage to get another 3 species.




Male Scarlet Minivet.


Afternoon I went for a drive up the road to Mae-Ab Waterfall which is located 6 kilometers from the National Parkís office. Turn right on leaving the park road on to Rte. 1270 drive until reaching Baan Mae-Ab and then take a branch road on the left which is marked by a sign. This is a steep concrete road which branches at some houses, take the right branch which soon deteriorates into a dirt road which would be impassable in the wet, at another branch go left to a small bridge over the waterfall stream there is a small place to park beside the stream and It is a further few hundred meters walk to the Waterfall. Got a photo of a Slaty-backed Forktail in the stream which made the trip worthwhile for me.



Mae Ab Waterfall.

Last morning I again looked down from in front of the rental houses then around the camp ground while packing up and got shots of both male and female Scarlet Minivet and a Banded Bay Cuckoo, a new species for me.


Banded-bay Cuckoo.

General

This would have to be the easiest place I have been to so far to see a good variety and number of birds, it would be a great place for someone who is less mobile for it is possible to sit in one or two places and see a great variety of bird species. No problem with dogs or any other camp raiders and no large animals in this part of the park.
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Old 24-12-2016, 07:24 PM   #56 (permalink)
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Another splendid recount. Thank you.
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Old 29-12-2016, 08:06 AM   #57 (permalink)
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Doi Inthanon NP 12/12/16




Arrived early afternoon on a Monday which was a holiday, waved through the checkpoint and told to pay at the HQ where they only wanted payment for the nights we camped and the vehicle , in the camp ground there is mostly unoccupied tents everywhere and nearby shops selling about everything you could want, very commercial and people milling about.


Setup camp in what is the caravan area which has separate bays with power, lights and water, toilets across the road have both western and Thai style toilets with hot water in the wheelchair toilet (donít tell the babbling mob).

Set off to do a bit of exploring first off up the road from camp ground to the accommodation then for a couple of kilometers up the road to the Karan Village then back down the main road to the checkpoint where I was asked for the tickets they didnít give us on the way in. Turned back a short distance up the summit road and walked a short distance up a dirt road 4.5 kilometers from the camp, a place that needs farther exploration.




Next day I went back down the road we had come up to the Huai Sai Luang and Mae Pan Waterfalls. First I had a look at the Huai sai Luang fall which is only about 50 meters from a parking place, nothing of interest there but when I walked back to the road there were flocks of Scarlet Minivet in the trees over the road.





Mae Pan Waterfall


The parking place for the Mae Pan Waterfall is about 300 meters farther up a narrow road then there is another 500 meters walk down a not very good track to the fall. A bit of birdlife on the way down and 2 species of Redstart in the stream unfortunately I only got photos of a Plumbeous Redstart and missed out on a White-capped Water redstart.



Plumbeous Redstart.


It was still early so I decided to have a look at the summit where there were hundreds of cars and what looked like thousands of people milling about, to many people for me so I turned around without getting out of the car and headed back down to the to the road I had prospected yesterday.

I drove to the end where there is what appears to be a ranger station and had a wander around seeing very little. There is a branch road heading up hill from this road and I parked close to the fork and walked up the branch which leads to what was once cultivated land and continues for some way. Quite a bit of bird-life up there and I got my first photos of White-headed Bulbul. When I got back to the car there was a mixed flock of birds moving fast high in the trees, saw Maroon Oriole and Long-tailed Broadbill but the only birds that would stay still for a photo were Drongos.




White-headed Bulbul.


Day the next I went on down the main road towards Chaing Mai to the Wachirathon Waterfall first thing in the morning to beat the sightseers. First bird I saw was a Slaty-backed Forktail then a male Plumbeous Redstart then a Grey wagtail and Blue-whistling Thrush. The tourists had then started to arrive so I headed back to the previous days road seeing more birds including White-headed Bulbul and an uncommon Mrs Goulds Sunbird.




Slaty-backed Forktail.


Back to camp for lunch then a look at what is called a nature trail but a sign said it could only be walked with a local guide no doubt for a price so I gave that a miss and wandered around close to camp where I got photos of more birds.
Next day it was back to the dirt road and along the fork that goes to the reverting once cultivated land getting photos of more birds on the way.




Oriental Turtle Dove.


General
We were not asked for an entrance fee when we entered from the Mae Chaem (West, check point 2) side but when I exited there they wanted to see the tickets, we only had camping tickets but they let me go through. It would appear that if you have not paid an entry fee you are supposed to pay when you leave. When we left the park by the East entrance (check point 1 Chaing Mai side) we expected to pay an entry (exit) fee but were waved through. Result we did not pay an entry fee. Conclusion, an entry fee is charged when you enter from the West and if you have not paid an entry fee is charged when you exit in the East.

For what little its worth this is what I would do if I were to visit this park again.
Approach the park from the Mea Chaem or western side and spend 2 or 3 nights at the camp ground at Huai Sai Luang Waterfall, to stay there you donít enter the park at the second checkpoint. In the morning there should be lots of birds in the trees around the camping area including flocks of Minivet. Head up the road to the parking area for the Mae Pan Waterfall and walk down to the waterfall, there should be birds on the way down and below the fall Redstarts, both Plumbeous and White-capped, and possibly Forktail in the stream.
Next day early, like 4.30 to 5am, head for the summit, to get there I donít have to pass a checkpoint and as the checkpoint sign says it opens at 6am I should be able to beat the main influx of tourists who have been staying in the park or coming in from the east. Next morning pack up and enter the second checkpoint and camp at the caravan area at HQ area camping ground for another 2 or 3 nights. Then back to the dirt road at 34.5 KM which is probably the best bet for getting away from the crowds and seeing a good range of birds. In the evenings there should be birds in the trees between the camping area and the rental houses so I would have a wandering up the road.
In the morning head back to the dirt road park at the bottom and walk up, there is a clear area on the right about a hundred meters up where I will be able to look out at some tall trees where birds often perch early in the morning. Farther up the road take the left branch and follow as far as I want. I should start to see birds when I get to the first pine trees then farther on there is a tall tree down on the right where birds like to perch, I should see White-headed Bulbul there as well as other birds. Carrying on down the road there is a dip into a sort of gully where birds seem to congregate, I would stop there and watch, the main visitor will be Flavescent Bulbul but other more desirable species like Mrs Goulds Sunbirds and Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler may appear. From there the road rises to the start of forest then heads downhill into the forest and up to me how far I feel like walking.
I would also have a look for what is called Ďthe jeep trackí which I failed to find, but then I didnít ask.
On the way home head out the other way towards Chaing mai and stop at Wachirathon Waterfall where I should see Forktail and Redstart.
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Old 15-01-2017, 03:52 PM   #58 (permalink)
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We included this park as a break in the long trip home and only stayed for 2 nights, it is mainly known as a place where it is possible to climb and camp overnight on top of a hill (mountain to those who have never seen a real one) and on weekends there are a large number of people who camp up there, about 1000 on the Saturday when we were there and we were told 1700 the long weekend before. When we arrived there was a very noisy group of school children in the youth camp area so we set up out tent as far away from them as possible in a Sala close to the staff accommodation.




Common Flameback.

Next morning I had a wander around first to a small lake with an island in the middle then to where I could hear birds in tall trees close to the staff houses, they sounded like parakeets but no way could I see them instead I got some good photos of a Banded Broadbill an emerald Cuckoo and a Vernal Hanging Parrot.



Banded Broadbill.

Afternoon the lady boss wanted to go to the Sukhothai Historic Park which is at the north-east end of the park, after we had been to the historic park here was still time in the afternoon for a look at a parking spot about half way from the entrance gate to the camp ground, there I found a monk had a tent by a stream and on the other side of the stream there were lots of tracks through the forest, birds in there as well so I followed a track which eventually led me back to the road. Next morning it was pack up early for the long trip home.



Part of the big temple at the historic park.

General

Entry fee 200b, this park is in a convenient place for an overnight or longer stop to break up what is about a 600km trip from northern parks to our home or Bangkok I will include it in future trips and may then climb the hill as there are probably different higher altitude birds to be seen.

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

Thats the last park from that trip, planning is complete for the next one which will take in 13 national parks in the north right up to the Burma border. The plan is to leave on the 7th February and be home around the 20th March, more reports then.
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Old 20-03-2017, 10:27 AM   #59 (permalink)
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The far north air on this trip was full of smoke which made scenic shots difficult to impossible, higher up there was wind which cleared some of the smoke but it was still hanging in the low lying areas.

First stop on our far north-east trip was :




Gave TaksinMaharat N P a miss and went straight to Mae Ngao NP which is the same forest and north of Mae Moei NP on road 105 north of Mae Sot. At the gate we were told no charge and camp anywhere, camp ground is along the river which gives the park its name, toilets are nothing flash but servisable.




Part of the camp ground along the river


Next morning I had a wander round till Ying got ready to go exploring (driving) up some of the roads that lead into the interior. These roads are mostly rough dirt roads and some go up to 20km up the hills. The whole place is populated with hill tribe villages with a lot of the hillsides cleared for agriculture which means there is not a lot of the original forest left, what there is is mostly teak and other disideous trees with a bit of evergreen forest in some of the gullies.


We went to the end of the first road to a village then had a go at the second road which was very rough and not worth the effort, the third road led to another village where a woman was weaving. Ying lept out to have a look while I turned around, woman being what they are she ended up buying hand woven cloth and shirts so thatís why she brought an empty bag.




Weaving.


On the way back down the bird of the day posed beautifully for photos, a not often seen White-rumped Falconet.





Female White-rumped Falconet


Most of the other birds seen were round the camping ground particularly on two flowering trees.
Next 2 mornings there was a heavy fog which made looking for birds difficult but I still managed to get a few photos.




Part of the weaving village.


An interesting first stop that has little original forest left what there is is mostly Teak and other dry disideous species, sad to see so much burnt and in agriculture, the term I think is modified but destroyed would be closer to the truth. Many of the people there live in very remote places in small villages, some have motorbikes some do not, they have their own language and only the young ones who have been to school speak Thai. There are some solar panels and satalite TV dishes in places but otherwise no power or gas with cooking done on wood fires.


We were told that it is the girls who must propose marriage and they are the ones to pay Sin sod, one lady with 3 sons said it was great for boys are profit.


I suspect these people will gradually move out of the forests as the old ones die off and the young see the outside world and no longer want to do the backbreaking work of farming the steep hillsides this will take a generation or two and there will still be the odd ones hanging on but the forests will then be able to start regenerating.
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Old 20-03-2017, 12:12 PM   #60 (permalink)
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Have you heard or experienced Thai pricing for farangs with the Pink ID card? Some on other forums claim it gives admittance at Thai rates.
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Old 20-03-2017, 08:14 PM   #61 (permalink)
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[quote=Pragmatic;3488790]Have you heard or experienced Thai pricing for farangs with the Pink ID card? Some on other forums claim it gives admittance at Thai rates. [/quote

As I dont have one I havent asked but we were told recently at one park that if I have a Thai drivers license I could get in for the Thai price.

Each park is different some parks free except for camping charges others up to 500b which I refuse to pay and go elsewhere. As we normally stay 3 or more nights at a park I dont mind paying the normal 200b if you go to camp grounds in other countries you will pay far more than that. Tickets are given as receipts so the money is accounted for and goes towards the upkeep of the park and the facilities that I am using.

I know it is contentious that foreigners are charged more but to me its still cheap for what I get in return.
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Old 20-03-2017, 08:52 PM   #62 (permalink)
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Quote:
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I dont mind paying the normal 200b
But its 400 Baht to visit a NP for a farang. http://teakdoor.com/thailand-and-asi...rk-farang.html (B400 to enter a National Park for farang.)
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Old 21-03-2017, 10:23 AM   #63 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by birding
I dont mind paying the normal 200b
But its 400 Baht to visit a NP for a farang. http://teakdoor.com/thailand-and-asi...rk-farang.html (B400 to enter a National Park for farang.)

As someone who actually goes to these places I can tell you there is no uniform overall charge set and different parks charge different prices.

For instance at this one we camped at two different entry points for 3 nights at each and there as no entry fee charged at either we only paid 30b each per night to camp and 30b for the car:

Nam Tok Mae Surin NP



Although it the same park I will separate the waterfall area from the HQ area for they are about 100km apart by road.




Waterfall gateway.


Waterfall


This is at the south end of what is quite a long park.


Arrived just on dark and set up the tent, will fnish the rest of the camp in the morning.


After setting up the camp I had a wander round the camp ground which is quite spacious and empty other than us, I then had a look at the waterfall from the lookouts and round the camp ground although there is only a small area there were plenty of birds about.





Said to be on of the highest waterfalls in the country.


Barbets were calling constantly all day and Gibbons joined the chorus. I read somewhere that the presence of Gibbons signifies a healthy forest and the number of birds here would also indicate that.

The forest is mostly evergreen with some Teak higher up the hills.




Female Scarlet Minivet.


This is a place that should be on birders itinerary for there are many species without crowds of people. There are many more species here than I recorded for I missed lots of Photo opportunities and got several poor shots that I could not ID. Birds were mostly round the camp ground and around the waterfall lookouts.




White's Thrush.


We only paid for the nights camping and entry for the car, no charge per person. No power at the camp area or toilets, there is a generator sitting behind what has been a restaurant but it seems that it as well as the restaurant and shop buildings are only used for a couple of weeks in November when the sunflower fields at Bua Tong are in bloom for it is then that crowds come to see the flowers and many stay overnight at the camp ground.





White-headed Bulbuls.


There are houses for rent and people stayed in one on the second night we were there. Dogs are present so food must be secured.


Headquarters area.


Again no charge for entry only paid for the nights camping and car entry, good camping area close to a river and toilets with mains power and lights at night, houses for rent but didn’t ask price.


Not a huge area to explore but lots of bird calls on a short loop road that runs past a nursery area and a rough road up to a dam that holds big fish and several people trying to catch them. There is another rough road which starts at the beginning of the dam road and leads up the river to agricultural land.





Fishing in the dam.


Most of the birds seen were around the loop road and up the gully on the far side of the dam. There is a walking track that goes round the dam and tracks up the gully, some pig sign up there and also a pack of dogs.




Asian Barred Owlet.


I had read of a nature trail at Mae Sareng 17km south of the HQ where there were said to be lots of birds, after having to pay 200b to walk the trail I found the bit about plenty of birdlife to be a fiction and a waste of 200b. I did continue to drive up the road that passes that trail but saw very little.





Male Pied Bushchat.


Friendly staff who gave us far to many vegitables which they grow themselves, mains power with lights on at night and charging points for batteries, there are some dogs but they gave us no trouble. A nice place to stay close to Mae Hong Son for fuel and anything else that’s needed and coupled with the waterfall to the south a great park for birds.





White-bellied Woodpecker.
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Old 22-03-2017, 12:54 PM   #64 (permalink)
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300 Baht entry which is a bit steep but we ended up staying 6 nights so not to bad, spacious terraced camp grounds with good toilets but very windy up there at 1700m above sea level, we set up camp in a sort of sheltered place close to toilets and I did the usual wander round to get to know the place getting a few photos. After a windy and cold night, down to 11c with the wind chill making it feel closer to freezing, dressed for the cold I went round the camp grounds getting some good photos.




Spectacled Barwing


Once Ying had got out of her warm bed we went for a drive up the road that heads to into the interior of the park and to villages and a watershed conservation area, this is another Royal project things we see everywhere we go and in the most remote places. There are houses for rent there that must be booked in advance and a camp ground which at close to 2000m above sea level must qualify for one ofthe highest camp ground in the country, the place looks really good and we decided to head up there to camp for 2 or 3 nights.




Orchids that are growing on pine trees.


Many good birds around the HQ camp and toilets and a sala across the other side of the road from our tent, birds would come in the morning to feed on the insects attracted to the lights at night and still there in the morning.






Long-tailed Minivet.


There are dogs a cat and buffalo wandering around at night so once again food security is important. We were told that the late King donated a pair of buffalo to the park about 40 years ago and they have now bred up to a herd of around 30 which has turned semi nocturnal and sometimes wanders into the camp area at night making a pest of themselves, at least one has a bell attached probably one of the original pair. Doubt they were from wild stock but it is possible as there would have been wild herds in several places back then.




Male Grey Bushchat.


Headquarters and visitor center are just down from the camp ground, this is where nice looking rent houses are, there is alsoa firebreak road in the left about a KM up the road which we drove along for about a KM, all these places are worth a look for birds.




Walking down the road one evening, Yellow-throated Martin.


After 3 nights we packed up camp and went 18km up a not to bad road to Doi Sam Muan camp ground, second gear most of the way with first needed in places, 4WD would be required in the wet but not when we went.





Set up camp just before a mob of kids from the school down the road turned up to play football, seems we were on their football ground.




The camp Ground is sheltered from the wind and below are 3 rent houses which must be booked in advance, there is also a meeting room and small museum which unfortunately has not been well maintained. The project was set up by the late King 40 years ago as part of an initiative to get the farmers off growing poppies which were at the time the main crop in the area. A bird survey was done there 18-19 years ago and a list of 128 species recorded is posted in the museum along with some photos.





Verditar Flycatcher.


There was a flock of small birds roosting in the trees by the camp ground the only one I managed to get a photo of was a Great Tit, there is another large tree with some bare branches that I saw several species stopping at in the morning and a gully down the road at a small shop that sells food and snacks that holds small birds in the evening.




Rental house Doi Sam Muan.


General


This park with the 2 camp grounds with good accommodation at both should be a must on any birding itinerary to the north for there are many species that are easy to observe. The corn stubble up high is ideal habitat for wintering Buntings and others and I saw 3 species, Mrs Humes Pheasent is present, I had a female fly past my head and disappear into the scrub but no photos.





The road to Doi Sam Muan continues on round the back of Chiang Dao with birding all the way. We will return.
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Old 23-03-2017, 12:52 PM   #65 (permalink)
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We Continued up the road from Doi Sam Muan which led round the back of Chaing Dao and arrived at the headquarters to be told there was no camp ground there but we could camp at a grassy place outside the Temple and use the temple toilets, I wanted to get the use of power to charge my lap top battery so we decided to bunk up at one of the many places with rooms for rent, first we tried Maleeís which is menitoned on several web sites but she wanted 800B for a room for the night which is somewhat out of our budget range so we looked around and ended up in a basic room with outside toilet and the luxury of a hot water shower at this place for 250B.






In what was left of the afternoon I went up to the temple and walked, climbed, up the 500 plus steps to the monks quarters but failed to see any of the birds that I had read were there. Next morning I drove up to what is called the check point trail which leads up a stream, not a great deal of birdlife about but did get a photo of a White-crowned Forktail which made the walk worthwhile.






Large Cockooshrike


On getting back to where we stayed I decided to pack up what little we had unloaded and head up to Den Ya Kat camp ground which is a high level ranger station. A permit is needed for this trip which is 18KM over a quite rough road, we got there without having to use 4WD but in the wet it would probably be impassable.





Male Mrs Hume's Pheasant


Set up camp in a good size camp ground with just adequate Thai style toilets and had a wander up a new firebreak past a small lake seeing a few birds but not getting many photos. Next morning I went a fair way up what is called the sumit trail seeing more people than birds for it is a track that, as the name suggests, leads to the summit with camps in between and is popular with those wanting to climb a mountain.




Large Hawk Cuckoo



Next day it was up the firebreaks again up as far as they had been cut getting photos of a male Mrs Humes Phesant which is one of the iconic birds of the area, unfortunately missed a photo of the female which I saw at the same time it saw me. I headed down just as the clearing gang arrived and hung around the small lake or large pond where the newly cut firebreak starts, there are two more smaller ponds up a gully above the lake this is where the water supply comes from and I went up there several time and got photos of different birds every time. There are also water tanks at the bottom corner of the lake one of which is overflowing and this is where some birds were going to bathe.




Bath time, male and Female Orange-bellied Leafbirds


General


Power is by solar arey with lights in the toilets and staff are friendly so should be no problem to get batteries charged. Anyone wishing to go up there should note that it will be closed at the end of March to open again in November this is because of the fire risk and then the wet season. There were gangs there cutting and clearing the firebreaks in preparation for the fire season.
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Old 25-03-2017, 01:52 PM   #66 (permalink)
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Doi Ang Khang

This is not a national park but none the less is a known bird spot and well worth a visit.


After stocking up at Chaing Dao and missing out Pha Deang NP because there was a large group of school kids filling up the camp ground we arrived fairly late and had a look at the camping grounds and the army camp then had a feed at one of the restaurants at the King Project where there were Striated Swallows roosting in a building across the road from the King Project gate. We then put up the tent at the camp ground with the intention of moving in the morning for the toilets had no running water and no power.




Striated Swallows.


In the morning we packed up early and set up our tent and camp at the army camp where camping is free, they have good toilets which unfortunately are also lacking running water, there is power for charging batteries at the coffee and drinks shop.




I then went for a walk down what is called the ridge trail which starts 300m beyond the 21KM mark up the road from the army camp seeing some good birds and getting good photos of 2 new species.




Brown-breasted Bulbul.


Next morning we had planned to go up to a lookout point then walk up a trail along a high ridge, this proved to be a bit of a waste of time as there were very few birds to be seen and even less that I could get a photo of.




View from the army camp.


We then went for a drive up the road to the Burma border and to several villages where the main crop is strawberrys with flowers and vegetables grown as well. Back to camp for lunch then I had a look at what is called the Mae Phur Valley Trail which follows a stream down to where a wide firebreak has been cut up a ridge I climbed a little way up this firebreak and saw more birds than I had seen walking down the trail.




Rufous-backed Sibia.


On the morning before we left I went back to the 21km trail and walked down a branch that goes to the right, it goes through thick forest then sidles round a steep face. There is also a branch to the right off this track which probably leads to a ridge and high point but as we had to pack up and leave I did not attempt it.






Burmese Shrike.


On the way back the sun was behind me so gave a better look at things, in a small gap in the forest I saw several small birds and a small flock of laughingthrush but the only birds that would stay still long enough for photos were Grey-cheeked Fulvetta and a Specticaled Barwing. Farther back on the main trail there is a small patch of grass and birds were all around so I didnít know which way to look but I was fortunate to get some photos of Silver-eared Mesia, and Scarlet-faced Liocichla a bird I had hoped to see but up this time had missed out on, but for some strange reason all the photos I took that morning are not on the camera card, a big disapointment.

General

There are several resorts in the area as well as some houses to rent, mains power everywhere and shops and resteraunts although the prices are high compared to in town. A travelling shop goes round every day stopping at the army base it has frest meat, fish and vegies so no need to take much food if you are doing your own cooking. The 21.3 Km trail was by far the best place I went.
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Old 25-03-2017, 02:23 PM   #67 (permalink)
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This is such a great thread. Thanks for sharing your lovely photos and information.

The yellow throated marten is a lovely animal. Never have seen one.
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Old 25-03-2017, 06:05 PM   #68 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by misskit View Post
This is such a great thread. Thanks for sharing your lovely photos and information.
Indeed it is, Kitty.
Quite stimulating.


We surely could use more threads of this ilk.
Nice work, Birding!!

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Old 16-04-2017, 10:14 AM   #69 (permalink)
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After refueling and stocking up at Fang we set up camp at Fang Hot Springs where there are 4 spacious camp grounds with good toilets but only cold water showers, we set up camp in camp ground D beside a small lake and I went for a short explore up the water supply pipeline.




Siberian Rubythroat.


Next morning we drove up what is the west side road to the Burma border stopping at several place where we saw birds, being a Sunday there were a lot of people about mainly looking for birds, not a lot of photos that day but learnt a bit about the place, knowledge that was put to good use the next 2 days when I went up again.




Little-pied Flycatcher.


It takes about an hour to drive up as far as you are allowed to go from either Fang township or the hot springs. The first part of the road goes through villages and fields of onions and garlic then through orange orchards then once past national park sign steeply up into the forest till a ridge top is reached where the forest changes to pines and roadside scrub. This is where the majority of the birding is done particularly in the area around this sign.






There are several places where someone has been ignoring the sign and feeding birds, each place seems to have a specialty group of birds and I spent most of my time at 3 of those places where I got most of my photos.



Long-tailed Shrike




General


There are hot pools where you can go to bathe both outside and private in small huts, several good looking houses for rent with air con and a place popular with locals and kids where they can play in the water of a stream. In the hot spring area there is a geyser that spouts about every half hour and a pool where it is possible to boil eggs, little rattan baskets are sold in local shops to put the eggs in. Restaurant and shop on site as well as an informative visitor center, all signs are in Thai and good English. Entry fee is 300 B but this covers the whole park which includes the next 2 places where we intend to camp, a worthwhile place to visit from a bird point of view or just to wander around a well kept park.






Our next stop was Kiew Lom camp ground which is said to be the highest camp ground in the country but I can tell you the camp ground at Doi Sam Muan is a little higher.






Fueled and stocked up again in Fang before heading up to this high level camp ground where we set up the tent in one of the 3 large camp grounds, lots of birds around the camp ground including a Nuthatch bouncing around on the pine trees, this turned out to be a Chestnut-vented Nuthatch a bird I havenít seen before.





Chestnut-vented Nuthatch.


After getting some photos I headed up to explore towards the summit of what is the second highest mountain in Thailand which I intended to climb next day. It was calm when we set up camp but not long after dark the wind started and continued all night the next day and the next.









Headed up the hill as planned but saw very little bird life, much more around the camp. When I got back down we went for a drive back down the road to a junction that was signposted to lead to what is called the A frames camp ground, this proved to be a good concrete road, a better alternative than the rough road we went up.







Silver-eared Laughingthrush.


The A frames camp is apparently closed but a farther 6KM down the road there are 2 other camp grounds one at this place and the other which is very nicely kept at the Royal residence which is also Ranger station No 4. Ying liked the look of the place and we decided to move there the next day, 4am next morning it started to rain and with the wind driving it horizontally into the camp everything outside the tent got nicely wet. Fortunately it stopped around 9am and we packed up a slightly damp camp and headed down.




Royal Residence, Ranger Station 4 camp ground.



This is 12KM down the road from the junction and has good toilets and a 3 bedroom house with all mad cons, TV, hot water and air con for rent at 2000b per night this must be booked in advance and VIPís get priority, food can even be cooked for you if you wish. After setting up camp I drove up and down the road a bit to explore and saw a pair of Mountain Bamboo Partridge on the side of the road then farther down feeding on a red flame tree Red-billed Scimiatar Babbler, Rufous Treepie and a Maroon Oriole.




Rufous Treepie.



Next morning after a slightly windy night we drove back to the flame tree but very little activity this morning. Farther up the road at what is called the Royal Pavilion there were other flame trees and the one of these was very popular with the birds including something I didnít recognize but after going through the book I identified it as a Spot-winged Grosbeak, there were quite a number of these, mostly female but I did see one male.





Red-billed Scimitar Babbler.



Evening it was back to the other flame tree between the 16 and 17km markers and several other species including Great barbet, Golden-throated Barbet, Orange-bellied Leafbird and Little Cuckoo-dove put in an appearance.





Golden-throated Barbet




General


This place would make a great base for anyone wanting to visit the mountain and the east side road, mains power with plenty of battery charging and lights at night. The flame trees and opportunities along the road give a great range of species without having to climb a hill or even leave the vehicle. The road is concrete most of the way except for a couple of KM at the bottom which is in the process of being concreted and although up and down and round about is easy access for even a small car while the other road needs high clearance and in places 4WD. From the junction up to Kiew Lom is also quite easy car access with concrete on the steep bits. If you go there take a tow rope, strop or chain for it is quite possible there may be fallen trees across the road, we encountered 2 which we had to hitch on to and tow out of the way, a machete is also a useful thing to carry.




One of the fallen trees.
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Old 30-04-2017, 10:54 AM   #70 (permalink)
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Tat Mok NP revisited


We had promised Yingís sisterís 2 girls we would take them on a trip in the school holidays and Tat Mok was first of the 4 parks I planned to visit with them. We had told them there was a small river there where they could swim and they were keen to get in the water. After we had set up camp I went with them to look at the swimming hole only to see a Reticulated Python already in residence, that put a quick end to the swimming ambitions.



Reticulated Python about 2m long.


There was still the waterfall I could take them to so we headed up there the next morning to walk the track to the falls. First thing we saw was a forktail sitting on the first bridge across the stream.



Slaty-backed Forktail.


We were to see several of these birds on the way up and back including one that had a nest in a hollow log in the stream. It had a beak full of insects to feed the young in the nest but was reluctant to enter the hollow log when we were there, flitting back and forward then when we moved on it hopped along the track in front of us till it was satisfied we were no longer a threat, it then flew back up the stream presumably to carry on feeding itís brood.



Yellow-rumped Flycatcher.


There were many stream crossings on the way up and back, most could be negotiated by carefully stepping on dry rocks and once by walking across a large fallen tree.





The girls on a fallen tree bridge.



The waterfall itself was OK as waterfalls go and behind it there is an extensive area of cliffs a great habitat for Serow which are said to be present in the park.



Tat Mok Waterfall.


I managed to sneak away the next morning before the girls woke and went for a walk to the conservation and nursery area spotting a deer on the track unfortunately it was too quick for me to get a photo. When I got back to camp I took the girls for a drive to this area then back to the main road for ice creams.
I had time in the early mornings and evenings to do a bit of looking around for birds and got some reasonable photos including a new species for me a Black-throated Laughingthrush.







Black-throated Laughingthrush.
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Old 30-04-2017, 11:12 AM   #71 (permalink)
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I'm blown away! Still gotta' go back and read everything - absorb ALL the info.

Looking forward to following your tracks in the not so distant future, birding.
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Old 06-07-2017, 12:03 PM   #72 (permalink)
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3 nights + 2 in Khao Yai National Park

This is a very popular park as it is fairly easy access from BKK and at weekends and holidays can have a lot of tourists camping or just visiting for the day.

Approached from Nakhon Nayok and left the same way so did not go any farther north than the 33km trail.


Well what did I learn from my first time in this park?
First off the same thing as many places I have been to, ďItís the wrong time of the year you should come inÖÖÖÖÖ.Ē


Ok but I go places when I have the time and right now is it. Next 450b to get in and even foreigners with Thai residency must pay, a lot of good info on this park but bird density was not what I had hoped for and most are quite flighty meaning I got few photos but still 4 new species. Plenty of deer about as well as the tame ones in the camp grounds I saw both wild Sambar and Muntjac, no evidence of recent Elephants either on the roads or grasslands, only saw one set of Gaur prints so they are elsewhere at present . The grasslands are mostly between waist and head high with very little being eaten down.





Young Sambar stag

I stayed off most of the trails because of the leeches and the Phu Kluai Mai waterfall being closed. I did do the 33km trail and found the first 200 or 300 meters to be a bit confusing because of all the side tracks after that it was no problem to follow right to the watchtower grassland. Best bird sightings were between the 700 and 800 meter marks where there is an opening in the canopy that give a view of some trees that the birds were using, then close to the grassland where a pair of Green-eared Barbets had a nest hole in a dead tree. I turned round and walked back from there but later walked up from the watchtower to the forest edge.




Green-eared Barbet.

I went to some places not mentioned on sites giving info on the place the first was Phu Diew Dai cliff viewpoint on the road to the top of Khao Khiew hill. This consists of a fairly new boardwalk down to the cliff lookout and back, a lot of work has gone into making this boardwalk and it proved to be an interesting place for the first thing I heard on the way down was the calls of 3 blue Pitta but unfortunately no sighting. I went back for a second time on the way home and saw Black-throated Laughingthrush and Large Scimitar Babbler and an animal, I have no idea what it was, it was close to a meter long overall, dark brown with a thin tail and ran very low to the ground presumably having short legs.







Off track places where I had an explore were the grassland on the right on the way to the youth camp there are 4 new (almost complete) toilet blocks built there as well as another building close to the road, they may be planning another camp ground there. On the other side of the road there is a new toiled block and caravan bays like at Doi Inthanon and Mae Moei NPís. I thought that would be a good place to camp for the night but got woken at about 10 pm and told I had to go to one of the camp grounds.




Great Hornbill.

Other tracks I explored were a road about halfway between the checkpoint and Lum Ta Khong camp site this leads to a new pond that has been dug at a clearing where a Muntjac was feeding the first time I went there. I first started to drive along this road until a pair of Simese Fireback ran along the road in front of me from there I parked and walked past 2 camera traps (DSLR) one of which I triggered being to lazy to find a way round it. I walked this road again in the hope of the Fireback making another show but no such luck, there was however a flock of Pied Hornbill roosting in the trees along the track.

Off track places where I had an explore were the grassland on the right on the way to the youth camp there are 4 new (almost complete) toilet blocks built there as well as another building close to the road, they may be planning another camp ground there. On the other side of the road there is a new toiled block and caravan bays like at Doi Inthanon and Mae Moei NPís. I thought that would be a good place to camp for the night but got woken at about 10 pm and told I had to go to one of the camp grounds.





Muntjac.

Another is a track that goes from a parking place about 1.2km up the road from Lum Ta Khong camp to grassland and to a road that has a barrier across, lots of deer sign on this one, both Sambar and Muntjac and another quite large flock of Pied Hornbill roosting in the trees.



Pied Hornbill.

The third is a track that branches off the 33km track where it comes down through the grass, this goes to the Klong-e-Tao ranger station and a Ďdonít goí sign after it passes grassland and enters the forest. I got a glimpse of a Blue Pitta by the pond on this track as it hopped out in front of me when I was trying to get photos of White-eye bouncing around in a tree, unfortunately it left as quick as it arrived so no photo.







House Swift on nest under the watch tower.

New bird species for me are House Swifts nesting under the watchtower, Rufefcent Prinia and Bright-headed Cisticola in the grassland and a Black-and-Buff Woodpecker along the 33km trail. An interesting trip even though it didnít produce photos of any of the sought after species.



Another 2 nights at khao Yai.


Not in the plans but I suddenly had to act as a taxi to take someone to Prachin Buri so to take advantage of the distance from home I went back to Khao Yai for 2 nights. First thing was to set the trail cam then up to the boardwalk at Pha Diew Dai in the hope of Blue Pitta but no sign of them.





Wreathed Hornbill.


Again stayed the nights at Lum Ta Khong camp site and in the morning did the 33km trail again with the only notable birds being a pair of Wreathed Hornbill high in a tree, fortunately was able to get a reasonable photo. Had a look along the cycle track in the afternoon and walked some of the grass areas, saw a couple of Sambar but no notable birds.





Tickells Blue Flycatcher.


Next morning I picked up the trail cam which had been set on video and got videos of Muntjak in the daytime and Sambar at night. From there it was back to Pha Diew Dai again after Blue Pitta, plenty of calls but the only bird photo I got was a Tickellís Blue Flycatcher. There were birds on the other side of the road behind the parking area but nothing unusual.
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