Central and Southern Thailand - December 2007

Published by Chris Mills (professor.yaffle AT virgin.net)

Participants: Chris Mills & Jacky Mills

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Photos with this report (click to enlarge)

Spoon-billed Sandpiper
Spoon-billed Sandpiper
Collared Kingfisher
Collared Kingfisher
Lesser Frigatebird
Lesser Frigatebird
Brown-winged Kingfisher
Brown-winged Kingfisher
Intermediate Egret
Intermediate Egret
Pacific Swallow
Pacific Swallow

20/12 Fly from Norwich 9.50 to Schiphol, Amsterdam onward to Bangkok

21/12 Arrived Bangkok 0710am collected car from Airport and drove to Khao Yai, Juldis Resort arriving at around 1PM. Having got only 2 hours sleep on the plane we grabbed an hour in the room and then birded around gardens and surrounding forest for 3 hours, before meeting up with Oscar Campbell. The Juldhis resort was very comfortable; nice clean rooms, with hot shower, flush wc, swimming pool and good gardens backing on to secondary forest ideal for birding around. The steakhouse restaurant ( opposite the hotel) whilst looking very nice was not so great, none of the food arived together and 2 meals arrived lukewarm. We found food at the less aesthetic looking restaurants nearby cheaper, hotter and better value for money!
Overnight at Khao Yai Juldis Resort

22/12 After having had just 3 hours sleep in the past 36 hours we decided to have a breakfast at around 7.30am, we collected Oscar at 0800 and headed off to the reserve of Khao Yai. We paid at the main entrance gate and then birded mainly from the roadside by stopping several times and walking up and down the road.This was fairly productive resulting a good number of expected forest species. We had lunch at the Reserve centre, and then went to the waterfalls at Haew Pratun - made famous in 'The Beach' film. It was very busy around these areas with many Thai holidaymakers.
Overnight at Khao Yai Juldis Resort

23/12 Again we met up again with Oscar, but this time we had hired a guide - Nang. She arrived at 6am and we went straight up to the area around the Radar station to look for Siamese Fireback & Silver Pheasant. Despite plenty of time and effort we failed to locate them, we did however amass a good number of other birds. Nang then took us off into the forest, under the canopy on several trails and we continued to get to grips with some great birds. She also took us to the infamous campsite for Coral-billed Ground Cuckoo. Unfortunately the camp was solid with Thai campers partying - we did have great views of Blue-bearded Bee-eater here, plus Orange-breasted Trogan the next day. In the afternoon we worked hard for 3-4 hours.
Overnight at Khao Yai Juldis Resort

24/12 Jules arrived last night and today the four of us, Jacky, Chris, Oscar & Jules were collected by Nang at 0545 in her pick-up with a driver. This ensured we were up at the Radar station very early - however it unfortunately did not guarantee us any Pheasants!! The rest of the day was a similar run as yesterday.
Overnight at Khao Yai Juldis Resort

25/12 We left for Khao Yai after breakfast and reached Samut Sahkon, Khok Kham salt pans just after lunch. We managed to locate Mr T and we spent 4 hours searching, scanning through 100's of waders for Spoon-billed Sandpiper. After amassing a great number of waders we had failed to locate probably the number one target species of the trip. There was going to be no big Xmas present today! We decided to abandon the journey to KK, sacrificing a day there for another shot at the Spooner in the morning. Mr T seemed fairly confident that the next morning we stood a good chance. We, by some small miracle, located a very nice hotel in Samut Sakhon - www.centralplacehotel.com or sales@central placehotel.com. If you make it to this Hotel try and ask for Nicky - she speaks good english (few of the other staff do) - she took good care of us!
Overnight at Central Place Hotel

26/12 We took a quick and early breakfast and arrived at the salt pans just after 7am. As we arrived Mr T gave us the "thumbs up" -we all piled out the quickly but very quietly, a few seconds later we took quick turns looking through Mr T's scope at the wader of all waders! For the next hour we watched, digiscoped and photographed the Spoon-billed Sandpiper. As you will see from the systematic list we also amasses a good range of other waders, although we did not see Asiatic Dowitcher or Nordmaans Greenshank - better come later in March if you wish to maximise your chances of seeing these species. We left Oscar after midday - they were heading up North to Doi Inthanon, whilst we headed off east to the National Park of Kraeng Krachan. It tokk around 5 hours to reach KK, and we settled in at the pre-booked bungalow overlooking the lake in front of the dam. The bunglaows are more like wooden chalets on stilts, in a wonderful setting - very clean inside with dormitory style beds, hot shower, flush toilet and fridge. They are about 20 minutes drive from the park gates, and make sure you know the way to the Park entrance as we discovered it is not particularly well sign- posted.
Overnight at Kraeng Krachan Bungalow

27/12 We spent the day walking up the road from the KK park entrance gate. We basically did 3-4 stops as far as the campsite. After the campsite the road detiorates and if you wish to go all the way to the Dam, or birdwatch much beyond here you will need a 4 wheel drive as there are boulder strewn streams to cross. Birding was good and exciting, you could easily stay here for 4-5 days. The campsite looked a nice spot, and you would have the added benefit of being in the Park dusk til dawn, although you would need to bring your own provisions.
Overnight at Kraeng Krachan Bungalow

28/12 Leave KK late morning drive to Krabi aand stayed at Ao Nang Lai Thai resort. This was a crazy long drive of 12 hours and we would probably have opted for an internal flight if we had realised. Especially as our return journey turned into a nightmare 16 hour drive! We booked into the Lai Thai resort pre-booked accommo. This is a nice place - we got a double bed chalet, with hot shower, fridge, very clean. All accommo in Krabi and surrounding area is expensive compared with the other areas we stayed.
Overnight at Lai Thai resort

29/12 We had a lie in this morning and then headed off down to the harbour at Krabi and hired a long boatman to take us out round the mangroves, we had 4 hours and managed to see a good delection of species, although we failed to see Mangrove Pitta.
Overnight at Lai Thai resort

30/12 Today we took one of the tourist boats out to the offshore islands of Ko Phi Phi and Ko Phi Phi Lee, we had some wonderful snorkelling and also manged to see a flock of 50 Frigatebirds, we sorted out several definite Lesser's but are still studying photographs to see if we are bale to add either Christmas Island or Great, be warned you need good views!
Overnight at Lai Thai resort

31/12 Up at 0500 and off to Khao Nor Chui Cui or KNC as it is known! This is the renowned Gurney's Pitta site. Alow 1.5hrs travel time from Krabi. It took 5 hours and 3 walks up and down U-trail but we did eventually see a feamle Gurney's Pitta. The bird was in the muddy valley - well noted by all previous trip reports. We did see several more new species at this site, but it would be fair to say that birding on U trail was tough!! Overnight at Lai Thai resort. One word of warning despite having pre-paid for our accommodation at this resort we were charged extra due to bank handling charges at the Thai end. The American owner did show us his bank statementto verify that he wasn't making the extra money, although I paid what was only an extra £16, it is worth checking this before making a booking, I would recommend trying to do everything via credit card if possible rather than bank transfer.

1/1/08 Today we set off for Petchaburi area, we knew it would be a long drive, but we hadn't reckoned on every Thai tourist heading back towards Bangkok.We had an horrific journey, the traffic for the last 100KM was nose to tail 3-4 lanes of traffic moving at 10-15 kmh. We eventually reached Samut Sakhon and the Central Place Hotel where we had stopped before, we decided on this as it was so late when we had reached Petchaburri and we had no idea of where we were stopping.
Overnight at Central Place Hotel

2/1/08 Today we had a leisurely day around the Saltpans photographing the Kingfishers, Egrets and waders, before returning for a late lunch.
Overnight at Central Place Hotel

3/1/08 We spent the morning in Bangkok around the Grand Palace and visited several other temples, before gathering our gear and getting the flight home to the UK.

Useful e-mail addresses & web addresses

Ao Nang nr Krabi - http://www.laithai-resort.com
Kraeng Krachan & Khao Yai - http://www.thaiforestbooking.com/
Khao Yai - http://www.sawadee.com/hotel/isan/juldis/
Samut Sakhon - http://www.centralplacehotel.com or sales@central placehotel.com
Samut Sakhon Mr. T (the Spoonbilled Sandpiper man!) - teespoonbill@yahoo.com
Nang - bird guide for forest at KK & KY - nang@thailandyourway.com

Accommodation in Krabi

Accommodation for stopping in the National Parks

Accommodation at Khao Yai

Accommodation at Khok Kham, Samut Sakhon

Species Lists

Scaly Breasted Partridge
Red Junglefowl
Common Flameback
Greater Flameback
Heart-spotted Woodpecker
Lineated Barbet
Green-eared Barbet
Moustached Barbet
Blue-eared Barbet
Coppersmith Barbet
Oriental Pied Hornbill
Brown Hornbill
Great Hornbill
Wreathed Hornbill
Orange-breasted Trogon
Red-headed Trogon
Indian Roller
Common Kingfisher
White-breasted Kingfisher
Black-capped Kingfisher
Collared Kingfisher
Brown-winged Kingfisher
Blue-bearded Bee-eater
Chestnut headed Bee-eater
Asian Koel
Green-billed Malkoha
Drongo Cuckoo
Greater Coucal
Vernal Hanging Parrot
Red-breasted Parakeet
Himalayan Swiftlet
Brown-backed Needletail
Asian Palm Swift
Germains Swiftlet
Spot-bellied Eagle Owl
Collared Scops Owl
Collared Owlet
Asian Barred Owlet
Great Eared Nightjar
Systematic List
Grey Nightjar
Large-tailed Nightjar
Rock Pigeon
Spotted Dove
Red Collared Dove
Barred Cuckoo Dove
Emerald Dove
Peaceful Dove
Thick-billed Pigeon
Mountain Imperial Pigeon
White-breasted Waterhen
Ruddy-breasted Crake
Bar-tailed Godwit
Spotted Redshank
Marsh Sandpiper
Common Greenshank
Wood Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper
Great Knot
Red-necked Stint
Long-toed Stint
Temminck’s Stint
Sanderling
Dunlin
Curlew Sandpiper
Spoon-billed Sandpiper
Broad-billed Sandpiper
Black-winged Stilt
Grey Plover
Kentish Plover
Lesser Sand Plover
Greater Sand Plover
Pacific Golden Plover
Red-wattled Lapwing
Brown-headed Gull
Lesser Crested tern
Common Tern
Little Tern
Whiskered Tern
Black-shouldered Kite
Systematic List
Brahminy Kite
Black Eagle
Crested Serpent Eagle
White-bellied Sea-eagle
Crested Goshawk
Jerdon's Baza
Shikra
Mountain Hawk Eagle
Little Cormorant
Little Egret
Grey Heron
Great Egret
Intermediate Egret
Cattle Egret
Chinese Pond Heron
Little Heron
Asian Openbill
Lesser Frigatebird
Frigatebird sp.
Gurney's Pitta
Long-tailed Broadbill
Silver-breasted Broadbill
Golden-bellied Gerygone
Asian Fairy Bluebird
Blue-winged Leafbird
Golden-fronted Leafbird
Brown Shrike
Grey-backed Shrike
Mangrove Whistler
Green Magpie
Racket-tailed Treepie
Large-billed Crow
Ashy Woodswallow
Black-naped Oriole
Black-winged Cuckooshrike
Ashy Minivet
Swinhoe's Minivet
Scarlet Minivet
Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike
White-throated Fantail
Pied Fantail
Systematic List
Crow-billed Drongo
Black Drongo
Ashy Drongo
Bronzed Drongo
Spangled Drongo
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
Black-naped Monarch
Asian Paradise-flycatcher
Common Iora
Great Iora
Eye-browed Thrush
Blue Rock Thrush
Blue Whistling Thrush
Orange-headed Thrush
Asian Brown Flycatcher
Tickell's Blue Flycatcher
Red-throated Flycatcher
Verditer Flycatcher
Hainan Blue Flycatcher
Hill Blue Flycatcher
Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher
Siberian Blue Robin
Oriental Magpie Robin
White-rumped Shama
Slaty-backed Forktail
White-crowned Forktail
Siberian Stonechat
Hill Myna
White-vented Myna
Common Myna
Chestnut-tailed Starling
Velvet-fronted Nuthatch
Sultan Tit
Barn Swallow
Pacific Swallow
Red-rumped Swallow
Asian House Martin
Systematic List
Black-headed Bulbul
Black-crested Bulbul
Red-whiskered Bulbul
Stripe-throated Bulbul
Streak-eared Bulbul
Puff-throated Bulbul
Grey-eyed Bulbul
Ashy Bulbul
Red-eyed Bulbul
Plain Prinia
Chestnut-flanked White-eye
Oriental White-eye
Chestnut-headed Tesia
Common Tailorbird
Dark-necked Tailorbird
Dusky Warbler
Radde's Warbler
Sulphur-breasted Warbler
Yellow-browed Warbler
Two-barred Warbler
Pale-legged Leaf Warbler
Eastern crowned Warbler
Plain-tailed Warbler
Yellow-bellied Warbler
White-crested Laughingthrush
Black-throated Laugthingthrush
Abbott's Babbler
Puff-throated Babbler
Large Scimitar Babbler
White-browed Scimitar Babbler
Striped Tit Babbler
White-bellied Yuhina
Thick-billed Flowerpecker
Systematic List
Yellow-vented Flowerpecker
Fire-breasted Flowerpecker
Orange-bellied Flowerpecker
Buff-bellied Flowerpecker
Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker
Ruby-cheeked Sunbird
Olive-backed Sunbird
Black-throated Sunbird
Crimson Sunbird
Little Spiderhunter
Plain-backed Sparrow
Eurasian Tree Sparrow
Forest Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail
Grey Wagtail
Paddyfield Pipit
Olive-backed Pipit
Red-throated Pipit

Mammals Systematic List

Black Giant Squirrel
Gray-bellied Squirrel
Asian Palm Civet
Pig-tailed Macaque
Indian Muntjac
Sambar
Asiatic Elephant
Variable Squirrel
Wrinkle lipped Bat
Southern Serow
Dusky Langur
Cambodian Striped Squirrel
Long-tailed Macaque

Thailand birding trip report and gallery

For complete trip report & galleries - click here