This year my partner Matt and I planned a holiday around a diving event which Matt often attends called Diving for Life; a week long fund-raising diving get together/holiday for various gay and lesbian dive groups from around the world. This year’s was held on Phi Phi Island (Ko Phi Phi) and we organised the rest of the trip around this. I wanted go birding in some mainland forest in southern Thailand so I joined DFL part way through the week. We also visited Cambodia with friends, then Bangkok before flying back to Sydney. Overall the cost was ok, largely because we had paid for DFL when the dollar was almost at its peak, and also because I changed my Aussie dollars for USD and Baht when the dollar started to drop, knowing that I had to pay for much in cash. I saw 231 species overall, with 102 of these being lifers (underlined below), and heard a further 20 more.
17/10: Fly from Sydney to Krabi via Bangkok, overnight at Maritime Resort, Krabi
18-19/10: Morning birding around resort and in mangroves nearby. After lunch drive on to Khao Nor Chu Chi (KNC) staying at Morakot Resort for 2 nights. Birding on trails in reserve and around resort.
20/10: Morning birding at KNC, then depart to Krabi staying at Maritime Resort; afternoon birding in grounds and nearby mangrove walkway.
21-24/10: Depart Maritime for Ao Nang thence ferry to Ko Phi Phi, where staying at Phi Phi Cabana Hotel for next 4 nights. Birding on island trails, also boat trip to Ko Pida Nork.
25/10: Depart am to Phuket by ferry, transfer to airport and fly on to Siem Reap via Bangkok, arrive in the evening; five nights in Siem Reap at Royal Crown Hotel.
26/10: Visit Beng Melea, then late afternoon trip to floating village of Chong Kneas off Tonle Sap.
27/10: Visit Angkor area, including Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm and Banteay Kdei.
28/10: Day trip to Ang Trapaeng Thmor.
28/6: More Angkor temples with Ta Som, Preah Khan, Preah Neak Pean, Angkor Thom, and Phnom Bakheng.
29/6: Fly to Bangkok; stay 4 nights at Silom Serene, near Lumphini Park. Afternoon sightseeing.
30/6: Full day birding with Nick Upton at Bang Pra, Muang Boran and finally ending up at the pier at Bang Poo.
1/11: Full day birding with Kamol Komolphalin from Nature Trails at Khok Kham, Laem Pak Bia and nearby in Phetchaburi.
2/11: Sightseeing in Bangkok – pm birding in Lumphini Park.
3/11: Early am birding in Lumphini Park and then depart for home.
We visited at the end of the wet season. This meant daily showers, often heavy, and at different times each day. One time I was on a forest trail in torrential rain, but at other times I was either just about to leave when the rain started, giving me the chance to wait it out, or it ended up in a lighter shower which was ‘birdable’, especially under the forest canopy.
It was not the best time to bird in Cambodia, as was pointed out to me before going. I had originally hoped to do three day trips from Siem Reap; one to Ang Trapaeng Thmor, another to Prek Toal on Tonle Sap and a third to the Florican grasslands at Kropong Thom. When I enquired about these at the Sam Veasna Centre, I was told that the Florican Grasslands trip would be out due to flooded roads and grassland, and that the trip to Prek Toal would be doable but many key species such as Greater and Lesser Adjutant, Milky Stork and Spot-billed Pelican wouldn’t be there at the time due to water levels being too high there and more available water elsewhere in the country.
I opted for the trip to Ang Trapeng Thmor; even though the breeding Sarus Cranes wouldn’t be there until January, Lesser Adjutants could pass though in November and I stood a good chance of seeing the pelicans then too. Milky Stork was also a possibility since a pair have bred here last season along with the more common and similar Painted Storks. I also hoped to see the deciduous woodland in the north of the site for birds which I would have otherwise missed on the trip. It turns out I was probably a few weeks too early for the adjutants and pelicans, and couldn’t pick out the potential pair of Milky Storks among the others because we couldn’t get close enough. The actual birding at ATT, whilst still great, was limited to 2 sites along the main roads (“main road” is a relative term), since all other tracks, including any that went near deciduous woodland, were under water; when we did see the storks and ibises in the north-eastern end of the reserve we couldn’t get any closer for the same reason.
I only scratched the surface of Cambodia, and I would really like to return for a longer and more extensive trip later in the dry season. I had read elsewhere that there is a paucity of birds in rural Cambodia simply because people hunt them, however even if there were fewer birds than in similar habitats of other countries, I did see more from the car than I expected based on this preconception. We did saw a boy with a slingshot at Beng Melea which was ominous. Whilst there may be a relative paucity of birds in rural Cambodia, the lack of development has mixed effects. On one hand, the infrastructure is not as good as in neighbouring Thailand and it takes longer to get anywhere and from this point of view birding is harder here. Conversely, less development means less habitat loss (at least for wetland some wetland species) and some birds which are now effectively extinct in central Thailand are found in Cambodia.
Field Guide: I used Craig Robson’s (2005) Field Guide to the Birds of South East Asia. There are no maps, but it does list various divisions of the regions where the birds are present and its status for these. To exclude a species from a division, you have to read through all the various codes. The divisions used are fairly large (Cambodia is a single division), so a species may have a range in an area which only represents a small portion of that division. At least I had the book for long enough before hand to get a good idea of what I would see in the various places I visited, but this still didn’t help with the last mentioned problem. A glance at Robson’s later guide solely for Thailand (with maps, and reduced number of pictures and species per plate) showed just how misleading a distribution list in the South-east Asian guide can be. It was nevertheless very useful.
CD-Rom: Upon Nick Upton’s advice, I bought a copy of Jelle Scharringa’s Bird of Tropical Asia 3. This has calls of a large number of species for the region; it has the capacity to make playlists up for various areas, and to convert files for use on mp3 players. I applied the patch update listed on the website to add new features, and it was well worth it. With a list of 258 calls, I didn’t stand a chance on getting to know even half, but I learnt enough calls to realise what some species were when I heard them; unfortunately this meant that I now have a bigger list of birds which I have heard but not seen! In particular it helped with learning the calls of some of the Phylloscopus warblers which aided in determining which species these were on occasions when views themselves were not necessarily diagnostic.
Websites: Nick Upton’s website thaibirding.com is great, and has extensive information, lists and maps – a great resource. The Sam Veasna Centre website is worth a look if you are interested in visiting Cambodia.
Guides: I took myself birding in some places and used guides in others, largely for reasons of access and transport, and to maximise my time. I went on an organised day trip to Ang Trapaeng Thmor, arranged through the Sam Veasna Centre, and our guide was Mony. Mony was friendly, polite, good on his bird ID’s and quite experienced for someone who has only been doing it for a few years, and he clearly enjoys what he does. He showed us what he could at the places we could access, given various constraints caused by weather.
I spent one day birding out of Bangkok with Nick Upton, who runs the thaibirding.com website. He took me out for a big day at Bang Pra and Muang Boran, ending up at Bang Poo when it was actually almost dark. Nick was excellent; he knew what he was looking at and what he was looking for, and where to see them. We crammed a lot of birding into the one day and it was worth it.
I spent another day with Kamol Komolphalin of Nature Trails (email firstname.lastname@example.org) at Khok Kham, Laem Pak Bia and surrounds. Kamol was also great, extensively experienced in the region and was also adaptable to take me to search for target species. We did miss some of these later in the day, but this was hardly his fault given that they were variously rare, local or elusive, and I had already seen Spoon-billed Sandpiper, White-faced Plover and Nordmann’s Greenshank so the day was pretty fantastic. The seafood lunch was definitely a highlight. Patcharee from Nature Trails, with whom I corresponded to organise the trip and to get information on guided birding in the south, was always polite and helpful. Birding with Nick and Kamol offered different experiences, but I’d recommend both.
I had hoped to go with Yotin Meekaeow in KNC to look for Gurney’s Pitta (and maybe some nocturnal birding), but this just didn’t work out.
Taxonomic & identification problems
One particular problem was regarding identification of Yellow Wagtails sensu lato. The official Thai list treats this as a single wide-ranging species pending further data; races recorded include thunbergii (although the affinity of these birds has been questioned), macronyx and taivana, possibly also tshutschensis. Given the overlap in appearance in younger birds, females and non-breeding males, I couldn’t go identify any of the birds seen here or elsewhere beyond ‘Yellow Wagtail’, and will treat this as a non-tick, but it is likely that if treated as a split complex I would probably have seen at least some which were not included as Eastern Yellow Wagtail (which I have seen in Australia). Apparently things become easier after January when adult males start to assume breeding plumage again, but until that time it’s pretty much anyone’s guess unless you’re very experienced.
A bird which I saw quite well, but whose status is still technically uncertain, was the bird which has come to be widely known in the region as the ‘White-faced Plover’. This was only fairly recently realised to differ from Kentish Plover. According to Kennerley et.al. (2008), this taxon is the same as the type of Charadrius dealbatus of Swinhoe; this name was later mistakenly applied to the more widespread East Asian population of Kentish Plover (C. alexandrinus). The extent to which this differs genetically from C. alexandrinus and other related taxa is currently being investigated, and Kennerley et al (2008) note that if this taxon, which they refer to as “Swinhoe’s dealbatus” , is recognised as a full species, then White-faced Plover should be kept as the English name. For now I am following others and keeping this in as a tentative species.
One of the trickiest ID problems was with Chinese Pond Heron and Javan Pond Heron. The first is a winter migrant, and overlaps with the Javan Pond Heron in most areas I visited, notably in Central Thailand and in Cambodia where the latter is resident. These are essentially indistinguishable when in non-breeding plumage. Even the key character mentioned in Robson (2005), the duskier wing tips on Chinese Pond Heron, is apparently unreliable (according to all my guides) as variation in this is likely to be due to wear. On the basis of sheer numbers present, I no doubt saw both species, but can you claim to see either if you cannot distinguish the two? Nick Upton told me that Javan Pond Heron is scarce in the south, and coupled with a tendency for Chinese Pond Heron to prefer freshwater habitats and Javan to prefer saltwater, I am quite certain that the bird seen at the Morakot (19/10) was Chinese Pond Heron, almost certainly another single bird at the water treatment works on Ko Phi Phi Don (24/10) was this species. At other locations I would have seen both species although they were indistinguishable. Pond herons moult before returning to their breeding grounds; at such time they are easily distinguished. Indian Pond Heron is also a slim chance in the south but is also indistinguishable at the time of my visit.
A couple of uncertainties in identification involved both possible Green Iora and Orange-breasted Green Pigeon on Ko Phi Phi Don, but views were not good enough to rule out similar species. Of course I also saw birds which I had no hope of identifying from brief glimpses, quite a few, but then that’s the same for all birding trips.
I stayed at the Maritime Resort, which backs on to the mangroves and the river, and is only about 1.5km north of town. After arriving fairly late in an exhausted state, I woke up early the following day (being 4 hours ahead), getting up at about 5:45am, keen to see what was on offer. I could already hear the Great-eared Nightjars calling from inside the room even though the doors were shut. All I could see from the balcony at first was mist, but as the view became lighter, and the mist lifted a little in patches, I eventually saw at least five of these birds sailing harrier-like over the lake. During the course of my stay there I walked around the grounds and saw a number of good birds. A small track passed from the lawn to the hotel pier on the river. A pair of Blue Whistling Thrush hopped around here, and a Forest Wagtail quietly crossed the path one morning. Further along I saw Brown-winged Kingfishers on the river, along with the first Common Kingfisher of the trip, and a first winter male Ashy Minivet appeared in the vegetation at the base of the rock outcrop. Dusky Crag Martins circled around here, and Rufous-bellied Swallows, a recent split form Striated Swallow, circled over the lake along with Pacific Swallows. The first of many confusing pond herons prowled around the edges of the lake. In the coconut plantation adjacent to the mangroves I saw a pair of Common Flamebacks. White-rumped Munias were flying to and from the central building; on my second night here I had a room in this part of the hotel and these birds were nesting on a neighbouring balcony in a Bougainvillea in the planter box. More were doing the same on other balconies, but you can’t really look into someone else’s balcony with a pair of bins. On the edge of secondary growth near the driveway I saw 3 Black-crested Bulbuls which was a pleasant surprise. Other lifers seen here included my first Black-capped and White-throated Kingfishers, Common Tailorbird, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Red-throated Flycatcher and Streak-eared Bulbul.
In an effort to catch up with more mangrove species, and as an alternative to the river boat trip, I walked along the mangrove walkway. This starts where the main road into town diverges from the river. From here the track passes through mangroves, some areas more open than others, and ends up at the base of the rock outcrop seen from the Maritime. On my first visit I slowly walked back and forth doing 4 laps of the track, but it was very quiet, not a sign of the pitta, I did see my first Arctic Warblers, the only Brown-streaked Flycatcher for the trip, along with Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker and Ruby-cheeked Sunbird. After returning from KNC I had originally planned to spend my afternoon on a boat trip to the mudflats, but opted for a second walk on the walkway. I finally saw Mangrove Pitta, in a fairly open area and the part of the track closest to settlement, along with Ashy Tailorbird, Dark-necked Tailorbird and Pale-legged Warbler (along with more Arctic Warblers).
Khao Nor Chu Chi
Often known to birders as simply KNC, the correct name for this reserve is Khao Pra Bang Kram, and it is home to the famous Gurney’s Pitta. This fact alone is a drawcard, although I was also attracted to the thought of birding here because it was a lowland evergreen rainforest site which was not far from Phi Phi, was reasonably easy to access by public or hired transport and had a network of trails. It has often been said by others that KNC is difficult to bird, perhaps even one of the most difficult places in southern Thailand. The trails within primary forest pass through excellent examples of this vegetation, but as such the canopy is high and the trails narrow, meaning that often you are lucky to get a glimpse of a bird you may hear calling, and often not many were calling. Bird waves, and accompanying quiet periods in between, are a feature of tropical rainforest birding, but here I encountered small waves at best. Often birds were unusually quiet, especially in a build up to a storm, and there would be a noticeable increase in bird calls immediately before the rain began.
I stayed at the Morakot, which is only a few hundred metres down the road from the main entry to the reserve and it’s famous hot springs (known as the Emerald Pools). The small bungalows were compact but offered a shower and a toilet, and the meals at the accompanying restaurant were basic but good, and ridiculously cheap. I saw a number of good birds at the Morakot during the course of my stay, including Chinese Pond Heron (the only pond heron which I feel sure was this species) Hairy-backed Bulbul, Stripe-throated Bulbul, Olive-winged Bulbul, Thick-billed Spiderhunter and Pin-striped Tit Babbler. I asked about Spotted Wood Owl since I had read that this was a regular bird here, but was told that it only sometimes turns up if you play the call (I had no speakers) so I didn’t really try to look. I was surprised not to hear Brown Hawk Owl at night, and I didn’t hear any nightjars or nocturnal bird calls, at least that I recognised, so didn’t end up looking for them.
One of the women who ran the Morakot gave me a trail map, but some tracks didn’t appear to be there or had grown over and lost any markers they may have had. Many of the trails are narrow and poorly marked, if at all. In contrast to this, the H trail is big and obvious – since it is now a road which carries motorbikes and even trucks laden with oil palm fruit. Several side trails branched off, one ended in regrowth around a fallen tree, one may have been one end of the real N trail which was difficult to follow, and all the others ended up in plantations (rubber or oil). These were nearly all relatively small and isolated within forest except for what I think was the M trail which just plain ended up in plantation, presumably on the edge of the reserve. This all says a lot about encroachment and the continuing danger it presents to this forest, to the wildlife in general and to Gurney’s Pitta in particular
I saw some good birds here, in particular in was a good place for babblers, but diversity and abundance was generally lower than I had expected. I spent an afternoon, a full day and a morning here. On the first afternoon, I l walked down the road to bird the H trail and its branches. Off the main road I saw a King (Blue-breasted) Quail flushed from long Blady Grass (Imperata cylindrica), possibly by a dog. Further along I had a good view of an Eyebrowed Thrush sitting in mid-storey of the forest, and flying overhead at the junction with the H trail, I saw a Blyth’s Hawk Eagle pass overhead. Humidity was high and the storm was brewing, but the rain didn’t start until about 4:45pm, and birds were generally quiet and laying low until then. Along the H trail I had a brief view of Fluffy-backed Tit-Babbler with its distinctive feathers on its back erected. Further along in undergrowth on what I guess was the M trail before it went into plantation, I saw Asian Paradise Flycatcher and Chestnut-rumped Babbler. Heading back to the H trail, which noticeably shrank, lost its car tracks and became more of a bike trail, I saw a Green Iora and a Black-and-Yellow Broadbill in a tree above the trail, just before the rain became heavy. Other birds seen here included a few Black-throated Babblers and a Large Wren Babbler. I stood under a fallen tree with its vines offering some protection but after a while the torrential rain kept pouring through and time was ticking so I headed back, with the rain clearing at dusk.
The next day I birded along the B trail. The undergrowth was very wet along the narrow trail and even though tit didn’t rain my trousers were almost as wet as the day before. I stayed on this trail for a few hours but after the branch with the C track, any subsequent branches were not marked so I wasn’t sure how far I went on this trail or if I had actually wandered on to another trail. There were several patches where the birds were calling but I generally found it hard to see them, and in some cases as soon as I put the bins to my sweaty face they immediately fogged anyway. Birds seen on this trail included Chestnut-winged babbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, Yellow-eared Spiderhunter, and Ochraceous Bulbul. A depressing proportion of birds were heard only, including Dark-throated Oriole, Black Magpie, Red-crowned Barbet, Banded Pitta, Large Hawk Cuckoo, Banded Bay Cuckoo and Scaly-crowned Babbler. I tried to follow the C trail from its (marked) beginning, but this disappeared within 100m, and I saw no birds here. I walked along the A trail, which is essentially a road, and managed to get good views of a female Orange-headed Thrush and an immature Moustached Babbler. I wanted to follow this through to the D trail, but after the obvious major ‘end’ of the road, the rough track continued for perhaps 50m or so and came up against a boardwalk, which in part appears to have replaced the D trail, and the remainder of D has also gone. This boardwalk passed through some interesting open swamp forest and bare rocky areas, and I saw my only Grey Wagtail for the trip here, whilst some House Swifts soared overhead, and a Red-crowned Barbet called from somewhere in the canopy.
I returned to the Morakot for lunch, and ended up sitting out the storm which followed shortly afterwards. After the rain cleared I headed back to the H trail and its branches. I stopped along the way at what I thought may have been the E trail, but it disappeared after 150m or so; a Drongo Cuckoo quietly perched above the trail just in from the road making this diversion worth the while. On what I like to thin of as the ‘N’ trail, a narrow track which was clearly used by a few bikes at some time, I heard Emerald Dove, and saw a Fulvous-chested Flycatcher. Further along, on the H and M trails, I saw more Black-throated Babblers, a Puff–throated Babbler, a female Siberian Blue Robin and a pair of Yellow-breasted Flowerpeckers; a single Green Broadbill was on another side trail.
I had intended to spend the following morning on the U trail waiting for Gurney’s Pitta. This is one of the better marked trails, but it seemed to disappear at the first stream crossing. After a while I worked out that the track must have passed down the stream bed for about 30m or so before crossing. Shortly afterwards I passed what must have been the last marker, and I think I passed into prime Gurney’s Pitta territory, but I decided to better spend my time looking for other birds on the H trail and nearby. I did see a Crested Serpent Eagle and another Siberian Blue Robin on the U trail.
Up on the main road near the junction with the H trail I hear a lot of birds just another 50-100m up the road and stopped to check it out. A Black-bellied Malkoha was moving through the top of a roadside tree, White-rumped Shama was calling and several Chestnut-winged Babblers were chasing each other through the undergrowth before exploding out on one side of the road as the flew to the other and disappeared again. Back down on the H trail near the ‘N’ junction I heard more Banded Bay Cuckoo, and saw Asian Brown Flycatchers and a single male Orange-bellied Flowerpecker. Further along the ‘N’ trail I came to a gap where a massive tree had fallen and there was a bit of activity around here including both Arctic and Yellow-browed warblers, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Black-naped Monarch and Yellow-vented Flowerpecker. Ruther along the H trail a small mixed group was moving through and I added Bronzed Drongo, Black-naped Oriole and Red-billed Malkoha, and nearby another group had Cream-vented Bulbul and Little Spiderhunter among others. On the return walk to the Morakot, near the main road entry to the pools, I saw a few Oriental Honey Buzzards passing over in a southerly direction high overhead. Back at the Morakot I counted another 27 more streaming over in a southerly direction before I had to pack and leave. This raptor migration was a definite highlight of the trip for me.
All accommodation is located on Ko Phi Phi Don, the largest and only settled island in the group of several islands. There are a few scattered settlements, and of course hotels are popping up all over the place but in general, the largest part of development is located on the isthmus between the eastern and western halves of the island. To the east, the island rises up moderately steep in some places, but to the west the other half of the island is impenetrable (which is a pity, but probably a good thing because that’s where it is mostly untouched). Phi Phi is known among birders for the spectacle of masses of frigatebirds which gather near Ko Pida Nork, but land birds of Ko Phi Phi Don get a very brief write up if any on trip reports which I’ve read. Consequently I expected all land birding to be incidental, but I was pleasantly surprised with some major highlights from here. If you are staying for a few days it is worth checking out the forest trails to see what is there.
Upon arrival I was confronted with a sheer mass of people. After staying in the relative quiet of the Morakot, and even just outside of Krabi, hitting the main ‘tourist village’ was a shock. Although this had all been wiped out in the 2004 Tsunami, development is back bigger and probably no better (?) than before.
On my first afternoon, when I had joined up with my partner, I was convinced to go out snorkelling with the group to which I was allotted (as a non diver), even though I did want to explore. “Just have a bird-free afternoon” Matt said. Grumbling, I made my way out to the boat without bins but with snorkel and mask. And where did we go? Ko Pida Nork (and Pida Nai) of course. Well, the snorkelling was great, although at the second site (literally at Pida Nork itself) my snorkelling buddy had problems within the first 5 minutes which became a full-blown panic attack. I spent the next 20 minutes trying to reassure him and holding my arms in the air to signal the boat [“oh, just make the signal and the boat will come” we were told be fore we were let off – yeah right] in surgy sea where there was nowhere to stand or rest. Fortunately, when we did get back to the boat we spent 30 minutes or more waiting for the divers, and this was when the frigatebirds came closest – well this and when I was in the water trying to get help, but at least I could look up now. We were out til 5pm and the numbers suddenly built up. Even though I had no bins, I managed to see quite a lot of the birds which built up to around 300 by the time we left. I didn’t even bother trying to identify the bewildering mix of younger birds, but I did see quite a few male Lesser Frigatebirds (as expected) along with some females, and at least one female Christmas Island Frigatebird, which was larger but there was quite a range in size even in the Lesser Frigatebirds. I also had great views of a Brahminy Kite and a Peregrine Falcon here.
Given that I was allocated a spot on the dive boats with my group as part of the package, and could swap on to other groups’ boats (since I was a snorkeler there was no hassle there), then it would seem obvious that I should return on another trip with bins, but this wasn’t to happen. I ended up spending more time on the trails in the hinterland of the island and the more I explored the more I wanted to go further. Also, I found out that on other afternoons the frigatebirds weren’t seen; sure they were out there, but a dive boat waiting by the dive site wasn’t going to chase the frigatebirds even if they were a few km away. I also didn’t go to Ko Phi Phi Leh, the second largest island in the group; I missed a beautiful but very crowded spot, but on the day I would have gone I saw my bird highlight of the south.
There is a network of trails on the eastern half of the island. From a street near the water treatment plant a trail climbed, via a seemingly never-ending series of increasingly steep stairs, to three view points. After the first viewpoint, the concrete path climbed through open coconut plantation, where Olive-backed Sunbird, Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker and Asian Brown Flycatcher were present, and a Peregrine Falcon hunted overhead. At the second viewpoint, the concrete path ended a shop/restaurant, but after asking I was shown where the path continued on behind the building, where there was a network of foot tracks through the forest, with some small houses and farms. I explored some of these, some smaller and leading to individual hotels on the far coast, others large, one surprisingly ended in a broad road with cars (the only one on the island). The views from the top (third) viewpoint were also great. Between the second and third viewpoint on fringes of a farmed clearing I saw Black-naped Oriole, and in patchy forest between here and the top I saw Eastern Crowned Warbler and Asian Paradise Flycatcher. From the top viewpoint I saw a pair of Treron sp. Pigeons, probably Orange-breasted Green Pigeon, especially given the habitat, but the view was too distant to be certain. I also saw a single Fork-tailed Swift from here. Greater Racket-tailed Drongos were conspicuous in forest and edge habitat on these trails.
On a trail leading to the Phi Phi Relax Beach Resort on the eastern coast, below the top viewpoint, I saw perhaps the highlight of Phi Phi – an adult Nicobar Pigeon which I had inadvertently flushed from the side of the trail; it flew up into a nearby tree which by luck was quite visible form the track and I got good if dim views of it for a couple of minutes before it flew off into thicker forest. Further down I managed to find my first Crow-billed Drongo of the trip, at one point in the same field of view as a Greater Racket-tailed Drongo.
One afternoon I stumbled on a pair of medium sized (c. 45cm) raptors perched under the canopy in a tree over a broad trail leading from the second viewpoint. The first flew off without even my getting as much as a glimpse, but the second bird had a crest, distinctively long broad wings and relatively short tail and some barring on the light wings along with a streaked throat, but I didn’t get a chance to see the breast when it flew off under the canopy. My best fit was a juvenile Jerdon’s Baza, although I thought this perhaps unlikely. I am sure one of these was the same bird seen later near the Nicobar Pigeon spot, again showing some of the same features. It was perched in the outer canopy foliage before it flew off, but this time I didn’t get as good a look. Both time the birds exhibited typical baza like behaviour. Nick told me that a small proportion of Jerdon’s Baza population is believed to be migratory, and I have subsequently read this elsewhere. The bulk of such birds are juveniles, which fits with those I saw.
Some other highlights from Phi Phi were from the lowland areas, such as Vernal Hanging Parrot, a pond heron in the water treatment plant (actually planted out with water tolerant flowering plants) which was almost certainly Chinese Pond Heron, and Pied Imperial Pigeons which were seen both in the lowlands and in the hills, although generally in forest or flying from one side of the island to the other. Streams of hundreds of Black-nest Swiftlets flew from the western half of the island in the morning and returned at dusk. Other birds seen in lowland Phi Phi were seen elsewhere during the trip.
Siem Reap and surrounds
We spent four full days based in Siem Reap in Cambodia, of which one day I spent on a trip to Ang Trapaeng Thmor. The other days were spent sightseeing around the Angkor area, further afield at Beng Melea and to the floating village of Chong Kneas, on an inlet off Tonle Sap. The drive to Beng Melea gave us our first views of Cambodian countryside, everywhere was wet and so green it almost hurt my eyes to look. I saw my first White-vented Mynas on the trip to this less popular and overgrown temple. Given that this was our first Angkorian period temple, we were suitably impressed, and the overgrown feel was a definite drawcard. Although the signs on the main trail into the temple from the gate tells that the landmines have all been cleared, our guide pointed out a hole from a recently detonated mine only metres off a foot track through the outer courtyard; this is warning enough for any birder to stay on any obvious track. Bird highlights from the temple were Japanese Sparrowhawk, Ashy Drongo, Hainan Blue Flycatcher and Black-headed Bulbul.
On the brief trip from the jetty at Chong Kneas to the floating village (a variable trip according to water levels – when the water is low the village is considerably further into Tonle Sap), I saw a single Oriental Darter, Whiskered Terns and an impressive flock of around 60 Large-billed Crows.
Over the course of two days, I visited eight temples (counting the massive Angkor Thom complex as one, which contained several temples and buildings inside its walls), but the others notched up another six while I was birding at ATT. Of these, only Angkor Wat was visited at best birding hours, but we were actually looking around the temple at the best times for birds (also best time to see Angkor Wat). For various reasons (mostly tiredness and difficulty of meeting up with the others if we went at separate times), I didn’t make a birding specific trip to one of these at dawn, but several would be well worth it, notably Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom (huge with extensive forest areas), Preah Khan (probably the best) and Ta Prohm, with Banteay Kdei and Ta Som among the smaller temples.
From an aesthetic viewpoint, each site was unique in its own way. Angkor Wat was certainly beautiful, especially in the fine details, and impressive in its vast size. The sunrise over Angkor Wat was good although equally perhaps sunset would be better, when the light would be setting on the front of the temple. The hordes of tourists who flock here to see sunrise mostly depart back to hotels for breakfast, so between about 6:30 to 9:30 this was relatively empty. Angkor Thom was vast, containing the Bayon, the Baphuon, and several smaller temples, along with the Elephant Terrace and Terrace of the Leper King. We didn’t do this area justice, especially the Bayon which we thought was the last of our temples (but our driver persuaded us to visit Phnom Bakheng at the end of the day). Preah Khan was large, beautiful, less crowded when we visited and interesting with its mixed history of Buddhist and Hindu periods reflected in re-carved images. Ta Prohm was a little bit of a let down from several points. Billed as the famous “tomb raider” temple after being used as a set for the film of that name, it’s jungle atmosphere is actually one of large trees growing though the complex but with much of the other growth removed – if you want jungle-overgrown temples, go to Beng Melea. Unlike some others, the plan is flat, and when we visited the sun was still high enough to shine down into the maze of passages, which combined with the intermittent canopy, raised the humidity. Also we must have visited at a very popular time, because every corner we rounded we ran into another tour group. Contradictory directional arrows in the temple complex lead to some fun in finding our way out. Some of the smaller temples which were much quieter had interesting features, were quieter and still held forest in their grounds (notably Banteay Kdei and Ta Som).
Given that pretty much all birding was incidental (with the exception of one brief walk out to the moat at various points in Angkor Wat) I still saw quite a few birds. Red-breasted (at Ta Prohm, Preah Khan and Angkor Thom) and Alexandrine Parakeets (Ta Prohm) were only seen around Angkor, as were Grey-headed and Dark-sided Flycatcher (Preah Khan), Hill Myna (Angkor Thom) and Greenish Warbler of the race plumbeitarsus, previously split as Two-barred Warbler but now lumped again (Ta Som). Blue Rock Thrush had eluded me elsewhere on my trip, but was visible at a number of sites. Notable at Angkor Wat were large numbers of Paddyfield Pipit among others such as Coppersmith and Lineated Barbet, Ashy Drongos (both grey and dark races), Oriental Honey Buzzard, Black-naped Oriole and Japanese Sparrowhawk. Other highlights were Asian Paradise Flycatcher (Ta Som), Hainan Blue Flycatcher (Preah Khan), Ruby-cheeked Sunbird (Preah Khan and Ta Som), Green-billed Malkoha (Preah Khan) and Brown-backed Needletails (Preah Khan and Phnom Bakheng where excellent views were had). One of my frustrating birds of the trip, Asian Barred Owlet, was heard at Banteay Kdei and Preah Khan but I just couldn’t locate them.
We hired a driver among four of us, which turned out to be worthwhile since he had a good idea of good places to visit and times to avoid crowds, although this would probably have to be altered a little to slot in some dawn birding. I subsequently also found out that the private toll road, which passes Beng Melea on towards Koh Ker, traverses some good deciduous woodland and this could have made a good birding day with the two temples combined. We were just too tired the first morning in Cambodia to contemplate anything too early. Considering that the temples themselves were the main priority, a surprisingly decent selection of birds were seen in the surrounds and the broad trails mean that some canopy species are easier to see here than on narrow trails in forest reserves elsewhere. A visit to Cambodia ought to include a day or two around Angkor, and as such even if birding isn’t the main objective, it is surprising what can be seen.
Ang Trapaeng Thmor
I had booked a day trip with the Sam Veasna Centre to visit this place; the best of my three options for day trips at the time of year I visited. We left at 5am for a slow trip (nearly four hours) to ATT; although the National Highway No.6 is fixed/being fixed, the condition of the road in the low-clearance minivan was pretty slow and bumpy, particularly when we were stuck behind a truck with nowhere to overtake for nearly half an hour. On the road out I saw many Cattle Egrets flying from a nearby roost area, and roadside groups of Common and White-vented Mynas, a pair of Collared Mynas, with a few House Sparrows in one roadside town (the only ones of the trip) and the first Red Collared Doves of the trip. Further out along the side road off the highway, I saw my first Eastern Marsh Harrier, Siberian Stonechat, along with Black-winged Kite, Wood Sandpiper, Common Kingfisher and Brown Shrike to name a few. At the WCS office where we stopped for breakfast, I saw Lesser Whistling Duck and Zebra Dove. A slow start to the day but we arrived at the reservoir by 9:30am, where we saw the only Black Kites and Sand Martin of the trip, along with Striated Heron, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, more Lesser Whistling Ducks and Spotted Dove among others. As the road diverged a little from the reservoir edge, we passed through a mosaic of farmland and scrub, where there were more Collared Mynas. Further along into the reserve where the road passed into rice paddies, we stopped as we approached flocks of storks on both sides of the road. Asian Openbill were the more numerous with at least 40 present, either circling in the sky, perched in trees or occasionally seen with their heads sticking up over the rice; 25 or so Painted Storks were similarly present, along with many Cattle Egrets, fewer Great Egrets and impressively, at least 50 or more Black-headed Ibis, perhaps the highlight of this site. Pond herons generally were present here and elsewhere at ATT, with both Javan and Chinese Pond Herons most likely seen, but were indistinguishable from each other. Unfortunately, due to the high water levels we could neither get any closer nor visit the deciduous woodland further along. A single female Comb Duck flew over and a male Eastern Marsh Harrier patrolled the paddies in the distance.
We headed back and then out along the road bordering the south-western border of the reservoir, stopping at a track which passed north-west, which was still impassable after 30m or so. The surrounding shallow water was covered in lotus and held small numbers of birds, including Common Moorhen, Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-winged Jacana. Kingfishers hunted from nearby perches, including Black-capped Kingfisher, White-throated Kingfisher and a pair of Pied Kingfishers. Large numbers of Lesser Whistling Duck took off and landed in the distance, and we had distant views of a Grey-headed Fish Eagle. In the scrub were Purple Sunbird, a Dusky Warbler, more Collared Mynas and Ashy Minivets, and Brown Shrike and Paddyfield Pipit were in pastures on the other side from the reservoir. The birding came to an abrupt halt before a late lunch due to a thunderstorm, and we departed for Siem Reap after lunch, stopping in at a silk weaving commune nearby. Roadside highlights on the return journey were 2 small groups of White-shouldered Starlings and a few Vinous-breasted Mynas. The trip was good, offering impressive sights of large numbers of a few rarer waterbirds, but clearly would have been better later when the key species would be present.
Bang Pra itself is a reservoir/lake, with the surrounding area forming the Bang Pra Non-hunting Area. The location has a range of habitats; in addition to the lake itself, there are shore areas fringed with reeds and rushes, a smaller but still sizeable pond (the ‘Egret Lake’), woodland (dominated by what appeared to be Acacia auriculiformis), and grassland habitats varying from long to short, variously forming a mosaic with the woodland. On approach we stopped on the road briefly near the entrance, with farmland to the left and woodland to the right. A flock of White-headed Laughingthrush moved through the woodland canopy allowing excellent views – better than any obtained later in the day. Rufous Treepie also showed well, and over the nearby farmland, an Indian Roller hawked for insects and a few Vinous-breasted Mynas passed overhead and perched on the wires. We drove in, and no sooner than parking the car the rain started, first as a light drizzle, then heavier. That shower continued for about half an hour, hampering our efforts to track down some birds in a patch of woodland; we were especially looking for Laced Woodpecker, using playback in hope of eliciting a response. No sooner than the rain abated then the birds became a little more active. Black-naped Orioles and Red-throated Flycatchers were particularly notable here. Drongos were also particularly abundant with both Black Drongos in the grasslands and Ashy Drongos (races leucogenys and mohouti) in the woodland being the more abundant, but Greater Racket-tailed Drongo and Crow-billed Drongos were also to be found.
We moved on to some grassland closer to the shore of the reservoir, finding a lot of activity near some short wet grass. Asian Pied and White-vented Myna were active here, others included Siberian Stonechat, Plain Prinia, Red-wattled Lapwing, Common and White-throated Kingfishers. Scanning the lake edge showed some Whiskered Terns over the water, and distant views of a single Osprey, and a single Grey-headed Lapwing in flight. Further along in the same habitat we came across Australasian and Indochinese Bushlarks, Zitting and Golden-headed Cisticola, Oriental Reed Warbler and Little Bee-eater. In longer grass and reeds nearby I saw both Oriental Reed Warbler and Thick-billed Warbler in the same field of view, quite unusual given their different habitat preferences; Plain Prinia and Grey-breasted Prinia climbed through the tall grass in the same patch. We saw at first one then another Black Baza passing from one Acacia tree to another, and shortly afterwards a third appeared.
The rain started after this, heavier and longer lasting than before and continued for about an hour and a half, long enough to hinder our efforts. During this time we saw a few more species in woodland and grassland, such as Chinese Francolin, Ashy Woodswallow, Blue-tailed and Blue-throated Bee-eaters, Lesser Coucal, more White-headed Laughingthrush, and Racket-tailed Treepie, but generally birds were pretty quiet. By the time the rain ended we had walked further through more woodland and grassland, and returned to more or else the same area where we were when it started up. At several places Nick tried to call in the Laced Woodpecker using playback. When we returned to the first woodland patch we had visited, an adult Laced Woodpecker finally turned up very close to us in response to playback.
Following on to a trail which passed around the Egret Lake and close to the marshy edges of the main lake, we saw Black-crowned Night Heron, Little Cormorant, Sooty-headed Bulbul and Baya Weaver around the Egret Lake. Several Chestnut-capped Babblers called but remained hidden in long growth on the main lake fringe, a Common Snipe flushed from the reeds and two Brown-backed Needletails flew low over the water. As we drove out from the reserve, we saw a tight flock of c. 50 Black Bazas circling nearby.
Muang Boran & Bang Poo
On the drive to Muang Boran there was little to add to our day’s list but notable mentions were a single Common Kestrel perched on roadside wires, and several flocks of Asian Openbills. We parked the car at Bang Poo and caught a taxi to Muang Boran fishponds, getting dropped off as far as the taxi could navigate in the narrow roads. This is a large complex of ponds with water at varying levels. Many are well vegetated on their fringes or in the water, but much clearing had recently taken place in some areas. Nick said that there were far fewer birds than normal, but I was still quite impressed with the diversity and numbers even if I did miss a few regular species such as Asian Golden Weaver and Cotton Pygmy Goose (damn that bird – it has eluded me in a number of countries by now). It was fairly muddy at times walking along tracks between the ponds but most were ok. Yellow Bitterns were fairly common; I must have seen at least 15 or so of these by the end of the day. A single female Black Bittern and a male Cinnamon Bittern were found along with the more common herons, which included Intermediate Egret (fairly common at this site), Great Egret, Little Egret and the all too confusing pond herons (both Chinese and Javan Pond Herons would have been there although indistinguishable). Indian Cormorant was present along with the more common Little Cormorant. White-browed Crake was common and visible, but I dipped on Ruddy Crake which is a migrant at that site and probably only just arriving; it is also a much shyer bird.
A few ponds had low water levels, which were good for waders. I saw Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Pacific Golden Plover, Pintail Snipe, Long-toed Stint, Little Ringed Plover and Oriental Pratincole. Also in this habitat were a number of Yellow Wagtails in a bewildering array of plumages (treated as a broad species - see above under “Taxonomic and identification problems” for further discussion). Other waterbirds seen at Muang Boran included both Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-winged Jacanas, Common Moorhen and Little Grebe. Warblers were often heard in the reeds though were tricky to see, with some only showing fleeting or passing views, such as Oriental Reed Warbler and Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler. We did get better looks at Black-browed Reed Warbler and nice views of Striated Grassbird, and by the far the most common small brown reed bird was Plain Prinia. Both Paddyfield and Richard’s Pipit were here. Black Drongos were plentiful, but one Ashy Drongo was present.
It was pretty much sunset by the time we got back to the houses. To get back to Bang Poo we had to first get a motorbike taxi to the main road, since taxis wouldn’t come to pick up here. This was a little hair-raising at times, especially since I was a little unbalanced with the scope and tripod on my side to begin with, let alone when the driver kept pulling out into oncoming traffic which included a coach and some trucks. Despite the clear danger, I always find that the motorbike taxi ride is a bit of a highlight of birding in South-east Asia, but it’s no doubt enjoyed (if at all) in small doses. It was very much dusk when we got back to Bang Poo, so all we managed here was to walk out to the pier which is famous for its large numbers of wintering Brown-headed Gulls. At a rough estimate I reckon 400 or more of these birds were present, but it was hard to say because on both sides of the pier, flocks were constantly wheeling in a circle, with birds landing but others taking off. On the up side this made looking for different gulls easier than thought since nearly all birds seme to fly past at close range, but we saw no other gulls here. It was a nice end to a fairly exhausting but fulfilling day birding with an excellent guide.
Khok Kham was the first stop on my day trip with Kamol Komolphalin from Nature Trails, and we came here purely to look for Spoon-billed Sandpiper which had been recently seen at the site. After a more leisurely 6am departure we arrived at Khok Kham by 7am. We spent some time scoping out some ponds which held literally thousands of Lesser Sand Plovers and a scattering of other waders, but after some time of watching, creeping up and then following the birds to another pond, Kamol then got the call that the SBSP was at another pond not far down the road. We headed out to the next pond, and it was pretty obvious where the bird was by the fact that there were already four others staring through scopes and bins (including Nick from the previous day, with another client). We saw the single Spoon-billed Sandpiper wandering behind a group of Red-necked Stints. We watched it for about 15 minutes or so before heading on to Laem Pak Bia. Other birds seen at Khok Kham included Curlew Sandpiper (second most numerous wader), Long-toed Stint, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, Kentish Plover, Whiskered Tern, Brown-headed Gull, Black-winged Stilt, Brahminy Kite and Yellow Wagtail.
Laem Pak Bia and Phetchaburi
On the drive from Laem Pak Bia, many Ashy Woodswallows perched on power lines, and as we drove through rural Phetchaburi district, Asian Openbill were flying over or feeding in fields. We stopped for a very civilised morning tea at the fishing village of Laem Pak Bia, before boarding a boat and heading out to the sand spit. I’m guessing that the tide was fairly high, because Kamol pointed out an emerging sandbank which at lower tides would hold terns and possibly gulls. Both Whiskered and Common Terns circled out further to sea, but no gulls could be seen. Even as we approached the sand island which formed the end of the sandpit we could see a couple of Malaysian Plovers. The island held at least 6 Malaysian Plovers together with four Kentish Plovers, but it was hard to be exact with numbers since they kept flying back and forth over the nearby narrow channel, or to the emerging sandbank. Upon checking out some birds at the southern end we soon saw a single bird away from the others which upon further investigation turned out to be a White-faced Plover.
This bird was fairly plainly coloured and possibly a non-breeding female. We saw a second individual, more coloured than the first, on the emerging sandbank, which may have been a first winter male; these are based on information given in Kennedy et.al. (2008), and in Bakewell and Kennerley (2008) where plumage patterns are depicted in greater detail. Both birds showed the extensive white lores typical for this taxon. Sanderlings foraged with the plovers at times and further back down the spit were Common Greenshanks. A Collared Kingfisher flew out of the mangroves on the inlet, along with Common and Black-capped Kingfishers, Great Egret, Striated Heron and the usual unidentifiable pond heron.
We stopped for lunch at a beachside seafood restaurant for what was arguably (some stiff competition) the best meal of my Thailand leg of the trip. Crab, fresh fish, prawns and more; all spiced, flavoured and cooked to perfection. After lunch we headed out to a site known for Black-faced Spoonbill, seeing Indian Roller and Ashy Woodswallow en route. Listed on Nick Upton’s page for Laem Pak Bia as the “Abandoned Building”, this feature is conspicuous and provided shelter for some Feral Pigeons, and an accompanying juvenile Peregrine Falcon. We screened the ponds looking for the spoonbill and larger waders. Grey Herons perched on a bank, and at times these might be accompanied by the spoonbill but not today. No sign of the spoonbill in fact, but we did see a few more waders here including Lesser Sand Plover, Kentish Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Redshank, Red-necked Stint and Long-toed Stint. About 40 Black-winged Stilts were scattered around the ponds. Land birds included Paddyfield Pipit, another Collared Kingfisher in a narrow fringe of mangrove, and a collection of sturnids in scrub near the building which included Common, Asian Pied and White-vented Mynas.
Heading north again we passed Laem Pak Bia and then pulled in to briefly investigate the mangroves edges and ponds of the Kings Project, an area of natural mangroves and settling pools as well as what appeared to be a mangrove rehabilitation nursery where stock is possibly grown for planting elsewhere. The target here was Slaty-breasted Rail, but we saw none, no doubt due in part to being there in the heat of the day. You can’t be everywhere just after dawn simultaneously. All birds here had been seen at some time or other earlier in the trip, but this was the only place other than at Bang Pra, where I saw Black-crowned Night Heron and Common Snipe; others seen here included Pacific Golden Plover, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Red-wattled Lapwing, Little Cormorant and Barn Swallow.
From here we headed out onto the road and back off again into some nearby fishponds, in search of Nordmann’s Greenshank; this is the location listed on Nick Upton’s web page for Laem Pak Bia as ‘Good Ponds’. We soon located some larger waders, including 25 or more greenshanks on a berm opposite to where we were located. On inspection, one stood out as quite different from the others and turned out to be Nordmann’s Greeshank, mixed with the remainder of Common Greenshank. A nearby group of 5 birds was entirely composed of Nordmann’s Greenshank also. Kamol said that we were lucky to get as close views as we had. This site was good for a number of waders, with a couple of Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Great Knot (about 15 or so), Common Redshank, Pacific Golden Plover and Grey Plover. Brown-headed Gulls wheeled around over some further ponds, and closer to our car we saw a mixed flock of Common and Whiskered Tern, and some Gull-billed Terns near to these. Another highlight was seeing two Painted Storks wading in a further pond. Other seen here included Black-capped and Collared Kingfishers, Siberian Stonechat and Yellow Wagtail, and we heard Racket-tailed Treepie.
After here we headed inland and visited a number of roadside stops in rural Phetchaburi, with a mix of roadside scrub, plantation edge and rice paddies. Kamol has recently seen some Purple-backed Starlings at the first of these but we missed this bird although Pied, Common and White-vented Mynas were around. We stopped at roadside thickets and Kamol used playback to try to get a response from Siberian Rubythroat. We had a couple call back; at one location we managed to get the bird to respond repeatedly but it never emerged from the undergrowth. Thick-billed Warbler and Black-browed Reed Warbler were similarly heard but not seen, but we did get views of Oriental Reed Warbler. A pair of Pink-necked Green Pigeons foraged in some trees on the edge of a plantation and then obligingly perched on the power lines, along with the far more numerous Red Collared Doves. Many of the birds seen here had been seen elsewhere on the trip, although some I had only seen at one other site, such as Green Bee-eater and Long-tailed Shrike. Waterbirds were evident in the nearby rice paddies and highlights of these included Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Bronze-winged Jacana, Asian Openbill, Little Grebe and Intermediate Egret. We heard but could not see a Purple Swamphen. A thunderstorm was brewing nearby, and with the rising humidity and disappearing sunlight, birds were getting unusually quiet early on, so we headed back. I had hoped to see Plain-backed Sparrow, but at sites where we apparently have seen dozens we saw none – just another reason to return to Thailand.
Bangkok itself seemed to be rather un-birdy, especially for us staying in the high-rise business district of Silom. On a trip out to the Grand Palace, nearby Wat Po, and the Golden Mount, I did see a number of the more common species. Notable amongst these was Ashy Woodswallow at the Grand Palace – the only site in Bangkok proper where I observed this bird. Fortunately for me we stayed only blocks away from Lumphini Park. I visited here partially in the off-chance that I may see a Plain-backed Sparrow (not resident but I guess it could pass through), but I didn’t see any of these in two visits, first on a Sunday just before sunset, then at 6am on a Monday morning.
Birding here was a strange experience. I thought that the park was filled at the Sunday afternoon visit (which I expected) but I think it was even busier on the Monday morning. If you were to rely on hearing birds to detect them, I don’t know how you would do it. The volume of the traffic even at dawn was loud in many places of the park, and I think it was busier with people at 6am than at 8:30am. Mass aerobic groups following instructors with loud speakers vied with other competing groups only 100-200m away, so as you walked along, the noise from one increased as soon as the other decreased. Tai Chi would seem quieter, but still seemed to be accompanied by loud, although serene, music. It was almost impossible to get to a part of the park which I considered even moderately quiet. The park was perhaps less busy when I left, but then it was also hotter and the traffic noise was even worse. Nevertheless this park has a selection of the more common birds and does pick up the odd migrant passing through. I was just happy to go birding on my last days.
The highlight for this park would have to be Collared Myna, and this was the only place in Thailand where I saw this bird. Coppersmith Barbets, which were relatively common, were easier to see here than at other locations visited. Others seen here included White-vented Myna, Pied Myna, Black-naped Oriole, Indian Roller, Ashy Drongo (appeared to be of the race salangensis), Yellow-vented Bulbul, Red-throated Flycatcher, House Swift, Little Egret, and Striated Heron.
Bangkok’s Suvaranbhumi Airport is worthy of mentioning (well as I write, it’s perhaps infamous now that it is currently blockaded), since I saw a number of waterbirds from the plane as we taxied on the tarmac, in particular I saw Asian Openbill, with 1 bird in grass on the edge of the airfield when I flew from Sydney, and a flock of 17 circling nearby as we took off on our flight home.
Kennerley, P.R., Bakewell, D.N. and Round, P.D. (2008) Rediscovery of a long-lost Charadrius plover from South-east Asia. Forktail 24:63-79
Blakewell, D.N. and Kennerley, P.R. (2008) Field characteristics and distribution of an overlooked Charadrius plover from South-East Asia. Birding ASIA 9; 46-57
Robson, C. (2005). New Holland Field Guide to the Birds of South-East Asia. New Holland Publishers (UK), London.
Common names and taxonomy is as used in the most recent official Thai list; brackets indicate alternate names used either in Australia or widely elsewhere. Species preceded with a “(h)” are heard only, and lifers are underlined.
1) Chinese Francolin: Single female in scrub flushed from track at Bang Pra (31/10).
2) Blue-breasted Quail: Single bird flushed from Imperata grassland not far from road (possibly by a dog?) in a young plantation off main road, KNC (18/10).
3) Lesser Whistling-Duck: Flocks of between 10-30, totalling maybe 200 birds, at ATT and nearby (28/10).
4) Comb Duck: 1 female flew over road at ATT (28/10).
5) Laced Woodpecker: 1 adult in woodland at Bang Pra (31/10).
6) Common Flameback: Pair in orchard at Maritime, Krabi (21/10).
7) Buff-rumped Woodpecker: 1 on H trail, KNC (20/10).
8) Lineated Barbet: Conspicuous at many Angkor temples (27/10, 29/10), 2 birds seen at each Angor Wat and Ta Prohm, otherwise only heard at Banteay Kdei, Preah Khan, Neak Pean and Ta Som; 1 seen but more heard at Bang Pra (31/10).
(h) Red-crowned Barbet: Several birds heard but unseen on B, D and ‘N’ trails, KNC (19-20/10)
(h) Red-throated Barbet: Heard but not seen in forest off H trail, KNC (19/10).
9) Coppersmith Barbet: Conspicuous in open areas and clearings at several sites. 1 seen at Maritime, Krabi (18/10); 3 at Beng Melea (26/10); 3 at Angkor Wat and 2 at Ta Prohm (27/10); seen at Ta Som (29/10); several in Lumphini Park, where relatively common and easy to see (2-3/11).
10) Common Hoopoe: Single bird and group of three in open woodland at Bang Pra (31/10).
11) Indian Roller: 2 at Angkor Wat (27/10); 2 at Bang Pra (31/10); 1 roadside near Laem Pak Bia (1/11); single birds in Lumphini Park (2-3/11).
12) Common Kingfisher: Moderately common and widespread. 1 seen at the pier on the river at the Maritime (20/10) and heard on mangrove walkway (18/10), Krabi; several birds both at ATT and along roadside in scrub bordering rice paddies on the drive nearby (28/10); 2 birds at each Bang Pra and Muang Boran (31/10); 1 in mangroves on boat trip to Laem Pak Bia sand spit, and 2 in roadside vegetation in Phetchaburi (1/11).
13) Brown-winged Kingfisher: 1 to 2 seen on river at Maritime, Krabi (18/10, 21/10) and heard on mangrove walkway, Krabi (20/10).
14) White-throated Kingfisher: Widespread and common. Seen at Maritime (18/10, 20/10); roadside near Morakot (19/10); heard in open country bordering Beng Melea (26/10); seen in scrub at western boundary of reservoir, ATT (28/10); several at bang Pra (31/10); 1 roadside near Laem Pak Bia and 2 birds in roadside vegetation in Phetchaburi (1/11).
15) Black-capped Kingfisher: Widespread and common, most commonly recorded Kingfisher for the trip. Seen at Maritime, and at mangrove walkway, Krabi (18/10, 21/10); 1 at pond at Morakot (18/10); 1 in beachside tree outside hotel restaurant, Koh Phi Phi Don (23/10); 1 on edge of moat at Angkor Wat (27/10); several at ATT at scattered sites (28/10); 2 at Muang Boran (31/10); 1 in mangroves on boat trip to Laem Pak Bia sand spit, 1 in adjacent stunted mangroves at nearby Nordmann’s GS ponds and 1 in roadside vegetation in Phetchaburi (1/11).
16) Collared Kingfisher: 1 in mangroves at start of mangrove walkway, Krabi (18/10); 1 in mangroves on boat trip to Laem Pak Bia sand spit, 1 in adjacent stunted mangroves at nearby Nordmann’s GS ponds (1/11).
17) Pied Kingfisher: 2 birds seen at western end of reservoir, ATT (28/10).
18) Green Bee-eater: 10+ in grassland at Bang Pra, often perched low down in grass and shrubs; several on roadside power lines in Phetchaburi rural areas (1/11).
19) Blue-throated Bee-eater: 2 adults perched in dead tree, Bang Pra (31/10).
20) Blue-tailed Bee-eater: 3 flying over Angkor Wat (27/10); 2 in roadside scrub at ATT (28/10); 10+ in grassland and woodland edge at Bang Pra, and also seen at Muang Boran (31/10); several flying over ponds at the spoonbill site, near Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
(h) Large Hawk-Cuckoo: 1 frustratingly heard but unseen on B trail, KNC (19/10).
(h) Banded Bay Cuckoo: Individual birds heard but not seen on B trail (19/10) and off H trail (20/10), KNC.
21) Plaintive Cuckoo: 1 adult seen in roadside scrub, on drive from ATT to Highway No.6 (28/10).
22) Drongo Cuckoo: 1 perched quietly on E track, KNC (19/10).
23) Asian Koel: Fairly common in some areas, heard more than seen, as with Eastern (Australian) Koel. 1 male at Maritime, Krabi (18/10); heard on H trail (18/10, 20/10) and B trail (19/10), KNC; relatively common on Ko Phi Phi Don, mostly in forest, where single birds seen but more heard (23-24/10); 1 at Bang Pra but also heard at Muang Boran (31/10); 1 at Golden Mount, Bangkok (2/11); seen at Lumphini Park (3/11).
24) Black-bellied Malkoha: 1 on main road near H track junction, KNC (20/10).
25) Green-billed Malkoha: Single birds seen in forest at Preah Khan, Angkor (29/10), in open woodland at Bang Pra (31/10), and in roadside scrub in Phetchaburi (1/11).
(h) Raffles’ Malkoha: heard on H trail, KNC (19/10).
26) Red-billed Malkoha: 1 moving through canopy on H trail, KNC (20/10).
27) Greater Coucal: 1 adult on edge of secondary growth near driveway, Maritime, Krabi (18/10); heard in plantation on edge of forest on M trail, KNC (19/10); heard (22/10) and then 1 seen (24/10) in forest edge off trails behind viewpoint at Ko Phi Phi Don; heard at Angkor Wat (27/10); heard at Preah Khan, Angkor (29/10); heard at Bang Pra (31/10); 1 adult seen on edge of rice paddy, Phetchaburi back roads (1/11).
28) Lesser Coucal: Total of four birds seen in grassland at Bang Pra (31/10).
29) Vernal Hanging-Parrot: Single juvenile (22/10) and adult (24/10) near hotel on isthmus, Ko Phi Phi Don.
30) Alexandrine Parakeet: At least 6 birds in mixed flock (c.30) with Red-breasted Parakeet at Ta Prohm, Angkor (27/10).
31) Red-breasted Parakeet: At least 10 birds in mixed flock (c.30) with Alexandrine Parakeet at Ta Prohm, Angkor (27/10), many also at Preah Kahn and Angkor Thom near Baphuon, Angkor, where pair seen at nest (29/10).
32) Black-nest Swiftlet: Large numbers (hundreds?) of swiftlets seen on Ko Phi Phi Don (22-24/10) most mornings flying from western end of the island and returning at dusk – of those seen closely all appeared to be this sp, with squarer tails and especially bulkier heads.
33) Pale-rumped (Germain’s) Swiftlet: Usually occurring in singles to small flocks, recorded at Maritime, Krabi (18/10, 20/10), over the H trail at KNC (20/10), at Bang Pra (31/10), over rural land in Phetchaburi (1/11) and a few at Royal Palace, Bangkok (2/11).
34) Brown-backed Needletail: Few at Preah Khan and several at Phnom Bakheng where seen well in the late afternoon (29/10), and 2 flying over the reservoir at Bang Pra (31/10). Needletails were also seen above the main road through KNC (18/10) and above Siem Reap (26/10) and were most likely this species although definitive identification was not possible at the time.
35) Asian Palm Swift: Fairly widespread – few at Maritime, Krabi (18/10); seen roadside on drive from Siem Reap to Beng Melea, and also at floating village of Chong Kneas (26/10); recorded at Angkor Wat (27/10) and further in the Angkor area at Banteay Kdei (27/10) and at Neak Pean (29/10); at ATT (28/10); Bang Pra (31/10); over rural land in Phetchaburi (1/11); and a few in Lumphini Park (2-3/11).
36) Pacific (Fork-tailed) Swift: Single bird seen well in flight from top viewpoint, Koh Phi Phi Don (24/10).
37) House Swift: Small flock flying high over forest, D trail [boardwalk], KNC (19/10); flock of c. 20 circling high over Muang Boran, towards dusk (31/10); flock of c. 30 over Lumphini Park, around sunset and sunrise (2-3/11).
(h) Asian Barred Owlet: Frustratingly, I heard this bird in a few locations but I was unable to find it calling; heard at Morakot (20/10), Banteay Kdei (27/10), and Preah Khan (29/10).
38) Great Eared Nightjar: Conspicuous initially by their call at dawn at the Maritime, Krabi (18/10), I saw at least 5 of these birds hawking for insects in the grounds from my balcony, especially flying over the ornamental lake with their harrier-like flight. Totally absent on my second morning at this site.
39) Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon): Less widespread than expected - recorded on drive from ferry terminal to airport, Phuket (25/10), near Bang Pra (31/10), around the abandoned building at the spoonbill site, near Laem Pak Bia (1/11), in Bangkok near the Royal Palace (2/11) and at Lumphini Park (2/11).
40) Spotted Dove: Recorded at the Maritime, Krabi (18/10), on Ko Phi Phi Don (22-24/10), on drive from Siem Reap to Beng Melea (26/10), in roadside scrub bordering the reservoir at ATT (28/10), at Muang Boran (31/10), at King’s Project, Laem Pak Bia (1/11) and in Bangkok in the district adjacent to the Royal Palace (2/11).
41) Red Collared Dove: Mostly recorded from the car whilst travelling to and from sites. 4 on drive to ATT, but also a few at WCS office, ATT (28/10); seen nearby to Bang Pra (31/10); 6 in low trees near the abandoned building, spoonbill site, Laem Pak Bia, and also many on roadside power lines in nearby rural Phetchaburi (1/11); 1 bird flying overhead at Lumphini Park (2/11).
(h) Emerald Dove: Heard but unseen on the “N” trail, KNC (19/10).
42) Zebra Dove: 2 in rural land on outskirts of Angkor area (27/10); 2 at WCS office, 2 in scrub near reservoir and 3 in scrub at western boundary of reservoir, ATT (28/10); at Bang Pra and at Muang Boran, where feeding on ground in several places (31/10); seen in scrub bordering rice paddies and plantations, Phetchaburi (1/11).
43) Nicobar Pigeon: A definite trip highlight! A single bird flushed from the trackside in forest with a moderately open understorey on trail to Phi Phi Relax Beach resort, below top viewpoint on eastern slopes of Ko Phi Phi Don (24/10). The bird obligingly perched in a relatively open view for about 2 minutes before flying into much thicker forest on the other side of the track.
44) Pink-necked (-Green) Pigeon: A pair in roadside regrowth and adjacent coconut plantation perched openly on wires at one point, Phetchaburi (1/11). A pair of birds seen on Koh Phi Phi Don from the top viewpoint may have been this species or Orange-breasted Pigeon – they appeared to be the latter but the views were too distant to confirm the identity.
45) Pied Imperial Pigeon: Seen most days on Koh Phi Phi Don (21-24/10), usually in 2’s or 3’s foraging in forest, even at lower levels near the main town, at one point a single bird was perched on the roof of the hotel, and a flock of c. 20 birds was seen flying over to the western half of the island at dusk, presumably to roost.
46) White-breasted Waterhen: 1 on edges of main lake or on lotus pond, Maritime, Krabi (18/10, 21/10); 1 at Bang Pra (31/10); 1 on roadside edge of rice paddy, Phetchaburi (1/11).
47) White-browed Crake: Only seen at Muang Boran (10+ birds), where fairly conspicuous and less shy than anticipated (31/10).
(h) Purple Swamphen: A single bird was heard but unseen in rice paddy, Phetchaburi (1/11). It is always so disturbing to find this bird (species or super-species) so shy in other countries whereas they are so conspicuous and approachable in Australia.
48) Common Moorhen: Few at western end of reservoir, ATT (28/10); c. 15, including juveniles, at Muang Boran (31/10).
49) Pintail Snipe: 2 on mudflats of fish ponds, Muang Boran (31/10).
50) Common Snipe: 1 at Bang Pra (31/10), and 2 at King’s Project, Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
51) Black-tailed Godwit: a couple at the Nordmann’s GS ponds, Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
52) Bar-tailed Godwit: A single bird flying out over the ocean on the trip from Ao Nang to Ko Phi Phi Don (21/10), and 7 at the Nordmann’s GS ponds, Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
53) Common Sandpiper: Fairly widespread with 1 or 2, occasionally small groups (e.g. on river at Krabi), seen on river at mangrove walkway (18/10, 20/10) and at Maritime (20/10), Krabi, on shore at Ko Phi Phi Don (22/10), on mudflats at Muang Boran (31/10), at Khok Kham and in ponds at the King’s Project, Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
54) Common Greenshank: 1 at Khok Kham, 5 on shore near sand spit at Laem Pak Bia, 1 at King’s Project and around 20 at nearby Nordmann’s GS ponds (1/11).
55) Nordmann’s Greenshank: 6 birds seen well with relatively close views, at the Nordmann’s GS ponds, Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
56) Marsh Sandpiper: 6 at Khok Kham and 5 on fish ponds at the Spoonbill site, Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
57) Wood Sandpiper: 1 seen in roadside ditch on edge of paddy, on drive to ATT (28/10); c.5 on shallow ponds at Muang Boran (31/10); a couple at King’s Project, Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
58) Common Redshank: 1 on shallow pond at Spoonbill site and 3 at Nordmann’s ponds, near Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
59) Great Knot: At least 15 birds at Nordmann’s ponds, Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
60) Sanderling: 5 on sand island and emerging sand spit at Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
61) Rufous-necked (Red-necked-) Stint: c.10 on mud at Muang Boran (31/10); c.100 at Khok Kham, and c. 10 at Spoonbill site, Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
62) Long-toed Stint: 3 on mud at Muang Boran, with Rufous-necked Stint (31/10); 3 at Khok Kham, 1 at King’s Project and 4 at Spoonbill site, Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
63) Curlew Sandpiper: around 500 at Khok Kham (1/11).
64) Spoon-billed Sandpiper: 1 seen well at Khok Kham (1/11).
65) Pheasant-tailed Jacana: Several in shallow water with lotus in western end of reservoir, ATT (28/10); c.8 at Muang Boran (31/10); 7 in paddies in Phetchaburi (1/11).
66) Bronze-winged Jacana: Several, in shallow water with lotus in western end of reservoir, ATT (28/10); 5 at Muang Boran (31/10); 2 in paddies in Phetchaburi (1/11).
67) Black-winged Stilt: Quite common at Bang Pra and also seen at Muang Boran (31/10); 10 at Khok Kham, easily 40 or more at both the spoonbill site and Nordmann’s GS ponds, and c. 10 in ponds at the Kings Project (1/11).
68) Pacific Golden Plover: 1 on mudflats at Muang Boran (31/10); 5 in shallow pool at the King’s Project and 5 at Nordmann’s GS ponds, Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
69) Grey Plover: Several at Nordmann’s ponds, Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
70) Little Ringed Plover: 15+ at Muang Boran on mudflats (31/10); 3 at ponds at spoonbill site, Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
71) Kentish Plover: 2 at Khok Kham, 3 on sand island and emerging sand spit, and 10+ at Spoonbill site, Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
72) Malaysian Plover: 4 on sand island and emerging sand spit at Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
73) “White-faced Plover”: 2 on sand island and emerging sand spit at Laem Pak Bia (1/11). Birds were different in plumage. One bird was slightly more coloured than the other, and may have been a first winter male, whereas the plainer coloured bird may have been a non-breeding female, based on information given in Kennerley et.al. (2008) and Blakewell and Kennerley (2008).
74) Lesser Sand Plover: c.1000 Khok Kham and c. 30 at spoonbill site, Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
75) Grey-headed Lapwing: Single bird seen in flight over lake edge at Bang Pra (31/10).
76) Red-wattled Lapwing: 10+ on short damp grassland at Bang Pra (31/10); few at King’s Project, Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
77) Oriental Pratincole: 4 at Bang Pra, and 10+ at Muang Boran (31/10).
78) Gull-billed Tern: 5 birds in non-breeding plumage at Nordmann’s ponds, Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
79) Whiskered Tern: c. 30 birds at floating village of Chong Kneas (26/10); several over ponds at ATT (28/10); several at Bang Pra, and c. 50 at Muang Boran (31/10); 20 at Khok Kham (1/11); mixed flock, with Common Terns off Laem Pak Bia sand spit, also at Kings project, and c. 10 mixed with Common Terns at Nordmann’s GS ponds, Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
80) Common Tern: flock off Laem Pak Bia sand spit, mixed with Whiskered Terns, and also 25+ at nearby Nordmann’s ponds (1/11).
81) Lesser Crested Tern: a few seen on the boat trip from Ao Nang to Ko Phi Phi Don (21/10).
82) Great Crested (Crested) Tern: A single bird seen from ferry travelling from Koh Phi Phi Don to Phuket (25/10).
83) Brown-headed Gull: Flock of c. 400 flying around pier at Bang Poo (31/10); c. 200 on ponds at Khok Kham, and c. 50 at Nordmann’s GS ponds (1/11).
84) Osprey: Single bird (distant views) perched on lake edge at Bang Pra (31/10).
85) Jerdon’s Baza: 2 birds on trail c. 400m from second viewpoint on Ko Phi Phi Don (23/10) - 1 seen too briefly, the other seen well enough to fit best with juvenile Jerdon’s Baza, including crest, barred underwings, striped throat, mottling to dark upper surface, broad long wings and relatively short, broad tail; single bird seen again below top viewpoint on track to Phi Phi Relax Beach Resort (24/10).
86) Black Baza: At first 2 birds, then another, on woodland edge at Bang Pra, then a flock of 50, circling tightly, close by (31/10).
87) Oriental Honey-buzzard: At least 30 birds streaming high overhead on migration, seen from Morakot and nearby on main road through KNC (20/10); 1 each at Angkor Wat (27/10) and nearby at Preah Khan (29/10).
88) Black-shouldered (Black-winged) Kite: 1 flying over paddies on drive to ATT (28/10); 1 flying over open land on drive from Bang Pra to Muang Boran (31/10); 1 flying over rice paddy, Phetchaburi.
89) Black Kite: 2 flying over reservoir at ATT (28/10).
90) Brahminy Kite: 1 on boat trip from Ao Nang to Ko Phi Phi Don (21/10); 1 on Ko Pida Nork (21/10); several (adults and immatures) seen daily at Ko Phi Phi Don (21-24/10); 1 adult at Muang Boran (1/11); 3 at Khok Kham (1/11).
91) White-bellied Sea Eagle: A pair seen on Koh Phi Phi Don (22-23/10); 1 adult flying over Bang Pra (31/10).
92) Grey-headed Fish Eagle: Distant views of 1 at western end of reservoir, ATT (28/10).
93) Crested Serpent Eagle: 1 on U trail, KNC (20/10).
94) Eastern Marsh Harrier: 1 female over rice paddy near ATT, and 1 male over rice paddy at ATT (28/10); 1 immature bird over reservoir at Bang Pra.
95) Shikra: 1 in woodland at Bang Pra (31/10).
96) Japanese Sparrowhawk: Widespread and common at the time, probably some being passage migrants as well as winter visitors - seen at Beng Melea (26/10), Angkor Wat (27/10), Preah Kahn (29/10), Bang Pra (31/10), and above Laem Pak Bia village (1/11). Other inconclusive small accipiter sightings (KNC, on drive through Phuket and outside Siem Reap) were probably this species.
97) Blyth’s Hawk-Eagle: 1 passing over H trail, KNC (18/10).
98) Common Kestrel: Roadside birds perched on wires on drive from Bang Pra to Muang Boran (31/10), and near Phetchaburi (1/11).
99) Peregrine Falcon: 1 flying over Koh Pida Nork (21/10) and 1 on Koh Phi Phi Don (22/10); 1 juvenile bird at abandoned building, Spoonbill site (1/11).
100) Little Grebe: Common on ponds at Muang Boran (31/10); 1 on pond, Phetchaburi (1/11).
101) Oriental Darter: Single male near floating village of Chong Kneas (26/10).
102) Little Cormorant: 1 flying over floating village of Chong Kneas (26/10); c. 10 at Egret Lake, Bang Pra, mostly perching in tree over lake, and c.30 at Muang Boran, some of which were perched with the less-common Indian Cormorants, (31/10); recorded at spoonbill site and King’s Project, Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
103) Indian Cormorant: Several birds (5) at Muang Boran, where mostly perched with more numerous Little Cormorants but also flying over ponds (31/10).
104) Little Egret: Widespread, but usually as singles and outnumbered by other egrets – recorded at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok (17/10), roadside near ATT (28/10); at Bang Pra and Muang Boran (31/10); in rice paddy, Phetchaburi (1/11), and at Lumphini Park (2-3/11).
105) Pacific Reef Egret: Single bird near Ao Nang on trip to Koh Phi Phi Don (21/10), and single birds seen on beach, Ko Phi Phi Don (22-23/10). All birds were dark morphs.
106) Grey Heron: 1 flying over floating village of Chong Kneas (26/10); 1 in roadside rice paddy on drive to ATT, and 1 in same at ATT (28/10); 2 flying over reservoir at Bang Pra (31/10); 2 on edge of ponds at spoonbill site, 1 at King’s Project, Laem Pak Bia, and 2 in rice paddies, Phetchaburi (1/11).
107) Purple Heron: 2 at ATT (28/10); 1 at Bang Pra and 3 at Muang Boran (31/10); 1 in rice paddy, Phetchaburi (1/11).
108) Great Egret: This bird is the same taxon as occurring in Australia which is split here as the Eastern Great Egret. Widespread, occurring as singles to several birds - recorded at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok (17/10), on river at Maritime, Krabi (18/10), on drive to Phuket airport (25/10), on drive to ATT and at ATT (28/10); Bang Pra and Muang Boran (31/10); at inlet near sand spit, and at the Spoonbill site, Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
109) Intermediate Egret: Patchily distributed – seen in roadside paddies on drive to Beng Melea (26/10), at Muang Boran where fairly common (31/10), and a flock of c. 20 feeding on ground in recently harvested rice paddy, Phetchaburi (1/11).
110) Eastern Cattle Egret: This bird is the same taxon as occurring in Australia, where it is treated as part of one wide-ranging taxon [Cattle Egret]. 1 flying over river at Maritime, Krabi (18/10); in roadside paddies on drive to Beng Melea (26/10); at Angkor Wat (27/10); large numbers flying over Hwy No.6 at dawn, presumably from roost, on drive to ATT, and also in rice paddies at ATT, perched in trees and also on ground (28/10); c. 20 on damp grassland at Bang Pra (31/10); in rice paddies, Phetchaburi (1/11).
111) Chinese Pond Heron: Single bird seen at the Morakot (19/10) was almost certainly this species, and another single bird at the water treatment works on Ko Phi Phi Don (24/10) was most likely this species too. A few birds were on the lake at the Maritime, Krabi, and also at the nearby mangrove walkway were more likely to be this but could have been either since the locally rarer Javan Pond Heron has been recorded here. Pond Herons generally were quite common, and were otherwise seen in rice paddies on drive to Beng Melea and at the floating village of Chong Kneas (26/10), on drive to and at ATT (28/10), Bang Pra and Muang Boran (31/10), Khok Kham and in mangroves at Laem Pak Bia (1/11), and at Lumphini Park (2-3/11).
112) Javan Pond Heron: See above – bound to have been seen but overlaps with previous species in all areas visited where this sp. occurs.
113) Little (Striated-) Heron: 1 on lake at Maritime, Krabi (18/10, 21/10); 1 on shore at Koh Phi Phi Don (22/10); 1 on edge of reservoir at ATT (28/10); 1 in mangroves at inlet, Laem Pak Bia (1/11); 1-2 at Lumphini Park (2-3/11).
114) Black-crowned Night Heron: 2 adults and 3 immatures at Egret Lake, Bang Pra (31/10); 1 immature bird in mangroves, at Kings Project (1/11).
115) Yellow Bittern: c.15 scattered throughout Muang Boran (31/10).
116) Cinnamon Bittern: Single male flushed from near path at Muang Boran (31/10).
117) Black Bittern: Single female flushed from near track at Muang Boran (31/10).
118) Black-headed Ibis: Moderate numbers (50+) in flooded paddies at ATT, perched in trees, in flight and also on ground (28/10).
119) Painted Stork: c. 25 in flooded paddies at ATT, perched in trees, soaring in flight and also on ground (28/10); 2 at Nordmann’s ponds, Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
120) Asian Openbill: 1 in grass on edge of airfield (17/10) and c. 17 circling over airfield (3/11), Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok; c.40 in flooded paddies at ATT, perched in trees, soaring in flight and also on ground (28/10); many seen form car on drive from Bang Pra to Muang Boran (31/10) and on drive to Laem Pak Bia (1/11); 2 in rice paddy, Phetchaburi (1/11).
121) Lesser Frigatebird: A few were seen on boat trip from Ao Nang to Ko Phi Phi Don (21/10), and many males and a few females seen well in a flock of c. 300 frigate birds at Ko Pida Nork, Phi Phi (21/10). Since I didn’t have bins I couldn’t make out many other birds.
122) Christmas Island Frigatebird: One adult female seen well, may have been more of this sp, in large flock (see above) but without bins was too hard to tell, Ko Pida Nork, Phi Phi (21/10).
(h) Banded Pitta: 1 heard, 1 call only, on B trail, KNC (19/10).
123) Mangrove Pitta: One bird seen well, even if a rear view, perched on Rhizophora prop roots in mangroves, mangrove walkway, Krabi (20/10).
124) Black-and-yellow Broadbill: Heard but unseen on B trail (19/10), heard (20/10) and 1 seen on H trail (18/10), KNC.
125) Green Broadbill: 1 heard on B trail, and 1 young bird perched under canopy off side trail off H trail (19/10), 1 heard off H trail (20/10).
(h) Golden-bellied Gerygone: Heard but unseen in mangroves near Nordmann’s GS ponds, Laem Pak Bia (1/11).
(h) Asian Fairy Bluebird: Heard but unseen on M trail, KNC (18/10).
126) Brown Shrike: widespread and common, with many observations, all of single birds; most birds were race cristatus, but a few were lucionensis. Seen at: the Maritime in Krabi; Morakot; Koh Phi Phi Don; at Angkor Wat; on drive to ATT and at ATT; Bang Pra; Muang Boran; Phetchaburi; and Lumphini Park.
127) Long-tailed Shrike: 2 in grassland at Bang Pra (31/10), and 1 in roadside scrub, Phetchaburi (1/11).
(h) Black Magpie: Heard but unseen, B trail, KNC (19/10).
128) Rufous Treepie: Small groups, c.8 total, in woodland at Bang Pra (31/10).
129) Racket-tailed Treepie: 7 in woodland at Bang Pra, as singles to a group of 4 (31/10); 1 heard in scrub bordering Nordmann’s ponds, Laem Pak Bia, and several in scrub and on powerlines, Phetchaburi (1/11).
130) Large-billed Crow: Widespread, seen mostly as singles to small flocks. Seen at Maritime, Krabi (18/10, 20/10); Ko Phi Phi Don (22-24/10); floating village, Tonle Sap, where a surprisingly large flock of c. 60 birds flew over (26/10); heard at Angkor Wat (27/10); ATT (28/10); Bang Pra and Muang Boran (31/10); near Royal Palace (2/11) and Lumphini Park (2-3/11).
131) Ashy Woodswallow: 2 perched in dead branches in woodland at Bang Pra (31/10); many seen on power lines on drive to Laem Pak Bia and several in same situation, Phetchaburi (1/11); a few at Royal Palace, Bangkok (2/11).
(h) Dark-throated Oriole: Several heard but unseen, B trail, KNC (19/10).
132) Black-naped Oriole: heard in grounds of Maritime, Krabi (18/10); a few in canopy on H trail, near edge with plantation (20/10); pair on edge of forest clearing, Ko Phi Phi Don (23/10); 1 at Beng Melea (26/10); 7 at Angkor Wat (27/10); flocks of 10+ at both Preah Khan and Angkor Thom (29/10); 10+ in woodland at Bang Pra (31/10) and several at Lumphini Park where conspicuous (2-3/11).
133) Ashy Minivet: 1 first winter male in forest at base of rock outcrop near pier, Maritime, Krabi (18/10); 2 at Angkor Wat (27/10); 4 in scrub at western end of reservoir, ATT (28/10); 10+ in small groups in woodland at Bang Pra (31/10).
134) Pied Fantail: Mangrove walkway, Krabi (20/10); in scrub at western end of reservoir, ATT (28/10); Bang Pra and Muang Boran (31/10); heard at Khok Kham (1/11); seen in roadside scrub bordering paddies, Phetchaburi (1/11); at the Golden Mount, Bangkok (2/11); 1 at Lumphini Park (3/11).
135) Black Drongo: Abundant in open habitats, but not recorded in the south. Seen in open vegetation adjacent to Beng Melea, on drive to Beng Melea and over vegetation near floating village of Chong Kneas (26/10); many on drive to ATT (28/10); common at Bang Pra and Muang Boran (31/10); common in rice paddies and adjacent scrub, Phetchaburi (1/11).
136) Ashy Drongo: Fairly common in woodland and forest, with a mix of races present. At a number of places I saw both dark (mohouti) and grey races, but of the latter I do not know in some cases whether these were salangensis or leucogenys, nor am I aware of the relative abundance of these in parts of Thailand and Cambodia. Grey birds at Bang Pra were identified by Nick Upton as being race leucogenys, but one bird in Lumphini Park appeared to be salangensis. 2 near driveway, Maritime, Krabi (20/10); 1 grey bird at Beng Melea (26/10); several individuals of both dark and grey races at both Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm, and 1 at Banteay Kdei (27/10); 10+ at Preah Khan, and single birds at Ta Som and Angkor Thom (29/10); moderate numbers in woodland at Bang Pra, both mohouti and leucogenys present, and a single bird at Muang Boran (31/10); 1 grey bird at the Golden Mount, Bangkok (2/11); 1 grey bird (salangensis?) at Lumphini Park (3/11).
137) Crow-billed Drongo: 1 in forest below top viewpoint, Ko Phi Phi Don, in same field of view as greater Racket–tailed Drongo at one point (24/10); 2 in woodland at Bang Pra (31/10).
138) Bronzed Drongo: 1 in small mixed flock, H trail, KNC (20/10).
139) Greater Racket-tailed Drongo: 2 on ‘N’ trail and 2 on H trail, KNC (20/10); fairly common in forest on trails at Ko Phi Phi Don (22-24/10); 2 at Angkor Thom (29/10); 5 in woodland at Bang Pra (31/10).
140) Black-naped Monarch: 1 male on ‘N’ trail, KNC (20/10).
141) Asian Paradise-flycatcher: 1 female in forest on each M trail (18/10) and also on H trail (20/10), KNC; 1 female in forest near top viewpoint at Ko Phi Phi Don (24/10); 1 male at Ta Som, (29/10).
142) Common Iora: Single birds seen at Maritime, Krabi (18/10), in open area on edge of H trail, KNC (20/10), in woodland at Bang Pra (31/10), in roadside scrub adjacent to plantations and paddies, Phetchaburi (1/11) and in Lumphini Park (3/11).
143) Green Iora: Single male on H trail, KNC (18/10). A bird in forest adjacent to a cleared patch on Ko Phi Phi Don appeared to be a female of this sp., with greener colouring and pale yellow eye ring, but I couldn’t see the wings, and given the edge habitat may have been Common Iora, which I would be more likely to expect being here (although both could be possible).
144) Blue Rock Thrush: Single birds around temples in Angkor, with several at Angkor Wat (27/10), 1 at Banteay Kdei (27/10), and a few at Bayon, Angkor Thom (29/10).
145) Blue Whistling Thrush: A very tame pair in grounds of Maritime, Krabi, around the track to the pier (18/10, 20/10).
146) Orange-headed Thrush: 1 female off the side of the A trail, KNC (19/10).
147) Eyebrowed Thrush: 1 adult perched in forest mid-storey, off main road, KNC (19/10).
148) Fulvous-chested Flycatcher: 1 adult in undergrowth off ‘N’ trail, KNC (19/10).
149) Dark-sided Flycatcher: 1 adult at Preah Khan, Angkor (29/10).
150) Asian Brown Flycatcher: Common, the most abundant Muscicapa flycatcher of the trip. Several at Maritime (18/10, 21/10); 1-2 at Morakot (19-20/10); 2 on edge of H trail, KNC (20/10); several on trails in forest at Koh Phi Phi Don (22-24/10); 3 at Beng Melea (26/10) few each at Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm (27/10); 1 in scrub at western edge of reservoir, ATT (28/10); Preah Khan and Angkor Thom (29/10).
151) Brown-streaked Flycatcher: 1 in mangroves at mangrove walkway, Krabi (18/10).
152) Red-throated (Taiga) Flycatcher: 1 in nursery area, Maritime, Krabi (18/10); 2 at Beng Melea (26/10); many at Bang Pra (31/10); 1 in Lumphini Park (3/11).
153) Hainan Blue Flycatcher: 2 males at Beng Melea (26/10) and 1 male at Preah Khan (29/10).
154) Grey-headed Flycatcher: 1 adult at Preah Khan, Angkor (29/10).
(h) Siberian Rubythroat: At least one bird heard but unseen in roadside scrub bordering paddies and plantations, Phetchaburi (1/11). The bird responded to tape playback, but fell short of perching in the open, remaining frustratingly hidden.
155) Siberian Blue Robin: 1 female on H trail (19/10) and 1 immature male on U trail (20/10), KNC.
156) Oriental Magpie Robin: 1 at Maritime, Krabi (18/10); 2 in scrub near hotel (23/10) and 1 at water treatment works (24/10), Koh Phi Phi Don (24/10); 1 heard at Preah Khan (29/10); 1 heard in grounds of beach-side restaurant, near Laem Pak Bia (1/11); 1 at Golden Mount, Bangkok (2/11); 1 in Lumphini Park (2-3/11).
(h) White-rumped Shama: Heard but unseen in forest off main road near junction with H trail, KNC (20/10).
157) Eastern (Siberian-) Stonechat: Locally abundant in suitable habitat, recorded in paddies and adjacent scrub on drive to, and at, ATT (28/10); many at Bang Pra, in damp grassland, reeds and sedges, and at Muang Boran in reeds and fringing vegetation (31/10); few in vegetation fringing ponds at Nordmann’s ponds, Laem Pak Bia, and many in paddies and adjacent scrub, Phetchaburi (1/11).
158) Asian Glossy Starling: 3 adults and 1 immature perched on powerlines of main road going into Krabi, between Maritime and mangrove walkway (18/10).
159) Hill Myna: 5 near Baphuon at Angkor Thom, Angkor (29/10).
160) White-vented Myna: Generally more rural in habits than Common Myna, and less likely to be found in cities. 4 in farmland on drive to Beng Melea (26/10); flocks seen in rural land on drive to ATT, and in rural land and scrub fringing the reservoir, ATT (28/10); flocks at Bang Pra and at Muang Boran (31/10); Flocks present in scrub around the abandoned building, spoonbill site, Lame Pak Bia, and also in rural Phetchaburi (1/11); small groups in Lumphini Park (2-3/11).
161) Common Myna: Abundant in any open habitats, including edges of woodland, scrub fringing wetlands, and in lighter urban situations. Recorded at Maritime, Morakot, Ko Phi Phi Don (around main town area), on drive to Beng Melea, Angkor Wat, ATT and on drive to/from there, Bang Pra, Muang Boran, spoonbill site (Laem Pak Bia), Phetchaburi, and Lumphini Park.
162) Vinous-breasted Myna (-Starling): 2 in roadside scrub on main highway (Hwy No6), c. 40km from Siem Reap (28/10); 3 in farmland adjacent to Bang Pra (31/10).
163) Black-collared Myna (-Starling): 2 in rural land on drive to ATT, 2 in rural land adjacent to ATT reservoir, and 2 in scrub and adjacent rural land, towards western end of reservoir, ATT (28/10); 3 in Lumphini Park (2-3/11).
164) Asian Pied Myna (-Starling): Moderately common at Bang Pra, but fewer birds than Common or White-vented Mynas, and also seen at Muang Boran (31/10); 2 in scrub adjacent to abandoned building at spoonbill site, Laem Pak Bia, and also seen in scrub bordering paddies and plantations, Phetchaburi (1/11) - vast numbers, with hundreds together at times, perched on power lines on roadside on drive back to Bangkok from Phetchaburi at dusk; 2 in Lumphini Park (2-3/11).
165) White-shouldered Starling: Groups of 2 and 3 in roadside bushes on drive from ATT to main highway, and further along highway to Siem Reap (28/10).
166) Sand Martin: 1 flying over reservoir at ATT (28/10).
167) Dusky Crag Martin: Small group seen flying in front of rocky crag at Maritime, Krabi (18/10, 20/10).
168) Barn Swallow: Widespread and common, with gutturalis (white underparts) widespread and tytleri (buff underparts) present at some sites visited from Bangkok, although I did not think to note down which I saw where, and the latter was far more outnumbered by the former. I mistook immature Barn Swallows for Pacific Swallows at first glance on Phi Phi, since Pacific Swallows were common there and didn’t think to look too carefully (!). Seen in Krabi (on main road near mangrove walkway), over main road on edge of KNC, on Koh Phi Phi Don, on drive between ferry terminal and airport at Phuket, at Angkor Wat, at ATT, Bang Pra where there were many, Muang Boran, at King’s Project and spoonbill site at Laem Pak Bia, and Lumphini Park.
169) Pacific Swallow: Common in coastal south, seen daily at Maritime and elsewhere in Krabi, and daily on Ko Phi Phi Don.
170) Rufous-bellied Swallow: Several seen well at Maritime, Krabi (18/10, 20-21/10). This is a recent split from Striated Swallow.
171) Black-headed Bulbul: 3 at Beng Melea (26/10).
172) Black-crested Bulbul: 1 adult and 2 immatures perched in edge of secondary growth near driveway, Maritime, Krabi (18/10).
173) Sooty-headed Bulbul: 3 in grassland at Bang Pra, and 2 at Muang Boran (31/10).
174) Stripe-throated Bulbul: 1 in garden of Morakot near pond (19/10); 3 in forest on trail behind second viewpoint, Ko Phi Phi Don (24/10).
175) Yellow-vented Bulbul: Few at Maritime, Krabi (18/10); 2 over vegetation near floating village of Chong Kneas (26/10); common at Bang Pra and also seen at Muang Boran (31/10); 2 in Lumphini Park (3/11).
176) Olive-winged Bulbul: 2 in secondary growth edge at Morakot (18/10).
177) Streak-eared Bulbul: The common bulbul of the trip, being found almost everywhere. Seen at Maritime (18/10, 20-21/10), off main road through KNC (18/10), at Koh Phi Phi Don (22-24/10), outside hotel in Siem Reap (29/10), at Muang Boran (31/10), in roadside scrub, Phetchaburi (1/11), at Golden Mount in Bangkok (2/11) and at Lumphini Park (2-3/11) where common.
178) Cream-vented Bulbul: Few on H trail, KNC (20/10).
(h) Spectacled Bulbul: Heard but unseen on H trail, KNC (18/10).
179) Ochraceous Bulbul: Singles in undergrowth on B trail and off A trail, KNC (19/10).
180) Hairy-backed Bulbul: Few in grounds of Morakot (19/10); small groups on both H and M trails, KNC (19/10).
181) Zitting Cisticola: 1 in scrub and adjacent pasture bordering reservoir at ATT (28/10); at least one in grass at Bang Pra (31/10).
182) Bright-capped (Bright-headed, Golden-headed-) Cisticola: 1 seen and a couple more heard only, in grass at Bang Pra (31/10).
183) Grey-breasted Prinia: 1 in rank grass at Bang Pra (31/10).
184) Yellow-bellied Prinia: 1 immature bird in marshy reed/sedge growth, Bang Pra (31/10).
185) Plain Prinia: Few in long grass at Bang Pra (31/10); many at Muang Boran (1/11); 1 in roadside rice paddy, Phetchaburi (1/11).
186) Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler: Single bird seen in flight, Muang Boran (31/10).
187) Black-browed Reed Warbler: 1 in grass fringing ponds at Muang Boran, more heard but unseen (31/10); 1 heard in rice paddy and fringing vegetation, Phetchaburi (1/11).
188) Oriental Reed Warbler: 1 seen, in same field of view as Thick-billed Warbler, at Bang Pra, more heard but unseen, and 1 seen, and more heard only, at Muang Boran (31/10); 2 seen in roadside rice paddy, more heard but unseen, Phetchaburi (1/11); Several uniformly largish dark Acrocephalus warblers seen in rice paddies from the car whilst on the drive to ATT were most likely this species but may have been something less common.
189) Thick-billed Warbler: 1 at Bang Pra, in same field of view as Oriental Reed Warbler – unusual given habitat differences (31/10); heard but not seen in scrub bordering cultivation, Phetchaburi (1/11).
190) Common Tailorbird: 1 seen in scrub bordering the maritime, Krabi (18/10); heard in scrub bordering reservoir at ATT (28/10); heard at Bang Pra (31/10).
191) Dark-necked Tailorbird: 2 seen on mangrove walkway, Krabi (20/10); 3 in forest on trail N of top viewpoint, Ko Phi Phi Don (23/10); heard in woodland at Bang Pra (31/10).
192) Ashy Tailorbird: Heard (18/10) and 3 seen (20/10) at mangrove walkway, Krabi.
193) Dusky Warbler: 1 seen in scrub, western border of reservoir, ATT (28/10).
194) Yellow-browed Warbler: 1 in forest on B trail, (19/10), and 1 in forest on N trail (20/10), KNC;
195) Arctic Warbler: Most commonly encountered Phylloscopus warbler for the trip. Few on mangrove walkway (18/10, 20/10); 1 in grounds of Morakot near pond (19/10); 1 in forest on N trail, KNC (20/10); 1 in woodland at Bang Pra (31/10);
196) Greenish (Two-barred) Warbler: 1 seen and characteristic call heard at Ta Som, Angkor (29/10). Distinctive race plumbeitarsus previously split as Two-barred Warbler, now lumped again with Greenish Warbler.
197) Pale-legged Leaf warbler: 1 seen in mangroves at walkway, Krabi (20/10); 1 heard in woodland at Bang Pra (31/10).
198) Eastern Crowned Warbler: 2 individuals seen on trail near top viewpoint and near second viewpoint, Ko Phi Phi Don (24/10).
199) Striated Grassbird: Single bird and 2 together seen at Muang Boran (31/10).
200) White-crested Laughingthrush: Groups of up to 5 birds seen twice in woodland at Bang Pra, probably same group (31/10).
(h) Ferruginous Babbler: Heard but not seen, in undergrowth off H trail, KNC (18/10).
201) Puff-throated Babbler: Individuals heard, on main road through KNC (18/10), and at Morakot from plantation across road (19/10), single bird seen on track, H trail (19/10).
202) Moustached Babbler: Heard on B trail, single immature seen in undergrowth on A trail, KNC (19/10).
(h) Scaly-crowned Babbler: Heard in undergrowth on B trail, KNC (19/10).
203) Large Wren-Babbler: Single bird seen on H trail, KNC (19/10).
(h) Streaked Wren-Babbler: Heard in undergrowth off H trail near road junction, KNC (19/10).
204) Black-throated Babbler: Heard on B trail and 2-3 seen in undergrowth off H trail, KNC (18-19/10).
205) Chestnut-rumped Babbler: 1 in understorey off M trail, KNC (18/10).
206) Chestnut-winged Babbler: 1 on B trail (19/10) and several in undergrowth on edge of main road, near junction with H trail (20/10), KNC.
207) Pin-striped Tit Babbler: 1 heard on B trail (19/10) and 1 seen on H trail (20/10), KNC; 1 in garden of Morakot and adjacent secondary growth (19/10).
208) Fluffy-backed Tit Babbler: Single bird in undergrowth off M trail, KNC (18/10).
(h) Chestnut-capped Babbler: Several heard but not seen, in long rank grass and reeds, Bang Pra (31/10).
209) Australasian Bushlark: Single bird in grassland, Bang Pra (31/10).
210) Indochinese Bushlark: 5 in grassland, Bang Pra (31/10), noticeably darker and rounder-winged than Australasian Bushlark.
211) Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker: 2 on H trail, KNC (19/10).
212) Yellow-vented Flowerpecker: 1 in clearing on ‘N’ trail, KNC (20/10).
213) Orange-bellied Flowerpecker: 1 male on H trail, KNC (20/10).
214) Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker: Widespread and seen daily, at Maritime and mangrove walkway at Krabi, H trail at KNC, Ko Phi Phi Don, in flooded mangroves/woodland at floating village of Chong Kneas, ATT, Angkor Wat, Ta Som, Bang Pra, and Lumphini Park.
215) Ruby-cheeked Sunbird: Pair feeding in flowering tree [with Yellow-eared Spiderhunter] on B trail, KNC (19/10); pair in mangroves at walkway, Krabi (18/10, 20/10); 1 male at Preah Khan and a pair at Ta Som, Angkor (29/10).
216) Brown-throated Sunbird: Seen daily at Krabi (18/10, 20-21/10) including the Maritime, mangrove walkway and adjacent areas, and daily on Koh Phi Phi Don (22-24/10); also seen at Bang Pra (31/10).
217) Olive-backed Sunbird: Most widespread and common sunbird observed on the trip. Seen almost daily, at Krabi including at the Maritime, mangrove walkway and adjacent areas; Koh Phi Phi Don; Angkor including Angkor Wat, Ta Som and Neak Pean; Bang Pra, Muang Boran, Phetchaburi and Lumphini Park.
218) Purple Sunbird: 1 male in scrub on western boundary of reservoir, ATT (28/10).
219) Little Spiderhunter: 1 in fairly open secondary growth on H trail, KNC (20/10).
220) Thick-billed Spiderhunter: 1 in growth on edge of pool in grounds of Morakot (19/10).
221) Yellow-eared Spiderhunter: Single bird feeding in the canopy of a flowering tree together with Ruby-cheeked Sunbirds, B trail, KNC (19/10).
222) Eurasian Tree Sparrow: Recorded at Maritime, Krabi (18/10); roadside in Phuket on drive from ferry to airport (25/10); near floating village of Chong Kneas, (26/10); roadside on drive to ATT (28/10); in Bangkok near Royal Palace (2/11); and Lumphini Park (3/11).
223) House Sparrow: Few roadside in village on drive to ATT (28/10).
224) Forest Wagtail: 1 adult walking quietly across the path to the pier, Maritime, Krabi (18/10); with its lack of tail wagging and cryptic colouration appears more like a small wader.
225) Yellow Wagtail: Several birds showing mix of plumage patterns, at Muang Boran (31/10); 1 at Khok Kham and 1 at Nordmann’s ponds (1/11) – see discussion above for further details.
226) Grey Wagtail: Single adult by small spring in open ground above Emerald Pool, D trail boardwalk, KNC (19/10).
227) Richard’s Pipit: 1 flying overhead at Muang Boran (31/10).
228) Paddyfield Pipit: Many at Angkor Wat (27/10); 1 on road on drive to ATT, and 2 on road bordering reservoir at ATT (28/10); 5 at Bang Pra and 3 at Muang Boran (31/10); 2 at spoonbill site, Laem Pak Bia (1/11);
229) Baya Weaver: Flock of c. 15 in reeds at Bang Pra (31/10).
230) White-rumped Munia: small flock present in grounds of Maritime, Krabi (18/10, 20/10), nesting in Bougainvilleas in planter boxes on balconies.
231) Scaly-breasted Munia: 10 in long grass near driveway, Maritime, Krabi (20/10); flock of c.15 in long grass near hotel, Koh Phi Phi Don (22-23/10); in rice paddy at ATT (28/10); 5 in reeds at Bang Pra, and c. 10 in reeds at Muang Boran (31/10); c. 10 roadside, Phetchaburi (1/11); 4 on roadside nature strip near Wat Pho, Bangkok (2/11);