Saturday, March 5, 2011

3rd March 2011

Went to Khao Yai with my old friend Stuart Elsom today. Soon after getting through the southern gate our journey was brought to a standstill by a bull ASIAN ELEPHANT who was having a late snack before retreating into the forest for the day. I was amazed to see a motorcyclist standing on the road  as the elephant walked past him only a few meters away.  I had assumed this guy was a national park staff member who knew exactly how to handle such a close encounter with a potentially lethal pachyderm, but once the beast had passed him and we drew level with him it became apparent that he was in fact an Israeli tourist who was blissfully unaware of the potential danger!

Khao Yai rush hour

Further up the road we came across a pair of LONG-TAILED BROADBILLS nest-building.  Needless to say they received a fair bit of attention from our cameras!

The rest of the day produced some very nice birding including ORIENTAL PIED, WREATHED and GREAT HORNBILLS, a male RED-HEADED TROGON, the first RUFOUS-BELLIED EAGLE and BLUE-EARED KINGFISHER that I've seen in the park, ASHY BULBUL, a cracking male MUGIMAKI FLYCATCHER (rare as a winter visitor here), a HAINAN BLUE FLYCATCHER a very showy male SIBERIAN BLUE ROBIN, and a couple of PUFF-THROATED BABBLERS.We also heard a few of the birds that Khao Yai is best known for, with a Coral-billed Ground-cuckoo calling distantly at lunchtime, a Banded Kingfisher  heard mid-afternoon, several Banded Broadbills in different locations, and a pair of WHITE-CROWNED FORKTAILS glimpsed.   Surprisingly we  didn't hear any Blue Pittas - they must be due to start calling in the next week or so.

Oriental Pied Hornbill

Sibe Blue

The highlight of the day for me came late in the afternoon when we found a pair of male SIAMESE FIREBACKS near the start of the KM33 trail. Rather amazingly this species has eluded me during my visits to Khao Yai over the past six years, so I was very happy to lay this bogey bird to rest.  Not only was this a tick, but we saw the birds in such classic circumstances - in deep, dark forest, with their facial skin practically glowing in the dim light.

1 comment:

Luna said...

Hi Dave, been back a few weeks now and just got round to writing up my Thai notes (367 sp in 12 days).

Many thanks for a great day in Khao Yai, by my reckoning 72 sp seen that day with about 40 of them new for me.

Must have done thae fastest ever 'twitch' of Laem Pak Bia which was pretty superb too.

Contact me when you get back from Kinabalu and we'll go through some stuff for Extremedura.