Saturday, August 11, 2012

Borderland Adventures

female Orange-bellied Leafbird
With a Friday meeting and a Monday meeting both in Mae Sot, it seemed sensible to stay for the weekend and use the opportunity to explore the forested mountain road to Umphang. Dave Sargeant's recent success with finding Burmese Yuhina was obviously high in my thoughts, along with the outside chance of connecting with Rufous-necked Hornbill.

I left Mae Sot at 9am, having taken delivery of a hire car, and following DS's trip report reached the first patch of good forest at KM 115 by 11.30am. I spent an hour birding the road here, but upon returning to the car found that the battery had died! To cut a long story short I got help from a couple of passing drivers and ended up driving directly to Umphang to get the battery replaced, but I'm now in Umphang with a car with major eletrical problems - the car starts but I have no working ABS,  indicators, windscreen wipers or electric windows...the windows in the car are wound down and it's the middle of the wet the drive back tomorrow will be "interesting" to say the least, and seems likley that birding will be very limited or else totally aborted.

This is particularly frustrating because after four weeks of rain in this part of Thailand today was mostly dry, and the hour's birding that I did get indicated that this area is very promising. Highlights included two separate White-crowned Forktails, several Streaked Spiderhunters, three Davison's Warblers, a female Orange-bellied Leafbird, a pair of Grey-chinned Minivets and best of all a pair of Rufous-bellied Eagles (adult and juvenile dive-bombing one another over the forest).

Let's see what happens tomorrow...

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