Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Khao Yai quicky

A work retreat near Khao Yai gave me a welcome break from the hubbub of Bangkok city life last week, and a few avian highlights.

Driving along a quiet country road near my accommodation I came across a Barred Buttonquail with a half-grown chick crossing the road - when a vehicle came in the opposite direction the adult ran for cover but I was surprised to see the chick take to the wing to avoid an untimely demise.

The grounds of my accommodation hosted several Red-breasted Parakeets and Spangled Drongos each morning, but the main birding highlight was the journey back to Bangkok with a detour into Khao Yai National Park for a few hours.

Even a short trip to KYNP can produce some exceptional wildlife, with the highlights in my three hours being a male Siamese Fireback and a male Silver Pheasant feeding together on the Radar Road, with a Blue Pitta calling at the same spot. I also heard a further two Blue Pittas, plus a Hooded Pitta elsewhere on the same road.

The park also offered Great, Wreathed and Oriental Pied Hornbills, and I may have heard the contact calls of Austen's Brown Hornbill (my Khao Yai bogey bird!).

One other highlight in the park was a close encounter of the needletail kind, with a Brown Needletail passing so low and fast overhead as it departed its drinking pool that I could hear the air whizzing through its wings.

A slow spring

Family commitments have kept my birding at bay over the spring, with occasional visits to Suan Rot Fai and the grounds of the Dept of Public Relations during April and early May.

There were no real stand-out highlights in terms of rarities, but a nice trickle of Mugimaki Flycatchers throughout April (my first one actually on 31st March).  The undoubted highlight of the spring was making a short visit to Suan Rot Fai and finding a single tree that simultaneously held a male Blue-and-white Flycatcher, a female Mugimaki Flycatcher, two Eyebrowed Thrushes, a Black-winged Cuckooshrike, a Taiga Flycatcher, five Asian Brown Flycatchers and a Brown Shrike

Perhaps the most satisfying bird of the spring was finally nailing a Kamchatka Leaf Warbler in sub-song and calling regularly at the Dept of Public Relations on 5th May.