This is part two of my blog about our trip to Thailand. Part one (the north) is in the previous post.
Day 9 - Spoonies and other waders
Day nine was our day out with Peter Ericsson. We'd arranged this day with Peter before leaving the UK in order to maximize our time in the salt pans of Pak Thale and our chances of catching up with spoon-billed sandpiper.
Peter collected us before dawn from our hotel in Samut Sakhon and we headed for the salt pans of Pak Thale. Arriving shortly after 6am we were soon scanning likely areas for spoonies. After not long at all, Janet and Peter got onto two different birds, we spent a long time watching two (or probably three) spoonies before heading off to look for other waders after a brief diversion to a nearby temple to see Stejneger's stonechat and pied starling in the adjacent grasslands.
|Pointing the way to the Spoonies|
|Spoon-billed sandpiper habitat|
Our other main target of the day was Nordman's greenshank and Peter soon had them in the bag between Pak Thale and Laem Pak Bia with at least 14 view-able.
As the morning was hotting up, we headed for the Laem Pak Bia Royal Project, a series of pools, mangrove and grassland that you can mostly bird from the car. We saw a lot of waterbirds here as well as paddyfield pipit and plain-backed sparrow. Golden-bellied gerygones were heard but frustratingly not seen.
|Pied starling at the Royal Project|
|Either Chinese or Javan pond heron - indistinguishable here out of the breeding season|
Next on our itinerary was to join another group of birders for the trip boat trip out to the Laem Pak Bia sand spit. Along the short stretch of river leading out to the spit we saw many egrets and pond herons. Once out of the boat, we set up our scopes on the sand to go through the waders picking up 15-20 Malaysian plovers and at least two white-faced plovers. Pacific reef and chinese egrets were also added to the list.
|Monitor lizard from the boat|
|Scanning for waders on the sand spit|
|Malaysian plover (back)|
Day 10 Laem Pak Bia then drive to Kaeng Krachen.
A transit day with some birding.
We started at Mahachai Mangrove Research Station near our hotel. The tide was in so we dipped Asian dowitcher but saw lots of golden-bellied gerygone's in the mangroves as well as mangrove whistler.
|Concrete boardwalk at the Mangrove Research Station|
|Oriental whiteye at the Mangrove Research Station|
We arrived at Baan Maka, our base and then headed straight for Ban Song Nok to arrange access to an amazing garden set up with hides. Once arranged and our slots booked in the hides, the owner was happy for us to watch birds until dusk. We were treated to amazing views of bay-backed partridge, Tickell's blue flycatcher, slaty-legged crake, siberian blue robins and Abbott's babbler amongst others.
Day 11 Kaeng Krachan
We arranged a guide with a 4x4 with the owners of Baan Maka and set up with him before dawn for a full day in Kaeng Krachan National Park. He spoke no English, but knew his birds. First stop, in the half-light was a well-known stakeout for white-fronted scops owl, two were sat in the bushes - amazing. Another brief stop for ratchet-tailed treepie was also successful.
|Kaeng Krachan National Park|
|broad blue tiger butterfly (we think)|
|green vine snake|
We started the day at Ban Song Nok.
|greater necklaced laughingthrush|
|greater necklaced laughingthrush|
|lesser necklaced laughingthrush|
|'bonny chicken' - red jungle fowl|
|Siberian blue robin|
|Tickell's blue flycatcher|
|Burmese striped squirrel|
|Indochinese ground squirrel|
Our last day in 'the middle'. We birded around Baan Maka before breakfast adding pied hornbill, chestnut-capped babbler olive-backed sunbird and black-browed reed warbler to the list.
|chestnut-headed bee-eater at Baan Maka|