Daytrips out of Bangkok
The following are a few sites that I regularly take visiting birders to. I often to one site in the morning and another in the afternoon and sometimes even fit in one midday.
Depending on the time of year number of birds seen will vary. Migrants are here from September – April of large yet there are others that only visit in May-August.
I find it very fulfilling for people on business or others with limited circumstances to invest in a guided trip with someone that not only knows the birds but also how to get around and has years of experience living in Thailand.
1. Experimental ricefields at Pathum Thani:
This site is very good for taking pictures from the car as the fields are crisscrossed with roads
A normal morning produce 50-60 species depending on the season. My personal list is 110 for the site. Typical wetland birds are abundant such as Red-wattled Lapwings, Asian Openbills, Egrets and Pond-Herons, Weavers, Stonechats, Pipits, Prinias, Brown Shrike, Jacanas, Common Moorhen etc
The site is easily reached with a normal pick up at 5:30. About 30 minutes drive from Bkk.
2. Military Academy in Nakon Nayok:
The site is about 100km from Bangkok but an easy add on after having visited the site above first. At the Academy, which is situated next to forested hills, you will add a few birds not found at the ricefields. Blue-winged Pitta is common May-July and I have even seen an Eared Pitta. June-July Malaysian Night Heron is found in the early morning. But the easier ones are Black-collared Starling, Vinous-breasted Starling, Indo-chinese Bushlark, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Black-naped Oriole, Lineated Barbet, Green Bee-eaters and White-throated Kingfisher. A direct drive to here from Bangkok would take an hour and a half or slightly more.
3. Bangpra, Chonburi:
A protected area with a large reservoir and surrounding woodlands. Birds are pretty abundant in all habitas but when the water level is very high there is less to see.
I do this in a combination with fields and nearby hills so the list for the morning usually is pretty good.
Hoopoe, Chestnut-capped Babbler, White-crested Laughingthrushes, Common Flameback, Indian Roller, Bright-capped Cisticola, Grey-breasted Prinia, Lineated Barbet, Painted Stork, Lesser Adjutant, Oriental Pratincole, Ashy Woodswallow, Common Iora, Black-crested Bulbul and a lot more to be expected
4. Bangpoo, Samut Sakorn:
A coastal site with mangroves, hinterlands and a walkable pier into the Gulf of Thailand.
The site is filled with Brown-headed Gulls in winter as well as waders that are best seen during low tide. The site has recorded over 200 species as the mangroves also serve as a resting place for migratory birds. The early morning is nice and cool but midday usually very hot. Lots of locals visit here to feed the gulls and to dine at the restaurant at the end of the pier. I often visit here midday in between Bangpra and later one of the wetland sites.
Collared Kingfisher, Golden-bellied Gerygone, Oriental White-eye are common resident birds. In winter loads of waders abound.
5. Pahktaley and Lampakbia, Petchaburi:
This is the main site for daytrips Nov-April. One of the best sites in the world for waders watching with huge numbers and incredible diversity. Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Asian Dowitcher, Nordmann’s Greenshank, Malaysian Plover, White-faced Plover, Chinese Egret…are the main targets but the shorebird list usually end up 30-35 species seen and sometimes even higher.
There are several parks that can be visited for a morning walk: King’s Park, Lumpini Park, Train Park being the easier ones to access. These parks all hold similar species and can be very rewarding for a first timer to the birds of Thailand.
1-4 days trip
The very best combination of such a trip is to visit Paktaley, Lampakbia and the fields of Petchaburi along with Kaengkrachan National Park. The latter is Thailand's largest National Park and holds an amazing array of wildlife. The park is also situated in the province of Petchaburi. I have seen 487 species of birds in this province alone. You can not go wrong spending time here.
The park offers easy walking and by using the car one can cover a lot of ground in a short time. The surrounding areas outside the park also hold a lot of birdlife and there are several permanent hides and waterholes where one can enjoy the birds at close range and take pictures.
The trip normally enjoys the services of Baan Maka Nature Resort which in itself has a lot of wildlife aside from being picturesque and lush.