Monday, March 31, 2014

Sri Pangnga and Krung Ching in March 2014

Sri Pangnga National Park and Krung Ching waterfall
19-26th of March 2014

For a few years I have been wanting to visit Sri Pangnga in the pre breeding season for the Malay Banded Pitta.  This year it worked out for me to do so.

Driving the 800km from Bangkok basically took all day and I arrived in the late afternoon when I briefly visited Sri Pangnga National Park. Instead of staying in park bungalows I opted for a Homestay about 6 km North of the park turn off. The Homestay had Wifi, air-con, hot showers and was cheap at 350Baht/night.

Being in the Southern forest is always refreshing.  A lot of different sounds from Central and Northern Thailand. I enjoy hearing the birds almost as much as seeing them which is good cause in this environment seeing them isn’t all that easy.

During my stay at Sri Pangnga I had several  ‘sessions’ with the Banded Pitta, both male and female.
The birds had acquired a taste for meal worms and were easily lured out in the open. Still, light conditions were poor and photography challenging. I used my pop up blind as well as a tripod to get the shoots I wanted.

I also spent a short time in my blind by the stream and got the Chestnut-naped Forktail I hoped for, as well as a surprise male Banded Pitta coming out into the stream.

There were many Spectacled Bulbuls singing in the park. Nice to have learned its song.

Great Argus were calling every morning form up the hills. That would be one awesome bird to go after at some point.

Great Hornbills seemed pretty regular as did Bushy–crested Hornbills. They sound very different from the Hornbills in Central  Thailand and I quite enjoyed hearing them ‘sing’. I didn’t get any perch views but saw several birds in flight.

Whiskered Treeswift and Silver-rumped Needletails were easy to spot. None of these are found in Central Thailand so a great opportunity to take in something different.

My time at Sri Pangnga was rather relaxed as I didn’t have many targets. I tried for Gould’s Frogmouth one evening and one morning but never connected with it though others did during the time I was there.

One day I drove to Thaimuang about 100 km South of the Park past Khao Luck.
Here in a known recreational park a pair of Spotted Wood Owls have taken up residue.
This time I was very fortunate as some folks from Had Yai were already on to the birds as I arrived midday. The birds were roosting very high and hard to detect.  So with ‘a little help from my friend’ it worked out well.  A new bird for my Thai list.

Krung Ching waterfall, Nakorn  Sritammarat

From Sri Pangnga to KC it takes about 4 hours. KC is on the Eastern side of the Peninsular and Sri Pangnga on the Western side.

KC is a lush sub-station  and part of Khao Luang National Park.  Here many good Southern birds can be found, both along the access road and the trail that leads to the waterfall.

This time I stayed at a new Homestay about 1 km before the park checkpoint. It has clean rooms, air-con, Wifi and excellent hospitality and food.

A fruiting tree gave good sights of feeding Barbets and Bulbuls plus an Orange-headed Thrush.

A resident Blue-winged Pitta lurked in the vegetation by the tree to come out and snatch some fallen fruit at times.

Black-Yellow Broadbills were abundant.

Javan Frogmouth  was breeding and easy to approach.

Many Raffles Malkohas seen.

Green Broadbills were not that active but I connected well with a pair along the trail.

Scarlet Trogon showed well along the trail.

A pair of Red-bearded Bee-eaters were very accommodating.

I got my much wanted Fluffy-backed Tit Babblers along the trail. They sound much like Chestnut-winged Babblers, a much more common bird, so watch out.

Cool Bulbuls were Grey-cheeked, Spectacled, Hairy-backed and Yellow-bellied. None found in Central Thailand. Of course the best one was the Scaly-breasted found feeding in the fig tree.

Daang, the ranger, helped me to get on to the Brown Wood Owl well one evening. My only lifer for the trip. We also heard Barred Eagle Owls, another owl I need to return for.

A Ruddy Kingfisher along the trail was my only 2nd sighting of this bird in Thailand.

Many birds were nesting and not yet feeding young so I think in a month it will be more active.

I did see a bunch of other stuff but didn’t keep a list. I was hoping for Fiery Minivet and Black Hornbills but dipped on both. 

All in all a pleasant trip that I’d gladly do again.

                                                      Great Hornbill


                                                    Malay Banded Pitta, female

                                                      Malay Banded Pitta, male

                                                     Chestnut-capped Forktail

                                                         White-rumped Needletail

                                                             Spotted Wood Owl

                                                             Blue-eared Kingfisher

                                                       Red-bearded Bee-eater

                                                      Dark-throated Oriole

                                                         Gold-whiskered Barbet

                                                        Scaly-breasted Bulbul

                                                                Javan Frogmouth, female

                                                          Brown Wood Owl

                                                        Bushy-crested Hornbill

                                                          Green Broadbill

                                                           Blue-winged Pitta

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