Supsadao, Khao Yai, Watprabhutabahtnoi, Don Muang
8-10th of April 2014
I have wanted to visit the Sapsadao substation of Taplan National Park for a long time but never got around doing so.
When Ike Suriwong came for a visit we both thought it to be a good idea to give the place a try.
The area is primarily a dry dipterocarp covered forest with several species not found in more wet deciduous forest on higher levels of nearby Khao Yai National Park.
It was tricky to get information of how to get to the place and as it turned out the reported kilometer markings were all changed and of no help. Instead we had to stop frequently and ask the locals for directions.
Basically we drove from Bangkok passed Nakorn Nayok and kept going towards Kabinburi where we turned left onto highway number 304. This is a major road connecting the Northeast with the Southeast and has a lot of traffic on an at times narrow road crossing the mountains on its way to the plateau of the Northeast.
We had a nice late breakfast in an area called Wang NamKaew. This is a well known recreational area for Thai people with many orchards, resorts and eateries .
After our meal we came upon the entrance to Sakerat wildlife sanctuary. This area is famous for Siamese Firebacks being easy along the narrow road passed headquarters. It was after 9 am but we still saw 3 birds displaying and feeding along the road. This would serve as a good back up place if failing to see them at Khao Yai some 80 kilometers away.
Once on the other side of the mountain passage the challenge of finding our way began in earnest. In the end we found Supsadao about 27 km away from road 304 after having done a number of turns into the interior.
The graveled road took us through a landscape full of plantations, cassava, rubber, sugar and corn being the main crops.
Some good birds seen along this road were Crested Honey Buzzard, Rufus-winged Buzzard,
Indo-Chinese Bushlark, Hoopoe and Green Bee-eaters.
The access road to the forest reserve was very birdy inspite of our late arrival at noon.
Almost immediately we got on to several Blossom-headed Parakeets including young ones.
Grey-breasted Prinias were very vocal. Common Iora likewise. A couple of Velvet-fronted Nuthatches brightened up the show. A pair of Small Minivets added more color. Rufous Treepies were obvious. Vinous-breasted Starlings rather common. A Black-headed Woodpecker came to feed on something on the road.
Loads of White-vented Mynas around and a few Hill Mynas as well.
Lineated Barbets kept singing. Olive-backed Sunbirds were common.
Closer to headquarters Red-breasted Parakeets took over from the Blossom-headed.
Once passed the head quarters the forest became taller and fewer smaller birds were seen.
Good birds seen in here were: Red-billed Blue Magpie, Lesser Yellownape, Comon Flameback,
Large Cuckoo Shrike, Black Baza, Rufescent Prinia, Eurasian Jay and Shikra.
Our main target bird: White-browed Fantail eluded us during our afternoon visit and continued to do so on the following morning. Perhaps it is more scarce then reported or it was breeding?
We found a simple hotel back on 304 and went back for a morning session the day after.
There were a lot of activity but not many new birds seen.
Best highlite was to get some close up images of Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker and Common Wood Shrike. We also saw a single Burmese Shrike.
Other common birds in the area: Indian Roller, Pied Fantail, Asian Palm Swift, Barnswallow, Magpie Robin, Eastern Jungle Crow, Ashy Wood Swallow, Plain-backed Sparrows, Scaly-breasted Munias, Taiga Flycatcher, Radde’s Warbler, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Barred Buttonquail, Pied Bushchat, Siberian Stonechat.
I wanted to see what the road driving from Wang Namkaew to Khao Yai was like and it turned out to be an easy drive on a good but winding road. It only took 1 hour from the turn off on 304 to get to the park entrance. Along the way we stopped to view some Crested Treeswift on wires.
The afternoon we spent inside of Khao Yai but both our target birds were not seen. White-throated Rock Thrush most likely left for its breeding grounds and the Coral-billed Ground Cuckoo no longer showing by the restaurant. It is also breeding season for this bird.
We know it would be a bit risky to go after these birds so didn’t feel too disappointed.
Instead we found a nice European styled restaurant and treated ourselves to a nice supper.
Juladit Resort has been taken over by some developers but J2, the old part of Juladit, still offer some better priced rooms. So, good air-con, Wifi and comfortable beds was all we needed.
Next morning we got up early to make sure to be at Watpraputtabahtnoi on time.
The temple is situated 20minutes drive North of Suraburi and took us a little over an hour to get to.
In the morning the strong song of Limestone Wren Babblers dominate the area even outdoing the every so noisy dogs present.
We saw 4 different pairs of this endemic sub-species. A great wildlife encounter.
Then back to Bangkok but first a quick visit to an area of Don Muang where a feral population of Java Sparrows are known to hang out. After some search we found a pair with two juveniles by their nest on a building.
Back home again after lunch and now contemplating how to best spend the days during Songkran festival.
Common Wood Shrike
Limestone Wren Babbler