Sunday, August 3, 2014

South, part 2

At noon I went to pick up Francesco and Leonardo at the airport. Francesco had graciously brought some Italian salami which I cherished throughout the trip. Thank you!

The drive to Krung Ching took most of the afternoon. A better option is to fly to Nakorn Sritamaraht with Airasia. Hertz allow for free drop off of their vehicle if hired more then 5 days.

We were greeted at a nice Homestay by the park and a sumptuous meal was waiting for us as well.
The ranger Daang and his family has set up a little homestay with 4 rooms available. They are air-conned with hot water and a big blessing as opposed to using the park bungalows with all their ‘wildlife’ in the room, no warm water and no air-con. At the homestay you can also have 3 meals that are wonderfully cooked by the Grandmother of the house.

The next morning we set out with our target in mind. We were accompanied by ‘R’, Daang’s nephew. It was his job to locate the Babbler and bring it to us.

After about an hour of searching along the trail R heard the bird in the far distance. He started taping it in. We set up a couple of blinds and myself and R retreated out of view. After an hour or more the bird still hadn’t shown so we had to start looking for it again. Again it was located, hides moved and another wait. This time we were not to be disappointed. The remarkable creature came and stuck around for several minutes as it gobbled up the meal worms put out for him. Big thumbs up and joy for a bird that had been on their minds for years! Mainly relief for myself!

Leonardo offered me his hide and I waited awhile until the bird came back. For some reason my camera simply couldn’t focus. So frustrating! Then as the bird left I discovered a large leaf stuck on the lens thus causing the focus not to work. Grrr!

Light is very difficult for photography inside this rain forest. Loads of intriguing sounds can be heard but seeing the birds is another story. Francesco carries a 500mm lens mounted on a light weight tripod. He is very quick on the birds but even he struggled with stuff like Green Broadbills and Cinnamon-rumped Trogons that we saw well but only briefly. He did get Buff-rumped and Buff-necked Woodpeckers rather impromptu.

In the afternoon we tried for a known nesting site for Rufous-collared Kingfisher but no signs of the birds.

Owling is normally good at KC but this time it also produced nothing but it mattered little after such superb views of the Rail Babbler.

The next day Daang came with us for the 1st part of the morning. He knows his birds very well and took us directly to some spots where he called out target birds. Thus we had great views of male and female Rufous-collared Kingfisher, Rufous Piculet, Banded Broadbill and  Black-throated Babbler, all photographed well.

Some other birds seen and heard: Dark-throated Oriole, Raffles Malkoha, Black-yellow Broadbill, Scaly-crowned Babbler, Fulvous-chested Jungle Flycatcher, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, Chestnut-winged Babber, White-crowned Hornbill, Silver-rumped Spinetail, Red-throated Barbet, Brown Barbet, Red-billed Malhoha
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