Sunday, August 3, 2014

South, part 3

I had heard of a stake out for Great Argus but during my research found  that it was being sold by a resort for a rather handsome amount of money. I kept digging and finally found the direct connection with the villager that initially set up the stationary hide by the bird’s lek. And that at a lot cheaper price then the upscale resort.

Well, it wasn’t all that easy to get the communications right and even harder to find the villager  at his appointed spot. We drove to the km mark we were told only to find out that the road department had changed all the road markers. Through a set of nothing but small miracles we finally met up with the man deep inside the jungle only to find out that he meant for us to come a day later. Ha!

Well, we found a very nice resort in the area some 20 km East of the entrance to Khao Sok National Park. Again, good food, warm showers, big bed and air-con for weary souls.

The next morning we drove off to Sri Pangnga National Park about an hour’s drive further West.
1st target bird was Banded Pitta and we headed straight for it. Thankfully the birds had not started to lay on eggs and were still coming to worms. The male was seen carrying nesting materials and then calling for  his mate.

After the Pitta we went to a stake out for a Rufous-backed Dwarf Kingfisher. The tiny bird with all its colour posed very nicely next to the road  and the portable blinds I had brought came in handy again.

A friendly ranger asked me if I wanted to ‘see a Gould’s Frogmouth on a day roost’? Ha! Manna from Heaven! We didn’t stay long as to not disturb the bird too much.

Back to the lodge from previous night and an early wake up for our Great Argus adventure.
We met the man at 4 am and together with his nephew we walked 3 km in the very hot and humid tropical rain forest to get to our spot. We were continuously told to  be quiet and how extremely leery this bird is. Believe me, it was a difficult walk over several steep hill tops. I didn’t know I could sweat so profusely until that night.

So at the lek we were given 3 small holes to view through. Basically he said to stick our cameras through the hole but that the camera had to be on a tripod so as to not case motion in the canvas. I didn’t bring a tripod so my hole was reduced to the size of a silver dollar. Leonardo stuck his bins in the hole and Francesco fitted his 300mm lens with tripod.

Long story made short, the bird came and performed for an hour before disappearing. I managed to view the birds a couple of minutes but the other guys had great views for most of the time. Needless to say a lifer for all of us.

Back to the resort for a rest, lunch and drive back to Sri Pangnga where we checked in at a local hotel.

1 comment:

Choy Wai Mun said...

Interesting write-up and a rewarding trip indeed. The male Argus is an unbelievable sight as always. Great images as well.