Last Monday was the start of a 3 day trip to Petchaburi province. After a morning at Pak Thale where Nordmann’s Green shank, Far Eastern Curlew and Spoon-billed Sandpiper were the notable stand-outs, we headed closer to Kaeng Krachan National Park.
After checking in and a quick bit of garden birding at Baan Maka Nature Lodge, we were off for an afternoon at one of the hides. Excited, knowing how many new birds I was about to see. As soon as the waterhole was refilled, we were greeted by Lesser and Greater Necklaced Laughingthrushes.
Lots of other birds were paying the watering hole a visit. Basically all of them new species to me. Today’s main cast alongside the Necklaced Laughingthrushes were Brown-cheeked Fulvetta, Asian Emerald Dove, Red Junglefowl and a load of different squirrels and a Northern Tree Shrew (You can see these at the parks in Bangkok). It was fascinating to just sit and watch the animal interactions.
The first attention grabbers to land were a pair of Racket-tailed Treepies. A bird I was already familiar with from my visits to Phuttamonthon Park but was unable to take any good photos until now. The hide is the best photo opportunity as the action unfolds right under your nose, and you can just sit down and relax.
Other birds appearing at this time included Stripe-throated Bulbul and 4 Kalij Pheasants. It wasn’t long until a literal show-stopper arrived. The Common Green-Magpie arrived at about 3:30pm, after we were graced by this wondrous bird, there was not much action until after 5pm. Although I think we got a couple of Bar-backed Partridges in this period.
Nick equated some of the inactivity to the blustery winds that were blowing through at consistent intervals. Making it a risky proposition to be out in the open. It was mainly Emerald Dove, Chicken, Laughingthrush and squirrel action for this portion of the afternoon.
As it got later and later, we were all anticipating a burst of activity. Many of the smaller birds such as Brown-Cheeked Fulvetta, Pin-striped Tit-Babbler and Puff-throated Babbler had turned up and were waiting for some brave bird to make the first move. The first move was taken by the brave and beautiful White-rumped Shama. The the bird heavens opened up with a flurry of new birds including but not limited to Siberian Blue Robin, Indochinese Blue Flycatcher and Hainan Blue Flycatcher.
The highlight of the day then made an epic appearance. Straight out of the forest came the fantastic Slaty-legged Crake, taking a quick bath before heading back into the forest. My first Crake sighting, I had been waiting a long time to see one. It’s not at all common to see here either. You have to get a bit lucky as well as wait until very late – it made an appearance very close to 6pm.
It was a good 5 hours in the hide. We walked just outside the hide to catch some Great-eared Nightjar. As it grew darker we were greeted by at least 4 of them, I wasn’t expecting them to appear from the top of the mountain, I was expecting them to fly out from the lower areas of the forest and be reasonably sized. They came out from the mountain tops and they were huge.
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