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Thursday, 22 February 2018

Thailand Day 10 Coral-billed Ground Cuckoo

Stepped out from my tent and walked around the corner and bang! There were 3 Coral-billed Cuckoo out in the open!!

  On my third day at Yhao Yai NP, I made the mile walk early in the morning to the only other campsite, Pa Gluay Mai. Here there were only a few tents up and this was the place to be for Blue Pitta. Unfortunately, I was told that it has not been seen in the last week. Shortly after arriving I made the very short walk from my tent to the trail where the pitta has been seen. As usual I took my time and as a result, walked straight into 3 Coral-billed Cuckoo out in the open only a few meters in front of me! Because I was so quiet, they had no idea that I was there as I hid behind a tree. A Red Junglefowl joined them with a male and female Siberian Blue Robin, male Hainan Blue Flycatcher and White-rumped Shama and three species of Babbler, Puff-throated, Abbots and Striped Tit. They were still all in view when I wanted to continue along the trail. So I made a move and flushed everything! I returned to the campsite some two hours later after seeing nothing else of note.




There were 3 Coral-billed Ground Cuckoo performing very well on the trail







There were three species of babbler including this Puff-throated Babbler





The stunning male Siberian Blue Robin is what I was so looking forward to seeing and they were pretty common, including females, in the campsite area just off the number of trails



  Later in the afternoon I thought I would try for the Pitta again on the same trail but was stopped in my tracks by two bird photographers in hides taking photos of the cuckoos. It turned out that this is a well known stake out to see the ground cuckoo since they were first discovered at the beginning of the month. I had no idea and after twenty minutes of staying way behind them, so not to disturb the birds and when the cuckoos were out of sight, I said 'I'm just goin to carry on along the trail' One turned aggressive and putting his hand out in front of me said 'No No No! You can't come here unless you got a hide!' Well funny that because I just happen to have one! Got a hide!? Yeah, I never leave home without my mobile hide! I wish I had pots and pans right now! 'Yes, you got to have hide to come on here' I asked 'Is this your trail?' He didn't reply and I continued saying that it's a national park and you can't stop anyone from walking along the public trails. I told him I was goin in there to look for the pitta. He couldn't stop laughing and waving his arm he ordered me to go ahead and told me to look out for the elephants, they can kill you! I replied, there are also tigers out there but it ain't gona stop me!' That's not true because it would stop me but they are so rare but yes, he is right about the elephants.
  Again, I didn't see anything and when I got back, the photographers with no bins, were still there and I was told that they stopped everyone from passing and everyone obeyed! Although some Americans were pretty pissed off and said that he can't do that, it's a public path!

You can't go any further along this trail because the Thai in the hide says so and everyone does what he tells them except me! 

I could of used my tent I guess as a hide. I did think of it when he told me that I need a hide! No I don't because it's a public trail and you can't stop no one from walking on it! 

  
Before all of this happened between hides, pots and pans and a aggressive Thai bird photographer with no bins, first thing this morning I had this Thick-billed Green Pigeon and on the otherside a Sepent Eagle.

Also 2 Blue-winged Leafbird

Butterfly sp?

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Thailand Day 9 Khao Yai National Park

Good numbers of Siberian Blue Robin at Khao Yai NP including this stunning male that was feeding next to my tent at Pa Gluay Mai Campsite

  Five days ago I left Bangkok and heading north east in a minivan to Khoa Yai National Park. Nearly three hours later at the town, Pak Chong, I was dropped off and immediately on arrival I was taken in a song-chee-ow, a kind of open air slow taxi, to the entrance gate at the national park. Here I payed 400 bht ($9 roughly) for the entrance fee and successfully hitch hiked to Lumtakome Campsite where I would be staying for two nights before moving just up road to the only other campsite, Pa Gluay Mai. Both sites had no internet but for 185 bht a night, you get a tent and mat. I thought I was erecting my tent in Glastonbury Fest!! It felt claustrophobic with 100s of people, vehicles and tents but not a welly in sight! I knew diddly-squat what day it was and had I arrived on the weekend but come Sunday afternoon, everyone had almost moved on. Understandably there was not much seen here but while sitting in a social area one evening, a Malaysian Porcupine, the size of a Reliant Robin, walked on by on the road directly beside me having no idea I was there and no one else saw it pass by! It was big!!


Thailand's version of Glastonbury! I just wanted to leave as soon as I arrived but the next day, there were only a handful of tents hanging out! Later at 22.30, I was awoken by a very loud speaker of the rangers telling us to be quiet! Is this a joke? It felt like I was at Butlins and was waiting for the ding-dong 'Hi Dee-Hi!!

  My first day was spent walking miles deep in the forest and not seeing much and that was the same on the second day where this time I stuck to the road. However, I did meet some Thai bird photographers with no bins! They did have a ghetto-blaster blasting out a song of both White-rumped Shama and Hainan Blue Flycatcher and as expected both showed very well. They informed me that at 17.00 you can see Asian Elephant, half a mile north after Sai Sorn Reservoir in a field west of the road. At 17.30 I observed with some 40 people at the side of the road, a lone young female Asian Elephant come from out of the forest and slowly make her way to a salt lick on the far side. For the next forty minutes she was on and off into the forest but favored the lick before disappearing for the last time deep into the trees.
 


This was the first sighting of the young female Asian Elephant as she walked all away across the field to the otherside
 
 



Here she got stuck into the salt lick...


...and as the sun was goin down, she disappeared back into the forest

Black-crested Bulbul


There were some 15 Vernal Hanging Parrot close to the campsite

Large flocks of Oriental Pied Hornbill were seen overhead

Grey-headed Flycatcher


 

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater

Greater Rattled Tailed Drongo in the forest where I also saw 2 Green Magpie and a roaming group of White-crested and Lesser-necked Laughingthrush.

Male Hainan Blue Flycatcher
  

Male White-rumped Shama


Barking Deer (Muntjac)

One of the roads that circles the park

Sunset over the park