Get up early:
The importance of this cannot be overstated: the sun rises between
6 and 7 am and by 9.30 to 10.30 am bird activity, particularly in
forests, has noticeably decreased. Don't make the mistake of having
a lie-in and going birding after a sedate breakfast - you will see
very little and become uncomfortably hot. The period before dusk
(about 2-3 hours before sunset) can also be good for birdwatching,
but the level of bird activity rarely becomes as intense as the
this, birders who stay out all day will see more species than those
who retire for an afternoon nap, and by getting to a good raptor
watch site or wetland, the most can be made of the afternoon period.
Be sure to take plenty of water and sunscreen!
Learn some bird calls: With such a huge number of
species present, and the skulking nature of many of them, it is
important to learn the calls of some species. It is a very good
idea to learn the calls of any target species you may have and also
of secretive ground-dwelling species such as Pittas.
practice is to quickly learn the calls of the most common species,
so that when something unusual is heard one can concentrate upon
finding the species that made it.
bird calls can be an effective way of finding some difficult species,
but quite frankly, at some locations in Thailand this practice has
become quite abused; I'm told that using taped calls at a stake-out
for Rusty-naped Pitta near Malee's at Doi
Chiang Dao became such a problem that eventually the
bird abandoned it territory. Please be sparing in this practice
and completely refrain from doing it in areas that receive large
numbers of other birdwatchers.
Be quiet and vigilant: Birding in tropical forests
can be really frustrating at times and it is possible to walk for
an hour without seeing anything. Walking slowly and quietly will
help birders locate species as it is easy to detect movements by
ear or sight. However, it is a good strategy to occasionally stop
and wait for birds to come into view, particularly in an area where
there may be a good food or water source.
it is good practice to lift one's feet at each step to avoid making
noisy rustling sounds and of course, if birdwatching in company
only speak very quietly and only when necessary.
it is advisable to walk briskly, but quietly, along a trail in order
to surprise species that become aware of your presence very quickly,
even when quiet.