year's trip was to be different from previous ones as half of the
team were newcomers who'd never been out camping, trekking or birding
before. All in all there were 10 kids, between 10-15 years of age,
plus 2 overseers, whereof one had never been camping before. With
so many kids to care for it naturally affects the amount of birding
to be done.
We also were
well into the rainy season and most breeding had already taken place.
Since I already
covered the make up of the park in last year's report I will stick
to some birding highlights.
kilometers along the road to Poo Koom Kao there is an area with
stands of broadleaf trees on both sides of the road. Here it seems
to be quite productive for birding. My attention was drawn to a
piercing whistle much like the one from Hill Myna, but no matter
how much I search for it, it couldn't be seen. Instead, a Black-hooded
Oriole with bright orange beak came foraging through the
tree crown. I later discovered (listened to Birds of Tropical Asia
by Bird Songs International, a very useful CD given to me) that
this bird has a very similar whistle to the Hill Myna. Right next
to the Black-hooded Oriole another Oriole showed up looking much
like the Black-naped. Being so early in August I figured it couldn't
be, so it would have to be a Slender-billed
Oriole even though the field guide states that this species
is only resident in the Northern or Northwest parts of the country.
I also had a
very close encounter with a Rufous Woodpecker
who seemed even more surprised to see me than me seeing him. I had
never seen one at such close range, and seeing this warmly brown
bird was a cheer joy.
One of my goals
was to find the Great Slaty Woodpecker.
This has been commonly reported from the entrance road towards the
headquarters. I only managed to catch a fleeting glimpse not worthy
to qualify for a 'tick', not too far from headquarters.
was high on my priority since I now have seen Blue-winged, Blue
and Eared already. While walking along the nature trail that winds
its way along the stream towards the viewpoint, a bird flew up from
the trail side only to settle in some thickets from where it sounded
of its call very similar to Laced Woodpecker or Lesser Yellownape.
I understood this to be a young bird, as the mature bird sounds
very different. Just a little further down the trail a mature bird
kept calling from in-between a thick bamboo stand but never came
out for full view. 2nd lifer. While waiting, a pleasant surprise
in the form of a birdwave came by. Most interesting birds being
White-hooded Babbler and Large
I kept walking
further down this trail searching for Silver Pheasants known to
be here. After about 3 kilometers I was getting very close to the
spot when some leaf monkeys started hollering and making all kinds
of racket. This must have scared the birds away, as all I could
see were their footprints in the wet ground by the waters.
sighting was a pair of Yellow-eyed Babblers
in grasslands by Dong Baat. A fluty song and distinct colors made
it a beautiful bird although common. I don't do much birding in
grasslands so haven't seen much of this bird.
a Mountain Scops-Owl kept calling with
its fluty, bell-like, two-tonal, whistles. Very pretty.
As usual the
staff at the park were helpful and friendly, accommodations clean
and home-cooked food delicious. Long walks, fresh air and closeness
to the wonder of Creation all helped in keeping everyone inspired