Guided by Charley Hesse and Scott Watson; report by Charley Hesse. This was a custom tour with an itinerary similar to our set-departure tour.
Thailand tours are always full of surprises, and no matter how many times you go, there is always something new to see. This was the first tour to try our new and improved itinerary, and even with such a big group it worked out remarkably well with a substantially larger trip list than in previous years (almost 480 species of birds and almost 20 species of mammals). We started at the salt pans of Pak Thale for Spoon-billed Sandpiper and countless other shorebirds and from there it was on to the fabulous Kaeng Krachan National Park for spectacular birds like Long-tailed Broadbill, rarities such as Ratchet-tailed Treepie and even Asiatic Elephants!. We also took advantage of a new bird blind at a nearby lodge which gave unbelievable photographic opportunities of rare partridges, crakes and many others. At the famous Khao Yai National Park we watched enormous hornbills and found the breath-takingly beautiful Blue Pitta in the dense undergrowth. We broke up the long drive north with a stop over at Bueng Boraphet, the largest lake in Thailand, and the best place to catch up with rare ducks and other waterbirds. We spent a week in the mountains of the north-west tracking down charismatic species like Rufous-throated Partridge & Collared Falconet at Doi Inthanon, Giant Nuthatch at Doi Chiang Dao, Spot-breasted Parrotbill & Crested Finchbill at Doi Ang Khang, and Whiskered Yuhina & Red-faced Liocichla at Doi Lang. Those that opted to join the southern extension were rewarded with Mangrove Pitta in Krabi, the fabulous Gould’s Frogmouth, Gurney’s & Banded Pittas at Khao Nor Chuchi and a myriad of broadbills, bulbuls and babblers at Krung Ching. With such diverse birdlife, excellent infrastructure and welcoming people, Thailand really does make the perfect introduction to Asian birding.