Trip report: Thailand (March 2016) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Scott Watson. This was a set-departure tour that included the Thai Peninsula extension

Thailand is one of those countries that is so diverse, you always have the feeling of something new waiting for you around every corner, whether it be a bird, a mammal, or a delicious Thai dish. This tour was highly successful, including the 7 day southern peninsula extension, with a personal best bird list of 503 species along with 21 mammals, covering a large area, and many different habitats. From the high Himalayan mountain forests of the far north, to the deep lowland forests and mangroves of the south.

The number of highlights in this tour is simply too many to mention here. Our close encounter of the extremely shy, yet stunningly beautiful BLUE PITTA was voted bird of the trip. This sapphire jewel of Khao Yai NP made circles around us in the deep undergrowth, but soon came in for close inspection. Pittas are just one of the special Southeast Asian bird families we covered well on this trip. We also had great luck with Broadbills, Leafbirds, Asian Barbets, and Hornbills to name a few. A BLACK-AND-YELLOW BROADBILL devouring a massive green Cicada was cool, but so was seeing a huge CORAL-BILLED GROUND-CUCKOO standing on the road. The forests of the north gave away its secrets to us this tour, namely RUSTY-NAPED PITTA and 5 stunning HIMALAYAN CUTIA. Finally we did the best ever in finding night birds in the daytime, thereby allowing more time for evening beers and maybe some sleep. Both HODGSON’S and BLYTH’S FROGMOUTH’S, ORIENTAL BAY, COLLARED SCOPS, BARRED-EAGLE, ASIAN BARRED, and SPOTTED WOOD-OWLS all found in the day!

Now I am just mentioning the wildlife, I could go on and on about the very warm and welcoming people, the incredible food, the great infrastructure, and the cold beer. Need I say more? Thailand really is the perfect introduction into the diverse wildlife of tropical Asia.

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