Trip report: Thailand (Feb-March 2017) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Laurie Ross. This was a set-departure tour that did not include the Thai Peninsula extension

Thailand is one of those amazing countries where you never know what you might see; it has many varied habitats, incredible people and some of the best food you will eat on any tour. This tour our bird list totaled 429 species, along with 16 mammals, considering we had a couple of lazy afternoons and didn’t do our optional southern extension it was an amazing total.

The tour started out in the very busy Bangkok but only two hours out of the city we were in one of the best shore birding areas in Asia, we started the tour off well with Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Nordmann’s Greenshank, Ruff and Black-headed Ibis. Not to mention a huge list of other waders and shorebirds in the area. Next stop was the incredible Kaeng Krachan National Park, here we visited two bird hides and had an unforgettable day in the park, and highlights were four species of broadbill, Kalij Pheasants, Red-bearded Bee-eater and three species of Hornbill including the incredible Wreathed Hornbill.

Next spot was the famous and beautiful Khao Yai National Park, highlights here were finding a Great Hornbill nest, a male Silver Pheasant and the spectacular show the Brown-backed & Silver-backed Needletails put on for us at the TAT pond. Leaving Khao Yai we headed North to Bueng Boraphet, here we enjoyed a beautiful morning boat ride on the lake. We had incredible views of Small Pratincole, amazing numbers of nesting Asian Openbills and the largest congregation of Garganey I have ever seen.

Further north, we visited Doi Inthanon with its hugely varied habitats and stunning scenery. At the lower elevations, we found a pair of mating Collared Falconets and a lot of very noisy Black-headed Woodpeckers. At the top of the mountain, the high elevation birds really shined, Gould’s Sunbird, Green-tailed Sunbird, Silver-eared Laughingthrushes, Rufous-throated Partridges and White-crowned Forktails and that’s just naming a few.
Our next spot on the tour was Doi Chiang Dao; here we found our main target Giant Nuthatch high on the mountain, Blue-bearded Bee-eater on the temple steps, and Gray-headed Lapwing in the rice paddies.

Doi Ang Khang gave us Scarlet-faced Liocichla, White-browed Laughingthrush, Daurian Redstart and our bird of the trip: White-browed Piculet. I also have to mention the delicious food at the Royal Project gardens; their Green Curry Mushrooms were to die for.

Our last spot on the trip was the rugged yet incredible Doi Lang, highlights there were Hume’s Pheasant, Mountain-bamboo Partridge, Spot-breasted Parrotbill, Himalayan Cutia and an amazingly camouflaged Hodgson’s Frogmouth that was nesting only 10 meters from one of the military checkpoints on the Thai/Burma (Myanmar) border.

Again what an incredible tour, we saw a huge amount of amazing birds and along the way enjoyed delicious food and met some amazing people.

Thailand really is one of the ultimate birding locations in the world and is always a pleasure to visit.

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