Guided by Charley Hesse. This was a custom tour with an itinerary very similar to that of our set-departure tour.
This custom tour followed a similar itinerary to our set departure tour with an additional day to explore the eastern slope of Doi Lang which required a high-clearance vehicle. Despite our aim being to maximize lifers seen (almost 200!) rather than overall number, we racked up quite a trip list with over 420 species without even visiting the south of Thailand! We also saw 20 species of mammals with some highlights including Binturong, Dhole and Smooth-coated Otter. December is the coolest month in Thailand with more pleasant temperatures than our usual February trip. Bird activity was lower in the early mornings and afternoons and birds often unresponsive to tape. Conversely, midday activity was much better, mixed flocks were more prominent and there were more fruiting trees at this time of year, so pros and cons balanced somewhat. It was a busy holiday time for Thais, but it was always easy to escape the crowds on trails. With fit clients, we actually walked a lot more on trails than usual, and were rewarded with excellent birds including pittas. Some highlights of the trip included tens of thousands of shorebirds in the Pak Thale area, the amazing forest blinds in the Kaeng Krachan area, hornbills and broadbills at Khao Yai, great water birds at Bueng Boraphet (Thailand’s largest lake), a huge range of elevational specialties at Doi Inthanon (Thailand’s highest mountain), plus a range of northern Thailand rarities at Doi Ang Khang and Doi Lang. The clients also commented that it was the best ‘Food Trip’ they had ever been on.
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