Sunday, 28 February 1982

30 years ago: 25-28 February 1982, Nam Nao and Khao Yai

Thursday 25th February 1982:  Nam Nao, Thailand
I was up at dawn and stumbled straight down the main trail.  The Fulvous Pitta was right where we’d been told to look for it.  I watched it for 25 minutes before the others arrived.  Good birding in and out of the ravines, lots of Blue Pittas and other nice things (e.g. Bar-backed Hill Partridge).  The forest was very dry, which may have been why the ravines were so good, but the smell of smoke from the hillside created a fire paranoia.  I discovered later that I’d missed Silver Pheasant which was really annoying, a species I particularly hoped to see following similar misses at Nam Nao on the previous trip.  Similarly Colin (who’d seen Silver Pheasant before) didn’t see Eye-browed Wren Babbler which I kept falling over.  Slept on the counter of the drinks stall again.

Birds seen included:  *Bar-backed Hill Partridge 10, Emerald Dove 2, Green-billed Malkoha 1, Brown Fish Owl 1 seen badly in flight, Great Barbet 2, Blue-throated Barbet 2, Blue-eared Barbet 1, Speckled Piculet 1, Bay Woodpecker 1, Greater Goldenback 1, Silver-breasted Broadbill 8, *Fulvous Pitta 1, Blue Pitta 9, Fairy Bluebird 2, White-rumped Shama 2, White-tailed Robin 2, Blue Whistling Thrush 2, White’s Thrush 3, Dark-sided Thrush 1, Slaty-backed Forktail 1, White-crowned Forktail 8, Stub-tailed Bush Warbler 2, Yellow-bellied Warbler 2, Sulphur-breasted Warbler 1, Blyth’s Crowned Leaf Warbler 1, Yellow-browed Warbler 1, Hainian Blue Flycatcher 1 male, *Large Scimitar Babbler 1, White-browed Scimitar Babbler 2, Red-billed Scimitar Babbler 3, Eye-browed Wren Babbler 7, Grey-throated Babbler 10, Golden Babbler 2, White-crested Laughingthrush 2, White-hooded Shrike Babbler 8, Sultan Tit 1, Green Magpie 2, Grey Treepie 1.

Friday 26th February 1982:  Nam Nao, Thailand
Up at dawn hoping to see Silver Pheasant.  None in the recommended ravine (although more wren babblers) but Colin saw 9 but no wren babblers in the ravine I’d been in the previous day!!  Really annoying for us both.  We left Nam Nao at 16:00 and drove to Lom Sok where filled up with petrol and had three appropriately named Big Dip ice creams.  50 kms south of Lom Sok found that the car’s brakes no longer worked properly.  We continued to Saraburi (over 200 kms) stopping at three places on the way which were of no use in trying to fix them.  We arrived by 22:00 and some locals stripped down the brake pads but were unable to replace them so we got them reassembled and continued rather cautiously on to Khao Yai.  A large reticulated python on the road before the park entrance was pulled to safety by Colin tugging its tail.  We then encountered three elephants (two adults with a youngster) on the road in the park more interested in something around the next bend than us.  One of the adults charged at something out of our sight for three or four paces but as we edged around the corner Dave stalled the car, the elephants departed and nothing was evident, the tiger, if that was what it was, having crept off.  Saw Leopard Cat and Mongoose near the park HQ.  Slept in a drink stall at 02:00.

Birds seen included:  Crested Serpent Eagle 1, Bar-backed Hill Partridge 11, Red-wattled Lapwing 2, Emerald Dove 1, Barred Cuckoo Dove 1, Red-headed Trogon 6, Barred Owlet 1, Brown Hornbill 5, Great Barbet 2, Silver-breasted Broadbill 2, Blue Pitta 2, Speckled Piculet 1, Olive-backed Pipit 1, Black Bulbul 3 (white-headed race), Siberian Blue Robin 3, White-rumped Shama 4, White-tailed Robin 2, Blue Whistling Thrush 2, White’s Thrush 11, Dark-sided Thrush 4, Eye-browed Thrush 2, Slaty-backed Forktail 2, White-crowned Forktail 6, Stub-tailed Bush Warbler 3, Yellow-bellied Warbler 1, Sulphur-breasted Warbler 1, Blyth’s Crowned Leaf Warbler 4, Hainian Blue Flycatcher 1 female, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher 1 male, Eye-browed Wren Babbler 2, Grey-throated Babbler 6, Golden Babbler 1, White-crested Laughingthrush 8, White-hooded Shrike Babbler 4, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch 1, Jay 2.

Saturday 27th February 1982:  Khao Yai, Thailand
Up at 06:15 to a really poor days birding.  All skulkers encountered either got away or gave really poor views on the ‘long trail’.  Tried the ‘pitta trail’ but loads of noisy locals on it as it was a weekend and I only identified one bird in two hours.  Walked to the elephant hide to find it had burnt down and was being rebuilt!  Saw Muntjak there and had earlier seen Samba in open grassland beyond the pitta trail during a failed attempt to escape the locals.  Another night at the drinks stall.

Birds seen included:  Scaly-breasted Hill Partridge 1 in flight, Red Jungle Fowl 2, Yellow-legged Button Quail 1 in flight, Emerald Dove 2, Barred Cuckoo Dove 6, Mountain Imperial Pigeon 6, Thick-billed Green Pigeon 5, Great Eared Nightjar 1, White-vented Needletail 1, Orange-breasted Trogon 1 male, Red-headed Trogon 1, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater 2, Blue-tailed Bee-eater 5, Indian Pied Hornbill 1, Great Hornbill 4, Moustached Barbet 1, Greater Yellownape 1, Blue Pitta 2 in flight, Olive-backed Pipit 2, Siberian Blue Robin 1 male, White-rumped Shama 1, White-crowned Forktail 1, Lanceolated Warbler 1, Sulphur-breasted Warbler 1, Pale-legged Leaf Warbler 2, Yellow-browed Warbler 1, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher 1 male, Spotted Babbler 3, Abbott’s Babbler 5, White-crested Laughingthrush 23, Lesser Necklaced Laughingthrush 1, Black-throated Laughingthrush 1, Fairy Bluebird 4, Green Magpie 1, Golden-crested Myna 3, Hill Myna 4.

butterfly, species unknown, probably taken at Khao Yai
Samba at Khao Yai
blurred Grey-headed Flycatcher at Khao Yai

Sunday 28th February 1982:  Khao Yai, Thailand
After a brief disturbance during the night when Colin and Dave drove around unsuccessfully for mammals I had real trouble getting up.  Made it quite late to the restaurant with a brief stop on the way for Blunt-winged Warbler.  Dave and I opted for biscuits and legged it off down the restaurant trail.  We got to the ‘river’ in 90 minutes having seen very little but hearing what was probably a pitta getting away (again).  I was crossing the stream precariously on a thin log when Dave, who was behind me, shouted fish owl and then amended it to bittern.  I just managed to get views of a grey brown bittern shaped bird disappearing behind trees.  We waded down after it and Dave, who was ahead at this point, got onto a fish owl.  I got flight views on two occasions and a brief, back on, perched view.  Not very satisfactory.  Then a small kingfisher buzzed past giving untickable views - really frustrating.  I was then pleasantly surprised when the kingfisher reappeared and perched opposite, a nice Blue-eared.  It later repeated this and I took some photos of it, although the light was very poor.  Left Khao Yai at noon, after buying a T-shirt.  Steve did a great job of driving into Bangkok without any brakes.  Ate 6 ice-creams in Saraburi and not surprisingly felt very bloated afterwards.  Arrived at car hire at 15:20 to be told boss should’ve been back at 15:00.  Unpacked the car and at c17:00 phone call and hassling began which Steve handled really well.  After 20 minutes of arguing the owner slammed the phone down and said his brother was coming (at this point Steve had suggested we might not return the car if a refund for the lost time was not forthcoming).  We drove off to the Up Town Coffee House for a meal and returned half an hour later at 20:00, soon getting a 1760 baht refund sorted out.  We wished Steve well, he had been excellent company but was staying in Bangkok prior to continuing on his way to the Philippines, and waited an hour for an airport bus before giving up and getting a taxi for 100 baht.  Colin, Dave and I arrived at the airport at 22:15 for an 06:30 check in the next morning and found somewhere quiet to crash out.

Birds seen included:  Tiger Bittern 1 badly in flight, Mountain Imperial Pigeon 2, Buffy Fish Owl 1 in flight, Great Eared Nightjar 2, Orange-breasted Trogon 1 female, *Blue-eared Kingfisher 1, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater 2, Wreathed Hornbill 1, Indian Pied Hornbill 2, Laced Woodpecker 1, Silver-breasted Broadbill 4, Olive-backed Pipit 1, White-crowned Forktail 2, Blunt-winged Warbler 1, Pale-legged Leaf Warbler 1, Yellow-browed Warbler 1, Radde’s Warbler 1, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher 1 male, White-crested Laughingthrush 1, Fairy Bluebird 2.

Birds seen on journey: Asian Open-billed Stork 3, Oriental Pratincole 2, Indian Roller 25.

Orange-breasted Trogon appearing as a shape in the forest

Silver-breasted Broadbill at Khao Yai - stunning bird, rubbish photo

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