Lesser Florican - August 2023

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Sunday 11 February 2018

Thailand 2018 - 11th February

Khao Yai NP

We were pleased to leave the snoring behind as we left the campsite aiming to walk trail B. Frustratingly we couldn't find the trail at all so therefore walked the trail that leads up from the reservoir, and joins onto the Wang Jumpee trail forming a very nice circuit of forest birding.

All the way up the trail there was constant bird activity with Siamese Firebacks on the deck, and several Woodpeckers, Barbets and a couple of Long-tailed Broadbills. We both weren't expecting the next piece of good fortune. We had both stopped when I noticed some shuffling on the ground and what I assumed was some leaf tossing, which in the past few days has led to a Partridge or Fireback, however on this occasion, without even looking through my bins, I could see the distinct shape and features of an Eared Pitta. In shock, I whispered to Ian and he got onto it more or less straight away. It seemed to ignore us and carried on foraging around and at times even hopping into full view. An incredible moment that lasted around twenty minutes.

A short while later Ian discovered he had lost his bum bag and so it was a brisk and sweaty walk down to where he thought he had lost it, and mercifully it was there, which was almost more of a relief then the Pitta.

We chilled out for a bit and rehydrated and had lunch, whilst checking the Ground Cuckoo site again where this time we only heard it. A Yellow-vented Flowerpecker was found in the camp grounds which was another addition onto our slowly increasing list.

We walked trail A to the waterfall but were slightly underwhelmed by the falls, and the birding was ok but nothing new really.

Approaching mid to late afternoon we arrived at the TAT pond to scan for Needletails. Initially there wasn't any, and out of nowhere some local started yelling at us as in the distance a herd of Elephants had emerged from the depths of the forest. We jumped back into the car and ragged it up to the viewing area joining several others. For the next half hour we admired this lovely herd. Another smaller group joined them almost crashing through the vehicles to rejoin with the others. They hung around for a while before slowly disappearing into the forest.

We then drove back to the TAT pond and enjoyed some brilliant encounters with some Brown backed Needletails. It was time to leave the NP l, and soon come to a halt again. Ian on the way down was saying how gripped he was by DC’s King Cobra from many years ago on one of the trails, well just as we left the park, a King Cobra was spotted in the road. A local managed to move it off the road and then left it alone once in the roadside field. We wasted no time in jumping out and managed a few photos of this very deadly snake. The day couldn’t have gone much better. We would come back in again tomorrrow, though a decent nights sleep and some organisation was needed for our last day, and so we stayed at the rather plush Le Monte Hotel where we enjoyed a bit of luxury for a change.

Highlights for an exceptional day are as follows.

Red Junglefowl - 3
Siamese Fireback - 2
Thick-billed Green Pigeon - 5
Asian Emerald Cuckoo - 1
Brown-backed Needletail - 10
Orange-breasted Trogon - 2
Red-headed Trogon - 1
House Swift - 2
Dollarbird - 2
Wreathed Hornbill - 1
Greater Yellownape - 2
Laced Woodpecker - 1
Heart-spotted Woodpecker - 1
Great Slaty Woodpecker - 1
Eared Pitta (L) - 1
Long-tailed Broadbill - 3
Hill Myna - 4
Pale-legged Leaf Warbler - 1
Eastern Crowned Warbler - 2
Alstrom's Warbler - 1
Yellow-vented Flowerpecker (L) - 1
Fire-breasted Flowerpecker - 2
Ashy Bulbul - 1

Eared Pitta at Khao Yai NP -
what we thought was another Bulbul or
Laughingthrush rummaging around was thankfully
our biggest prize of all!!
Alstrom's Warbler at Khao Yai NP
Pig-tailed Macaque - these guys are
wherever the humans are.
Yellow-vented Flowerpecker at Khao Yai NP
Asian Elephants at Khao Yai NP
Brown-backed Needletail - click on image to
see the needles.
King Cobra!!