March 1, 2020 A Trip to a Viewing Platform
This is Day 14 of a 19-day birding tour of Thailand; it was a private group arranged through Field Guides, adhering to their typical itinerary. The pictures in this post are just some of the many Thailand pictures I’ve uploaded to GreatBirdPic.com. Check out the site before you leave: see the Latest Pics uploaded by our members or read the About GPB to find out more about the site. You are welcome to join if you enjoy bird photography.
We hit the road early this morning and arrived at our first viewing site before sunup. The site was a raised platform half-way down the side of a hill, overlooking a peaceful valley. The platform was build of strong steel so it easily held the 11 of us without swaying. From here we had a great view of the sunrise appearing through the trees and of the valley with rice paddies below:
From the platform we were easily able to see the birds flitting through the trees above us on the hill, trees and scrubs at the same level as the platform, and also able to look down on the tops of trees and a nearby gardens. The site itself was called the Blossom-headed Parakeet Conservation Area so it was important to us to see this beautiful parakeet. There were about 65 of them flying from tree to tree on the hill above us.
Below the platform was a beautiful garden next to the home of the platform’s caretaker (builder?). I loved watching the Purple Sunbirds zoom around the flowers and then back to their perch. First a pic of the male followed by the female:
About on the same level as the platform, we were able to spot some birds we had previously seen, but they were usually way above us. Now we were able to see eye-to-eye with them, including a Lineated Bulbul:
A couple of Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters rested nearby:
In another direction, a Golden-fronted Leafbird stood quietly amongst the leaves.
Not far from use we spotted a Common Myna up in a tree, but what was next to it? Our trusty guide Dave ID’d it right away as a Rufous-rumped Starling!
The Rufous-rumped Starling was another beautiful bird with a hint of rufous (red) under the tail and a two-toned bill:
Off in another direction, a Greater Coucal sat with its red eyes shining:
They had to practically drag me off of the platform – it was such a beautiful morning and the birds still were coming – but we had places to go, birds to see. We had a bit of a drive before we stopped for lunch. The spot Wat picked was out in the open and a bit warm but there was plenty of space:
Here’s a closeup of the lunch table with Lisa trying some of Wat’s delicious food. Note the hanging plastic bags filled with water. They were supposed to help keep the flies away:
After lunch I wandered off to find a restroom. There were plenty but one was reserved:
We headed out in our vans toward our next stop, the Wat Tham Pha Plong, within the Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary. It was a long drive so we had to make a rest stop along the way at a familiar place – 7-Eleven! Not surprisingly the shelves were not stocked with familiar brands.
Wat Tham Pha Plong is known as the “500-step Temple” and although I didn’t count them, we ascended the stairs to reach the temple (which was under repair). Along the way Buddhist sayings were posted for us to reflect on, like:
The rest of the day was uneventful (but as you can see by the eBird checklist we made a lot of stops) and we eventually headed back to our lodging. This is the cabin I stayed in with my roommate Joe. Our guide Dave occupied the second room in the cabin and the downstairs was like a family room for people to gather.
Tomorrow we were driving to the Myanmar border so we had to get a good night’s rest. You can see that post HERE.
For you overachievers here are the Ebird checklists for that portion of our trip:
Glad you found GreatBirdPics.com. Check out the site before you leave: see the Latest Pics uploaded by our members or read the About GPB to find out more about the site. You are welcome to join if you enjoy bird photography.