February 22, 2020. On the road from Kaeng Krachen Country Club to Khao Yai National Park
This is Day 6 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.
Today is a travel day so we didn’t have to get up before dawn and were able to sleep in till 6:30 AM – what luxury! We packed up our bags before breakfast and left them on the porch of our cabin for Chaing and Bong to collect.
After breakfast we took a bird walk around the grounds of the Kaeng Krachen Country Club. As you might recall, the property is all but abandoned so the birds can come and go as they please. One of the first birds was a good look at an Oriental Pied Hornbill.
On a much smaller scale but no less fascinating was the Red-wattled Lapwing that scurried across the grasses.
Just around the bend stood an Indochinese Bushlark atop a berm surrounding a small pond. The bushlark is common throughout Thailand but this was the only time we saw one, so sorry for the lousy picture.
Over the small pond contained by the berm were some trees, from which came the sharp sounds of the Vinous-breasted Starling, a fierce-looking bird. “Vinous” means wine-colored and you can see a hint of reddish pink on this one.
As I said, this was a travel day. We left our base of operations for the past three days and headed Northeast toward the Khao Yai National Park, skirting Bangkok along the way. Our route took us near some rice paddies and we stopped just after lunch in a marsh adjacent to one of the paddies. We were pleased to get looks at several new birds there. First the White-browed Crake and then the Yellow Bittern.
As we were about to leave I was able to get a good shot of the Plain Prinia, a bird we had seen several times before but I like how this pic turned out.
On the road in a foreign country can challenging if you don’t understand the language. Luckily the “comfort stops” we made had easy-to-understand signs to find the bathrooms:
The bathrooms were clean and well-maintained, usually by women who would come walking in at any time. Perhaps the sign posted on the wall helped to keep it clean (it was not graffiti).
After a good day’s ride, with several short bird stops along the way, we arrived in the town where we would be staying and stopped in a parking lot. Behind the parking lot was a small river guarded by a Common Kingfisher.
The real reason for our stop here was that the trees hosted a group of Red-breasted Parakeets. They flew noisily back and forth between trees. Here we see a male (red bill) and female (black bill) together.
After leaving the parking lot we went to a large open field and sat down in our snack-time chairs, had an appetizer and saw one of the most interesting sights yet. Nearby was a cave – full of bats – and at sundown each day thousands upon thousands of them come streaming out. Look carefully at the first picture and what looks like wisps of smoke are actually swarms of Wrinkle-lipped Free-tailed Bats. These swarms twisted and turned in the sky, flowing up and over us at times. The second pic is more stylized but gives you an idea of what one of the groupings of bats looked like.
As it grew darker we checked into our hotel and met at the dinner table to complete our Field Checklist. As we went through the day’s birds Wat passed around a plate of a local Thai delicacy – deep-fried crickets! Of course I had to try some – crunchy with a slightly smoked flavor. Mmmm good!
Off to bed on the early side – no sleeping in tomorrow. We had to be up and out early to start birding at Khao Yai National Park, which I’ll cover next HERE.
For you overachievers here are the Ebird checklists for that afternoon:
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.