Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Thailand Day 2: Butt Breaking

Day Two began with some drizzle and a forecast of rain. But the previous day's bonanza remained in our minds and gave us hope.  Before eating, we were greeted by a glorious sunrise.

And while eating breakfast, the gloomy skies brightened a bit and we were treated to this sight.

Bouyed by the double rainbow, we quickly loaded up and boarded our pick up.  Our first target for the day is the Long-tailed Broadbill which can be found high up in the mountains deep in Kaeng Krachang.  We stopped by the campsite area briefly to pick up some packed food and was soon off again.  

It was an hour-long trip over unpaved and often ascending (or descending) roads, a butt breaking trip to say the least :-). At one point we saw a Pheasant cross the road and our pulses quickened but the bird quickly disappeared in the bushes. When we reached our destination, we welcomed the chance to go down and stretch our legs.  Then immediately set up our tripods.  Soon the eagle-eyed Conrad spotted the bird. Lifer # 16 for this trip. Needless to say it is a very beautiful bird. 

Showing the back of its head

Long-tailed Broadbill

During one of the lulls of the Long-tailed Broadbill photo session, I also saw these two birds, which Guide K later identified as a female Pale Blue Flycatcher, Lifer # 17 and a male Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker, photo-lifer, as I have seen this bird in Penang, in 2014.  

Pale Blue Flycatcher, female

Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker

Our super guide Wittawat Noulin constantly scaning the trees.

After more than an hour at the site, Guide K herded us into our vehicle and we began our trip back.  Along the way, we saw a wild boar cross the road.  But like the Pheasant, it disappeared before we could take photos.  We dismounted shortly and Guide K, began playing a call (can't recall what it was for).  Soon he was summoning us to go to him.  We moved quickly and quietly (as quiet as six men lugging big cameras/lenses mounted on a tripod can be). When we gt to where Noulin was, he motioned for us to be quiet and was pointing at something.  Soon, we had another photo session with a beautiful and friendly (and almost static), bird.  Mountain Imperial Pigeon, a very dainty looking bird. I love the plum and lilac shades of its plumage. Lifer # 18.

Mountain Imperial Pigeon

After getting our fill of shots, we boarded again and headed back to the campsite to have our lunch. here we saw two guys that resembled Cris Ceriban of Bangkong Kahoy and Capt. Floyd Bermejo, a fellow WBPP member, and we enjoyed a quiet laugh.

During lunch, we saw a bird on a wire, that Guide K identified as a Bronzed Cuckoo.  No nice photos though as it was too far and backlit. Nevertheless it is Thailand Lifer # 19 for me.

We resumed birding after lunch and our target was a Shama and perhaps a Pitta. We stopped near a stream, walked on a trail inside the forest, and set up our tripods.  Soon we were rewarded y another lifer (#20 for me). White-rumped Shama, which looks like our White-vented Shama in Palawan except for the brown feathers.  No Pitta though.

White-rumped Shama

Kaeng Krachan is also a place of many butterflies.  Many of them along the roads and we passed several groups of Butterfly watchers.  Here are some of the butterflies. 

The Buterflies of Kaeng Krachan

Then we went back to the site of the Black-backed Kingfisher.  We waited inside hides but was a no show.  We gave up after sometime. 

We also saw the Banded Broadbill again but as with the previous day, it stayed high up.

Banded Broadbill

We also saw Common Emerald Doves walking along the road (several times).  And a leafbird high up but all I got were docu shots.  Not sure if my companions were able to do so.  We stopped at the Lapwing area and did some BIF shots but with the sky overcast, it did not make for very good photos.  We went back to the Falconet area where we saw the Malkoha again.  After some minutes, we boarded the pick-up for the trip back to Samarn.  But along the way, Guide K stopped along the road for a nesting Ashy Wood Swallow. Lifer # 20.

Nesting Ashy Wood Swallow

Ever wonder how birds keep their nests clean?  The parent birds take out the "trash" daily.  In these photos, the parent bird, is taking out the fecal sac from one of the fledgelings and throwing it somewhere. 

And that was how Day 2 went.  That night, we feasted on simple but genuine and delicious Thai food at Samarn.  My favorite was the Tom Yam soup.  Fortunately, I remembered to take a photo before I finished my bowl :-).  

After dinner, Gude K gave us dessert of Durian which made Rey very happy... (but not the others)...

...and Rambutan, which made the non-Durian eaters very happy.

And to cap off our day, we (Homer, Conrad and I), had cerveza...

To quote a Spanish birder friend/guest I once had, "At the end of the day, we must have cerveza.  If the day was good, we celebrate...otherwise, we drink to forget...".  Wise words, if I may say so... 

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