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Day 6

 

CheckpointFirst the bad news for the location. Apparently the forests and open grassland of Khao Yai are wick with leeches and ticks, so the not so fashionable or comfortable leech socks are the order of the day. A small price to pay for the offerings of the park however. At first light, we had driven up over partly poorly tarmacked track to arrive at the air force checkpoint, and it was here that we spent a couple of hours. It is probably thanks to the checkpoint that this is such a good spot for birds first thing in the morning,. Since the lights outside of the office attracted a myriad of moths as the sun rose - a bird banquet indeed. No sooner could we see the birds than Black-throated Laughingthrushes and Ashy Drongos began the feast. The local variants of Black-crested Bulbuls, with red throats, joined in, although a couple of Dusky Warblers were more than happy with smaller insects. A small open copse behind the office had a party of Oriental White-eyes, with a couple of Rufous-fronted Babblers thrown in for good measure. A Grey-backed Shrike had a swooping technique on the moths. Regular visitors to a flowering bush overhead were a few Buff-bellied Flowerpeckers and occasional Black-throated Sunbird. There was a good view to be had to the valley below (as the sun burned off the mist), but the bowl of bushes just below us had Blue-winged Leafbird, Yellow-browed & Arctic Warbler, and Asian Fairy Bluebird. We thought a Mountain Imperial Pigeon had landed just in front of us, but it turned out to be a Barred Cuckoo Dove. The group of pigeons came a bit later. The birds seemed to slow down a bit as the morning progressed, so we left on a high.

Ashy Drongo Barred Cuckoo Dove Black-throated Laughingthrush
Ashy Drongo Barred Cuckoo-dove Black-throated Laughingthrush
Black-winged Cuckooshrike Blue-winged Leafbird Dusky Warbler
Black-winged Cuckooshrike Blue-winged Leafbird Dusky Warbler
Grey-backed Shrike Imperial Mountain Pigeon Yellow-browed Warbler
Grey-backed Shrike Mountain Imperial Pigeon Yellow-browed Warbler

Next stop was near to the restaurants, where there was a stakeout for White-throated Rock Thrush. Meal worms had been purchased the day before on our journey to Khao Yai, not as a snack for us, but as thrush bait. Shortly after we arrived, and quickly found a Common Flameback, a Mugimaki Flycatcher took the bait, and wasn't in the least bit bothered by us at close quarters. It spent some time munching on bait, but we had to wait a lot longer for the Rock Thrush to appear. When it did, it was nearer the van than us, at another baited spot, but was just as unafraid of us as the flycatcher. However, a huge distraction was the small group of Gibbons which slowly passed through in the canopy behind, with a Black Giant Squirrel thrown in for good measure. The gibbons were a particular treat. Amongst them were both dark and cream individuals, with the former showing the white hands and face rim outstandingly well. It was also worth following them as they swung through the branches and tightrope walked some of the horizontal limbs.

Meal worm stakeout area Mugimaki Flycatcher White-throated Rock Thrush
"Meal worm stakeout area" Mugimaki Flycatcher White-throated Rock Thrush

The afternoon session was a strange one in some ways. We had been told of an Orange-bellied Trogon nest some way along trail #5, and decided to try for it. This was the first true bit of forest yomping we had done here, and the long trousers and leech socks made it all the more steamy. The trail was reasonably well marked, with only one or two obstacles to manage on the way. We picked up a small group of White-crested Laughingthrushes about half way along to the presumed spot. A trogon was seen to fly from a likely dead tree, but we still soldiered further on, until we reached a huge buttressed tree which would have been an obvious marker to mention, so presumed too far. We retraced our steps to where the trogon had flown, and lo and behold it flew again (only seen by the person at the front). Closer inspection found the nest with two eggs in a hollow on top of a low tree stump. We staked this out for as long as we thought ethical before leaving the bird to return. On the hot and energy sapping way back, we did see a Great Hornbill overhead, and a Grey-eyed Bulbul above the van on leaving the forest.

Following this, the remainder of the afternoon was spent driving the tracks looking for Siamese Firebacks along the edges. None appeared, but we were happily held up for some time by a road hog. This one had a trunk and tusks, and made its way slowly along the road followed by its own self made convoy. Elephants are supposed to be commonly seen in the park, but it was a joy to follow before disappearing into the forest anyway. I made sure I stayed securely in the vehicle this time though!

Just as the previous evening, the spotting didn't stop with dark. From the van on the way back from the restaurant, a Small Indian Civet was seen at the roadside, although it didn't hang around too long. Then back at the accommodation, a Malayan Porcupine was present again, this time feeding for some time just below our balcony.

Trogon eggs

Nest and eggs of Orange-breasted Trogon

Elephant

Porcupine

Indian Elephant

Malayan Porcupine

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Content Introduction Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Species List Text only