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Day 7

 

The first two and a half hours of the morning, from first light, were spent in some portable hides just behind a camping area in the park. This was a well known spot for Blue Pitta, and the usual plan of action is to set up either one- or two-man hides at first light, and scatter some meal worms in front. Then wait. And wait. The interior of the hide is surprisingly comfortable, with folding chairs. The Pitta was unimpressed however, and failed to put on a show. Adequate compensation in the guise of a pair of Siberian Blue Robins was had, however. The bright blue male in particular hung around for about an hour on and off, but steadfastly refused to hop into line directly in front of us.

Pitta hide

River

Hides set up to watch Blue Pitta

River along Orchid Waterfall trail

When we finally stretched our way out of the hides, the guides had found the nest of an Asian Palm Swift, built impossibly precariously in the bent frond of a palm tree. A Blue Rock Thrush, this time a male, was preening on the top of a cafe, and we had Crested Serpent Eagle circling above the car park before our late morning walk. This was to be a true forest birding walk, taking a path adjacent to a small river, which was more or less static, towards the Orchid Waterfall. Going was nice and slow to try to pick up any bird life in the dense forest around us, although there were plenty of gaps to see the river and sky above. First good bird was a Blue-eared Kingfisher upstream, showing beautifully in the telescope. More walking and the only mini bird wave of the morning was chanced upon. A female Black-naped Monarch which was initially seen on the opposite bank, flew over to the tree above us to join a few Grey-eyed Bulbuls and a single Great Iora. The walk terminated after a rope assisted log crossing (not long or high, but enough to unbalance the unwary), where a Slaty-backed Forktail flew briefly in, and a Pig-tailed Macaque could be seen high in the open canopy. On the walk back, after a second fishing Blue-eared Kingfisher, a Mountain Hawk-eagle showed off its crest before flying off over the tops of the trees.

Asian Palm Swift

Blue Rock Thrush

Asian Palm Swift on nest

Blue Rock Thrush

There was more than just a little déjà vu in the afternoon. We stopped off at a lookout point with a view, but became mainly distracted by the troupe of Pig-tailed Macaques that patrolled the car park area. There was an alpha male which bruised in eventually, and some of the females were carrying small dependents. They took little notice of the tourists until a couple of motor bikes pulled up. The occupants were naive enough to leave their helmets untethered on the seats, which was an open invitation for the wily primates to indulge in a spot of thievery. The cyclists got to the helmets just in time. Even more interesting (to watch rather than be part of!) was the event of the open back truck. The owner hadn't noticed that the alpha male had sneaked into the rear, and when he poked his nose over, all that could be seen was a flash of monkey canines - just missed but luckily a warning shot. A well aimed missile cleared the back of the truck. We then drove a little way down the road and stopped in a lay by, which was close to the nest of a Great Hornbill (the déjà vu!). We squatted on the fold away chairs by the side of the road for some time before the first rain of the week stopped play.

Two-barred Warbler Pig-tailed Macaque Pig-tailed Macaque
Two-barred Warbler

Northern Pig-tailed Macaques

The rain only gradually died out, so we made our way back out in the van at around 4pm. During this time, there had also been a power cut, apparently due to a falling tree taking down some power lines. This was to last for some time, and we had to take dinner early to be able to see what we were shovelling down our necks! Immediately on leaving the accommodation, a reddish brown Asian Small Mongoose scurried across an open area of grass into the safety of the bushes. The drive was to try for firebacks again, by slowly crawling along some of the likely roads. This proved to be fruitless yet again, but we did make a long stop at one of the clearings, and this had a good variety of species. Greater Coucals had been a lot more prominent as we drove, and we even found a couple of Lesser Coucals. A Shikra and a couple of Imperial Mountain Pigeons passed overhead, with Ashy Woodswallows on the wires. Two separate Red-whiskered Bulbuls were the first of the trip, and a Verditer Flycatcher was in the distance at the top of a bush. New mammals were represented by a pair of beige coloured Variable Squirrels. As we left the clearing, it was obvious that an elephant had crossed the road since we passed by the mess of a tree that it had pushed on to the tarmac.

After returning to the accommodation earlier than usual from the meal, we hung around the balcony for some time until the Porcupine, and friend this time, put in its now expected appearance at around 8pm. Both were together, and this time almost directly under us, feeding in fruits dropped from the tree above. This should have been the last of the day, but we had a short walk with torches, and got to within around 10 metres of a calling Large-tailed Nightjar. Naturally, one of the porcupines was back at the same place again on our return.

Grassland

Ashy Woodswallow

Grassland early evening

Ashy Woodswallow

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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