Saturday, March 6, 2010

Hell Fire Pass

23rd February, 2010

This is an old tourist spot within an army camp and the entrance, needed to get through the camp compound to reach it. The place, I had seen it now with the new tidy looks. I would rate the place as the best organized destination should top the list of destination for Kanchanaburi i.e. for those seeking unusual places to visit and do not mind hiking.

From the writing I read in the internet, we were prepared for mosquitoes bite and contended with low birds life. Once there, what struck us as a surprise - far from what we had in mind, a first class walkways and stairs. The place absolutely clean and tidy. The forest was dry and there were plenty of trees but with little leaves, interspersed with Bamboo clumps. The trail started behind Park museum which situated at the top of the Pass. For the leg of the path, where we walked, we were virtually looking at the canopy of trees growing on the slopes. Birds were seen flying everywhere.

There were lots of Drongos, Ashy as well as Black Drongo. Then one larger one flew in, we shouted that it looked like a Crested Jay. The gloss from the bird's colours played tricks to our eyes.

On a flowering bamboo clump, the few birds were busy picking out the flowers. Against the sunlight could not ID them. Only the camera could.
It was a good 7 kilometers walk, a loop that led down into the valley with steep slope and up again. In the hot blazing sun,
The first Bulbul, that didn't look familiar since we left the National Park. Brown-breasted.
Though the surrounding was very dry, there was no shortage of birds. Only the heat slowed us down and stopped us from doing any enthusiastic hunt.
There were those Flycatchers that I am familiar with and also this one that I cannot make out. Very prominent white crescent band on its breast.
This one behaved exactly like Flycatcher, while Gilbert & Stephen got what appeared like a Hill-blue, I won't rule out this to be Niltava. But I know it is not.
The features are very clear. Pity we do not have a local to help us in a quick ID. Until some one tells me I am quite contended to have it named as the female of White-tailed Flycatcher.
The special attraction here was suppose to be the Limestone Wren-Babbler. We saw the limestone hills but the place and the walk was terribly hot without the shade. Unlikely that this bird would show itself. Also missed was the Spangled Drongo. We could have met up with one without knowing as there were so many of them flying in and out.


  1. Looks like you had a great trip. Good shots as well. The Drongo looks like a Crow-billed; White-hooded Babbler among the bamboo and the Flycatcher is A Taiga.

  2. Nice photos! I love your Asian birds.

  3. Thanks Choy! Will check that up.

  4. After spending time to learn about a new group of Flycatcher - the Tiaga Flycatcher, this Flycatcher here is very obvious the Fidedula albicilla, purely from the point of the incomplete white eye ring.

    Thanks Choy for starting that tuition.

  5. The large Drongo struck us as a Crested Jay as it was much larger than the "regular" Drongo. Choy - After your prompting, I relooked again. You are right.