Friday, March 5, 2010

Kaeng Krachan Visitors Center

22nd February 2010

Up till now I am still trying to get clarification as to which location is the Park HQ and whether the one we landed in as Visitor Center is another name for it.

The Visitor's Center is a complex on an open ground by the shore of the Lake. There were well manned information counters and inside maps, details as the places visitors can go birding. The principal spots, the Ban Krang camps and Thannon Thung camps. Then there was a separate counter for booking of tours and accommodations. Well, Thai style, every details well organized for tourism.

We were there at the Center, too late to make a run into the far way part of Park, so had time to kill and to avoid paying the day's park entrance fee. As recommended, we could bird around the visitor center. Here was - a complex of 2 buildings, toilet an annex some 50 meters away. Lavish car park with provision for buses too. The compound ornamented with a few tall trees in front and a couple more lower trees around the building. There was a small hill opposite the building, on top of which I could see some buildings. I suspect that would be the HQ but the reception told me "no hiking as that is a military complex". The hinterland otherwise, all bare and parched. While I was still trying to get my orientation, I saw Stephen & Gilbert chasing after Crested Bulbuls, Coppersmith and a couple more fair size birds. I went on my own to the low trees on the left of the building that was continuously filled with signs of birds creeping. There was calls. No no! I was not looking for exotic birds to fill our list but rather curious as to what we could get as common birds. Remembering that saying we heard in Malaysia that in Thailand we could get Red-whiskered flowing out of our ears! Let's see what I have collected.

Streaked-eared Bulbul, most common Bulbul as well as most common bird. Then Sunbird - the same Olive-backed. Must be a prolific bird who survived anywhere easily.
There was a cluster of a few fruit trees, lots of twigs and little leaves. Could see the birds among the maze of twigs but not in full exposed views.
This is suppose to be a Dark-sided Flycatcher but with strangely marked breast.
There must be 10-12 birds on the trees most of the time, during the period I was watching.

One of my shot have this Black-throated, usually a sub-montane bird in our country.

Monarch here were very much part of the pack. First time I see Sunbird, Monarch, Flycatchers and Flowerpeckers all together.
Time passed very quickly and just at dusk, more birds came to this sanctuary of trees. They did not gather at the fruiting trees but find perches on branches of the taller trees next to this group of lower trees.

The Asian-brown Flycatcher came out and showed itself prominently.
Common Iora which was also not among the group of small birds seen earlier, made its appearances at dusk.
Unlike the batch of birds seen in the afternoon who were foraging for food, the birds seen at this time were those ready to retire for the night. Little "jumping" about and perched for a while.

The Lesser-racquet-tailed led the way, followed by the Ashy Drongo.

So was the larger Black Drongo

Another Sunbird with very bright yellow underpart that I would not speculate which species it would be.

The highlight for the afternoon was watching the Streaked-eared in its nest. There were 2 nests on the tree.

The level of bird life seen in the visitor's center was impressive. Under identical forested environment when compared to travel in Malaysia, we saw less birds along the Thai roads. But in this park area, the level of bird life was remarkable. Perhaps that happening could have resulted from the fact the whole district do not have much trees or forest. The wooded area will attracts birds of the area to concentrate and gather. More over there could be linkage to the type of trees specially planted here, that drew the crowd.

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