Banded Pitta - Sri Phanga

24 Feb 2016 19:16 - 28 Feb 2016 11:27 #3447 by Geoff Potter
Geoff Potter created the topic: Banded Pitta - Sri Phanga
A denizen of the southern forest, the Banded Pitta. Easily photographed at Sri Phanga National Park in Phanga province between now and May
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25 Feb 2016 21:55 #3449 by Paul TW
Paul TW replied the topic: Banded Pitta
What a beautiful bird. Does the park have any other notable animals you can see?

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26 Feb 2016 19:21 - 28 Feb 2016 11:28 #3450 by Geoff Potter
Geoff Potter replied the topic: Banded Pitta
The park is a very beautiful one with an amazing camp site, clean restrooms and a great little restaurant. Its only 4K from the main road heading south from Chumpon / Ranong to Phuket and the deep south so if your on a long journey going that way it would make a good stop over point.

Sadly there are only one or two trails that you can walk on but never the less you should be able to see lots of southern specialties. Not sure about mammals, certainly no large ones, but remember this is a park that joins up with several others such as Kao Sok and Klong Saeng where there certainly are big populations of Gaur, elephant etc
Here's another southerner: the Chestnut-Naped Forktail

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01 Mar 2016 06:12 #3459 by Paul TW
Paul TW replied the topic: Banded Pitta
Sounds sweet. One day when I have more time on my hands I am going to have to venture south. The forktail is a superb looking creature!

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01 Mar 2016 10:03 #3461 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: Banded Pitta
Real beauties - both the birds and the pics!

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23 May 2016 15:30 - 23 May 2016 16:22 #3767 by Robby L
Robby L replied the topic: Banded Pitta - Sri Phanga
Was wondering where to put this so here goes, my impressions of Shri Phang Na NP, arrived there 5th May 2016.

I was keen to get to this park as I had read some great reviews of what was to be found here however what we found was not up to expectations. I had read of others seeing up to 70 bird species in a day but very few of those showed themselves for me with the only hornbills being the pair I saw flying.

For a start nowhere was mentioned that they have an ‘office hours’ policy that you are not allowed to leave the camping ground before 8am and must return by 5pm a policy I have never seen at any other national park I have visited. We tried to drive from the camping ground at around 6,30am and were chased down by a ranger on a motorbike and told "Bai ai dai" so I tried walking and was again chased down by the vigalante. This to me in unacceptable as it wastes the best 2 hours of the morning when it is cool and, arguably, bird life is at its peak.

There is a big camping ground which seems little used as we were the only ones camped there for the first 2 nights, small toilets only one of each, M&F, a long way from camp however they are clean with a western style toilet as well as Thai. The showers are the best I have seen with good water pressure.
There are two main trails to waterfalls which start about a K up the road from the camping area at a picnic, parking place where kids and big kids can slop around in the water where 2 streams converge the short trail, about 300m, to the Tam Nang Waterfall starts across a bridge on the left of the parking area, this is on the larger of the 2 streams and is quite a nice waterfall. I walked this on the afternoon we arrived, saw very little birdlife other than at a bird bathing spot at the parking area, birds there were all Bulbul of 3 or 4 species which I haven’t ID’d yet. I spent a bit of time watching and saw 2 Hornbill fly to a roost out of sight high on the hill, I then got told off for getting back to camp after 5pm.

The other trail to the Ton Dang Waterfall is longer and with more birdlife, I got photos of Chestnut-crowned Forktail and some other birds along this stream, also heard and glimpsed Bamboo Woodpecker but no photos. There is a sign 50m before the waterfall and here a short track leads to where guides have set up a feeding pace for Pita. Regardless of how you feel of the ethics of feeding to attract wild birds and animals this seems to be the only realistic chance to get photos of Hooded and Banded Pita. I snuck in once the guides had left with their clients and as well as smaller birds got some good photos of the 2 species of Pita. There is a Hooded Pita that has laid claim to the place and chases away any small birds which makes it difficult to get a look at any small species.

Another trail is a steep one which branches off to the right about 50m along the Ton Dang Waterfall trail it heads steeply uphill then to the left along a ridge top to end at a fallen tree. This trail may in the past have continued on but I could find no sign of it. Ropes have been put along most of the steep part of this trail which are a help both going up and down and it appears some surveying has been done up on top as there are marker pegs with string between them and red paint on trees. This trail is through thick mature forest and allows no opportunity to see the few birds that are calling.

One more rarely used track goes to the left off the road to the parking-picnic area, it starts less than 100m from the camping ground and crosses the stream before following a small stream up to a waterfall, the last part of the track is in the stream bed and would be dangerous if there was a lot of water in the stream. By the look of the discarded PVC pipes this was at one time the camp water supply. With lots of little fish in the pools and minimal disturbance this should be ideal habitat for Forest Kingfishers but neither sight nor sound of them did I encounter, nor were there any other birds to be seen, only photos I got were of a pair of Gibbons in the top of a tree.

I took Ying with me on the last evening up to where guides have been feeding birds and when we got to the short track to the feeding spot a Banded Pita followed us apparently looking for food, it hopped around in front of us it was very tame and at one stage Ying was walking around following it taking pictures with both her camera and her phone, a Hooded Pita also turned up briefly. I know from experience that guides have to provide clients with what they pay for but have to question the practice of getting birds (or animals) to the stage of expecting food and possibly relying on being fed. There is probably only one Banded Pita and one Hooded Pita that is using that feeding station as that is all we saw.

No large animal sign at all other than primates, Dusky Langur and Gibbons. Not as many squirrels as most other places but I did get a photo of a Shrew type thing.

Bird List:
Grey-headed Pygmy Woodpecker
Stripe-throated Bulbul
Banded Pita
Hooded Pita
Spectacled Bulbul
Grey-bellied Bulbul
Ochraceous Bulbul
Black-crested Bulbul
Brown Shrike
Grey-backed Shrike
Pacific Swallow
Paddyfield Pipit
Orange-bellied Flowerpecker
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23 May 2016 16:23 #3768 by Paul TW
Paul TW replied the topic: Banded Pitta - Sri Phanga
Great write up Robby!

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04 Jun 2016 13:31 #3813 by Geoff Potter
Geoff Potter replied the topic: Banded Pitta - Sri Phanga
This is not a park that gives up its secrets easily. This female Blue Banded Kingfisher was photographed feeding her young after a long and very wet day. Not a bad catch for a 40 gram bird!

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04 Jun 2016 14:16 #3814 by rushenb
rushenb replied the topic: Banded Pitta - Sri Phanga
Great shot! :)

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05 Jun 2016 10:49 #3816 by admin
admin replied the topic: Banded Pitta - Sri Phanga
Indeed! Superb.

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05 Jun 2016 14:30 #3818 by Geoff Potter
Geoff Potter replied the topic: Banded Pitta - Sri Phanga
Here’s the male…..





These Kingfishers nest in a burrow dug into the river bank that’s 1-2 meters deep laying 2-3 pure white eggs in a nest chamber at the end. I have often wondered if the entire lizard is fed to one chick or carved up by an adult and distributed to all? Fish seem to provide only 10-20% of the chick’s diet as over two days of observing them the vast majority of meals were lizards, amphibians and frogs.
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