× The Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Uthai Thani and Tak Provinces, Thailand. The sanctuary was established in 1974, and is one of the largest and most important protected wildlife areas in Southeast Asia. The wildlife sanctuary was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations in 1991. The protected area is home to a diverse range of animals including large mammals, birds, and reptiles. It is Thailand's premier Wildlife research sanctuary.

HUAI MAE DEE MARCH-APRIL 2016

06 Apr 2016 14:17 - 06 Apr 2016 18:46 #3651 by Robby L
Robby L created the topic: HUAI MAE DEE MARCH-APRIL 2016
31 March headed off on my own for a few days in the forest with the first stop Huai Mae Dee. Smoke was quite bad on the way through Bahn Rai and up the road but I could see there had been some rain. The forest had burnt for as far as I went both up the road and down the stream, a lot of bamboo has been killed and some mature trees toppled as well, hopefully the rain has been enough to put out any fires that were still burning.

Finished setting up camp just as a shower of rain started, when it stopped I headed up the forest road for an evening look round to be caught in the next shower, some fresh deer tracks and old elephant sign on the road but not much birdlife. One of the consequences of fires then rain is that he lack of undergrowth makes walking easy and the rain softened the dead leaves so it was also quiet. There were signs of recovery with a few new shoots appearing as well as some flowers. Back at camp there is a Red-billed Magpie nest in a tree in the camp ground and a couple of Green Imperial Pigeons in another tree.

Next morning complete with brolly in my pack to make sure it didn’t rain I went down the track to the stream crossed over and went down the other side. It wasn’t till I crossed back over farther down that I got anything worth taking a photo of, there I came across a mixed flock of laughing thrush, woodpeckers and drongo, took photos of Greater Yellownape, Grey-headed Woodpecker and Lesser-necklaced Laughingthrush all are new area records for me. Saw White-crested Laughing thrush, spangled and Greater-racket-tailed Drongo and an Accipitor that I didn’t get a chance to ID. Back at camp it piddled down for most of the afternoon but in a brief pause just before dark I had a walk round the camp ground and saw 7 Green Imperial Pigeons in a tall tree. And a raptor which pounced on a squirrel in a treetop then when it looked around and saw me took off and dropped the dead squirrel, had to apologise for messing up its dinner and never even got a usable photo.



Next morning the rain had cleared and some white flowers had sprung up under a tree by the toilets then during breakfast Red-billed Blue Magpies and Racket-tailed Drongos were buzzing around, a Greater Flameback was tapping on a tree and a Red Jungle Fowl walked past, good omens. Back down the stream this morning but stayed on the camp side, had not gone far when a pair of Yellow-throated Martens appeared in a patch of bamboo and I managed to get a reasonable photo. A bit farther on there was a Giant-Black Squirrel feeding in a fruiting tree, got my best photo so far of one of them, sat around and watched for a while expecting birds to join the meal, only bird that arrived, to the consternation of the squirrel which must have imagined itself as a menu item, was a Crested Serpent Eagle, another photo OP. Next on the way down the track was a little Indochinese Ground Squirrel, looks like a mammal day today. I thought I had it made when I came on fresh tracks and droppings of a bovine, probable a lone Banteng by the size of the footprints. Was tracking it down towards the stream when I was distracted by a grove of fruiting trees with a flock of Pied Hornbills feasting on them, as I sat down to watch a Great Hornbill took off with a whoosh of wings and a flash of yellow, unfortunately it didn’t come back. There were Green Imperial Pigeons in there as well with many smaller birds the only one of which I could ID was a Golden-fronted Leafbird. Left them to it to get back to camp before the anticipated afternoon rain and on the way saw an, as yet to be ID’d, falcon land in a tree across the stream and a Great Hornbill fly past. The rain didn’t come and stars appeared as the rain had cleared most of the smoke from the air. Just on dark several night birds, probably owls landed briefly on the trees around the tent but no chance of photos.



Next morning I headed back to where I had seen the hornbills and yes they were still there feeding on the same trees. They all took off when I arrived including 2 Great Hornbills identifiable by the sound of their wings. Sat down and waited for them to come back which took a while, in the meantime Gibbons started calling, one family from the top of the tallest tree in the grove, I could see movement but no chance of a photo through all the branches and leaves. Eventually the Pied Hornbills started to come back I reckon there would have been at least 20 of them. A couple of Green Imperial Pigeons appeared along with a pair of Asian Fairy Bluebirds the first time I have seen them there. No Great Hornbills unfortunately nor much hoped for Rufous or Ticklle’s both of which have been seen in the area but not by me. On the way back to camp I got a photo of a Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush to go with the lessor I got yesterday, just before I got back to camp a deer took off, Samba by the size.

Next day was to be my last as I had run out of food and I walked up the road that goes into the interior of the sanctuary where they won’t let me drive. Lots of bird activity with Racket-tailed Treepie and 2 new species for me Grey-chinned Minivet and Grey-headed Parakeet which were in a flock of 6 or 8 birds. There was also fresh sign of elephant, cattle, deer and a small species of cat that had left footprints in some mud, most of the sign was between the second and third bridge which had a large tree fallen over it. Lots of potential and I would have liked to have stayed on longer…. but I will return some time in the future.



General
The whole area down the stream is full of old Elephant sign, probably before the fires, they have been feeding on the reeds in the stream bed and look to have been living there for some time, once things grow again there is a good chance they will be back. Also fresh deer sign of at least 2 species of deer and the fire has exposed some old burrows probably porcupine or some other burrowing animal. Unfortunately there was also people sign with old camp fires and garbage, no doubt poachers. There are still some areas where the fire has not touched but where it has been, it is very bad. Photos don’t really give a good idea of the devastation.

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06 Apr 2016 14:27 #3652 by Robby L
Robby L replied the topic: HUAI MAE DEE MARCH-APRIL 2016
Seem to have missed out a bit at te end for some reason.

General
The whole area down the stream is full of old Elephant sign, probably before the fires, they have been feeding on the reeds in the stream bed and look to have been living there for some time, once things grow again there is a good chance they will be back. Also fresh deer sign of at least 2 species of deer and the fire has exposed some old burrows probably porcupine or some other burrowing animal. Unfortunately there was also people sign with old camp fires and garbage, no doubt poachers. There are still some areas where the fire has not touched but where it has been, it is very bad. Photos don’t really give a good idea of the devastation.

The nature trail that is shown on maps and on some web sites is pretty much nonexistent from the other side of the stream, there have also in the past been tracks down both sides of the stream with signs identifying species of tree, there are still some remains of these blue signs to be seen and it is a shame that the work that has been done in the past has now been lost by neglect. I see this almost everywhere I go with overgrown tracks, berms that have been put in gullies to prevent erosion washed out and damaged buildings. All it needs is a little care and maintenance on an annual basis but it never seems to get done.

The camping area was starting to take on a green tinge with new grass as the rain brought new growth unfortunately next it will be mushroom season and the locals will once again be causing a disturbance, that place needs some serious policing but at present there seems to be only 3 or 4 rangers stationed there, with one on the main gate one at the HQ building on radio watch there is little that can be done at present.

The only snake I saw was a dead one but I took its photo anyway.

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06 Apr 2016 15:45 - 06 Apr 2016 15:56 #3653 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: HUAI MAE DEE MARCH-APRIL 2016
The snake is a Bungarus candidus, known as the Blue Krait or Malayan Krait. Currently Thailand's most venomous snake (until someone confirms presence of Bungarus multicinctus...).
The enlarged scales on the vertebral ridge, and its slightly triangular body cross-section proof it's a krait. There are various other snakes (wolf snakes and bridle snakes) in Thailand, many harmless, that have similar black and white banding.

There are 3 krait species known in Thailand. The other two are the yellow with black Banded Krait, Bungarus fasciatus, and the Red-headed Krait, Bungarus flaviceps. All three species are potentialy fatal. All three species are usually high on the wishlist for field herpers that visit Thailand.

BTW, you think a local decapitated it? Or an animal?
I guess generally in the latter case the whole body would have been eaten, unless the creature got disturbed... so maybe a human killed it...

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07 Apr 2016 10:34 #3655 by Robby L
Robby L replied the topic: HUAI MAE DEE MARCH-APRIL 2016
I doubt it was a human as there was no evidence of anyone else being there in the recent past.

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07 Apr 2016 11:25 #3657 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: HUAI MAE DEE MARCH-APRIL 2016
Either way, a shame it was killed.

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