Advice please!

11 Nov 2013 21:31 #1477 by onflipflops
Replied by onflipflops on topic advice please!
Great to hear you succeeded in your 'mission'!

The bats' daily feeding-migration is indeed amazing and something everybody should witness. Were you lucky that they came out early enough to enjoy it for a while? They've been coming out quite late, lately and it gets dark early so can't enjoy it too long. An hour or longer of a non-stop flowing river of bats is simply crazy, not to mention the tons of insects they must eat every day.

Indeed many animals in the park are not shy at all, they see lots of people and have learned these people don't harm them. Most gibbon families that have their territories near the roads/ main trails are not too skittish.
It's quite different as soon as you get on trails where no tourists go. Not sure if that's because of hunting, or just because they have 'never' seen people before.
It's funny that many people always want to go as far from the tourist trails, but it makes wildlife watching often only harder.
Poaching is still a problem in the park, but at least the hunting is not taking place near the tourist areas; though, the signs of poaching for valuable wood can be found anywhere, sometimes just a couple of metres off the paved main road.

About the civets, did you see them on the ground or in trees? If they were rather small, bit like a house cat, perhaps a bit longer, slightly shorter legs, with a ringed tail it's the Small Indian Civet (commonly seen in the short grass areas throughout the park). These are terrestial. If they were more like a fox-size, quite high on the legs, and with a ringed tail it's most likely Large Indian Civet (which is quite uncommon to see; I can't recall seeing one this year).
If the tail was not ringed, a greyish body, and with a black mask (raccoon-like) it's most likely Asian Palm Civet.
The Masked Palm Civet I have rarely seen in Khao Yai. If they were brownish with a dark tail it's Small-toothed Palm Civet.
Asian Palm Civets and Small Indian Civets are definitely the most common and easily seen species in Khao Yai.

Gaur is hard. Though in the right time of year (March - May) they occasionally show up even seen from the Nong Pak Chi tower in the grass behind the reservoir, mostly to the far left. This time of year it's hard to see them. Not sure if the guard stations at the Northern - Northeastern border of the park are good this time of year, I rarely go there.

It's indeed good to see Thais enjoying the nature. It's not always exactly like foreigners would experience nature, but still way better than that they would not care at all. Only if the Thais love and enjoy it, it will be preserved. These parks can't survive on the relatively low foreign tourist numbers.
It can get really crowded, but if you look at the map of the whole park you'll see that the main tourist area is quite small and there is lots of nature left where rarely anybody goes (well, the poachers might...).

And good to hear you found some cool snakes! Which color morphs were the whip snakes? Gold-orange, silver-grey, or brownish? I love those snakes. And lucky you got to see it with prey!
They love the roadsides with rather dense bushes. Especially in the mornings and late afternoons they tend to be a bit more visible to bask.
Do you have pictures of the pit viper? It's more common to see Vogel's Pit Viper in the park.

Thanks for sharing your experience!

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25 Nov 2013 19:04 - 26 Nov 2013 05:59 #1502 by john floth
Replied by john floth on topic advice please!
Hello Hello!

If you think the illegal activities at khao yai are significant, my advice is.... do not go to the north of Thailand’s national parks, I go hiking I doi pha hom phok national park or chiang dao almost every week amd I have never foumd a single wild mammal there, just squirrels at chiang dao amd muntjac tracks. Even In the last 4 months I have worked here I have seen deforestation happening within the national park and random guys walking around with hunting rifles on an almost daily basis. There are hilltribes everywhere up here and they seem to do what they want with the land. I cant help think “what will this park look like 20 years from now”, at the moment it seems pretty lawless. It is not only the hill tribes that do the poaching round here, I know plenty of Thais that go hunting around here and they get hares birds and squirrels regularly, one told me he used to hunt bears at the park but he has not seen one In years (what a surprise...).
Here are my favourite pics I took while I was at khao yai , according to my guide it was a white lipped pit viper. And yes I got to see the bats leaving the cave for at least 40 minutes! Thank you for the help with the civet ID, my sightings where so short, I really couldnt tell you!
Im still unsure of what type of kheelback it was in the photo, help much appreciated!
Hope you like them!

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02 Dec 2013 21:32 #1510 by onflipflops
Replied by onflipflops on topic advice please!
Hi John,

Maybe something went wrong with uploading your images, I couldn't find them. Interested to see the Keelback, hopefully I can help.

Agree with you the North is definitely worse than Khao Yai in terms of poaching. At least from what I've seen, or actually more from what I did not see ;).
In Khao Yai most signs I've seen are the valuable wood poaching, I've found several old camps, and once spooked two guys while I approached them from their backs without them expecting me; I was not expecting them either...
But there are lots of parks that have bigger problems. I guess Huai Kha Khaang has serious trouble at the moment, having the healthiest tiger population of the country comes at a cost...
But the rangers there don't seem to give up the fight!

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09 Dec 2013 09:17 #1526 by john floth
Replied by john floth on topic advice please!

Sorry “on flipflops” my Wi-Fi is terrible at the moment and it must have sent the messages before loading the pictures, hopefully they are attached to this message. Like I mentioned these are I my opinion the best images from my trip and the kheelBack is just there as I need some ID help. I have a few days free again at the end of this month and was wondering where I could go do some more nature watching. As I have already see khao Yai I would like to maybe try KeaNg KrachaN or Pang sida national park. Could anybody help me as to which park is easier to access from Bangkok with public transport? I will probably look for a tour into the park as a guide did help me find most of the snakes I saw at khao yai and I really enjoy finding new snakes I have not seen before. I will only have a day there at most so any advice onto which park is more worth seeing and has easy access to booking tours please let me know! Thank you

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09 Dec 2013 12:31 #1527 by onflipflops
Replied by onflipflops on topic advice please!
Hi John,

Thanks for sharing the pictures! Cool to see the vine snake eating the dragon.

That same Keelback species has always kept me busy.
I think it is the Speckle-bellied Keelback (juvenile), however I'm not 100% sure. I've never found information about the white eyebrows in any book. Just sent a question to an enthusiastic Thai herper that might be able to confirm it.

If you do a google images search you will see some pictures that are the same, but in some pictures they look different, maybe adults or different subspecies or just individual differences.

About your other questions.
Both Kaeng Krachan and Pangsida are a bit difficult to get to by public transport, and when you get there you definitely need a vehicle.
And from what I know unlike Khao Yai it's hard to find a guided tour, other than perhaps birding tours in Kaeng Krachan.
In Pangsida I'm quite sure you won't find any tour.
But also in Kaeng Krachan I have yet to find an operator focussing on wildlife or reptiles instead of birds. We're thinking of changing that ;), but haven't had the time to further explore the park.

Since snakes are your main interest, night activities are the best, though not sure how it is in KK or PS, but here in KY it starts to get cold. It can drop to 13 - 14 degrees Celsius at night which is not exactly favorite snake weather. Though Pythons tend to be active in the winter. Just last week a 2.5M Burm crossed the road while I was driving home. And the mornings will be good when the sun comes out after the cold night.

When I did a night drive in Kaeng Krachan the rangers pulled me off the road, so that's not really an option. A walk around the camp ground seemed to be fine. Though I've only tried that once, I remember not seeing any snakes though, but some other cool stuff.
In Pangsida I did some night drives and nobody seemed to care. Successful with mammals (Gaur, Binturong, Leopard Cat) and got to see 2 species of Cat Snake.

There are some interesting roads just outside Kaeng Krachan which produced a few snakes for me.
But I'm sure the roads just outside Pangsida are good too, but I have yet to tried it.

We looking forward to read your trip report here.

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19 Dec 2013 15:57 #1536 by john floth
Replied by john floth on topic advice please!
Hello again

I went to Keang Krachan in the end as it seemed easier to access (wasnt that easy to find my way around) i saw some long tailed macaques, white handed gibbons, dusky langurs, wild jungle fowl and many other birds (not really my interest) chipmonks and squirrels, one giant squirrel and much eveidence of elephants,deer and civets. I camped by the dam which turned out not to be such a good place to find much i should have stayed at the bankrang camp but didnt have enought time. I looked HARD for snakes only found one keelback which i believe was a green keelback but it was really fast and for obvious reasons i dont like grabbing snakes if they seem agitated and im not sure wat kind they are .
all in all looks like a hidden gem, lots of jungle not many tourists ...Nice!

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20 Dec 2013 00:22 #1539 by onflipflops
Replied by onflipflops on topic advice please!
Did you have your own transport or did you find a guided tour?

I've stayed at that camp ground near the lake, but I agree staying really inside the park is better.
Though for snakes it might not all be that bad, as long as the weather is good.

It's been very quiet here, in regards of snake sightings.
Not sure how cold it gets in Kaeng Krachan, but in Khao Yai it's been pretty cold. Early evening temperatures dropping to 12 - 13 degrees. And going as low as 9 degrees Celsius in the very early mornings.
Snakes don't like that. And even though the sun warms things up during the day, I'm not sure if the snakes even bother to come out of their hide-outs.

Can't wait till temperatures start to rise again.

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