Krung Ching in Khao Luang National Park was our first stop other than an overnight stop to break up the long trip.
Again camped in the dining building at the youth area with power and handy toilets.
Started on the waterfall track as far as the end of the concrete, the remains of the first Sala is now pretty much reclaimed by the forest and all that is left of the second is the floor and a few bits of wood and roofing iron, it looks like some of the timber has been used to repair one of the bridges but the others are still in need of attention.
Very little in the way of bird activity, found someones stake out and after dispensing some goodwill sat around for a time but the only birds that appeared was a White-rumped Sharma and a brief visit from a Buff-breasted Babbler. I did hear a Great Argus calling up the hill from the remains of the second sala but no way to get near.
Most of the birds seen were feeding on a fruiting tree across the road from the shop, mostly Bulbuls, Flowerpeckers and 4 species of Barbets one of which I have IDed as Black-browed Barbet a species which is supposed to be restricted to a few records from Hala Bala.
We were shown a nest of Asian Paradise Flycatchers at the start of the waterfall track where the parents were taking turns at feeding 3 chicks, Ying had a great time sitting watching and them getting photos and videos.
Not a particularly productive stop with only a small bird list but a good introduction to the south.
Next stop was Khao Nam Khang National Park right on the border with Malaysia in Songkhla Provence.
Camp ground is across ‘sort of’ bridges across a stream, we put up the tent in a sala over there and only carried over what was really needed ad cooked and ate where we parked the vehicle.
Again most of the birds seen were on a fruiting tree at a staff building close to where an old bulldozer is parked up. It would seem there is a specialty bird that is only found in that area the Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker which I got a brief glimpse of but no photo, next visit.
We met with one of the staff who is in charge of research he is knows the place very well and says he has recorded over a hundred species of birds, he showed us where Pin-tailed Parrotfinch were feeding on seeding bamboo and I got my first photos of this hard to find bird.
He later took us to a couple of places where he often sees birds but nothing there for us at that time. Ying has contact with him and we will make use of his expertise on our next visit.
The place also has an interesting history with the communist insurgency back in the 70-80’s when they built a tunnel which is now one of the main tourist attractions. There is also a building a little up the road playing loud bird calls apparently attempting to attract bird-nest- soup Swifts.
Also saw a lizard that may be one of the Draco flying lizards it was sitting (guarding) over a hole that the research man said contained eggs.
Again not a big bird list however this place will be on our list for a return visit possibly in March-April next year.
Next stop was Hala Bala Wildlife Sanctuary then to an overnight stop at Thala Noi where I was told all the interesting birds were on the other side of the lake requiring a boat which I didn’t bother with instead having a wander around seeing nothing of particular interest.
From there it was to be Ao Phang Na National Park and the mangroves but on arrival we were told they wanted 300b to go through the gate and with only a short distance drive to a restaurant and about 100m of walkway before a bridge has collapsed I didn’t think it was value for money. We had trouble looking for reasonable accommodation so carried on to a friends place at Khao Lak where we stayed the night.
I had noticed a waterfall not far away so in the morning I drove there to see if there were any birds about on arrival I was met by a gent who announced “This a national park, cant go” so back to the guest house and on through heavy rain and some flooding to what was to be the next stop: Klong Phanom National Park where on the previous trip I had seen a Great Argus display area that I had hoped to find again with the bird present this time but heavy rain persisted so we carried on to another overnight stop at Chumpon.
Then on to our last stop at Kaeng Krachan National Park where I wont bother going into any detail as you all probably know the place better than me so just a bird list:
4 Dole between the second and third stream crossing with another 2 barking at me in the forest.
Asian Forest Tortoise on the road to the first crossing.
While researching this trip I came across some national parks in the deep south with no information other than the Govt website, 2 in particular border Malaysian protected areas and are said to hold things like Tapir and Sumatran Rhino as well as the same sort of birds as Hala Bala they are San Kala Kiri National Park and Bang Lang National Park which is joined to the Hala sector of Hala Bala Wildlife Sanctuary and another Budo Su Ngai Pa Di National Park which sits out on its own. I am making plans for a return to that area in March-April next year and plan to include them.