× Note: Sanctuaries are different to National Parks in Thailand, Thailand currently has established 39 sanctuaries and access is more restrictive as their role is as a sanctuary for wildlife rather than a park for the nation. Some sanctuaries do allow limited access to tourists.

Phachi River Wildlife sanctuary

14 Aug 2017 09:26 - 15 Aug 2017 09:14 #4545 by Robby L
Phachi River Wildlife sanctuary was created by Robby L
Phachi River Wildlife sanctuary, Keang Som Maew Queen Sirikit Forest park and associated roads.

9 to 11 August 2017.

This sanctuary is to the north of Kaeng Krachan NP and behind Thai Prachan NP, it conjoins with both and stretches to the Burma border. GPS of HQ is 13.304144---99.420033. It is called Pachee River WS on Google maps.

Arrived at Phachi River WS before mid day and asked a gent that was standing beside the HQ where the birds were to be seen and was pointed to ‘that-a-way’ so drove in the direction of the pointed finger and saw an open barrier across what is called the Airngara Trail.

As the barrier was open and there were no signs to say ‘don’t go’ I drove on for 3km up a reasonable track across 9 dry stream crossings before turning and parking. From there I walked up to the last stream crossing number 21, the stream crossings are all numbered, from there the road which had recently been worked on by a digger headed uphill.
I see on Google earth there is a bit of road shown at 13.317160-99.385869 with a gully that can be seen leading to that bit of road so this is probable about where I walked, would be interesting to see where that road ends up but the barrier was locked the next morning so by mai dai.

I walked about a kilometer up from crossing 21 with very little bird sign and only a few mammal (Mouse Deer) prints before turning and heading back. On the way two rangers caught up with me and I walked down with them to crossing 13 where there is a parking place where they were planning to camp for the night. On the way we saw prints where a cattle beast had crossed the road one of the rangers said ”Kouprey”. Eh can’t be their extinct aren’t they or is it possible that there could be a surviving population in this little visited out of the way place? Later when I was told I had to pay a 200b entrance fee I saw that there was a picture of a Kouprey on the entry ticket but then there is a picture of a Gurney’s Pitta on the 30b camping ticket so the track was probably a Gaur.

After paying I camped in an extensive camping area with an old and 2 newer toilet blocks, all Thai squat toilets and no running water. There is a big dead tree to the east of the camping area which proved to be a stopping place for several species of birds in the evening including a new species for me Blue-throated Bee-eater. I watched that tree again in the morning but with the rising sun directly behind it was not a good photography prospect however I saw more birds of more species there than anywhere else.

Blue-throated Bee-eater

After breakfast I walked up past the barrier to stream crossing 3 getting a few photos on the way. I then had a look at what is called a nature trail but this is overgrown and impassable, when I asked about this at the HQ I was told it is closed because there are tigers there, I have heard excuses like that before but it is usually king cobras that are the problem, in this case it is probably that they don’t get enough visitors who are interested to make it worthwhile doing the work to keep it open.

Green-eared barbet

As I had been asked to show the photos I had taken I called in on the way out and went through my photos including a paw print which the boss identified from a chart he had as an Asian Golden Cat. Friendly people interested in what is there, not a huge area to explore other than the camping area and the Airngara Trail but does have potential and worth another visit.

Moved on to Kaeng Som Maew Oueen Sirikit Forest Reserve which is round behind and towards the Burma border it is really part of the same sanctuary but is run as a royal project, GPS 13.408628---99.280242. After a quick look round I headed south up the road to a road shown on Google Earth that runs up to the Burma border GPS 13.375694---99.231927. Didn’t really need 4WD but it would be essential in the wet. There is a border post at the end of this road where they weren’t exactly chuffed to see me, tourists are not welcome. Interesting place to go for a look but not a lot of bird life although it may be worth a visit early in the morning when birds are more active.

Border post

Looking back into Thailand from the border post

From there it was back to a waterfall sign I had spotted on the way past the Pha Chom Dan Waterfall, drove up a rubbish strewn road to a dam and a small reservoir with the drivable road finishing at a washout at the top of the reservoir. I parked and walked from there getting a few bird photos including a few poor shots of a Crimson Sunbird through the trees, quite a lot of bird calls so it has potential.

Back at Kaeng Som Maew as the camp ground is closed I parked by the river down a side track from the main area where there is what appears to be a youth area on the other side of the river.

Sidetrack sign to the river.

This is the Phachi River that the WS is named after. Next morning there were plenty of bird calls and what looked like crows flying around, a closer look proved these to be Black Basa. Along with Red-billed Blue Magpie and a Banded Bay Cuckoo in a tree across the river as well as some smaller birds it was a good morning.

Black Baza

Went to have a walk along the nature trail at the HQ which was paved and well kept along the first section with good information boards but all in Thai. After a roundabout the trail continues along a section that although still paved is slowly being overgrown. Not a lot of birdlife except peafowl which are very tame and obviously imported, there are also tame deer that look like Eld’s Deer, also imported.

To finish the trip I spent a night at the Ratchaburi Reservour where I managed to get my first photo of a Rain Quail, a very interesting trip and a place worth visiting.

Very dry around there obviously not a lot of rain in the area.
There is another track (road) to the border to the north shown on Google maps at 13.433958---99.204354 as Huai Khok Mu View point which would be worth a look.
There should also be access farther up the river to the south.

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14 Aug 2017 10:07 #4546 by bootly66
Replied by bootly66 on topic Phachi River Wildlife sanctuary
I had a drive out to here last year 13.376874, 99.204150 This was a border control point, don't know if it's the same one you went to .but the guy there was really friendly and said i was welcome to stay in the parking area there... The road/track here is shown to continue along the border, 13.335125, 99.202595 but i haven't checked that out yet... The road to Phurakam 13.326398, 99.233742 looked really promising for birds and is definitely on my list for a return visit.. Also one more place i didn't find that day was Bo We waterfall which i have heard is a good birding spot..... I can see a return visit is on the cards for me very soon...

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14 Aug 2017 11:52 #4549 by onflipflops
Replied by onflipflops on topic Phachi River Wildlife sanctuary
I also hope to visit the areas around there someday.

The paw mark clearly shows claws, which is not the case for Golden Cat. Judging from the size comparison with the car key, it looks too small for Dhole, so as long as there are no domestic dogs in the area, I think it should be Golden Jackal.

And indeed highly unlikely that the area would have Kouprey, to my knowledge those have only been record from the East of the country and Cambodia.
Gaur or Banteng could both be present. And as you said Gaur being the most likely contender.
I have the feeling Banteng hoofs tend to be a bit more rounded in overall shape than Gaur, but maybe that is just my imagination, haha.

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14 Aug 2017 19:34 #4555 by Robby L
Replied by Robby L on topic Phachi River Wildlife sanctuary
I had a look for Bo Wi waterfall going down from the main road where the sign is but could not find any other sign of where it is. The road from the sign does a big loop and ended up back on the main road about 6km back the way I had come.

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14 Aug 2017 20:05 - 14 Aug 2017 20:30 #4556 by Robby L
Replied by Robby L on topic Phachi River Wildlife sanctuary
Forgot to add a bird list.

Bird List

Asain Fairy Bluebird
Banded Bay Cuckoo
Black Baza
Black-headed Bulbul
Black-crested Bulbul
Blue-bearded Bee-eater
Blue-throated Bee-eater
Bronzed Drongo
Common Flameback
Coppersmith Barbet
Crimson Sunbird
Dark-necked Tailorbird
Forest Wagtail
Greater Flameback
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
Green-billed Malkoha
Green-eared Barbet
Grey Wagtail
Indian Rollar
Little-pied Flycatched
Olive-backed Sunbird
Pied fantail
Racket-tailed Treepie
Red-wattled Lapwing
Ruby-cheeked Subird
Streak-eared Bulbul
Stripe-throated Bulbul
Thick-billed Green Pigeon
White-browed Piculet

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