This trip was to revisit what i thought would be the most productive places we had visited before.
Plenty of camping space and houses to rent, good toilets but only cold water. As before we camped in one of the caravan bays which are a bit close to a noisy smelly generator when it is turned on for power in the evenings.
Not a lot of birds on the road only thing of interest to me were Olive Bulbul my first new species of the trip. Best birds were on the Buddha footprint track which is a steep walk, 4w drivable if you are keen. Big tree behind the visitor center (being renovated) attracts birds in the evening including a female Blue Rock Thrush, even though this bird is very common this was the first female I have ever seen.
Our approach to Doi Inthanon was from the west and as I wanted to have a good look around the waterfall and have access to the summit without passing the check point we camped at the Mae Pan camp ground where there is plenty of camping space, several good toilet blocks and houses to rent.
We camped by the small sala by the stream which has power points for battery charging, from there we went to the Mae Pan waterfall the summit and the jeep track. At the waterfall I got photos of the 2 species of water redstart and a surprise Dark-sided Thrush and on the track a Sulphur-breasted Warbler. The Jeep track count was leeches 1 birds zero, the summit was more productive but with few of what is said to be the normal sightings. After 3 nights we moved to the HQ camp ground where we discovered they now have a 350b charge to camp in the caravan bays for this you get water and power, also discovered the hot water in the disabled shower no longer worked.
From there I did the 34.5 track seeing few birds then prospected the sheep farm area with mixed success. This is an area that is not mentioned anywhere and has potential that needs farther exploration.
We met Mr Om of save the birds who we had met previously, he is now living at Doi Inthanon and is a good contact for finding the best bird spots.
Birds Doi Inthanon
Aberrant Bush Warbler N
Bianchi’s Warbler N
Blue Rock Thrush
Cheatnut-tailed Minla N
Dark-sided Thrush N
Green-tailed Sunbird N
Plumbeous Water Redstart
Rufous-winged Fulvetta N
Sulphur-breasted Warbler N
White-capped Water Redstart N
Doi Sam Muan, Huai Nam Dang.
After a terrible drive through the Mea Rim area which took almost 7 hours to do the 200km we arrived at Huai Nam dang NP and on telling those on the gate we were going to Doi Sam Muan we were waved through with no charge. We were the only ones at the camp ground and as it was school holidays no kids about.
I had hoped for finches and buntings in that area but as the corn had not been harvested there was not the open areas of our last visit this coupled with a fair bit of cloud about it made looking difficult. I did see a flock of 20+ Black-headed Greenfinch demonstrating formation flying and was lucky to get a few shots of them through the cloud as they landed in a tree. A Stripe-breasted Woodpecker was another first for me.
Birds Doi Sam Muan
Black-headed Greenfinch N
Chestnut Vented Nuthatch
Stripe-breasted Woodpecker N
Den Ya Kat Chaing Dao
We stayed at the same place in Chaing Dao for the night for hot showers and to charge batteries and intending to have a look at the temple in the morning but with fog so low it was difficult to see to tie the boot laces we went on up to Den Ya Kat to be the only ones camped there but with a steady stream of punters passing to walk up the mountain to camp. Last time there birds were drinking and bathing at water tanks beside the pond and I had hoped to take advantage of that as a stake out but the tanks had been covered so that was off. But birds were still around that area and up the track around the pond and up the hill where staff have been planting out saplings in the grass areas and were working cutting the grass. I had hoped to get decent photos of Grey-headed Parrotbill and succeeded along with sighting Mrs Humes Pheasant up the track above the pond and 4 Hens and a cock pheasant running down the road ahead of us on the way down which Ying got some photos of by hanging out the window.
We were told the staff were excited to have seen “Gwang Pae” ,presumably Goral, there for the first time in several years, great that they are making a come-back in that area.
We arrived there on a long weekend and the army camp was full so we went to the camping area farther up the road which was also quite full but still room for us. There is now a 30b a night charge but lots of lights at night, fairly good toilets and stalls for food. Quite a lot of cloud in the mornings restricted where I could get to and windy also so just as well we were not at the army camp which is very exposed.
Went to the King Project first and couldn’t find any feeding stake outs where others had mentioned them. Most productive places for birds were behind the auditorium and a flame tree up by the accommodation. The Mae Pur Valley trail is now the home of a herd of buffalo which are keeping the track open but can be a bit of a pest running along in front or behind you. Best spot was by the old cultivated area about half way down.
Most birds were at the 21km trail with the first 100m being most productive. The track to the right disappears quite quickly and the ridge trail is overgrown with head high vegetation.
Birds Doi Ang Khang
Blue-winged Siva N
Striated Bulbul N
Doi Pha Hom Pok
First Stayed at Fang Hot springs and drove to the west side road each day, birds have been fed at the stake-outs and the usual birds appeared. Spot-breasted Parrotbill put on a great show for us sitting out in the open and singing. Good birds at the pheasant feeding spot on the road up, walking the road up from the stake-outs and along a track opposite the stake-outs where there are fruiting trees.
We then moved to Doi Lang Camp on the east side and camped near the toilets. Not allowed to drive past the check point but allowed to walk as far as the lookout, did walk a bit up the road but not as far as the lookout. There are a couple of stake-outs about a 100m up from the check point but nothing coming to them. Staff are feeding left overs and several species coming to eat. Last morning I got 3 new species within 50m of the perked vehicle, what a bonus. A large Niltava on the road from the camp to the check point and Black-throated Tit one evening where there are chairs on top of a big cutting then a pair of Mountain Bamboo Partridges on the road down but no photos of them.
Birds Doi Pha Hom Pok
Rufous-bellied Niltava N
Blythes Shrike Babbler
Chestnut Thrush N
Chestnut-bellied Rock Thrush
Chestnut-vented White Eye
Chinese Pond Heron
Fire-tailed Sunbird N
Golden Bush Robin N
Grey-crowned Warbler N
Large Niltava N
Red-flanked Bluetail N
Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler
Scarlet-faced Liochechla N
Slaty-backed Flycatcher N
White Gorgeted Flycatcher
Weather was good but cold getting down to 7c some nights, a little light rain the first night then rain all the way home seem we timed getting out spot on.
Only species with recognizable photos counted.
N alongside species indicates new species or me 21 new for the trip.
Next trip will be to the far north east right up to the border past Chiang Rai and the sooner the better been home for only a few days and want to get on the road again.