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.
As I mentioned in one of the replies on Jonathan's trip report, I am now reporting live from Huai Kha Khaeng.
This morning arranged to visit the tower known as Haw Ton Peung to apply shade cloth.
It was quite a bit of work, took me a couple of hrs, but it worked out as planned.
I've only done the first level, as I believe for photography it's best to be as low as possible. It will never be fantastic for photography, but anyway.
It's tight up pretty well so not moving much in the wind, it was quite windy today so a good test environment.
It is possible to adapt the opening space by moving the knots of the horizontal ropes up or down along the vertical ropes.
Not sure if this is clear, but you might be able to see what I mean in the images, or otherwise you will see it whenever you get there.
One thing I forgot to bring: lunch... so I got too hungry and had to leave at about 15:30. Green Peafowl showed up in the distance just after I finished applying the shade cloth.
They were on the far side and did not get closer, so I can't tell if they had to get used to it or not, but at least they did not run away ;-) .
Due to the Seub Festival 30 AUG - 01 SEP 2014 we've heard that the superintendent has decided that the towers are not open for any visitors. And maybe it's better that way.
Only the tower near the campground is open, not sure with how many people we will have to share it.
They expect it to get crowded.
I guess I'll be walking the Khao Hin Daeng trail a few times then.
One interesting side note: when we walked back to the car after the visit to Haw Ton Peung tower we found recent tiger pug marks.
We did not see these tracks on the way up, but still I think we just did not pay enough attention. I don't think it walked by while we were at the tower...
It has rained yesterday afternoon, so I think this must have been from either last night or this early morning.
That proves again that this is a very interesting spot. There were also fresh elephant footprints.
The drive to the tower was no problem, all the way till the little 'parking space' in the last curve about 200m before reaching the tower; just before the concrete road reinforcement, everything was fine.
Though we removed the little tree that was on the road at the beginning of the track, near the main road.
We found the pug marks near the concrete road reinforcement.
Today we found more at the Khao Hin Daeng Trail.
Yesterday we went back to the Haw Ton Peung tower for the first time since we have applied the shade cloth. We visited from about 15:30 till 18:00.
Some peafowl were around, and at 16:30 4 Banteng appeared at the sand/ stone river bed just left of the tower. They moved back into the forest after 10 minutes or so.
At about 17:00 a different Banteng herd of 9 including a bull (though not too large) appeared at the far right, and later 4 Sambar joined in.
They have been grazing until (and probably even after) we left at about 18:00.
So seems like the wildlife has no trouble adapting to the shade cloth.
And today we went back again at 15:00. 4 Sambar were already grazing right in front of the tower. They could not see us walk up the stairs and when we took place behind the shade cloth they just continued for half an hour before the rain started and they moved back into the forest. The rain did not stop. The Sambar did came back eventually only this time the herd counted 8 or 9 animals. But we left the tower again just after 18:00.
Today we tested how much difference the shade cloth makes. A peacock was out in the clearing for a long time, just more or less at one spot quite far from the tower, minding its own business. Then we walked up to the second level of the tower which has no shade cloth (I might apply that on a later date, I ran out of rope...) and immediately the peafowl spotted us and flew off. Even at a large distance, they see every move. But it certainly did not notice us behind the shade cloth.
That proved how much difference it made, and how pleasant it is to not have to sit still like a rock whenever something appears.
Here a quick shot of my camera screen showing the 'proof' of the Banteng herd and some Sambar (and there was peafowl somewhere there as well).
On our morning drive on 03 SEP 2014, I had an extremely poor, distant and fleeting sighting of a spotted Leopard. Finally! Though not exactly very satisfying :(
It is the fourth wild cat species for me in Thailand, but the poorest sighting. Can hardly count it. It was surprisingly fast while it crossed the road near the little spirit house just after the Haw Nok Yung tower area ( when driving from the HQ in the direction of the park entrance gate.)
No chance for a picture, and the video of my dashboard cam only shows a vague tiny blob moving in the distance. If you don't know it is there you won't even notice it...
So, far from fantastic, but I am glad with the fact that it is possible. And also the stories of quite a few people that have been lucky to see this species without having to visit 100 times, gives me hope for the future that it will cross my path again. But then hopefully allowing me to have a good look and preferably also a picture to proof it , even if it was only a blurry one ;)
A better though also distant sighting was a Hog Badger at the Haw Nok Yung tower, the next morning. Surprisingly, The second one for this year! Saw one in KY 2 months ago. Not exactly a common creature to actually see.
When time allows I will return to apply the shade cloth at the ground floor and first level of the Haw Nok Yung tower, and on the second level of the Haw Ton Peung tower, and at the tower of the Home of the tiger trail.
So still a lot of work to do.
Wow! thats awesome flipflops, even a brief 'spotting' of a leopard is just amazing!
I'm sure many will appreciate your work in putting up the shade cloth, certainly will increase the chances of great sightings and photos from those watchtowers. Good work!