× The park is the third largest in Thailand. It covers an area of 300 square kilometers, including tropical seasonal forests and grasslands. Its altitude mostly ranges from 400–1,000 m above sea level. There are 3,000 species of plants, 320 species of birds, and 67 species of mammals, recording in this, Thailand's most famous National Park.

Nong Pak Chi 10 elephants, 4 gaurs, some boar and a bear

31 May 2019 15:33 - 31 May 2019 15:37 #5224 by wvwv
Entered the park from Pak Chong quite late, saw an elephant in a salt lick off the main road, not far from the tower.  I'd forgotten torches this trip but used the motorbike light to illuminate it a bit (I was 250 metres away on the road so don't think I disturbed it too much).

Anyway.  Nong Pak Chi.  I go to this watchtower a lot but generally during the day because I don't wake up early enough for dawn and because it 'closes' at 6pm.

This time (about 2 months ago, I'm slow to write this post), I thought I'd stay after 6pm until it was almost dark, so an extra 45 minutes or so.  The first night I started walking back about 6.30 and met a huge boar not far off the trail.  In the fading light I thought it was a gaur at first because it was very dark-coloured and so big.  But then it saw me and the squealing started as it darted off into the forest.  Must have been a metre high if not a bit more.  Didn't get any good pictures mainly due to bad light but found this on the trail which I think was made by the same boar maybe just a few seconds earlier, considering how fresh it was.

Also saw some hornbills having a dust bath from the tower. They would slide down the salt lick backwards on their front.

This gave me some confidence for the next day so I went back similar time and stayed until 6.45pm.  About 6.15 saw a wild boar from the tower (the only thing I saw from the actual tower that night).

Not long after it was getting dark so I started walking back to the road.  On the way noticed some dark shapes on the forest edge and strained my eyes to see a large herd of elephants.  With no torches it was difficult to get good photos but I tried for 10 minutes or so until it was almost pitch black.  I don't have any expensive gear but my camera has 25x optical zoom and a handheld nightvision setting which works quite well in bad light.


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31 May 2019 16:06 - 31 May 2019 18:21 #5225 by wvwv
As I was taking photos I failed to notice a family of 4 gaur behind my back about 150 metres away.  It was only as the elephants had disappeared back into the forest and I turned around I saw 8 eyes staring at me.  Used the flash on the camera to figure out what they were but I was too chicken to approach more than 50 metres or so so the camera could only really pick up the eyes... 

I've only ever seen gaur before at the Khao Paeng Ma area next to Khao Yai (adjoins Khao Yai but is a separate administrative area), where seeing gaur is almost guaranteed.  But the viewpoint there is about 1km from where the gaur usually are, so you need a scope or a long zoom.  I believe you can get safari tours around that area but never done it myself.  To have gaurs on one side of the path and elephants on the other, and not just one of each but 14 total, was probably the best wildlife experience I've had anywhere.

Next day I thought I'd see if the morning would be any good at the tower so arrived about 7.30am.  45 minutes later and nothing other than deer I spotted a black animal on the other side of the lake.  There are trees lining that lake and there are only 3 gaps in the trees.  I'd seen it on the first gap.  It took the second gap for me to figure out what it was and the third gap to take a photo.  I can't find the photo now I'll check another SD card later.

I walked down later to where the bear had been and took a photo looking back across the lake to the tower.  The path from the tower to here is the same way you need to walk if you want to go to Klong E Tao Ranger Station (about an hour to get there at a fast pace).

That was all the big animal excitement for the trip.  Below are some other photos.

is it a cat snake?  coiled up to strike when gently prodded with a stick.

bear poo I think?  on the less-known and always deserted manao waterfall trail.

hornbill feeding red berries into nest.  there were a dozen or so people below this tree who looked like they'd been camped there all day waiting for pictures.

does anybody know what these are?  they look like moss but are animals because they move around when you blow on them.  I've only ever found them at khao yai (twice).

hundreds of butterflies on the drive back to Pak Chong.  a little kid ran through them and started crying when his mum shouted at him.

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01 Jun 2019 06:14 #5228 by wvwv
The bear picture I mentioned earlier

also a raptor, what is it?


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01 Jun 2019 07:13 #5229 by Paul T
What a fantastic trip! You must be well happy with that I know I would be ;+)

The white insects you asked about are the nymphs of a flatidae planthopper. They are found all over Thailand but very little is known about matching the nymph (through physcial features) with adult species. Although I suspect the ones you photographed are "probably" the nymphs of the adult shown in ....

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12 Jun 2019 18:38 #5236 by onflipflops
The snake is indeed a Green Cat Snake (Boiga cyanea) mildly venomous but not really a danger to humans.

The bear, even though a bit unclear, looks like Asian Black Bear, the more common of the two in Khao Yai. Sun Bear is a bit harder to find in KY.

A couple months back I saw Gaur at the night safari drive close to the parking at the trailhead of the Nong Pak Chi tower. Not common to see them that close to the road. But I have seen a couple times late afternoon from the tower further back in the grassland. Best place for Gaur is normally at Khao Khieo grassland, but certainly no guarantee there either. Best a couple weeks after they have burned the grassland and new shoots start to grow. But I think this year they have not burned the grass. Every now and then you might see them elsewhere. I have seen them on the entrance road from Pak Chong, and also on the salt licks and roadside on the road to Heaw Narok. But indeed not an easy species in the park.
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24 Jun 2019 08:24 #5266 by BKKBen
The picture above of the 'raptor' is a Large Hawk-cuckoo (Hierococcyx sparverioides). I've seen them on several occasions from the wildlife viewing tower.

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