First day at Kaeng Krachan

The first morning in the national park was a busy time for new-to-me birds. The first ones we got to see were a bunch of woodpeckers who had roosted in the nearby trees. The easier ones to see were the Greater Flamebacks, alongside Common Flamebacks and Greater Yellownape. Less obvious was the Gray-headed Woodpecker and a pair of flitting Heart-spotted Woodpeckers.

Female Greater Flameback. 1st February 2022.

By the end of the morning, the tally of woodpecker species was at a healthy 6, extended the following day only by Bay Woodpecker which mocked our inability to catch a sighting in the trees. Of the 7, I loved the Buff-rumped Woodpecker as we had a memorable encounter with a pair.

Buff-rumped Woodpecker isn’t all that common in Kaeng Krachan.
1st February 2022.

After sighting a bunch of woodpeckers, we were followed briefly by Common Hill Myna and Golden-crested Myna. The former was making some amazing mimicry for us to hear. The soundtrack of the forest was deeply textured but the calls of Collared Owlet stood out. We were lucky enough to see two of them about 20 minutes apart perched on exposed branches.

Collared Owlet in the morning sun, avoiding being mobbed by small birds.
1st February 2022.

Some of the birding was difficult on the roadside, as the plant growth was obscuring our sight. The Banded Broadbill avoided being sighted, but we got a brief glimpse of some Black-and-red Broadbills. Over-head there were a few Gray-rumped Treeswifts flying around. Speaking of obscured vision, the most frustrating bird of the trip award goes to the Banded Kingfisher. Although I wasn’t really frustrated, it was so close to us, calling in the canopy, yet we only glimpsed it for a split second over the hour or so we were trying to see it.

Brief glimpse, hence bad photo of Black-and-red Broadbill. 1st February 2022.

This morning in the forest probably equated at least 50+ new species. We walked to the second stream crossing before going back. Apart from the owls there weren’t many raptors, we managed to catch the fly-over of a Mountain Hawk-Eagle.

Mountain Hawk-Eagle in flight. 1st February 2022.
In the sun after a morning bath for one of these Oriental Pied-Hornbills.
1st February 2022.

The highlight of the day was hidden high above the campgrounds. It took a little while to see but it was one of the aforementioned Gray-rumped Treeswifts atop of its tiny nest on a branch. Treeswifts, like other swifts, spend much of their time in the skies so it’s a very special sight to see.

The female Gray-rumped Treeswift nesting on a mossy branch.
1st February 2022.

All images © 2021 – 2022 hamsambly

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