An unusual pairing of birds to be next to each-other in the same sentence… The 1st-winter Black-legged Kittiwake has been at Hua Hin for a few weeks now but it was only 3 days ago that I felt like it was the right time to go and see it. The drive from Bangkok was a breeze and as soon as I reached the pier the bird was exactly where I expected, on the parallel broken pier. I was glad it wasn’t going to be an issue to find it, I had plans to visit one of the hides in Kaeng Krachan before heading back to Bangkok.
Whenever twitching a new place I always enjoy looking around at the other birds, sometimes more-so than the rarity itself. I was looking forward to the Common Terns and whatever else was on offer. Luckily the hour I spent here involved quite a few more species of cool birds. Firstly, next to the Kittiwake was a Chinese Egret, which was greatly appreciated.
The other birds were more common but offered extremely good photographic opportunities. One fisherman had a friend in the form of a Great Egret. Also, the Pacific Swallows were perching a few metres away from me.
After a satisfactory visit to the pier, I headed for the hide beside Kaeng Krachan National Park, it had been nearly 1 year since my last visit and I was excited to see what would turn up. Main target was Blue Pitta and I wanted to photograph Scaly-breasted Partridge. After a delay and no-phone-signal complications I made it to the hide by early afternoon. It was mainly the usual staples of birds, favourites being the 3 Siberian Blue Robins, and a pair of Orange-headed Thrush. I wasn’t too bothered with the Thrushes as I had managed 14+ during the migrational period around Bangkok.
My first lifer of the hide were a pair of Large Scimitar-Babblers which only popped in for around 5 minutes maximum before disappearing into the forest.
Majority of time spent was with the same cast of birds, nothing much new coming through, with the occasional Red Junglefowl and quiet Asian Emerald Dove foraging in the background.
My two visits to the hide have enforced one thing, never leave early. We sat in the quietness for about an hour up until 17:30. Last time the final entrance was the ‘best’ bird of the day, that time it was Slaty-legged Crake. I’m fairy sure a large fraction of people would have already called it a day but as the light became less and less, we were treated to a flock of Scaly-breasted Partridges.
To seal the deal on an already great day, main target, Blue Pitta arrived shortly after the Partridge. It didn’t stick around, being scared off by a Northern Tree-Shrew. Luckily I had a decent photo, the face was sharp, at least. As we were packing up I noticed it was back by the waterhole, by this time I didn’t bother with a photo as it was pretty much dark! A good 4.5 hours in the hide, time to head back home. Next time I’m heading to the other hide targeting the Ferruginous Partridge.
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