Cha-am, Kaeng Krachan & Phutthamonthon

A packed couple of days to begin this week, spending a day around Cha-am before heading to Kaeng Krachan the next day. It was much better than I expected as I explored Cha-am pier, finding my main target of Sanderling as soon as I arrived. Alongside a lot of other cool birds including Malaysian Plover.

A pair of Sanderling were present.
Sanderling leading the flock of Kentish and Malaysian Plover.
Malaysian Plover

Nearer to where I stay is another nice beach which also has Malaysian Plover, and most notably, last year I snatched the ID of a Lesser Frigatebird. Even better, is the fact, from this beach, 100 metres inland, is great habitat including reed-beds, scrub, swamp and lake. On Sunday, I was able to photograph Ruddy-breasted Crake for the first time! I made sure to get this place and eBird hotspot which is now up and running.

A pair of Ruddy-breasted Crake were foraging nearby the reed-beds.
Black-browed Reed Warbler was numerous.
Hoopoe is a common sighting in the area.
After getting the Ruddy-breasted Crake pictures, I walked to the beach, the sun was setting but enough light to capture this Caspian Tern flying along the shoreline.
Kentish Plover below the Caspian Tern.

In the evening I had news that the very rare Chinese Blackbird had been seen again at Phutthamonthon. Most of the people participating in the Khao Yai bird census had left to twitch it. The next day I had a hide booked for all day but made a decision to spend just the morning, drive to phone network signal, and find out if the bird has been seen at Phutthamonthon (in Nakhon Pathom) and making a decision. The morning in the hide was very pleasant and met a nice birder from Germany named Joachim. We were treated to many lovely birds including point-blank views of Blue Pitta. I’ll select a handful of photos to display below, at midday the light was stunning and allowed for some of my favourite photos to date…

Puff-throated Babbler
Scaly-breasted Partridge
Blue Pitta
Chinese Blue Flycatcher
Bar-backed Partridge
Bronzed Drongo

Due to my early leave from the hide, I did miss the top tier duo of Gray Peacock-Pheasant and my main target of Ferruginous Partridge. The Peacock-Pheasants are still displaying at this time of year, too. I was happy for my friend, as he stayed at the hide all day and got everything he wanted. It was the price I had to pay to twitch the rarity near home, I have plans to return to the hide, tomorrow, as I’m writing this post on Tuesday. I got news of the Chinese Blackbird about 20 minutes after finding 5G signal 5-10km down the road from the hide and I started the journey which took about 2.5 hrs. I met my friend who initially found the rarity a few days ago when I arrived, which was nice. He’s a good friend I met a lot since I went to this park 50 times last year and he goes frequently too.

The very rare Chinese Blackbird!

I spent 1.5 hrs sitting for the Chinese Blackbird, it came down from the trees once every 30 mins and I managed my best picture the 3rd time as I lay on the ground. The stationary checklist was really productive and I even saw an Oriental Pratincole fly over-head. Overall, it was a great couple of days and I’m not too sad about missing the hide targets as I will be back soon and if all goes to plan I would’ve seen or be seeing my main targets at the hide when this is published.

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