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Showing posts from August, 2015

Patch Walk- Langley to Surlingham Ferry

I had been meaning to do this for some time, and with a clear day forecast and little migrant activity on the coast I set off from Langley Dyke at 9.30am on the 21st with the eventual aim of having a late lunch at Surlingham Ferry. The route followed the Wherryman's Way to a large extent, and much of it was riverbank walking, taking me through every inch of the patch bar Church Marsh at the other end. Church Marsh itself threw up a flyover Greenshank on the 15th, but I did not intend to do the circuit here today.

I added many common species to my day list at Langley, including Green Woodpecker, Stock Dover, Kingfisher, Kestrel and Pied Wagtail. An early fillip came in the shape of not 1 but 3 Little Egret resting in the grazing field, a patch record (maximum 2 birds at Church Marsh briefly a few years ago). Heading away from the marsh and walking through rural residential areas I was pleased to see 3 separate House Sparrow colonies and the odd group of Greenfinch. The Beauchamp Ar…

Thailand August 2015 Trip Report Part 3

A final round-up now, focussing on a trip to the beach but also other wildlife we encountered.

Thailand seems quiet for seabirds, and this was confirmed by our guide Ike who after many hours watching has turned up very little (bar Thailand's first Zino's Petrol!). Fishermen report that 2 miles out, their ships become mobbed by seabirds including Frigates and Storm Petrols. Stuff is out there, but it rarely approaches the shore. We therefore felt lucky to see a Crested Tern species head south past our beachside resort on the 8th.

On the 9th, we took a taxi to Pakarang Cape, around 10 minutes drive from Khao Lak. Ike had told us this spot could be good for Waders, including Malaysian Plover. The beach here was wide, allowing the tide to play more of a role. We instantly struck gold upon arrival, a flock of 20+ Sandplovers were feeding along the tideline! A bird I have always wanted to see. Some individuals had a narrow orange breast band, but these guys stayed further away from …

Thailand August 2015 Trip Report Part 2

Day 2. August 7th. Sri Phang Nga National Park.

It has to be said for any birder planning a trip to Sri Phang Nga or Khao Sok at this time of year, rain would usually be an expectation. We were very lucky today as in or out of rainforest we were dry, and infact back at our resort in Khao Lak (the excellent La Flora) we had a dry run for a couple of days. One could be unfortunate and have a day or two wiped out by rain, but on the whole we found the showers came in bursts and cleared quickly.

We were picked up around 6.30am by our guide Ike and headed straight to one of the many National Park substations in Sri Phang Nga, passing some rough looking weather and a human trafficking checkpoint on route. Although the start was slow, the sun shined and slowly the birds emerged. Crimson Sunbird, Spectacled Spiderhunter and a Chestnut-bellied Malkoha showed briefly. I had enjoyed collecting a 'list within a list', the Bulbul family. Here was saw our rarest representative, the smaller …

Thailand August 2015 Trip Report Part 1

Although we returned to find a leaking water tank upstairs, there was no way this was going to dampen our spirits after a superb 2 weeks in Thailand. The birds of course are superb, and we were able to devote to full days to birding with guides which will be described both here and in part 2. It is however the food and the people that make this country what it is, and we were taken aback by the service and hospitality we received wherever we went. Buddhist temples and monks, palaces, Elephant treks, cooking classes, seafood; all and more will live long in the memory.
A few logistics: we flew with EVA airlines (decent enough) and stayed in The Rembrandt in Bangkok, U Chiang Mai in Chiang Mai and La Flora in Khao Lak. All superb and excellent bases for exploring the respective surrounding areas. On this, you would have to be fairly brave to hire a car out here (easier and less busy on the coast) and whilst the countryside is never far from your hotel, trekking alone is hard work and the…