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Kaeng Krachan Forest birding Thailand

Kaengk k garden 1

The lovely gardens at our lodge, Kaeng Krachan

We arrived at Kaeng Krachan in time for lunch, a very different habitat from the saltpans and ricefields. The steep forested hills held the promise of great birds to come. We headed up into the mountains on a very steep dirt track with some very sharp hairpin bends that tested Nick's driving, wheels spinning we made it to the ridge, whew!

Forest view kk Thai 1

View from the ridge, a lot of pristine habitat to explore.

The birding was typical of much forest birding with periods of quiet followed by flocks of birds moving through. Not just birds here we also enjoyed some very entertaining mammals with white-handed gibbons and dusky langurs above us in the trees.

White handed gibbon KK Thai 1

white-handed gibbon swings through the branches.

Dusky langur baby 1 Thai

dusky langur nursing a baby, strange colour.

The gibbons "singing" was amazing to hear, their weird howling calls echoed through the forest increasing in volume and frenzy the longer the calling went on. We had a number of encounters with dusky langurs, some in the trees right over the track. This was where we learned the langurs have a little party trick, if they see people below them they p*** on them! Lovely animals!

Black throated Laughingthrush 1

Black-throated Laughingthrush popped out right alongside us.

We spent all afternoon birding our way back slowly down the hill and returned again the next day to bird this wonderful forest. This change of habitat saw our bird list shoot up and we encountered some amazing birds here. Two species of broadbill were very high on the best bird list. We drooled over both Black and Yellow Broadbill and Black and Red Broadbill, both stunners but proving camera-shy sadly. Another, of the many highlights was a pair of enormous Great-Slaty Woodpeckers that clung to a dead tree, just mind-blowing birds!

Rubtcheeked Sunbird 1 Thai

A riot of colour, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird poses for us.

A gang of huge Pied Hornbills were a real treat as they devoured fruit in the tree tops, we also saw Oriental Pied Hornbills and massive Wreathed Hornbills, whose wings swooshing through the air so we heard them long before they flapped slowly overhead, wow!

Ford KK Thai 1

The road was tough going in places, but there's no better off-road vehicle than a hire car!

Mountain Bulbul 1 Thai

Mountain Bulbul poses with Flavescent Bulbul behind.

Butterfly KK Thai 1

Ratchet tailed Treepie 1 Thai

Best bird at Kaeng Krachan? Ratchet-tailed Treepie.

Very hard to pick the best bird here with so many wonderful species that we were lucky enough to see. But if really pushed to pick just one it would have to be this very odd-looking chap, Ratchet-tailed Treepie. This species has a very small world range and the ridge tops at Kaeng Krachan are one of the few places it is possible to encounter it. We tracked it down late afternoon in thick forest so the light levels were not great for photos. Hope you can see what a strange-looking bird it is? Take a look at that weird tail! A little smaller than a Magpie it was following a feeding flock through the forest.

Lots more Thailand adventures and pictures to come soon....


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