Thursday, 2 August 2012

Kaeng Krachan National Park

Still some more photos from my trip to Kaeng Krachan during May 27-28. Apart from the spectacular broadbills in the earlier post, there were lots of other interesting birds. I even got 2 lifers! The first lifer being a shy and scarce Ratchet-tailed Treepie (Temnurus temnurus). Kaeng Krachan National Park is the only place where you can find this bird in Thailand. It has a really strange and interesting distribution, being found in southern China and Vietnam, then skips the whole eastern and central parts of Thailand and just pops up in the westernmost part of the country. It was one of the most surprising discovery when the bird was first sighted several decades ago at Pha Noen Thung summit.

The elusive Ratchet-tailed Treepie

Those are really unique tail feathers.

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher

Another lifer of mine was the extremely colourful Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx erithaca erithaca), formerly split as Black-backed Kingfisher. Even though it is not a difficult bird, I've always somehow missed it. This time, I got information from other birders that a lone kingfisher often came to take bath at the second stream close to the place where I took photos of the Black-naped Monarches. Late evening of May 28, I went to the specific spot where the kingfisher was found and after about 15 minutes of waiting, a tiny orange ball came diving into the stream making a big splash and rapidly flew back into the bush. There it was, finally, my first ever Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher. Even though the lighting was horrible and I had to push ISO up to 3200, it was still memorable.

Parking near the third stream

Kaeng Krachan NP is also well-known for butterflies.

Black Giant Squirrel visiting fruiting tree

One of the many Blue-throated Barbets

Subadult Ashy Bulbul

At Pha Noeun Thung summit, there was a big fruiting tree right in front of the restaurant. I enjoyed watching a good variety of birds that came visiting the tree. Most of them were bulbuls; Black-crested, Mountain, Grey-eyed and Ashy. There were lots of Blue-throated Barbets, as well as few Great Barbets. Asian Fairy Bluebirds, Greater Green Leafbirds and Blue-winged Leafbirds also occasionally showed up. But all these were too difficult to photograph as the leaves were so thick and the light was not good.

Back at the second stream where I photographed a pair of Silver-breasted Broadbills, some photographers were enjoying taking photos of a pair of Greater Flamebacks (Chrysocolaptes lucidus guttacristatus). They were lured down to feed on a large fallen log by the roadside. The female did put up a really nice show, but the male was just too shy. It kept staying close to the ground behind the log, so I couldn't get any photo of it. Anyway, the female is colourful enough!

Female Greater Flameback

I like the pattern on its underparts.

As the name implies, its lower back and rump are bright scarlet.

A short video clip of the female bird while feeding on the log


  1. Well done to get shots of the kingfisher at 3200 - never used that even here in the UK. The flameback is also so amazingly coloured to us used to little brown jobs. Does that Ratchet-tailed Treepie really have a one sided tail and why?

  2. Congratulations on your ODKF, they are tough to shoot. The treepie is a strange and interesting bird,

  3. Thanks a lot, Phil and Madi.
    You might get a clearer idea about how the treepie's tail looks like in this photo

  4. A very interesting post. Another great set of images especially the Treepie and Kingfisher.

  5. I'm enjoying your blog, great photos. I visit Thailand regularly and was at KK the same time as you, no luck with the treepie though, it rained when we were up there.

    Chris Chafer
    Sydney, Australia