When: November 2015 Weather: cool to warm28C
Khon Kaen…Khon what? That was my reaction also when I was first invited to speak at a meeting in Khon Kaen, Thailand, about 400km north east of Bangkok, in the province of I-san. As I always do when I’m going to somewhere new, I will check out the local birding sites….but when I keyed in Khon Kaen birding, the recommended places were national parks far out from the city….and there really wasn’t very much written about birding in Khon Kaen itself…But google maps showed that there was quite a lot of greenery around the Centara Hotel where my conference was being held so I brought my trusty P900 along…just in case….and I’m so glad I did!
The back of the Centara Hotel in Khon Kaen where I stayed..this is the small road behind it which leads to the Bueng Thung Sang Lakes…
The view from my hotel room of the small road in the forefround leading to the Bueng Thung Sang lakes, about 1km away, 20 min walk.
As dawn broke, I walked along the access road…
the waterways were pretty
Dawn over Khon Kaen
the lake was beautifully lit in the soft early morning light….
well kept paths skirted the many fishing ponds and lakes…birding was very easy too as the path is elevated and many of the trees and bushes at the waterside are at eye level….so on to the birds…
the most prolific birds there were the stone chats…males females or different colourations….
orange breasted stone chat
this one played hide and seek with me..flying from tree to tree and making me follow him…
Walking along the lakes as far as I could go, it was simply an unexpectedly pleasant place and the birdlife was a bonus…
reeds lining the water
this junction yielded lots of birds….that’s the Centara hotel in the background
the next most common bird to appear was the zebra or barred ground or peaceful dove….
it was everywhere….here blinking..and looking a bit dodo-like
and very amenable to being photographed
forked tail drongo
drongos in a flock
fishing rigs in the early morning light
plain prinia complaining
prinia from another angle and with different light
thai architecture in the distance
a shy brown shrike
a common sandpiper
a phylloscopus warbler, I’m told….by my bird experts Nishant and Richard…
the last bird of the morning and my favourite…the streak-eared bulbul
deserving of one more shot…
and walking back to the hotel, there were pretty flowers and bugs…
what an unexpected find this was!
Sometimes in my birding travels, I expend a lot of effort to get to a place which can disappoint so it’s a double pleasure when I was just trying my luck at this place next to my hotel…..don’t miss it if you are ever in Khon Kaen!