Birding Doi Inthanon, Thailand (warning: long post)
When: July 2018 Weather: Terrible! Rain and mist. 13-25C
At the end of our conference, a group of 8 of us hired a guide called Wittawat who picked us up in a van and pickup for a 3 day, 2 night birding adventure up Doi Inthanon, a renowned birding site about 1.5 hours southwest of Chiangmai city. With a 6am start, we arrived in our accommodation at Mae Krang Luang about 730am; picturesque but basic huts by the river in pretty landscaped gardens. We headed off to Mr Daeng’s cafe for breakfast in the main visitor centre area ten minutes away….it was raining of course but we started shooting in the gardens whilst waiting for breakfast….
our little hut at Mae Krang Luang….simple but acceptable…
with a lovely stream next to our hut….
First bird in the garden was the lovely Crested bulbul
and a common tailorbird
we headed to Mr Deang’s cafe for breakfast, a noted place for birders with lots of bird pictures everywhere….and the rain started
a female dark throated sunbird was also having her breakfast
the much prettier male dark throated sunbird also made an appearance in the gloom and rain
We then headed to the second checkpoint, or just after it and waited for the birds to show…
this lovely grey cheeked fulvetta popped up…
grey cheeked fulvetta with large white eye ring, distinguishing it from the mountain fulvetta
this was the weather we had…wet and misty….this is actually a colour photograph!
At the summit, we started our hunt for the endemic green tailed sunbird…THE bird of Doi Inthanon…
the drab female green tailed sunbird was first to show
it teased us for a while…
and eventually the gorgeous male green tailed sunbird appeared…the tail actually looks more blue than green….
spectacularly coloured green tailed sunbird
We then made a dash for the small shops and cafetaria…to our surprise there was some bird activity despite the rain!
another lifer…the white browed shortwing…male
white browed shortwing…female
silver eared laughing thrush
chestnut tailed minla..one of the most common birds we saw in Doi Inthanon…it was everywhere
another view of chestnut tailed minla
- black backed sibia
as the rain abated a bit. we wandered over the road to the angka nature trail into the moss forest….
charming moss forest
male snowy browed flycatcher
female snowy browed FC
juvenile snowy browed FC
ashy throated warbler
ashy throated warbler
a yellow bellied fairy flycatcher
the yellow bellied fairy FC was previously known as the yellow bellied fantail for obvious reasons
The next day we went to the second checkpoint again early in the morning to try and get the grey bellied tesia which we had heard the day before….but it just wouldn’t show.. we then tried to look for the spectacled barwing…
in the gloomy misty morning light, this was the best shot I could manage of the spectacled barwing…
spectacled barwing singing away
a rather drab flavescent bulbul
and in the dull light I just managed this shot of the pretty yellow cheeked tit
the wonderfully coloured mountain tailor bird
mountain tailor bird
juvenile Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher
back in the resort for an afternoon’s rest, we wondered off to the surrounding padi fields…
where some sooty headed bulbuls were playing
a rare glimpse of sunshine through the gloom
scaly breasted munia
Our guide then brought us to a place lower down the hill, where there was a nesting hole of some collared falconets….so we sat down to wait for them to return home to roost….and whilst we waited…
a common flameback appeared far away
common flameback woodpecker
from a gazillion miles away, we spotted this yellow, black, white and chestnut bird…apologies for poor quality of picture
a beautiful black headed woodpecker..one of many lifers on this trip
another black headed WP
meanwhile back at the nesting hole there was no activity…
until one of our group spotted these falconets perched a few hundred metres away…
it was the collared falconet aka the red thighed falconet…understandably glaring at us all gathered around their home…
one of the tiniest raptors….it is a pretty little thing!
Alas they didn’t come home to roost and our guide reckons that they may have found a new home to house all 6 or 7 of them.
Our last morning, we sat down to breakfast in a little cafe overlooking our huts, and were treated to a wonderful display by male and female scarlet minivets…surely one of the most brilliant of our tropical birds…
Male scarlet minivet
the much yellower female scarlet minivet
our last port of call on our final morning was to seek the elusive slaty backed forktail which we had heard in our resort but not seen…we went to a distant waterfall…and indeed we got fair sightings here but alas I couldn’t take a photo of the shy bird…
a blue winged leafbird entertained us
and a beautiful black drongo bade us farewell from Doi Inthanon
3 days 2 nights in Doi Inthanon with very decent birding despite the inclement weather. Thanks to our guide Wittawat!. Highly recommended but go during the winter months at the end of the year and you should get better weather!