Birding Srinagarind Dam, Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Birding Srinagarind Dam, Kanchanaburi, Thailand

When:  March 2019                  Weather: Hot 30C

Nikon P900, Leica M10P. 35mm Summilux. 15mm Voigtlander

In Bangkok for a few days and we managed a visit to the plant section of the famed Chatuchak market on a hot steamy wednesday afternoon…at least there weren’t the crowds of the weekend market…and the plant section was fascinating with lots of plants and garden accessories….well worth a visit if you can tolerate the 35C heat…

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the beautiful water lilies that line Chatuchak market’s plant section

We left Bangkok on a Friday afternoon at 430pm (Don’t if you have a choice!) ….it took us 2 hrs to get out of the terrible traffic before we got on the road to our destination, the Srinagarind Dam in Kanchanaburi province about 220km away…..we’d been invited there by our host who owned a houseboat on the lake….  6 hours after we started, we finally rolled into the Raya Buri Resort at 11pm…

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Not having seen anything of the resort at night I got up at 6am to witness the sunrise over the lake…the purple hues were stunning

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changing colours of the dawn

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sunrise over lake Srinagarind

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The Raya Buri resort with its over water rooms….the scenery is beautiful and its peaceful…

 

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A floating restaurant in a nearby corner

 

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and I started birding at the end of this row of rooms as the sun rose…

 

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First bird of the trip was the magpie robin singing away merrily with the dawn

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and in the dim sunlight the distinctive colours of the greater coucal

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Mr and Mrs magpie robin with the greater coucal

 

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Chinese Pong herons were common

 

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and after breakfast, our host arrived at the the jetty of the resort to pick us up for our day exploring the lake and its various attractions….

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Our first stop after an hour on the boat was Snake Valley where the river wended its way sinuously amongst the hills….there was nary a soul in sight and it’s pretty cool to explore a river where few have ever been….

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Many Chinese pond herons were present and flying actively about….an owl zipped past as well but I missed the shot

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an osprey watched over us

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and off the osprey went

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green bee eater

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we then headed back towards the dam itself and saw the first of many houseboats being tugged to its desired location….the lake was full of them!

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the Srinagarind Dam

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The dam with the river Kwai below it…

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after lunch we took a short drive to the famous multitiered Maekamin Waterfall

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beautiful multilayered waterfall

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waterfall

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just beautiful

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and this beautiful raacquet tailed drongo posed for us

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racquet tailed drongo

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we ended the day at our host’s houseboat moored next to his private island

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just a beautifully landscaped houseboat moored in an idyllic location…

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red wattled lapwings were nearby

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red wattled lapwing in flight

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watchful cormorants

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wind blown baya weaver nests

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and as the sun set over the lake, we had a swim in the fresh water without another soul in sight…doesn’t get much better than this…comparable indeed to swimming in a remote lake in the Brazilian Amazonia in a previous post…

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the next morning I was up with the sun at 630am and had a little ramble around the resort…

Our host then picked us up for a 30 min boat ride to another birding location…

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unspoilt vistas

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heron in flight

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it’s actually difficult birding from a boat…

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pond heron

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Birding in the early morning light

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red wattled lapwing with white breasted waterhen

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birding location

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striated heron

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white throated kingfisher

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fishermen

 

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greater coucal

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Heading back to the resort just before checking out, we did a spot of lat minute birding at the resort…here a streak eared bulbul

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streak eared bulbul

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streak eared bulbul

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unidentified raptor

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grey treepie

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sooty headed bulbul

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black crested bulbul

Departing the resort at 11am, we decided to stop and have a look at the Bridge on the River Kwai on the way back to Bangkok….about an hour from our resort…

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the Bridge on the river Kwai…made famous by the David Lean movie..

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arriving at the bridge at mid-day, we could appreciate how tough it would have been for the POWs toiling to build the death railway in the mid-day sun…

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the bridge is now flanked by restaurants and tourist boats etc….

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the railway bridge

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and there was even an ashy wood swallow watching over the bridge

 

This was a pretty long journey to the Srinagarind Dam and the Bridge on the River Kwai…but it was a fascinating place and ultimately worth the effort getting there.

Thanks to Bob Kaufman for help in identifying birds.

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