Central Thailand is a fairly well worn path on the global birding circles, so this trip report focuses more on the “what was seen/done” rather than the “where” – most sites are well known. We flew with Lufthansa (Heathrow to Bangkok via Frankfurt with the reverse home journey). We hired the services of Nick Upton (Thaibirding.com) for 6 days with a day either side – work and family commitments putting the constraints on the length of trip. We booked Nick over a year in advance – essential as he’s generally booked up some 12-18 months in advance. Nick arranged the itinerary based on our wish list – essentially Spoony and Broadbills (we knew the timing was not great for Pitta’s). – and all accommodation, etc. Nick proved to be a great guide and good company and worked hard to try to ensure we all got onto all of the birds as well as allowing us time to look at the other fauna. Food was excellent throughout.
In simple figures, 292 species were seen by at least one member of the group, with a further 7 heard only’s. On top of that Nick had a couple more that none of us got onto. In addition we recorded 10 mammals, almost 50 butterflies and moths, 8 dragon and damselflies, 4 lizards plus odds and sods.
We arrived at Bangkok at around 2pm. After clearing customs, collecting our baggage and Phil getting his spectacles returned to him after leaving them on the plane, we met up with the courtesy bus for our first nights’ accommodation at the nearby Miriya Boutique Hotel.
After checking in and a quick change, we set about exploring the immediate vicinity, to get our Thai lists started. The first bird to make it onto the list was the diminutive Zebra Dove, quickly followed by Tree Sparrow. The exploration of a couple of side lanes, inc one alongside a canal, pulled in number of species including Crimson-backed Flowerpecker, Pink-necked Green Pigeon, Streak-eared and Yellow-vented Bulbuls, with Asian Openbill and Painted Stork’s flying overhead. This was the only place we found Coppersmith Barbets. A total of 25 species made it onto the list. For Rob, after missing the Goa trip, most were lifers. This was followed by our first foray into authentic Thai cuisine and Cheng beers.