Birding Report Ao Nang, Southern Thailand, 21 st February 6 th March Birding around the world on a shoestring with a wife that doesn t

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Birding Report Ao Nang, Southern Thailand,

21

st

February – 6

th

March 2015

Birding around the world on a shoestring with

a wife that doesn’t

Paul A. Brown

The Karst sea-stack north of Poda Island beach, 23rd February

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Introduction

This is the next instalment of birding around the world on a relative shoe-string and with a wife that doesn’t! Back to our usual venue of scenic, relaxed and not too noisy beach resort with cultural interest for Ros and some good local birding for myself, we found ourselves on the west coast of southern Thailand at Ao Nang, Krabi Province. As always with our world trips, we look for cheap deals and Travelbag found flights via Dubai and Bangkok, our Ao Nang accommodation (bed & breakfast) and transfers for £2238 for the two of us. We spent £682 between us on food, transport and beer but not my new suit and four shirts. The total money spent was £2918 between the two of us for two weeks so within our usual £3000 limit. The exchange rate was c. 49 Baht to the £.

We did not take any malarial drugs as Thailand is considered relatively malaria free. There are jelly-fish present in the sea (I was stung by one!) and even the seriously poisonous box jellyjelly-fish so look out whilst swimming. An acid such a vinegar neutralises the sting. We were not bothered by dogs as there were none on the islands and isolated beaches until the early morning when we visited the Emerald Pool at Khao Pra Chuchi where the not-unfriendly dogs would not let us eat our breakfast in peace or bird-watch the boardwalk! If going to Khao Pra Chuchi, to avoid the dogs, go to other tracks and not the Emerald Pool entrance! We might have had trouble with the Long-tailed Macaques if we had obviously been carrying food or drink as they will attack to get it. It was hot and sunny (up to 37 degrees C) most days and became more humid and hotter at night during the last few days.

In Thailand, they drive on the left and mostly the road conditions were good and were not too busy but there were many, many scooters and which is the fast lane? So I did not try driving there. There was also a distinct shortage of bicycles for hire locally so we didn’t hire one which meant that I might have missed out on a few species at Noppharat Thara at dawn in particular. Modes of transport were cheap if public so we used the buses (50 Baht each = £1 all the way to Krabi and again to the Tiger Cave temple) and Long-tail boats and not the scooter Tuc-tucs which seemed as expensive as the taxis (600 Baht to Krabi = £12) or the speed boats. The long-tail boats are very noisy as they have a usually un-silenced van engine mounted on the drive shaft with a propeller at one end and the tiller and throttle at the other end, but they are fast. The bigger hire long-tails have lorry engines! They were a little awkward to enter and exit onto the beaches, some having a ladder.

Our hotel, the Phra Nang Inn, Ao Nang, was exceptional! It was right by the beach, by the public bus stop, the long-tail boat ticket office and the beach where they set off from and by the best restaurants and bars of southern Ao Nang. The third floor room had a huge bed, a big bath and two balconies, one facing the southern Karst cliff, the islands and sea looking south west for the evenings and the other looking south east over the town and the native forest to the north for the mornings. Breakfasts were very good with fried eggs on toast, cereals, fruit and sometimes hot coffee. Another plus was the great selection of massage parlours available although the hawking methods of the many on the promenade and main-street were weary-some. Ros found two particularly good places, Massage corner near Pakasai Resort and the other immediately next door to our hotel restaurant on the promenade which meant that I could go off to shake the bushes for birds without worrying about her. Good value at 300 Baht for 1 hour session = £6 / hour. There were very few British tourists about, mostly Thais and Chinese celebrating the Chinese New Year, Russians, Swedes (Direct Thompson flight to Krabi) and a few French and Italians and I did not see a single birder anywhere. As for beer (another of my passions) there was very little available with only Archa, Cheers, Chang, Leo, San Miguel, Singha and Tiger, the gassy pale insipid lagers to choose from, which converted me to coconut or mango shakes. The only good beer was found in bottles at the Diver’s Inn, Ao Nang. I did notice a singular lack of flowering or fruiting plants, bushes and trees so that birding was more difficult than normal and I could not find a ‘bird tree’ to sit and wait by. A dead tree just a few feet

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away from our other balcony provided a convenient perch for the local Common Mynas, Streak-eared Bulbuls, Blue Rock Thrushes, Magpie Robins and Brown-throated Sunbirds. Also, I didn’t see many butterflies due to the lack of flowers, maybe due to it being the end of the dry season. There were many remnants of native forest and a few patches of wetland (if temporary) close to our hotel along the southern edge of town accessed by a service track used by the local workers and below the cliffs and on the north side, especially inside the Krabi Tipa Resort. Other bird reports had mentioned that birding can be hard but I did get to see at least 109 species, of which 26 were new to me. No parrots, woodpeckers, gulls, palm swifts, white-eyes and only one babbler properly seen! There were a number of very fleeting glimpses of lbjs (little brown jobbies) that I could not identify. I have already seen many of the commoner species in Goa, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Bali and Singapore. The trip worked out at £27/bird species seen or £112 per lifer! We greatly benefited from Mr Dio’s mangrove birding trip and, in retrospect, I should have searched for the bird guide who operates out of Khao Pra Chuchi as he would have found more species for us.

This part of Thailand is studded with a great many incongruously steep sided limestone Karsts some of considerable height and sticking out of fields, forests, mangrove or the sea and providing insurmountable barriers to some beaches which could only be reached by Long-tail boat. Another feature of the Karsts is that many have over-hanging cliffs off which hang remarkable stalactites. Such in northern frostier climes would be frost shattered and the over-hanging sea cliffs and stacks would not survive northern winter storms. The limestone scenery has attracted the Blue Rock Thrush which I have not seen since our honeymoon in Malta back in 1979 but here, they have taken up residence in urban Ao Nang as if it were part of the Karst scenery. Vegetation clings precariously where ever the rock allows even on isolated sea stacks.

I mostly used Craig Robson’s 2002, A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and I referred to a number of web reports and sites including Neil Lawton’s at http://norfolkbirderinthailand.blogspot.co.uk/ (he spends the summer wardening Scolt Head Reserve in Norfolk and the winter birding in Thailand), and others at

www.thaibirding.com/locations/south/krabi.htm and

http://www.birdtours.co.uk/tripreports/thailand/thailand-46/krabi-jan-2006.htm. ’

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Neil Lawton for encouraging me to visit Thailand whilst I was working on Scolt Head, Norfolk (Kingston University Geomorphology survey). Hello and thanks (‘Sa-wat-dee’ and ‘Korp Kun Crap’) to Mr Ubonwan Saengsuay and the staff at the Phra Nang Inn, Ao Nang for their help and friendly service. Thanks also to Mr Dio for taking us to see the birds of the Krabi mangroves and estuary. Thanks to Jürgen Weber at the Diver’s Inn, Ao Nang – the best beer and food in town and not too expensive either! And finally thanks to our friends Cob, Nicky and Elissa Suthialai for meeting us in Ao Nang and ordering and sharing a Thai meal with us at the Long-tail boat Restaurant, another of the best eateries in Ao Nang .

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Diary of the Trip

Friday 20th February

Our Son Alex kindly drove us to London Gatwick airport to catch our 10am Boeing 777 Emirates flight to Dubai. We took a southern route via Corsica, Stromboli and across the Mediterranean to Egypt. Unfortunately south of Crete we encountered an air pocket in which we fell for about 2 seconds and my full gin and tonic ended up in my lap. We arrived at Dubai post a desert sand storm so had to wait to land but did successfully transfer to our Emirates Airbus A380 flight to Bangkok.

Ao Nang Long–tail boats The van engine

Saturday 21st February

Flew overnight to Bangkok and another transfer to the Bangkok Airways Airbus A320 to Krabi. Whilst waiting for this flight, we watched the antics of several pairs of Red Collared Doves, Common Mynas, Asian Swallows and Tree Sparrows. The flight took us out over the South China Sea and we soon left the thick cloud behind to land at the small but international Krabi airport. Travelbag had organised a contact for us and an air-conditioned minibus to take us to our hotel, the Phra Nang Inn in Ao Nang. On the way we saw a solitary Cattle Egret next to a cow. At Ao Nang, we waited for our room to become available and I was surprised that Blue Rock Thrush was singing on the hotel roof. An obliging Plain-throated Sunbird hovered just above my head by the hotel pool and the expected Oriental Magpie Robins were there too. We then walked south along the beach and found the last bar at the south end of Ao Nang beach and overshadowed by immense limestone cliffs and settled for a Leo Beer but soon noticed the hordes of Long-tailed Macaques who would be ready to pounce on us if it had not been for the barman’s readily used catapult! The common dove here was the diminutive Zebra Dove. We were shown our room on the top floor which had two balconies, one facing east and one facing south with a view of the sea After we had freshened up after the long flights, we walked north and found the desired massage parlour that Ros had heard of and I went for a birding walk up the hill near the Pakasai Resort and soon had a Yellow-vented bulbul, heard both Coppersmith and Red-throated Barbets and saw a few Olive-winged Bulbuls and further up the hill a flock of Black-headed Bulbuls. A single Chestnut-headed Bee-eater appeared and had great views of a male Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker. Walking back we found a Swedish bar on the seafront for a welcome stein of Hoffbrau Heffe Weisen and the first of many seafood dishes.

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Ao Nang River, Ruddy-breasted Crake habitat Coconut shake at Noppharat Thara

Krabi Tipa Resort Reservoirs, Ao Nang

Sunday 22nd February – AO NANG

At first light, I wandered to the south end of the Ao Nang beach with Asian Brown Flycatcher in the beachside trees and found a polluted river behind the beach stalls which produced four Chinese Pond Herons, a White-breasted Waterhen, and the resident pair of Collared Kingfishers. Along the cliffs above were a flock of swiflets, House swift, and Striated Swallows of the reddish race

badia. I then walked inland along the service dirt track and had prolonged views of Greater Coucal, a noisy White-throated Kingfisher, a Yellow-browed Warbler and a Blue-eared Barbet by an area of bulldozed red earth, prelude to another new holiday resort. Spent the day soaking up the rays at the south end of the beach until it was time for Ros’s massage so I went back to the grounds of the Pakasai Resort but had only a male leucionensis Brown Shrike in the next door plot and more views of Plain-throated Sunbirds and Scarlet-backed flowerpecker but nothing else! We went to the Diver’s Inn for our evening meal which became our favourite restaurant with a good range of Belgian bottled beers and a smiling new moon looked down on us.

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Monday 23rd February - PODA ISLAND

Had an early breakfast and bought tickets for the first long-tail boat ride out to Kho Poda Island for 300 Baht (£6) return plus 50 Baht (£1) for entrance to the National Park each. The trip took 20 minutes with no seabirds and the beach and island were empty so settled Ros on the beach and did a circuit of the island. First bird of note was a brilliant male Scarlet Minivet and after circuiting the full length of the beach I plunged into the forest along the base of the cliffs. Four Brahminy Kites, a pair of White-bellied Sea Eagles and a pair of the reddish bellied peregrinator Peregrines circled overhead and then a flyby by a single unexpected white and black pigeon – my first Pied Imperial Pigeon. On a second walk later in the day, I found at least three Oriental Pied Hornbills in the trees above the row of ruined holiday resort chalets, a pair of silent, relatively stationary and totally plain, two tone grey Mangrove Whistlers, an Arctic Warbler and an irate Fulvous-chested Jungle Flycatcher that came out when I imitated it’s churr call. I found and photoed a Northern Orange Lacewing butterflyand an obliging Pacific Swallow posed on the tsunami escape route sign. (Each resort and island has a pylon or tower with a siren mounted on top). Snorkelled in the afternoon at the north end of the beach by the rocks with a briliant cuckoo wrass (I wish i could name the other fish seen but then, I am not a piscologist even if i can drink like one!). Back at the hotel balcony, the local ‘about-town’ gang of Streak-eared Bulbuls perched in the dead tree just a few feet from the balcony. We tried the Thailandia Restaurant in the evening with live music though not my taste and Ros started negotiation at the Milano Tailors for a suit and collarless shirts.

Poda Island south beach

Tuesday 24th February – RAILAY BEACH

Before breakfast this morning, I walked south to the beach temple and explored the river mouth where a Grey Wagtail was feeding with a Common Kingfisher (just like home but hotter!). A regular traffic of staff were parking their scooters at the end of the service track and using the unsubstantial path up and over the hill to the Resort in the next bay and one of them disturbed a large blue thrush which I was able to study closely, my first Blue Whistling Thrush. After the marvellous large breakfast we caught the public bus just outside the hotel and travelled natively and cheaply for 50 Baht each (£1) to Krabi & the river front with the famous mangroves just on the other side. There we asked the boatmen for Mr Dai but they say that Mr Dai, he die but that his son Mr Dio was the birding guide. A boatman telephoned Mr Dio and we arranged to meet up at dawn tomorrow. We then took a long-tail boat from Krabi out to sea and on to Railay 150 Baht each (£3). There were a few Great and Little Egrets and Whimbrels on the sand banks and a Lesser Crested Tern flew by. At Railay, we landed on the floating pier on the muddy east beach with a few signs of mangrove establishing and walked over the isthmus to the west beach and sat at the south end. A Blue Rock Thrush perched on top of a dead tree on the cliff top opposite and was joined by a smaller bird which sat for ten minutes and allowed close inspection. The sun shone off the green cap and shoulders with a bit of a red throat and otherwise dark looking plumage – a male Copper-throated Sunbird. A male Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker joined the other two for a while; birding whilst soaking up the sun on the beach - what better method of birding is there? A small praying mantis landed on me so I took it’s portrait. Then at midday, a barbet started calling ‘perkek’ very close by in the beachside trees and it proved to be a fine Blue-eared Barbet. After a lunchtime drink of Leo beer were settled at the north end of the beach and I found a path along the cliff base. So as usual, I left Ros on the beach and explored. The path often was cave like under the cliff overhang with dripping stalactites but there was also native forest. Long-tail boat back to Ao Nang for 100 Baht each (£2) and whilst Ros had her customary massage, I photoed one of the many beachside Zebra Doves and returned to the service road and found a barred immature Brown Shrike close to the scooter parking lot. Tried an Indian restaurant in the evening.

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Railay west beach, south end north end, both 24th February

Wednesday 25th February – KRABI MANGROVES & ESTUARY

An early call and a taxi minibus saw us at Krabi riverside by 7am where we watched the sunrise and ate our packed breakfasts. I noticed that the swiflets here had a lower more grating call than the usual high twitterings and I wondered what species these might be. There was a flock of loafing Feral Pigeons and a fruiting fig tree by the quay held a flock of Asian Glossy Starlings Mr Dio arrived at 7am with a friend who spoke clearer English and we set off up river to the North. Soon we saw the first of many Brown-winged Kingfishers with a huge red nose like a stork-billed, a vivid azure blue rump and a raucous call. We passed between two Karsts, incongruously surrounded by mangrove and each with their own pair of Blue Rock Thrushes. The mud-lined creeks held a few Common Sandpipers, Striated Herons, Common Kingfishers and a couple of Black-capped Kingfishers. We had good views of an Ashy Minivet and a Greater Racket-tailed Drongo singing its raucous song from a dead tree before we went deep into the mangrove where at least six Mangrove Pittas were calling their ‘koel koel’ calls. Mr Dio put on his tape and we both imitated the call but to no avail as each one we tried refused to come out to play with us. We had better luck with a pair of brilliant Black & Red Broadbills with sky blue bills which did come to the tape lure, returning our recorded rasping calls and gave prolonged views. We then sped south past Krabi to the sea past a flock of Redshank and on a mud bank we found two little egrets with bright yellow bills so these were the fabled and rare Chinese Egrets and scoped from the boat. On again to other sandbars where there were waders. We climbed out of the boat and walked with a single Gull-billed Tern and a White-bellied Sea-eagle overhead. A few Eurasian Curlew, Lesser Sanplover, Terek Sandpipers and Common Greenshanks were scoped whilst Ros sunbathed in the unusual environs of mudflats. We went on with our quest, past many fishnet poles where Greater & Lesser Crested Terns sat and found another sandbar with waders with a Turnstone, Grey Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit and a few Great Knot and many more Tereks. Finally we found two Naudmann’s Greenshanks standing with Commons to show that they were shorter in the leg and their plumage seemed a little browner on the back too. Whilst Mr Dio and I were yomping over the mud, the boatman told Ros that he had survived the Tsunami on Phi Phi by climbing a palm tree. Back to the quay and settled up, it cost 500 baht / hour for 5 hours so came to 2500 Baht (£51). We celebrated with a cocoanut lassi in a riverside bar before returning to Ao Nang by public bus for 50 B (or £1) each. We returned to the south end of our beach for the afternoon and I snorkelled along the rocks and then when Ros had her massage, I walked the service track with an unexpected snipe springing from my feet from damp long grass by the stream which flew directly and made no sound so a probable Pintail Snipe and I found a fine Green-faced Malkoha who didn’t seemed concerned that I was watching it at all. I explored a track up the hillside into what seemed like pristine native forest but all I saw were two Palm Squirrels. We tried the ‘halal’ Cleopatra restaurant but first Ros’ order was forgotten and when it came it was very undercooked and it returned very soon after and undigested so we decided not to return here (no beer here either)!

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Krabi Sunrise on 25th February

Thursday 26th February – NOPPHARAT THARA

Today we had a lie in till 8am and watched the French news channel in English. We caught an early bus west to Noppharat Thara quay with hundreds of mostly Chinese tourists queuing up among the Casuarina trees to catch speedboats. We based ourselves on the west end of the beach and I walked out to the three islands, taking photos of a dark Eastern Reef Egret and both Lesser and 2 Greater Sandplovers which were all feeding on millions of crablets that were scurrying over the sand in tightly packed groups. A couple of Common Sandpipers were fighting over some morsel by the boat channel and I found a number of small cone and conch (Strombus canariium) shells. Back with Ros, the Causuarina trees held birds so I watched intently a Common Iora family and a fine male Olive-backed Sunbird that came very close. A Blue-eared Barbet was excavating a hole in a small stump a few yards away which I was able to show Ros. Then a mind-blowing Black Baza circled overhead, the easiest of all raptors to identify with a suit of black, grey and white and a waistcoat of orange bars. Far out and wow! We (or rather I) celebrated with a coconut shake in a coconut. I left Ros on the beach again and explored inland, finding a very short circular and decaying boardwalk with a hut that might have once housed an interpretive display (on local nature I wonder?). Then past the coach park, with three Black Dongos in the trees and into a patch of native forest but no birds stirred. So I crossed the main road and walked to the river with Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters on the wires but nothing else of note. Returned to the beach via the long-tail boat harbour and a rickety one plank bridge. In the sea here, I felt something touch us and I realised that I had a pilot fish-cleaner wrasse in attendance and it closely followed me into the last of the shallows before realising I wasn’t a shark or some other big fish! In the evening I drank a pint of Guinness at the TJ Sports bar which shows Rugby Union matches (six nations) and ate at the Eden restaurant and I noticed small House geckos on the vertical neon signs.

Noppharat Thara

Friday 27th February – PHI PHI DON ISLAN|D

At dawn from the balcony, we watched a White-bellied Sea Eagle fly along the cliff opposite and land in a tree half way up. We bussed again to Noppharat Thara early so as to get a prime seat on the Ko Phi Phi Island ferry. A pair of Black-naped Orioles flew over as we arrived and a Brahminy Kite fished by the ferry. Return day tickets cost 900 Baht each (£18). We left at 9.30am with a full load of tourists. The ferry took on more passengers from four long-tail boats at Railay, Nearing Phi Phi Don we saw a flock of terns but could not get a good enough view to identify them and 10 Lesser

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Frigatebirds. At Tonsai, we disembarked and found a bar at the east end of the beach from where I viewed a male Olive-backed Sunbird. Then to the beach below and I soon noticed the first of many Pied Imperial Pigeons display flighting along the beach, with a quiver of the wings at the top instead of a wing clap as in our European Woodpigeon. We boarded the ferry early again to get the best seats on top deck and were entertained by a pair of displaying Dollar Birds over the harbour and more Pied Imperials and a large barracuda cruising by the ferry. There was also a large pale non-descript hawk, lazily circling on broad wings held horizontally and a feint barred tail which I presume to be a Crested Goshawk. Returning, we saw many more Lesser Frigatebirds with black belly and white armpits so none proved to be anything else but and the flock of terns were Commons and a few Littles. We noted that the moored fishing boats all had long booms on each side with huge electric bulbs attached to them. Back at Noppharat Thara and whilst waiting at the bus stop by the disused boardwalk, we had great views of another Green-faced Malkoha. The evening was spent picking up my four new collarless shirts and suit and then on to the Divers Inn for bottled Belgian beers (the best in Ao Nang). From the balcony, we could see dozens of lines of green lights far out at sea which were the fishing boats we had seen earlier.

Phi Phi Pied Imperial Pigeon habitat, 27th February Phi Phi Lay

Saturday 28th February – CHICKEN ISLAND

At dawn, toured the service road again but was worried by the local pack of dogs near the new building site. In spite of them, I had Common Kingfisher, White-breasted Waterhen and a Ruddy-breasted Crake in the water hyacinth in the stream, Black-naped Orioles and in the same dead tree were an Indian Roller and a Coppersmith Barbet examining a hole. A flock of twenty Scaly-breasted Munias were feeding on millet heads by the road and often uttering their subdued ‘chup’ calls. After breakfast, we went by long-tail boat to Kho Gai or Chicken Island (named after a thin stack of rock in the shape of a chicken head but which cannot be seen from the boat to the island or from the beach there). This was the same price as for Poda Island at 350 Baht each (£7) plus the National Park fee of 50 Baht (£1). We were dropped off in rather too deep water between Chicken and Tup islands and had to walk the sunken sandbar to the beach of Chicken. We sat by the bar and I walked the length of the beach but there were no tracks up the steep hill to explore. A blown up dead puffer fish was causing interest on the beach. Snorkelling off the edge of the reef here was the best of our trip with black spiny sea-urchins, giant clams with both blue-violet and buff brown stripy mantles, grey sea cucumbers, lots of yellow and black stripy Sergeant Major fish and up to 10 other species of fish (unidentified). At this point, I was stung by a jellyfish on the neck and shoulder, that I had not noticed and which I could not find so it must have been small. I returned and, unusually, lay on the beach but I did not tell Ros so as not to worry her. If it had been a box jellyfish, then I would probably be dead in half an hour anyway so if I survived that long it wouldn’t be worth mentioning unless I needed sympathy which I did later as it didn’t half hurt! As Ros had her foot massage, I entered the Krabi Tipa Resort security gate and climbed the hill behind to find a set of three reservoirs surrounded by native forest. Here were Black-naped Orioles, a Red-throated Barbet calling but not showing itself, Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike, a Brown Shrike, Asian Brown Flycatchers and a Grey Wagtail. We ate at the Phra Nang Inn Restaurant and I had a tasty Swimming Crab.

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Kho Gai or Chicken Island, 28th February

Sunday 1st March – PHRA NANG BEACH

At dawn, I returned to the reservoirs above Krabi Tipa Resort and soon had a pale leucogenis Ashy Drongo along with two of the dark form, a number of Blue-eared Barbets were calling up the valley and a leafbird sang in a tree top but too far away to tell what species and a male Orange-bellied Flowerpecker showed off its belly. After breakfast we took a boat to Phra Nang Beach beyond Railay for 200 Baht each (£4) and initially explored the cave which had many phallic signs of some fertility ritual before settling at the north end of the beach. I found a path into the native forest and I soon found another Green-faced Malkoha, two very tame Blue Whistling Thrushes and a Yellow-browed Warbler. On the second walk, I found a yellow and green Stripe-throated Bulbul and a dozen all dark martins with white tail spots circled high above along the cliffs – Dusky Crag Martins. A patch of daisy type flowers were attracting butterflies including Striped albatross, Yellow Orange Tip and the white ‘blue’ Common Caerulean (all photoed).

Whilst Ros had a massage, I returned to Tipa Resort but with nothing new and still couldn’t see the Red-throated Barbet that called from a large and well leafed centrally placed tree. Over our Gin & Tonics, a gang of swiflets had much more contrasty rumps than usual so I tentatively determined them as Germains. Ate soft-shelled crab at Tantes, the Italian Restaurant next door but it was rather crowded there.

Kho Tup from Chicken Island, 28th February View from Phra Nang Beach, 1st March

Monday 2nd March – HONG ISLAND

A French-Canadian Serb couple on Chicken Island had told us how to get to Kho Hong Island as there was no regular service there. We followed their instruction and asked everybody coming to the Tail-boat ticket office if they would like to share a boat hire to Hong and within half an hour, we had a blonde Swedish and a Chinese couple. Our third share was 1130 Baht (£22) or £11 each. We sailed in a rather leaky long-tail north-west past the golden roofs of the Princess Palace at the end of Hong Naak Cape and the pier and quarry at Klong Muang and noted many more karst islands to the north. At Hong were taken into the lagoon inside the island via a narrow gorge and with mangrove growing there. We were unloaded on the pier at the eastern beach. Settled Ros on the beach and I went to find the required conveniences and found a large Water Monitor by the buildings. I then walked the nature trail which had interpretation boards along it’s length. This is also the track that leads to the Tsunamy refuge at the base of the Karst and where on Boxing Day 2003, the wounded were brought

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to await rescue by the Long-tail Boats that had survived the waves being at sea at the time so were not swamped. The remains of two long-tail boats that were swept inland have been left in the forest as a memorial to the disaster. I found a pair of blue Black-naped Monarchs, a single Oriental Pied Hornbill, Olive-winged Bulbuls and at least three pairs of White-rumped Shamas low in the forest. Another bird playing at being a ground hugging babbler was just another Arctic Warbler. After 2pm when the crowds had left, Emerald Doves and Blue Whistling Thrushes came to feed under the picnic tables and drink from a water filled rubber tyre cut in half so I took photos. I heard a cooing coming from the cliff above and found a yellow headed Pied Imperial Pigeon in full breeding mode. That evening, over gin & tonic and from the balcony was a flock of obvious House Swifts and we ate and drank good beer again at the Divers Inn.

Hong Island, The enclosed Hong Island lagoon, both 2nd March

Tuesday 3rd March – KRABI & TIGER CAVE TEMPLES

After an early breakfast we took the public bus to Krabi and found the Mangrove boardwalk north of the quay and I spent a long time dueting with a Mangrove Pitta which again was too shy to show itself whilst a Greater Racket-tailed Drongo sang. We caught another bus that took us via the main bus station to the Tiger Cave temple complex. Here were more Feral Pigeons, Scarlet-backed Flowerpeckers and invisible Blue-eared and Red-throated Barbets plus a few marauding Long-tailed Macaques. We returned to Krabi centre to go shopping (much cheaper here than in Ao Nang) and back to Ao Nang and the south end of the beach. At massage time, I walked along the seafront south, noting an unexpected female Red Collared Dove sitting alone on the wires. Along the service track was another or the same Indian Roller, Common Ioras and another Green-faced Malkoha by the building site. Evening was spent at the Long-tail boat Inn with our friends Cob, Nicky and Elissa who knew what food combinations to order.

Krabi Mangrove boardwalk, The crabs at Krabi both 3rd March

Wednesday 4th March – KHAO PRA CHUCHI & EMERALD POOL

Another very early start at 5.30 and we were taken by the hotel minibus taxi to the Emerald Pool at Khao Pra Chuchi. We hired him for the morning for 2500 Baht (£50). We passed the airport and many rubber and oil palm plantations and then into native forests in rolling hills. At the entrance were many still as yet closed shops and booths and a pack of dogs. These were a problem as they would not leave us alone and ran on ahead of us and scared all ground hugging babblers away. We walked the boardwalk (like at Krabi made of concrete to look like wood due to the termite problems) along the flooded forest stream but if only the watch tower had not been closed, we could have escaped the

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dogs to eat our packed breakfast there and get views over the forest too. We viewed the Emerald pool completely empty of tourists. Breakfast was eaten back in the minibus and then we walked away from the car parks and found a dirt track to the south into the forest and also lost the dogs finally. After slow and careful searching, we had a white throated Yellow-bellied Bulbul fleetingly and a probable Japanese Sparrowhawk over. One cicada species had a piercing electronic scream that filled the forest. Returning to the shops, I left Ros there with the dogs now asleep after their morning’s exertions and walked the ‘B’ track north of the Emerald pool road. Here it was again completely devoid of tourists and got good views of a male Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker and two Puff-backed Bulbuls I duetted with at least two Black-throated Babbler (bo, bo, bo, bo, bo, bo, bo, bo) which I got a fleeting view of earlier in the day. A slow moving ground hugging Arctic Warbler fooled me again and another Ashy Minivet showed. The ‘B’ trail finished at a broken down bridge so I came back to the Emerald Pool, now full to the brim with joyful bathers. By the entrance pool where there were more bathers, the wet mud was attracting some very active butterflies including Common Mormon, Five-bar Swordtail, Common Jay, Orange Albatross and Autumn Leaf (all photoed). We returned for another Ao Nang beach afternoon at the north end near the sunset sign and when Ros went for a massage, I returned to the Tipa reservoirs and watched Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters drinking in flight and a pair of Stripe-throated Bulbuls in the low bushes. I scoped Poda Island from the balcony and was surprised to see a White-bellied Sea Eagle at x60 flying and land on the sea stack off Poda beach at extreme range! We then watched the bats emerge from the balcony and no way of determining what species they are and ate again at Edens.

Kaew Grovarom temple, Krabi, Khao Pra Chuchi The emerald pool empty at 7am! 4th March

Beach visitor on Poda Island on 5th March Poda ruined resort buildings

Thursday 5th March – PODA ISLAND

At dawn, I was again at Tipa Resort but with my telescope this time. A huge chocolate and cream Black Giant Squirrel worked its way through the trees opposite where I sat and good views were had again of the Stripe-throated Bulbuls and Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrikes and a green pigeon flew directly through but did not stop to let me identify it. I was able to scope the distant singing green Leafbird and identified it as a Lesser. Our last full day found us back at a favourite place, Kho Poda. The boat trip gave me a view of a leaping Marlin species. Arriving as usual early, we found the beach empty and chose a site by a fallen Casuarina tree (presumably that came down in the Tsunami? Soon and just behind where we sat I espied at least three pairs of Oriental Pied Hornbills feeding on food remains left by yesterday’s visitors and also a pair of Indian Rollers. A walk along the ruined chalets provided a pair of Tickell’s Blue Flycatchers, another large Water Monitor and another pair of

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Hornbills feeding on the large red fruit of a trailing vine high up in a Casuarinatree. There I found a hornbill tail feather. Snorkelled again with more views of exotic unknown fish, must buy a book and start a list! (Oh No says Ros!). Ros’s last cheap massage released me to go up the main street but I passed the Tipa Resort and found a track near the bluff that abuts the main street and there found a pendulous sunbird nest and I finally found a fine and visible Red-throated Barbet low down in a tree and very close so that it’s nose looked huge. Back at Phra Nang Inn, we tried to check in for our return flights but we could only check-in for me (not that I would have left Ros in Thailand alone! The manager, Mr Ubonwan Saengsuay gave us much help with the computer and printing. A single Scaly-breasted Munia flew past the balcony. We had our last meal at our favourite Divers Inn and celebrated with a bottle of expensive Paix Dieu Triple in a tall and lop-sided glass and thanked our friendly and considerate host, Jürgen Weber.

Diver’s Inn, Ao Nang Jürgen Weber at the Diver’s Inn, Ao Nang

Friday 6th March

We still had trouble checking in, finding not a single internet cafe that was open or that had a printer that worked, so we sat in the sun at the Last bar where a young male Blue Rock Thrush sub-sang to us as it sat by the tables and the usual Asian Brown Flycatcher hovered overhead. We took an early ride to the airport to ensure that we really would be travelling today. There we finally and successfully checked in and at the cafe outside we watched another male Olive-backed Sunbird. We flew out at 3.40 on a Bangkok Airways airbus A320 north past large thunderheads over Burma to the west and skirting the South China Sea to the East landing in Bangkok at 4.45 with a number of Great Egrets by and inside the airport perimeter. We took off again at 9.50, late because our flight crew were delayed by Bangkok traffic jams, flying in the Emirates Airbus A380 to Dubai.

Saturday 7th March

We landed at Dubai at 1.40 am local time and were shepherded to our next Emirates flight to Gatwick on a Boeing 777 which took off at 3.25. The dawn slowly followed behind us and with a sinking full moon ahead of us which lit up the Turkish hills. We flew back into England with a view of Cap Gris Nez, Thanet, Dungeness and Sheppey to land at Gatwick to a cold grey Saturday morning so at least the train to Victoria and tube to Northfields were not busy.

BIRD SPECIES LIST

Underlined species are new to me.

1. Red-throated Barbet (Megalaima mystacophanos)

Common up the hill in the native forest but very very difficult to see yet haerd every day and from the balcony. I finally got a good view of one with a huge nose almost on the last day (5th March) just north and above the Ao Nang main street next to the cliff face.

2. Blue-eared Barbet (Megalaima australis)

The commonest barbet and often very showy as in Ao Nang on 22nd February in the beachside trees at Railay on 24th February, excavating at tree stump hole at Noppharat Thara and heard every day.

3. Coppersmith Barbet (Megalaima haemacephala)

Common. Heard daily from our balcony and seen well once on a dead tree by the service road south of Ao Nang main street with an Indian Roller on 28th February.

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Oriental Pied Hornbill, Poda Island, 5th March.

4. Oriental Pied-hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris)

One pair seen by the ruined resort chalets on Poda Island on 23rd February and at least four pairs seen there on 5th March, three pairs were picking up food from the picnic tables behind the beach and before the tourists arrived and one pair eating the large red fruit off a vine growing the Casuarina trees at the west end of Poda where I found a tail feather. One was seen on Hong Island on 2nd March.

5. Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis)

A pair were displaying over the harbour at Tonsai, Phi Phi on 27th February 6. Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis)

Singles seen twice by the service road on the south side of Ao Nang on the 28th February and a pair just behind the beach on Poda Island on 5th March.

7. Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

Common in the Krabi mangrove on 25th February, by the polluted river behind the south end of the beach and at the Tipa Resort reservoirs in Ao Nang.

Oriental Pied Hornbill, Poda, Brown-winged Kingfisher, Krabi Mangrove25th February

8. Brown-winged Kingfisher (Pelargopsis amauropterus)

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9. White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)

Only one was seen and heard well by the building site at Ao Nang on 22nd February. 10. Black-capped Kingfisher (Halcyon pileata)

2 seen well in the Krabi mangrove on 25th February. 11. Collared Kingfisher (Todirhamphus chloris)

The commonest kingfisher along all beaches and on all islands and seen every day. 12. Chestnut-headed Bee-eater (Merops leschenaulti)

Seen to the west of Pakasai Resort on 21st February, on wires inland from Noppharat Thara on 26th February and drinking at the reservoirs above the Tipa resort on 4th March.

13. Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea)

Heard everywhere and seen from our hotel balcony. 14. Green-faced Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus tristis)

Seen well by the service road behind the south end of the beach at Ao Nang on 25th February and 3rd March, in the trees behind the beach at Noppharat Thara on 26th February and at Phra Nang Beach on 1st March.

15. Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis)

First seen well behind the beach by the service track on 22nd February. Heard every day from our hotel balcony and often seen by the service road behind the south end of the beach at Ao Nang,

16. Himalayan Swiftlet aerodramus brevirostris)

A flock of swiftlets were present above Ao Nang every day and one of my evening pastimes of a gin and tonic on the balcony was to watch these, but what species were they with overall brownish under-parts and more blackish upperparts, with no sign of a little brighter cheek or throat.

17. Germain's Swiftlet (Aerodramus germani)

The only “typical birds” with white rumps were seen from the hotel balcony in Ao Nang on the evening of 1st March.

At dawn at Krabi waterfront on 25th February, the swiftlets sounded lower and more grating unlike the usual high pitched twittering so what were these?

18. House Swift (Apus nipalensis)

A flock was seen on only two occasions once above the south end of Ao Nang beach on 22nd February and once from the hotel balcony on the evening of 2nd March.

19. Feral Pigeon (Columba livia)

A flock was present in Krabi town by the river front and another flock at the Tiger Cave Temples.

20. Red Collared Dove (

Streptopelia tranquebarica)

A number were seen at Bangkok airport on 21st February and one female was found sitting on wires behind the south end of Ao Nang beach on 3rd March.

21. Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis)

A few only noted at Ao Nang on 22nd February 22. Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica)

At least three were on Hong Island, two came to forage under the picnic tables after 3pm when the tourists had left on 2nd March.

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23. Zebra Dove (Geopelia striata)

The common and very small dove in Ao Nang. Seen in small numbers almost every day and on almost every site we visited.

24. Pied Imperial Pigeon (

Ducula bicolor)

One was seen fleetingly on Poda Island on 23rd February, at least 4 were display flighting above the south beach at Tonsai, Phi Phi Island on 27th February (a bit like a wood-pigeon swoop but with a wing quiver instead of a wing clap) and one was heard cooing and then seen well on the cliff wall at Hong Island on 2nd March which had a yellow blush to its head. 25. Green-pigeon sp. (Treron sp.)

One flew through north over Tipa Resort, Ao Nang on 5th March but I could not get a species determination on it.

26. Ruddy Breasted Crake (

Porzana fusca

)

One seen in the creek flowing south west through the Ao Nang building site on 28th February. I don’t know how long this habitat will exist as it might be channelled or culverted in the near future

27. White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)

Seen behind the south end of Ao Nang beach along the polluted river 22nd February and in the river where it passed through the building site by the start of the service road on the 28th February.

28. Pintail Snipe (

Gallinago stenura)

A snipe jumped in front of me from long grass behind the beach at the south end of Ao Nang beach on 25th February and did not make a sound so I presume that this was a pintail and not a common snipe.

29. Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica)

1 or 2 on the sand flats at Krabi river mouth on 25th February. 30. Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata)

A few at Krabi river mouth on 25th February 31. Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)

A few at Krabi rivermouth and on the west beach at Railay on 24th February. 32. Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)

A small flock by the edge of Krabi mangoves and the river mouth on 25th February. 33. Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)

15 on the mudflats at Krabi river mouth on 25th February. 34. Nordmann's Greenshank (Tringa guttifer)

2 on the mudflats at Krabi river mouth after a lot of searching and conveniently standing next to Common Greenshank for a good comparison on 25th February, thanks to Mr Dio.

35. Great Knot (Calidris tenuirostris)

A few on the mudflats at Krabi river mouth on 25th February thanks to Mr Dio. 36. Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus)

30 plus on the mudflats at Krabi river mouth on 25th February thanks to Mr Dio. 37. Common Sandpiper (Tringa hypoleucos)

15 Krabi mangrove on 25th February and two squabbling on the beach at Noppharat Thara on 26th February. Singles seen along most beaches and islands on most days.

38. Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

1 on the mudflats at Krabi river mouth on 25th February 39. Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)

a few on the mudflats at Krabi river mouth on 25th February. 40. Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultia)

Two seen on the beach at Noppharat Thara on 26th February 41. Lesser Sandplover (Charadrius mongolus)

20 on the mudflats at Krabi river mouth on 25th February and on the beach at Noppharat Thara feeding on the many small crabs that were showing flocking behaviour (the crabs that is) on 26th February.

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Greater and Lesser Sand PloversNoppharat Thara beachon 26th February

42. Great Crested-tern (Sterna bergii)

At least 20 resting on the fishing net poles at Krabi river mouth on 25th February. 43. Lesser Crested-tern (Sterna bengalensis)

10 resting on the fishing net poles at Krabi river mouth on 25th February. 44. Gull-billed Tern (Sterna nilotica)

1 seen over the Krabi mudflats on 25th February. 45. Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

A flock of 30 plus at sea between Ao Nang and Phi Phi on 27th February 46. Little Tern (Sterna albifrons)

Two seen well at sea between Ao Nang and Phi Phi on 27th February 47. Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus)

Seen singly daily in Ao Nang, at all beaches and islands, at Krabi and four together above Poda Island on 23rd February.

48. White-bellied Sea-eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)

Seen every day from all beaches and islands, from our hotel balcony, over Krabi estuary and Phi Phi Island.

49. Crested Goshawk (Accipiter trivirgatus)

One rather pale individual was unexpectedly seen over Tonsai, Phi Phi on 27th February 50. Japanese Sparrowhawk (Accipiter gularis)

One over Khao Pra Chuchi on 4th March. 51. Black Baza (Aviceda leuphotes)

One superb flight view for five minutes as it soared over the western end of the beach at Noppharat Thara on 26th February.

52. Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrines peregrinator)

A pair present on Poda Island cliffs on 23rd February and 5th March with reddish under-parts. 53. Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

3 seen from Krabi riverfront on 24th and 25th February. 54. Chinese Egret (Egretta eulophotes)

Two positively identified in Krabi estuary, a Little Egret lookalike with a prominent yellow bill, on 25th February, thanks to Mr Dio!

55. Pacific Reef-egret (Egretta sacra)

One or two seen every daily on all the beaches and islands we visited. 56. Great Egret (Ardea alba)

A few seen from Krabi riverfront on 24th February and in the Krabi river mouth 25th February. Also at Bangkok airport.

57. Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)

Only seen once next to a cow on the way from the airport to Ao Nang on 21st February 58. Chinese Pond-heron (Ardeola bacchus)

5 seen behind the south end of Ao Nang beach 22nd February and several seen in Krabi Mangroves on 25th February.

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Eastern Reef Egret, Noppharat Thara,26th February. Chinese Pond Heron, Krabi Mangroves, 24th Feb.

59. Striated Heron (Butorides striatus)

A dozen seen only in the Krabi mangroves on 25th February. 60. Lesser Frigatebird (Fregata ariel)

10 were positively identified on the outward trip and 30 plus on the way back to and from the Phi Phi Islands on 27th February. No Greater or Christmas Island Frigates as all individuals scoped had black bellies and white armpits!

61. Mangrove Pitta (Pitta megarhyncha)

6 were heard calling in the Krabi mangrove on 25th February and one from the Krabi mangrove boardwalk on 3rd March. Very like an Asian Koel but only two calls together.

62. Black & Red Broadbill (Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos)

Two tape lured in Krabi Mangroves and seen very well on 25th February, thanks to Mr Dio. 63. Lesser Green Leafbird (Chloropsis cyanopogon)

One scoped well above the reservoirs at the Tipa Resort at Ao Nang on 1st and identified on the 5th March.

64. Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus)

One male leucionensis seen by the grounds of the Pakasai Resort, Ao Nang on 22nd February, behind the south end of Ao Nang beach, an immature by the south service road on 24th February and at the Tipa Resort on 28th February.

Large-billed Crow, Ao Nang Blue Whistling Thrush, Hong Island, 2nd March

65. Large-billed Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos)

First seen behind the beach at Ao Nang on 22nd February and in isolated pairs each day in most localities.

66. Black-naped Oriole (Oriolus chinensis)

Often heard calling but difficult to see. A pair flew over our lunchtime bar at Noppharat Thara on 26th February and by the southern service road and at Tipa Resort both on 28th February. 67. Scarlet Minivet (Pericrocotus speciosus)

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68. Ashy Minivet (Pericrocotus divaricatus)

1 seen well at Krabi mangrove on 25th February and one at Khao Pra Chuchi on 4th March. 69. Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike (Hemipus picatus)

Seen each time at the reservoirs at Tipa Resort, Ao Nang. 70. Black Drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus)

Seen in the fields behind Noppharat Thara on 26th February. 71. Ashy Drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus)

One pale form seen at the reservoirs at Tipa Resort, Ao Nang and black forms seen in the trees here and at Noppharat Thara on 26th February.

72. Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus)

1 seen Krabi mangrove on 25th February and again from the Krabi mangrove boardwalk on 3rd March.

73. Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia)

A family party in the trees above Noppharat Thara on 26th February, by the southern service road, Ao Nang on 3rd March. As the name suggests its common and it sounds like ‘iorrrrrrr a’.

Blue Rock Thrush by our balcony and at the last bar, Ao Nang 74. Blue Rock-thrush (Monticola solitarius)

First seen at our hotel on 21st February and common in the limestone karst areas and around the hotels of Ao Nang /Railay East, Phi Phi Islands and Poda Island. Often stationary and easily seen.

75. Blue Whistling-thrush (Myiophonus caeruleus flavirostris)

Seen well behind the south end of the beach at Ao Nang on 24th February, a pair along the cliff behind Phra Nang Beach on 1st March and photoed at Hong Island drinking at a rubber tyre full of water after the hords of visitors had left for the day on 2nd March.

76. Mangrove Whistler (Pachycephala cinerea)

Two seen very well on Poda Island on 23rd February. 77. Asian Brown Flycatcher (Muscicapa dauurica)

First seen in the beach side trees on 22nd February. The common flycatcher seen every day from the hotel balcony and on every beach.

78. Fulvous-breasted Jungle Flycatcher (Rhinomyias olivacea)

A single aggressive individual on Poda Island on both visits, on 23rd February and 5th March. 79. Tickell's Blue-flycatcher (Cyornis tickelliae)

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Oriental Magpie Robin by our balcony, Ao Nang Pacific Swallow, Poda Island, 23rd February

80. Oriental Magpie-robin (Copsychus saularis)

81. Common in town, perched on our balcony and everywhere. They started singing before 5am which illustrates a high population density.

82. Black-naped Monarch (Hypothymis azurea)

A pair seen well on Hong Island on 2nd March. 83. White-rumped Shama (Copsychus malabaricus)

At least six individual were tracked on Hong Island on 2nd March 84. Asian Glossy Starling (Aplonis panayensis)

Seen in Ao Nang on 21st February and a feeding flock in a fruiting tree on the river front at Krabi on 25th February.

85. Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis)

Very common on all the beaches and in urban Ao Nang and Krabi

86. Dusky Crag-martin (Hirundo concolor)

A flock of 10 seen high up over the beach cliffs at Phra Nang on 1st March. 87. Pacific Swallow (Hirundo tahitica)

The common swallow everywhere in small numbers and roosted above our balcony. 88. Rufous-bellied swallow (Cecropis badia) or Striated Swallow (Hirundo striolata badia)

This very orange race first seen on 22nd February and every day from the balcony in Ao Nang. Should this be a good species?

89. Black-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus atriceps)

The most common bulbul in native forest first seen above the Pakasai Resort, Ao Nang on 21st February, on Poda Island and Khao Pra Chuchi on 4th March.

90. Puff-backed Bulbul (Pycnonotus eutilotus)

Two seen well at Khao Pra Chuchi on 4th March. 91. Yellow-bellied Bulbul (Alophoixus phaeocephalus)

One seen fleetingly at Khao Pra Chuchi on 4th March. 92. Stripe-throated Bulbul (Pycnonotus finlaysoni)

Seen well twice, above the beach at Phra Nang on 1st March and at Tipa resort on 4th & 5th March.

93. Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier)

Just once near Pakasai Resort, Ao Nang on 21st February 94. Olive-winged Bulbul (Pycnonotus plumosus)

First seen above the Pakasai Resort, Ao Nang on 21st February and Hong Island on 2nd March .

95. Streak-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus blanfordi)

The Common bulbul in Ao Nang and every day from the hotel balcony. 96. Common Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius)

Annoyingly Common. Is it a Prinia? No! is it a babbler? No, is it another Tailorbird species? No each time!

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97. Arctic Warbler (Phylloscopus borealis)

Quite common but often was seen very low and even in the leaf little which was annoying as I was hoping for babblers!

98. Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus)

The commonest Philloscopus and I tried to string them into other rarer ones but failed every time!

99. Black-throated Babbler (Stachyris nigricollis)

At least five calling and a fleeting glimpse of one at Khao Pra Chuchi on 4th March. 100. Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker (Prionochilus percussus)

Only one male properly seen at Khao Pra Chuchi on 4th March. 101. Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker (Prionochilus maculates)

An awkward one this as the commonest green above and yellow below flowerpecker did not seem to be very streaky as illustrated in the books!

102. Orange-bellied Flowerpecker (Dicaeum trigonostigma).

Only one male seen properly above the reservoirs at Tipa Resort, Ao Nang on 1st March. 103. Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum cruentatum)

First seen by the Pakasai Resort on 21st February. The commonest flowerpecker and easy cause they are dark.

104. Plain-throated (Brown-throated) Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis)

The common sunbird in Ao Nang and perched in the balcony tree, common everywhere. 105. Olive-backed Sunbird (Nectarinia jugularis)

Not as common as the one above but males well seen at Noppharat Thara beach on 26th, Tonsai Phi Phi on 27th February and at Krabi Airport on 6th March.

106. Copper-throated Sunbird (Leptocoma calcostetha)

One male seen for 10 minutes on a dead tree above the south end of Phra Nang beach on 1st March.

107. Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)

Seen most days behind the Ao Nang beach along the polluted stream and at the Tipa resort reservoirs.

108. Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)

Common and as usual in Asia, pretending to be house sparrow. 109. Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata)

A flock of 20 by the service road at Ao Nang on 28th February. One seen from the hotel balcony on 5th March

Common Myna, Poda Island, 5th March Tree Sparrow atNoppharat Thara harbour 27th February

Mammal list

Long-tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis).

Many at the south end of Ao Nang beach proved a problem with any tourist who held food. The barman at the last bar had a catapult which he used whenever they came to close to the bar tables. Also seen at the Tiger Cave Temples on 3rd March.

Black giant squirrel (Ratufa bicolor)

One was seen well above the reservoirs at the Tipa Resort, Ao Nang on 5th March. Palm Squirrel (Funambulus palmarum)

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Plantain Squirrel (

Callosciurus notatus

).

Seen every day in the beachside trees and from the balcony.

Long-tailed Macaque, Ao Nang beach Water Monitor Lizard, Hong Island, 2nd March

REPTILES

Water Monitor (Varanus salvator). Two large individuals seen on Hong Island on 2nd March and one on Poda Island on 5th March.

Small House ‘

Jing jok’

Geko (Hemidactylus frenatus). Seen every night at our hotel and sitting on the vertical faces of illuminated signs along the main street in Ao Nang.

Geko sp. Phra Nang Inn, Ao Nang Puffer fish, Chicken Island, 28th February

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Northern Orange Lacewing, Poda Island, 23rd February. Orange AlbatrossKhao Pra Chuchi, 4th March

Autumn Leaf,Khao Pra Chuchi, 4th March Common Jay,Khao Pra Chuchi, 4th March

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Common CaeruleanPhra Nang Beach, 2nd March Praying mantis Railay Beach, 24th February

Butterfly list

Common Mormon Papilio polytes. Khao Pra Chuchi, 4th March

Common Jay Graphium doson evenomides. Two sparring at Khao Pra Chuchi, 4th March Five-bar swordtail Pathysa antiphates itamputi. Khao Pra Chuchi, 4th March

Orange Albatross Appias nero. Khao Pra Chuchi, 4th March

Striped albatross Appias libythea. Feeding on Asteraceae, Phra Nang Beach, 1st March Yellow Orange Tip Ixias pyrene. Feeding on Asteraceae, Phra Nang Beach, 1st March Northern Orange Lacewing Cethosia penthesilea methypsea. Poda Island, 23rd February Great Egg fly Hypolymnas bolina. Aon Nang seafront 21st February

Blue Pansy Junonia orithyra. Seen along the seafront at Ao Nang, 22nd February Autumn Leaf Doleschallia bisaltida. Khao Pra Chuchi, 4th March

Common Caerulean Jamides celeno aelianus. Feeding on Asteraceae, Phra Nang Beach, 1st March

Fossil bivalves, Chicken Island

Bibliography

Chantler, Phil & Driessens, Gerald, 1995. A Guide to the Swifts and Treeswifts of the World. Pica Press. Pp237.

Cheke, Robert A., Mann, Clive A. & Allen, Richard, 2001. A Guide to the Sunbirds and Flowerpeckers of the World. Helm. Pp384.

Corbet A. Steven & Pendlebury H.M., 1992. The Butterflies of the Malay Peninsula. Malayan Nature Society pp595.

Kirton, Laurence G. 2014. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Butterflies of Peninsula Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. John Beaufoy Ltd. pp176.

Robson, Craig, 2002. A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand. New Holland. Pp 272. Robson, Craig, 2005. Birds of South East Asia. New Holland. Pp304.

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