Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Khao Look Chang, Phetchaburi Province

Spotted Owlet

Well less than 24 hours since my disaster I have my truck back, fully repaired and probably driving better than at any time in the three years I have owned it. The rescue and repair cost 5850 THB, that is about £115 GBP. I am a fortunate fellow. So I had to go to collect it today which meant another trip to Kaeng Krachan. I discovered there are vans running to Kaeng Krachan village from Petchaburi so it is possible to get there by public transport. However birders and visitors will still need to arrange transport from the village to the park and indeed up the mountain.

To celebrate my good fortune I decided to go to Wat Khao Look Chang, a nearby dipterocarp forest adjoining a temple. I was hoping for Black-headed Woodpeckers. I also stopped in at the animal refuge there which is managed by Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand; I hitched a ride yesterday in Kaeng Krachan in a car which was transporting some of their volunteers. A worthwhile visit as I learned a little about the refuge's current situation and difficulties with officialdom. I would suggest you go to their website for more information and I would add this is a worthy cause.

Red-breasted Parakeet - female

I dipped on all woodpecker species. A shame because the forest trees show plenty of their work. However I am far from disappointed as I managed another two lifers and for good measure, before entering the forest, two Black Bazas flashed past briefly in pursuit of prey. I presume the Bazas are migrating northwards and have parked up here.

As I walked into the forest the first bird I observed was a Racket-tailed Drongo. I walked further in and was a little cautious as I was aware that it would be rather easy to get lost. This was a concern as wold have to negotiate my way out and I decided I didn't want to have to do that in the dark without a torch.

I managed to follow a moving bird onto its perch and when I got the bins on it I was rather pleased to see it was a small owl. Initially I thought it was an Asian Barred Owlet but now that I have been able to look at my photographs I am pretty sure it is a Spotted Owlet. Barred Owlet lacks they eye detail this fellow has and the white chin and neck markings. So I am going to add it to my list as lifer ♯317. Please correct me if I have this one wrong. (Thanks to Rockfowl on Birdforum for confirming this ID.)

And soon after I managed to observe Red-breasted Parakeet. There was a small flock calling. I believe this is a female and I am sorry to say I didn't get a look at the male which, according to the field guide image, is a much more attractive creature. So Thai lifer  ♯318 goes onto the list. Nearby  a beautiful Indian Roller perched and then flew as I was ready to shoot. It was resplendent in its breeding plumage - what a transformation. A fair few Black-naped Monarchs were swooping around too.

So a very satisfying 90 minutes in a much neglected location. I must come back and spend some more time here. There must be several species of woodpeckers in this forest judging on the dead trees and the tell-tale marks on them.

Another photography issue that has arisen over the last two days is shooting birds back lit by the sun. Unfortunately forests don't let you choose your stance so it can be impossible to get the sun behind you. This means getting a shot with lots of blown highlights; fortunately I have been able to capture the birds' details reasonably well. Another vote for a 4/3 camera and telephoto lens!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Gerry,

    Dean from Canada here. We are at Doi Inthanon, and will leave on the 11th, arriving at Kaeng Krachen on the 12th. We're getting a reasonable list of birds and having a lot of fun. If you want to respond you can reach me through my wife's gmail at

    Look forward to meeting you.