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Spoon-billed Sandpipers and more
2nd - 16th January 2019
This holiday savours the best of Oriental birdwatching and is a superb introduction to the amazing avifauna of Southeast Asia. It's a region blessed with an exceptionally rich and varied birdlife, including an exciting list of Far Eastern specialities, supplemented during the winter months by huge numbers of wintering Siberian passerines. However, it is a Siberian wader which in recent years has become the country's most famous visitor, with a small but regular wintering population of Spoon-billed Sandpipers in the Gulf of Thailand. Away from the gulf we will also spend some time in the rain forests of the Kaeng Krachan NP, before visiting the dipterocarp forests of Khao Yai NP. Our carefully planned itinerary then takes us to the mountainous north, where the birdlife has a distinctly Himalayan flavour, with minlas, cutias, sibias and laughing-thrushes. We will also visit Doi Inthanon, Thailand's highest peak.
Days 1 & 2
The tour begins with an overnight flight to Bangkok, arriving early on day 2. From the airport we drive straight to Pak Thale in Petchaburi, where we will search for the tours ultimate target, the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper. This iconic species sadly now teeters on the brink of extinction, with less than 250 pairs estimated during a survey in 2014. We will also make a special effort to locate the rare Nordmann's Greenshank, while other exciting waders may include Asian Dowitcher, Great Knot, Red-necked and Long-toed Stints, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Pacific Golden Plover and Greater and Lesser Sand Plovers. In the same area we should also see a good selection of other shorebirds including Asian Openbill, Brown-headed Gull and Collared Kingfisher, while others may include Brahminy Kite, Germain's Swiftlet, Zebra Dove and Great Myna. Afterwards we will continue to our first base close to Kaeng Krachen National Park where we spend three nights.
Days 3 & 4
We will spend two full days exploring the rain forests of Kaeng Krachan National Park. One day we will concentrate our efforts in the highlands, where our targets include Rachet-tailed Treepie, Collared Babbler, Spot-necked Babbler, Red-bearded Bee-eater, Black and Yellow Broadbill, Greater Green Leafbird, Sultan Tit, Great Barbet and many others. The second day we will explore the lowlands, where we hope to find Black-thighed Falconet, Great Iora, Green-eared Barbet, Black-and-Red Broadbill, Banded Broadbill, Oriental Pied-Hornbill, Tickell's Brown Hornbill, Dollarbird, Thick-billed Pigeon, Banded Kingfisher, Common Green Magpie, Greater Necklaced Laughingthrush, Black-crested Bulbul, Golden-crowned Myna and Crimson Sunbird. It is also an excellent area for woodpeckers, with Greater Flameback, Greater Yellownape, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Streak-breasted Woodpecker and the tiny White-browed Piculet all possible. One night we will explore the area close to the hotel, where we hope to find Spotted, Collared and Asian Barred Owlets, along with Large-tailed Nightjar.
We will have some time in the morning for birding by the hotel, where birds such as Indian Thick-knee, Vinous-breasted Starling, Thick-billed Warbler, Taiga Flycatcher, Lineated Barbet, Asian Koel, Grey-breasted Prinia, Indochinese Bushlark and Green Bee-eater can all be found. We will then drive to Khao Yai, passing back through Pak Thale (if needed), where we will have a second chance at the Spoon-billed Sandpiper, or any other missing waders should we have failed to see them previously.
Day 6 & 7
These two days will be spent exploring the truly beautiful Khao Yai National Park, where stunning rivers and waterfalls are set amongst the evergreen dipterocarp forest. The list of birds here is remarkable… and include Silver Pheasant, Siamese Fireback, Great Hornbill, Long-tailed Broadbill, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Heart-spotted Woodpecker, Collared Owlet, Red-headed and Orange-breasted Trogons, Vernal Hanging-parrot, Asian Fairy-bluebird, Common Hill Myna, Moustached Barbet, White-browed Scimitar Babbler, Siberian Blue Robin and Hill Blue Flycatcher. If we are lucky we may also find some of the parks more difficult species such as Blue Pitta, Eared Pitta, Silver-breasted Broadbill, Green-eared Barbet, Austen’s Brown Hornbill, Black and Buff Woodpecker, Laced Woodpecker, Coral-billed Ground Cuckoo, Slaty-backed Forktail and Brown-backed Needletail. The park is also home to many interesting mammals, including White-handed Gibbon, Pig-tailed Macaque, Black Giant Squirrel and Asian Elephant.
We will visit an open area at Lam Taklong reservoir, where birds such as Lesser Whistling-Duck, Little Cormorant, Yellow Bittern, Oriental Pratincole and Ruddy-breasted Crake may be encountered along with Chestnut-capped Babbler, Yellow-bellied Prinia and many others. We then drive to back to Bangkok, stopping off en route for the endemic Rufous Limestone Wren-Babbler, a recently split species which shares its home with others such as Black-naped Monarch, Malaysian Pied-Fantail, Olive-backed Sunbird and White-rumped Shama. Lunch will be taken on the way back to Bangkok, from where we will take a domestic flight to Chiang Mai in the mountainous north of the country.
The morning will be dedicated to finding the majestic Green Peafowl, a truly stunning species which has declined rapidly in recent years. Later we will drive to Doi Inthanon NP, where birds such as Maroon Oriole, Golden-throated Barbet, Large and Small Niltavas, Yunan Fulvetta, Golden Babbler, Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, Spectacled Barwing, Rufous-backed Sibia, Mountain Tailorbird, Hill Prinia and many others are possible.
Today we will drive to the summit of Doi Inthanon, the highest point in Thailand at 2565m. Here we will spend time looking for the local race of Green-tailed Sunbird, which is found only on this mountain and may be split in the near future. We should also find Gould's Sunbird along with Silver-eared Laughtinthrush, Dark-sided Thrush, Rufous-winged Fulvetta and Clicking Shrike-Babbler, while others may include Rufous-throated Partridge, Slaty-bellied Tesia, Black-backed Sibia, Silver-eared Mesia, Chestnut-tailed Minla and Pygmy Cupwing. Then we drive to Fang, our base for 3 nights.
Day 11 & 12
We will spend two days at Doi Lang, another excellent mountain where targets such as Mountain Bamboo Partridge, Giant Nuthatch, Himalayan Cutia, Spot-breasted Parrotbill, Crested Finchbill, Slender-billed Oriole, Ultramarine Flycatcher, Streaked Spiderhunter, Davison's Leaf Warbler and White-tailed Robin should be easily found. We may need the second day however, to stand a good chance of some of the more difficult species such as Hume's Pheasant, Pale Blue Flycatcher, Black-throated Bushtit, Siberian Rubythroat, White-gorgeted Flycatcher and Rufous-fronted Babbler.
We will spend the full day on Doi Angkhang, a beautiful mountain which shares many of its birds with Doi Lang, although some species are easier to see here. These include Brown-breasted Bulbul, White-browed Laughingthrush, Scarlet-faced Liocichla , Rufous-bellied Niltava and Grey Treepie. If we are lucky we may find Rusty-napped Pitta and Hodgson's Frogmouth on this mountain.
We may have some time for birding early morning before returning to Chiang Mai for our flight back to Bangkok.
Later that night we will fly from Bangkok back to the UK, arriving early on day 15.
|Total Cost £3450
Single room supplement £360
Air Price £600
Ground Price £2850
All flights, All ground transport once in Thailand, 13 nights accommodation, All meals, Drinking water, Entrance fees and Guiding services throughout .
Insurance, Tips, Additional drinks and Items of a personal nature.
Dave Read & Local Guide
Maximum of 12 plus leaders
The tour will be run at a moderate pace, with mostly easy walking by the roadside, although a degree of fitness may be required for the occasional steeper trail. The climate can vary widely, although it is likely to be hot in the lowlands, humid in the forests and cooler in the mountains, especially early morning. There are special medical requirements and you must consult with your GP. Accommodation will be in good quality hotels, with private facilities. A visa is not required for UK citizens.
Many of the flights and the flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information, or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL certificate go to www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate
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