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NORTH THAILAND BIRDING TOUR

Tour Description

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THAILAND
BIRDING TOUR
ANY TIME*

Duration:15 days, 14 nights
Group Size:2-6
Anytime Price:$4050
Group Price:$3750
Single Suppl:$375
Est #Species:375-450
Pace:Easy/Moderate
Difficulty:Easy/Moderate
* This tour is available for any dates of your choosing provided guide services and accommodations are available.

DAY 1 - BANGKOK

International flights typically arrive in the evening. The hotel is reached by a 5-min shuttle van, which is arranged in advance and provided by the hotel. Night in Bangkok at the Aranta Airport Hotel.

DAY 2 - PAK THALE & LAEM PAK BIA

Morning depart early for Pak Thale, about a 2-hour drive. Pak Thale is the best place to find the endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper. Sometimes this species can be found quickly, while other times it take considerable looking. Numerous other shorebirds are also present in the mudflats, including Lesser Sand-Plover, Greater Sand-Plover, Malaysian Plover, Kentish Plover, Spotted Redshank, Common Greenshank, Common Redshank, Great Know, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Temminck's Stint, and Long-toed Stint. From there continue along the coast to the Mangrove Research Center where Indian Cormorant, Red-wattled Lapwing, Slaty-breasted Rail, Ruddy-breasted Crake, Oriental Pratincole, White-winged Tern, Whiskered Tern, and Oriental Skylark are possible. After lunch take boat out to the sandspit beyond the mangroves on the coast, best place to find Malaysian Plover, White-faced Plover, the latter a likely future split from Kentish Plover. Afternoon bird around Laem Pak Bia looking especially for Nordmann's Greenshank, which regularly winters there, and Asian Dowitcher. Other possibilities include Painted Stork, Chinese Pond-Heron, Javan Pond-Heron, Spot-billed Pelican, Brown Shrike, and Asian Pied-Starling. Also likely are a variety of widely distributed wintering shorebirds along withy Brown-hooded Gull, Great Crested Tern, and Lesser Crested Tern. Night at Good Home Hotel in Phetchaburi.

DAY 3 - LAEM PAK BIA & BUNG BORAPHET

Morning return to Laem Pak Bia as needed to look for Nordmann's Greenshank and Asian Dowitcher if missed the previous day. Then transfer to Nakhon Sawan near Bung Boraphet reservoir with birding stop near Ratchaburi. The habitat at Ratchaburi has been degraded but it's still a good place to find Indochinese Bushlark. Also possible though difficult is Rain Quail. After arrival and check-in, birding lowland scrub and wetland areas a half hour south of town, best place to find Striated Grassbird. Other possibilities include Yellow Bittern, White-breasted Moorhen, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, and Long-tailed Shrike. This area is the best place to find wintering Siberian Rubythroat and is also good for species such as Pink-necked Pigeon, Plaintive Cuckoo, Gray-bellied Cuckoo, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Black-browed Reed Warbler, and Chestnut-capped Babbler. Night at Bonito Chino Hotel in Nakhon Sawan.

DAY 4 - BUNG BORAPHET & TRANSFER

Morning boat trip on Bung Boraphet reservoir. The surface is partly covered with floating Lotus that offer prime habitat for Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Bronze-winged Jacana, and White-collared Kingfisher. Also present in winter are a variety of waterfall. Notable are Lesser Whistling-Duck, Cotton Pygmy-Goose, Garganey, and Ferruginous Duck. Accidentals such as Baer's Pochard and Common Shelduck have been recorded there. Mid-day transfer to Mae Wong National Park, about a 2-hour drive. There should be some time for roadside birding in late afternoon. Mae Wong is the best place in Thailand for mammal watching after dark, so night drive to look for mammals as well as owls and nightjars. Night-time sightings of Leopard and Clouded Leopard occur regularly along the road. Night tent camping in the established campground an hour up the main road.

DAY 5 - MAE WONG

All day birding Mae Wong. This national park features more lush tropical broadleaf and montane forest, very unlike Mae Ping. Near the top of the road at Chong Yen ranger station is a stake-out where Coral-billed Scimitar-Babbler is normally seen. The blind behind the ranger station is the best place to see Gray Peacock-Pheasant, which appears about 70% of the time. It's worth spending time there in either morning, late afternoon, or both but visits must be coordinated with other visitors who also use the blind. Other target birds besides the peacock-pheasant are Rufous-throated Partridge and White-necked Laughingthrush. Birds usually seen along the short trail to the blind include Gray-backed Shrike and Black-throated Laughingthrush. A second blind next to a shallow bird bathing spot above the ranger station is also worth spending some time. The trail leading to that blind and the waterhole itself may yield Speckled Piculet, Striated Yuhina, Eyebrowed Wren-Babbler, Long-tailed Sibia, and Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher. This area is one of the few places in Thailand where the rare Burmese Yuhina is possible and it sometimes appears along that trail. Also possible but unlikely is a sighting of Rufous-necked Hornbill, which mainly stays in an area of Mae Wong closed to visitors but can sometimes be seen flying by in the valley below the lookout at Chong Yen. After dark it's again worth a night drive looking for mammals and owls. Night tent camping in the established campground an hour up the main road.

DAY 6 - MAE WONG & MAE PING

Morning bird the upper section of the road at Mae Wong again. This morning is a second opportunity to visit the peacock-pheasant blind if other visitors were in the blind the previous day. Mid-day transfer to Mae Ping National Park, arriving mid-afternoon after a 5-hour drive. Mae Ping features dry Dipterocarp forest unlike other sites visited on the tour and is especially good for woodpeckers, notably Gray-capped Woodpecker, White-bellied Woodpecker, Lesser Yellownape, Black-headed Woodpecker, and Common Flameback. Night at Ton Palm Resort near Mae Ping.

DAY 7 - MAE PING & DOI INTHANON

Morning bird the road through Mae Ping National Park. Possibilities include Banded Bay Cuckoo, Gray-headed Parakeet, Common Woodshrike, Rosy Minivet, Black-hooded Oriole, Giant Nuthatch, Rufescent Prinia, and Golden-fronted Leafbird in addition to woodpeckers. Transfer to Doi Inthanon at mid-day, about a 3-hour drive. After arrival drive to the top of the mountain. A boardwalk along the Ang Ka Nature Trail through boggy forest is the best place to find skulkers such as White-browed Shortwing, Snowy-browed Flycatcher, and Dark-sided Thrush, the main target birds there. This area may be visited several times while at Doi Inthanon until all three species are seen. Also possible there is the difficult to see Eurasian Woodcock along with Yellow-bellied Fairy-Fantail, Pygmy Cupwing, Rufous-winged Fulvetta, Silver-eared Laughingthrush, and Chestnut-tailed Minla. In late afternoon the very range restricted Speckled Wood-Pigeon can sometimes be seen along the road. Night at Mr. Dang's Place.

DAY 8 - DOI INTHANON

All day birding the main road up the mountain. Look for fruiting trees where birds tend to congregate. Possibilities on the road itself include Mountain Bamboo-Partridge and Silver Pheasant. Other possibilities include Gray-capped Woodpecker, Short-billed Minivet, Black-winged Cuckooshrike, and Mountain Tailorbird. Lower down a trail off the road leads to a small stream where Black-backed Forktail and the skulky Slaty-bellied Tesia are normally seen. A trail near the park entrance is the best place to find the difficult to see Lesser Shortwing and can also be good for trogons. The gardens outside the park entrance are a good place to look for Eyebrowed Wren-Babbler and Plumbeous Redstart. Night at Mr. Dang's Place.

DAY 9 - DOI INTHANON

Morning bird a dirt track up the back side of Doi Inthanon. This road is too steep and rough for vehicles used by most international birding groups and hence usually isn't birded by them. It is nevertheless worth checking out as the habitat is quite different. Possibilities include Speckled Wood-Pigeon, Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Hume's Warbler, Blyth's Leaf Warbler, Black-eared Parrotbill (a main target bird that is found in bamboo stands), Vivid Niltava, and Slaty-backed Flycatcher. Afternoon re-visit the boardwalk area to find any species missed the previous day. In late afternoon is worth checking a marshy area where the rare Black-tailed Crake is sometimes found. Night at Mr. Dang's Place.

DAY 10 - DOI INTHANON & DOI ANG KHANG

Morning bird a lower elevation area on the back side of the mountain that features much drier Dipterocarp forest. The main target bird is the rare White-rumped Falcon, which is unlikely to be seen anywhere else. Also possible is Collared Falconet, Violet Cuckoo, Stripe-breasted Woodpecker, and Stripe-throated Bulbul. Mid-morning transfer to Doi Ang Khang, about 3-4 hours drive. After check-in and lunch, birding at the lookout near the end of the road. The lookout is very near the Myanmar border and is sometimes shrouded with fog. It's the only place to find Daurian Redstart and is the best place to see Burmese Shrike. Various other interesting birds are also likely including Himalayan Swiftlet, Ashy Woodswallow, Long-tailed Shrike, Gray-backed Shrike, several migrant thrushes, and White-capped Redstart. Night at Baan Luang Resort.

DAY 11 - DOI ANG KHANG

Early drive back up the road to Doi Ang Khang. Return to higher elevation to pick up any birds missed previous day as needed. A visit to the "pitta" hide is the best chance to see Rufous-breasted Pitta. Other birds usually appear at the hide including Silver-eared Mesia, Hill Blue Flycatcher, and Siberian Blue Robin. Bird the gardens area where likely possibilities include Red-whiskered Bulbul, Gray Bushchat, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Gould's Sunbird, and Spot-winged Grosbeak. A visit to the garbage dump area should yield Siberian Stonechat, only place in Thailand where this species breeds, along with possibly Brown-breasted Bulbul, Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-Babbler, Silver-eared Laughingthrush, and Scarlet-faced Liocichla. During mid-day a small stream near the dining room at the lodge attracts a variety of birds including sometimes wintering thrushes, Red-whiskered Bulbul, and Pale Blue Flycatcher. A small waterfall and pond on lodge property is the best place to find Water Redstart, which is usually there. After lunch bird the lower road where drier Dipterocarp forest attracts some different species including the scarce migrant Hodgson's Hawk Cuckoo and Spectacled Barwing. Night at Baan Luang Resort.

DAY 12 - DOI ANG KHANG & DOI LANG

Morning transfer to Doi Lang, about a 2-hour drive to the north. Drive the road up the back side of the mountain. This road goes higher up than the main road and has been closed to traffic below the top for security reasons as the top section is very near the Myanmar border. Possible birds of special interest include Bamboo Partridge, sometimes seen along the road, Collared Babbler and Gray-breasted Parrotbill, both bamboo specialists, Wedge-tailed Pigeon, Red-headed Trogon, Blue-throated Barbet, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, Maroon Oriole, Gray Treepie, Yellow-bellied Fantail, Yellow-cheeked Tit, Bianchi's Warbler, Whiskered Yuhina, and many others. Sometimes clients sit in a portable hide and put out mealworms that may draw in Crested Finchbill, Dark-backed Sibia, and Large Niltava. Night in Fang at Phumanee Hotel.

DAY 13 - DOI LANG

All day birding the main road up Doi Lang. Birding is mainly along the road up the mountain. Roadside birding offers a good chance to see the spectacular Hume's Pheasant, a rather shy bird that sometimes appears on the road itself. It's best seen very early before other cars are on the road but is also seen at other times of day. A section of pines is prime habitat for Giant Nuthatch. Tracts of bamboo are good for Gray-headed Parrotbill and Spot-breasted Parrotbill. Many other birds are possible including Eurasian Hoopoe, Golden-throated Barbet, Strip-breasted Woodpecker, Short-billed Minivet, Clicking Shrike-Babbler, Japanese Tit, Hume's Treecreeper, White-bellied Redstart, Sapphire Flycatcher, and several bulbuls and warblers. Night in Fang at Phumanee Hotel.

DAY 14 - TRANSFER

Morning birding main road up Doi Lang looking for any species missed previous day. Mid-day transfer to Chiang Mai, about a 3-hour drive. Afternoon flight to Bangkok (not included in tour price). Night at Aranta Airport Hotel in Bangkok

DAY 15 - END OF TOUR

Morning transfer to Suvarnabhumi International Airport for flight home.

 

TOUR NOTES

Tour price is based on accommodations near birding sites, mainly Thai-style hotels with tent camping in Mae Wong. Utilizing western-style accommodations can be arranged but will result in a higher price and some changes to itinerary.

 

ADDITIONAL INFO
(Not on Menu Above)

BIRDING LOCALES

 

Pheasant-tailed Jacana - © James F Wittenberger and Exotic Birding Tours Gray Peacock-Pheasant - © James F Wittenberger and Exotic Birding Tours White-browed Shortwing - © James F Wittenberger and Exotic Birding Tours Silver Pheasant - © James F Wittenberger and Exotic Birding Tours Black-tailed Crake - © James F Wittenberger and Exotic Birding Tours Daurian Redstart - © James F Wittenberger and Exotic Birding Tours Rusty-cheeked Scimitar-Babbler - © James F Wittenberger and Exotic Birding Tours Whiskered Yuhina - © James F Wittenberger and Exotic Birding Tours Spot-breasted Parrotbill - © James F Wittenberger and Exotic Birding Tours