DOI PHU KHA NATIONAL PARK
|# Excl Vagrants:||290|
|# Near Endemics:||0|
|Habitat: Dry dipterocarp forest, mixed deciduous forest, hill evergreen forest|
ABOUT THE BIRDING
Doi Phu Kha National Park protects a forested mountainous region of northeast Thailand. It's seldom visited by birders due to its location, quite out of the way for most tour itineraries. The major attraction for birders is the chance to see two rare nuthatches, Beautiful Nuthatch and Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, both difficult to see without considerable effort and some luck. Other specialties of interest are Black-throated Tit and Whiskered Yuhina. The best time to visit is November-February during dry season when many migrants are present.
Several areas are worthy of birding in the park. Habitat around the headquarters area is fairly open pine forest that can be birded along a loop road, at the campsite, and along some short trails. Whiskered Yuhina is fairly common in this area. Other species of interest include Indochinese Yuhina, Oriental White-eye, Gray Treepie, Davison's Leaf Warbler, White-browed Scimitar-Babbler, and Brown-cheeked Fulvetta. The rare Jerdon's Bushchat can be looked for immediately behing the entrance checkpoint near a small muddy pond.
The best forest is in the "Star-gazing" spot just after the KM-30 road marker. Numerous species are possible including Streak-breasted Woodpecker, Blue Pitta, Mountain Tailorbird, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, White-tailed Robin, Golden Babbler, Silver-eared Mesia, and Blue-winged Minla. Across the road is a shrine some 10m above the road is a trail that goes steeply uphill to the highest point in the park where Beautiful Nuthatch has been seen. Other higher elevation birds there include Black-throated Tit, Long-tailed Sibia, and Scarlet-faced Liocichla.
The shrine area at KM-31 and the pass area at KM-33 are also excellent birding spots. The parking area around the shrine might yield Black-eared Shrike-Babbler, Slaty-bellied Tesia, White-gorgeted Flycatcher, and Streaked Wren-Babbler. Farther up the road possiblities include Speckled Piculet, White-bellied Erpornis, Pygmy Cupwing, and Yunnan Fulvetta. Also possible is the rare Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch. In the pass area possibilities include Himalayan Swiftlet, Whiskered Yuhina, Black-throated Tit, Chestnut-bellied Rock-Thrush, and Spectacled Barwing.
LOCATION OF SITE
Doi Phu Kha National Park is located 250km east of Chiang Mai near the Laos border in northeast Thailand. It takes about 6-7 hours due to the indirect winding roads one must take to reach the park.