Saturday, 5 January 2013

Mangroves of the south

Birding in southern Thailand in December is tricky; quite slow and hard work. Peter Ericsson told me this, and when I bumped into another British birder at the end of the mangrove boardwalk at Krabi he shared the same view. Nevertheless, mangrove habitats are being depleted around the world and host a specialist array of species in Thailand. For example I was fortunate enough to get cracking views of Brown-winged Kingfisher from a boat in the mangroves at Krabi; a species I'd seen in Malaysia a couple of years ago, but no way as close as here.
Brown-winged Kingfisher, Krabi 3rd January 2013
There were also plenty of Black-capped Kingfishers, Striated Herons and White-bellied Sea Eagles and Brahminy Kites patrolled the skies. Although my quest for Mangrove Pitta was a forlorn one, despite a real concerted effort, they just weren't calling this early in the season and will have to wait for another trip. However, the search did reveal a Yellow Bittern, a couple of Ashy Tailorbirds and two delightful Forest Wagtails at Phang Nga.
Forest Wagtail Phang Nga 2nd January 2013
Southern Thailand is however awash with Brits, Scands, Russians, Germans and Aussies of the lowest common denominator - so much so that you really couldn't get much of authentic Thailand on the coast itself. Just a load of unsustainable tourism catering for dumbasses. But head away a short distance and you soon find yourself on your own again...
Karst scenery at Khao Sok NP
I returned to London a few hours ago, and in the gloom of the British winter, the bright skies from the 'land of the smiles' seemed an all too distant memory. Along with the copious amounts of prawns and Tom Yum soup. At least I've got more gulls to sort through here than in Thailand though!

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