Birds and Elephants

3 great days of birding in Central Thailand with Elephants on sight

by Alex Vargas on February 5, 2012 · 0 comments

in Birding Asia, Digiscoping & Bird Photography

During the crazy times of flooding in Bangkok, our family decided to spend some time in higher ground and what could it be better than Khao Yai, with the National Park of the same name which is a World’s Heritage Site from Unesco and a paradise of wildlife and with my good friend Guide A, a keen birder’s guide living in Pak Chong City, a few miles away…

I went out with Guide A three times in those days and every time came home with a smile and great birds in my memory cards… I highly recommend you this gent that knows the area as his hand and has a relaxed way of getting you to find and enjoy wildlife, which by the way, it’s abundant! To complete the story, Guide A is an avid wildlife photographer and this helps you as he knows and shares the moves to get the cool image, beyond the cool sight.

Guide A by Alex Vargas

Guide A by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

The first time we hunted photos together, was November 11th and it was a nocturnal session in the search for a good looking and not easy to get Brown Hawk-Owl; it was amazing. The bird was at Guide A’s spot like if was waiting for us and by the first time I had a real… no, a surreal photo-moment with the elusive bird. A total of 4 owls and 2 nightjars were the summary of the adventure in Pak Chong City.

Brown Hawk-Owl by Alex Vargas

Brown Hawk-Owl by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iKqovfyOwk

Brown Hawk-Owl - portrait by Alex Vargas

Brown Hawk-Owl - portrait by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

The second time (Nov 14th) Guide A took us (daughter and me) to some fish farms where our target was a good image of the Black Kites that are always around catching fish. Just before the ponds, we saw a bird on the distance and was notoriously bigger than a kite… oh yes, a lot bigger! as it resulted to be a Greater Spotted Eagle, a young bird having a piece of fish in the pasture lands

Greater Spotted Eagle by Alex Vargas

Greater Spotted Eagle by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

Greater Spotted Eagle - flight by Alex Vargas

Greater Spotted Eagle - flight by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

The Black Kites then were considered a bonus and to finish on style, Guide A found us an owlet in daylight!

Black Kite by Alex Vargas

Black Kite by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

Spotted Owlet by Alex Vargas

Spotted Owlet by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

The second part of the adventure was at night and with my girls (wife and daughter) searching for mammals. Again, a massive success!. Guide A was pretty happy of finding a Gaur (massive wild cow) at a salt-lick and the adventure seemed already pretty promising. We found several mammals, but the most exiting encounter happened with a family of Asian Elephants on the roadside… the very first time my daughter saw a wild one ever, an important occurrence. With my beloved and powerful flashlight, photos and videos were possible

Elephant - at night by Alex Vargas

Elephant - at night by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

We were so exited of the great night outing, that decided to go again next morning for a bird-photo session. This time, my daughter and I loaded blinds and gear in Guide A’s car and got up to the National Park real early.
Our friend had told us of some fruiting trees and how some hornbills could come to enjoy the sweet figs… and he was absolutely right again! Just on the way up, a pair of majestic Great Hornbills seemed pretty happy on a relaxed feast. They were at the top op a tall tree, but although far away, from the roadside they were at eye level for us. Later, another pair was found at a different spot and it was all good!

Great Hornbill - female by Alex Vargas

Great Hornbill - female by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

Great Hornbill - couple by Alex Vargas

Great Hornbill - couple by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

An smaller fig tree -at the Campground- gave us some great chances for smaller birds up close

Moustached Barbet by Alex Vargas

Moustached Barbet by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

Yellow-vented Flowerpecker by Tamara Vargas

Yellow-vented Flowerpecker by Tamara Vargas, Thailand 2011

Blue-eared Barbet by Alex Vargas

Blue-eared Barbet by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

After lunch, we set up our blinds and some worms for a chance on the Blue Rock-Thrush, the one with the red belly, from the subspecies philippensis

Blue Rock-Thrush - philippensis by Alex Vargas

Blue Rock-Thrush - philippensis by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

It was time to call off a fantastic and successful day, but nature had us a great farewell surprise, as on the way down, we found a huge male Elephant on the road

…which we followed to the salt-lick

Elephant - on roadside by Tamara Vargas

Elephant - on roadside by Tamara Vargas, Thailand 2011

Three wonderful days full of success and nature, thanks to the amazing wildlife of the zone and the unparalleled knowledge of our good friend Guide A

Tammy by Alex Vargas

Tammy by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

Some related links:

http://www.facebook.com/khaoyai.guidea

http://www.facebook.com/pages/KHAOYAI-THAILAND-TOURS/286525848035745

http://www.pbase.com/alex_vargas/my_birds_thailand

 

Happy Bird-Photo Adventures

Subscribe Now

If you enjoyed this post, you will definitely enjoy our others. Subscribe to the feed to get instantly updated for those awesome posts soon to come.

BirdingBlogs.com gives you top birding content every day!

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: