Monday, 8 December 2014

8th December 2014 Chong Yen, Mae Wong National Park

It was a difficult decision whether to again watch the Pied Harriers leave their roost or simply make an early morning start on the drive to Mae Wong National Park that meant circumnavigating Bangkok not knowing how choked with traffic that might be especially as we had to arrive at Mae Wong BP before 4pm to collect a key to a room booked at Chong Yen campsite. We chose the latter and found ourselves on the outskirts of Bangkok just after dawn and in the rush hour. Fortunately the ring road kept moving albeit it felt like eight lines of traffic cramped into four lanes for most of the time! Once heading north we soon left most of the traffic behind, a breakfast in MacDonalds and made good progress on a decent motorway for a couple of hundred miles. Leaving the motorway it was a fair drive through rice paddies before reaching the first market town of a different flavour to those of the south being comprised of people with their roots in the Karen hill tribes. We stocked up with bananas and bread as we had been told no food was available in the National Park for our intended 3 night stay. We reached Mae Wong National Park at around 2pm and soon completed the formalities, were handed a key to a room at the Chong Yen campsite, and were on our way for the last 30km of driving through forested ridges where a flock of 7 Black Bazas were seen flying over a perched juvenile Mountain Hawk-Eagle. A lady at the campsite showed us to our basic room and we unloaded the car. In doing so we used the 'internal lock' on the door handle only to discover the key then didn't fit the door lock on the outside but only the bolted-on padlock! The lady looked concerned and fetched her husband who immediately smiled, laughed and said 'no problem' as he disappeared only to return with a large axe and a mallet! A firm whack and the door opened splinters of wood flying everywhere but 'no problem'! We had inadvertently met Annan, the ranger who basically runs the show at Chong Yen, and although he only speaks a little English he's an extremely friendly, very likeable character and he asked 'you want to see Rusty-naped Pitta?, tomorrow morning, no problem!'. On asking him about Rufous-necked Hornbill he loudly imitated its call and suggested spending the remaining couple of hours looking from the viewpoint at the campsite from where the Hornbills are often seen to fly across the valleys to roost. We did, but didn't see any Hornbills, but a Grey-backed Shrike and a Blue Rock thrush kept us entertained, it was a nice view and sunset, the busy tiny campsite had a very friendly feel to it, the weather was pleasantly cool and the smell of the smoke fires and general atmosphere and surroundings brought back happy memories of being in Nepal and we could hear a Rusty-naped Pitta continually calling.      
Lesser Whistling Duck 20
Pond Heron sp. 20
Cattle Egret 100
Black-winged Kite 1
Black Baza 7
Mountain Hawk-Eagle 1 juvenile
Black Kite 2
Cuckoo-Dove sp. 1 seen briefly in flight
Mountain Imperial Pigeon 10
Greater Coucal 1
Mountain Scops Owl h
Indian Nightjar h at Lake Scene Resort
Indian Roller 6
Great Barbet 1
Rusty-naped Pitta h
Ashy Woodswallow 10
Grey-backed Shrike 1
Flavescent Bulbul 8
Swallow 50
Common Myna 6
Blue Rock Thrush 1
House Sparrow 10
Climbing through the forested ridges of Mae Wong National Park
Flavescent Bulbul at Chong Yen, Mae Wong National Park
First-winter Grey-backed Shrike at Chong Yen, Mae Wong NP
Sunset from Chong Yen, Mae Wong NP