Saturday, 5 December 2015

2nd December 2015 Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary

We took a look around the gardens where the best species seen were a pair of Plain-backed Sparrows before we enjoyed a breakfast and left Khao Yai Cottage at 8am for the long drive to Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary making good time arriving by 2pm. Before entering the sanctuary we enjoyed the fine sight of the large area lowland forest stretching uninterrupted to Nam Nao National Park. At the entrance barrier we explained we wanted to stay in the sanctuary and were told to report to the HQ. We slowly drove the 25km entrance road running through several discrete types of forest. A Red Junglefowl seen just inside the entrance barrier was a promising start, but despite forest reaching the edges of the tarmac for the entire way, the remainder of the drive was surprisingly uneventful with very few birds seen. At the HQ the very helpful sanctuary superintendant quickly arranged for us to stay in a room in an unoccupied accommodation block and pointed us in the direction of the grassland area of the sanctuary. We took a quick look at the grassland area seeing 3 Green Peafowl nearby - whilst generally considered of 'unknown origin' it unfortunately seems very likely they are released birds as Phu Khieo lays outside the species mapped range in Thailand. We then toured the various lakes in the vicinity of the HQ. Whilst enjoying the sunset at one of the lakes the superintendant came jogging along the track. We explained we were hoping that we might see a White-winged Duck and he quickly offered to take us to a couple of small lakes in the forest where they are sometimes seen. A drive down a narrow and increasingly overgrown track ensued that led to two small forest pools but unfortunately no Duck were in residence. The Superintendant suggested that we should try at dawn the following morning and left us to continue his jogging. We returned to our room after dark to find no electricity. Fortunately I quickly found someone who realised that the electricity to the entire accommodation block needed switching-on and explained that the generator ran until 9pm. We had bought provisions en-route that we eat in the car. A walk out looking for Owls resulted in a Mountain Scops Owl being heard before the onset of rain. 
Red Junglefowl 1
Chinese Pond Heron 6
Red Turtle Dove 1
Spotted Dove 10
Zebra Dove 2
Mountain Scops Owl h
Indian Roller 2
Common Kingfisher 2
Peregrine 1
Ashy Woodswallow 10
Black Drongo 2
Bronzed Drongo 2
Red-billed Blue Magpie 2
Large-billed Crow 2
Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher 2
White-rumped Shama 2
Plain-backed Sparrow 2
Tree Sparrow 10
Scaly-breasted Munia 1

Khao Yai Cottage Gardens
Apart from on arrival, when we were too tired to notice, the first time we saw the rather nice gardens in daylight was as we were leaving!

A few street scenes en-route to Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary
Looking towards Nam Nao NP from Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary
Great to see an extensive area of forest remains - long may it continue to do so!
Entrance to Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary
Unfortunately there has been no sign of the Rhinos for several years now
Grasslands at Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary

Indian Roller at Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary

Released male Green Peafowl at Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary
One of the lakes near the HQ at Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary