Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai


Thursday 8th of June 2017 and I was in the restaurant just after 6 o'clock and I was enjoying my tea when the tour company owner came and disturbed. I finished my tea and we left for the van. We drove out to the Huai Tueng Thao area.

And I can as well start my Bird watching at Huai Tueng Thao in Chiang Mai birding map on Goggle. And by the time I'm ready with my pictures the map will be ready.

Click HERE to view the map in a full window

We drove out of Chiang Mai and we passed a ticket booth. But as we were early we could go inside for free. Otherwise 50 Baht for foreigners and 20 Bath for Thai people. So you're kind of pissed off before you start the birding. Coming in to the area and you drive on a road until you reach an intersection. You have the lake Huai Tueng Thao dead ahead. So unless you're going to stop at any of the eating places you only have 2 options. Turn left or right. And as the road goes around the lake it is never mind what you choose.

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
And they have the kindness to inform us that Thai people only pay 20 Baht

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
The lake is surrounded by small rafts used for eating and drinking

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
The lake is surrounded by small rafts used for eating and drinking

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
The lake is surrounded by small rafts used for eating and drinking

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
The lake is surrounded by small rafts used for eating and drinking

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
The lake is surrounded by small rafts used for eating and drinking

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
The lake is surrounded by small rafts used for eating and drinking

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
The lake is surrounded by small rafts used for eating and drinking

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
The weather could have been better

The lake is almost surrounded by small floating huts for eating and drinking. So this is obviously an area to avoid during the weekend. We aimed for the North West corner of the lake. Away from the crowd, but there were quite a few people fishing along the lake.

We drove north on the east side and we parked the car at the North West corner of the lake. We walked along the dirt road until we came to a derelict ZIP LINE tower. We had seen lapwings on the open field/ wetland on our left hand side during the walk

The area around the abandoned ZIP LINE tower is an off road area for motorcycles. So I guess this is an area to avoid during the weekends. But now it was very convenient to walk through the bushes/ forest using the dirt paths

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
We leave the car behind and we walk along the dirt road

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
Walking along the dirt road

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
Open field/ wetland

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
Open field/ wetland

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
Abandoned ZIP LINE tower

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
Abandoned ZIP LINE tower area

When we came to the abandoned ZIP LINE towers my Driver and I went in to the forest using the off road dirt tracks to walk through the bushes and forest until we reached another lake. We had seen a big Cuckoo and another bird, a warbler I think. The picture is very bad.

It was a very nice area but we could not see any birds. But we could hear many birds, many Cuckoo but we never saw any. The dirt tracks were very good to walk on, most of the times. Sometimes we had to be a little more adventurous to make our way through the bushes/ forest.

It was a gorgeous and nice walk even though we didn't saw any birds and it is a recommended walk to take, but avoid holidays when I suspect the forest is full of off road bikes.

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
We go off road using the dirt tracks

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
We go off road using the dirt tracks

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
A warbler?

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
We go off road using the dirt tracks

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
We reach the Lake Mae Yen

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
We reach the Lake Mae Yen

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
We reach the Lake Mae Yen

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
We reach the Lake Mae Yen

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
We reach the Lake Mae Yen

We walk back to the dirt track and we continue walking along the dirt track. We see Bulbuls and Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters in the open fields/ wetlands. There were many of them but they were a little far away for any good pictures.

It started to pour down and I had to take cover under a tree. There was a small hut, but as I don't want to run in to any snakes I stayed outside. I made a mental not to bring a plastic bag for my camera next time. Canon 5D and it should not be any problem, but a plastic bag would come in handy.

My driver went to get the van and I was very happy when I saw the van approaching my tree.
Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai - Chestnut-headed Bee-eater
Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters in the field/ wetland

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai - Chestnut-headed Bee-eater
Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters in the field/ wetland

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
It start to pour down and I have to take cover under a tree

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
Coming with the van

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
Looking at Bee-eater sin a tree

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
Waiting for the rain to stop

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
Driving around the lake to see if it stops to rain - Driving over the dam wall

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
Driving around the lake to see if it stops to rain - South of the dam wall

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
Driving around the lake to see if it stops to rain - South of the dam wall

We continued on the road and se stopped to wait for the rain to stop. And as there was no sign of the rain to stop we decided to go for an early lunch. I wanted to go back to my hotel to dry my camera. The camera was full of fog after the rain so I could not take any pictures on the tour around the lake before we drove back to Chiang Mai.

There was a beautiful area south of the dam wall, but no walk paths so you need to be a real adventurer to get out there. Or at least you have to wear some heavy duty protective clothing.

Never mind, there wasn't any bird to be seen in the rain. Lunch in Chiang Mai and we will come back here in the afternoon. And the roads was flooded when we were back in Chiang Mai and we had heavy rain pouring down and I was worried about the afternoon birding.

Flooding in Chiang Mai
Streets are flooded in Chiang Mai

Flooding in Chiang Mai
Streets are flooded in Chiang Mai

Flooding in Chiang Mai
Streets are flooded in Chiang Mai

Flooding in Chiang Mai
Streets are flooded in Chiang Mai
I was blow drying my camera during the lunch and when they came to pick me up after lunch the camera was working again. I just had time for a very quick fried rice in the restaurant before it was time to go back to Huai Tueng Thao to see if we can finally get some good bird pictures.

Coming back and the ticket booth was manned and we had to pay the entrance fee. I wanted to get back to the dirt road, but as it had been raining I suspected that it was nothing but mud there now. We drove the same way on the east side of the lake and we passed several people fishing under umbrellas.

Yeah, no use to drive back home on your moped, will be as wet in a few seconds. We passed the spot where we had parked this morning and we continued on the paved road. We spotted a few Lineated Barbets, too far away for me. But the Guide (?) I had paid money for was off to take pictures. Same during the morning session, the Guide was somewhere else and I walked around with the driver.

I will not use this tour company again. But I have the number to the driver and the Guide in Doi Inthanon. Jeez, thinking back, 22 years living in Thailand. Time is really passing quickly. Anyway, the driver, I have never seen or experienced any better driver in Thailand. And he is a hard core birder as well. So this is a guy you want to go around Thailand with.

Speaks no English and it have been really nice to practise “bird watching” Thai with him.

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
Driving back to Huai Tueng Thao

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
Driving back to Huai Tueng Thao

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
Driving back to Huai Tueng Thao

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
Fishing in Huai Tueng Thao

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
Fishing in Huai Tueng Thao


Listen to the Common iora




We spotted a beautiful Common Iora and DARN! I should have taken a video of the bird singing. And I also saw my first ever Cinnamon Bittern, what a beautiful bird it is! I was walking along with one finger up my nostril and the other hand scratching the behind when suddenly the Cinnamon Bittern took off from the tall grass on my left hand side. Needless to say, I never got any picture.

But it was an amazing sight and it is more important to experience the nature than to have a picture. We continued and we saw some small bird, but I never got any pictures as the bird was moving all the time. We were chasing a Cuckoo that turned out to be a Green-billed Malkoha.

A beautiful bird, but the bird was sitting in the top of the tree and we had to follow the bird from tree to tree. I got one picture but it was not very good as the bird was in the top of a tall tree. And I was yet again happy that I had bought the flash in Singapore.

Common iora, Aegithina tiphia, นกขมิ้นน้อยธรรมดา
"Common iora - นกขมิ้นน้อยธรรมดา

Common iora, Aegithina tiphia, นกขมิ้นน้อยธรรมดา
"Common iora - นกขมิ้นน้อยธรรมดา

Green-billed Malkoha, Phaenicophaeus tristis, นกบั้งรอกใหญ่
Green-billed Malkoha - นกบั้งรอกใหญ่

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
A zip line across the lake

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
A zip line across the lake

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
A zip line across the lake

When we came back from the Green-billed Malkoha we saw a group coming over the lake hanging in a ZIP line. I went down to have a look before we got in to the van again. We drove to the place where we had parked the van this morning. My driver and I went back to check a dirt track while our Guide (?) stayed behind. Now he could not walk due to pain in his toes.

Yeah, it was well invested money with the Guide. Seriously, he was most interested in his own birding and, well, I will not call next time I'm in Chiang Mai.

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
We walk up on the dirt road

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
The road was only about 100 meters long and ended in a pond

Birding/ Bird watching in Huai Tueng Thao, Chiang Mai
The road was only about 100 meters long and ended in a pond

I have never seen so many Cuckoos in one place before. But I only got a poor picture of a Green-billed Malkoha out of it. But I had a great time here in Huai Tueng Thao. And you can easily spend a few days birding here. It is a huge area and even if you don't see any birds you will have a great day in the nature.

We drove back to Chiang Mai and I was soon in my hotel room. I had decided to go to Central Festival and I tried to book a taxi via UBER. The taxi came after 15 minutes and it was quite a ride to get to Central Festival. Exactly the same shops and restaurants as in all the other Central malls. I had Japanese food that was very good.

Dairy Queen at Central Festival, Chiang Mai

Dairy Queen at Central Festival, Chiang Mai

Tomorrow and it will be bird watching on Doi Suthep. Wake up call at 05:00 and a full day of excitements, Yet another Smiley on www.aladdin.st hopefully. Departure from the hotel at 06:30 and I was in bed early. And if you want to know what I found at Doi Suthep/ Doi Pui you just ned to click HERE!

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