Still lock down due to the Wuhan Virus. Parks are all closed down so I checked eBird for hotspots outside the parks. I found a few interesting hotspots at the mouth of Bang Pakong River, about 35 km East of the famous birding area Bangpu Recreation Center and about 65 km from DOWN TOWN Bangkok.
The Bang Pra Non-hunting Area, the area east of the Bang Pra Reservoir. It is about 110 km from DOWN TOWN Bangkok so it is just a few KM extra to drive and I decided to start there.
There are a few eBird hotspots in the area:
• Bang Phra Non-hunting Area (general area)
• Bang Phra Non-hunting Area--Waterbird Breeding Center & vicinity
• Bang Phra Non-hunting Area--Noen Wang Hin Forest Protection Unit
• Khao Khieo – Khao Chomphu Wildlife Sanctuary--headquarters
To skip the information and to go straight to the TRIP REPORT click HERE
I usually don't use any bird watching Guide in / around Bangkok. But could be a good idea to have a Guide to help me identify all the birds I see. As it is now my eBird checklists are not very impressive as I can only ID half of the birds I see.
About 110 km from the Sukhumvit / Asoke intersection in DOWN TOWN Bangkok
You will need a car and if you don't have your own a taxi is a very convenient way of travelling. Depending on the early morning traffic it will take 90 minutes to reach the area. You rent the taxi for a full day and it will set you back with about 1500-3000 Baht (May 2020). To make sure that the driver understand you can show the below Thai Script:
• Bang Phra Reservoir อ่างเก็บน้ำบางพระ
• Bang Phra Reservoir No Hunting Wildlife Area เขตห้ามล่าสัตว์ป่าอ่างเก็บน้ำบางพระ
Get up on the Bangkok - Chonburi Motorway in Bangkok and follow route 7. The motorway will change to Chonburi - Pattaya Highway in Chonburi. Take off at road #3701, there are signs and this is also the exit for Bang Saen and Sriracha. Pay the road toll and continue along road # 3701 next to the highway until you can make a U-turn under the highway. Turn left and you turn left again at the T junction and drive south on the eastern side of the Bang Phra Reservoir.
Leave the high way and get on road # 3701
Leave the high way and get on road # 3701
If you miss it you can always continue along road #3701 and make a new U-turn in to road #3702 and drive back until you reach road #3144 where you turn left. Turn left again at the T junction and drive south on the eastern side of the Reservoir.
Canon 5D Mk. III + Canon 5D Mk. IV
Canon EF 28-300/3,5-5,6 L IS USM
Canon EF 70-200/2,8L IS II USM
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens
Canon Speedlite 600EXII-RT flash
Canon PowerShot G7X Mark II
Panasonic HC-W585 video camera
ZOOM H5 Handy Recorder
Steiner Skyhawk 8x32 (Since May 2020)
Weather / climate
Weather, I don´t know if Bangkok is the hottest capital in the world. But this is what they say and I have no reason to doubt this information because it is darn hot.
Thai National Parks - About the National Parks in Thailand A very good web page - Do you know that there are still wild tigers, elephants, leopards, tapirs, gaurs, bears and many monkey species in many tropical rainforests across Thailand? Do you also know that around 10% of all marine species in the world can be found in Thailand? And the fact that Thailand is the best bird-watching destination in mainland Asia?
National parks are protected areas of land because they have unspoilt landscapes and a diverse number of native plants and animals. There are 127 national parks in Thailand, of them 22 marine national parks. These parks offers a diverse range of flora and fauna, home to important population of endangered species.So now it will be easy to find out if there are any National Park close to you.
Bird Conservation Society of Thailand (BCST) - The Bird Conservation Society of Thailand (BCST) is one of the oldest organisations conserving birds and nature in Thailand and is the country partner of BirdLife International. BCST's role to the local community is to spread awareness about urban birds and reconnect people back to nature.
Dated back to 1986 when BCST was then a loosely-formed “Bangkok Birdwatching Club”, the Oriental Magpie Robin (Copsychus saularis), or “Nok Gang Ken Baan” in Thai, has been chosen to represent the organisation.
There are two sites covering Thailand and I have used them many times. These two web pages are actually everything you need for your birding adventures in Thailand. All the information you need about all the birding spots. Click on the map and then select your spot and you will have maps and everything you need to know about the areas. They have put a lot of jobs in to their web pages, North Thailand Birding and thaibirding.com A must to visit before you go bird watching in Thailand.
thaibirding.com - Nick Upton's one stop only for all your birding in Thailand.
Use both www.thaibirding.com and www.norththailandbirding.com and you have a winner. Some of the maps on www.norththailandbirding.com are way better than Nick Upton´s, while some of Nick's maps are much more detailed. So I have found that if I use both the web pages for information, well, nothing else needed.
PBase/Peter Ericson - Peter Ericson, a guy I thought was from USA because of his family name. I met him at Lat Krabang Paddies in May 2020 and turned out that he was Swedish. Anyway, I have used his excellent page PBase since 2016 as help to ID birds by the help from his beautiful bird pictures.
Here you can also find information about birding tours.
Bangkok City Birding - A lot of interesting birding stories and information on this bird watching blog by David Gandy. Bangkok-based patch-worker in Suan Rot Fai, a large park close to the city's famous weekend market. He have recorded 150 species on his patch since 2008. As one of the only big green spaces in the city, “SRF” acts as a real magnet for migrants during spring and autumn, and holds a healthy selection of "sibes" during the winter months.
The East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership - The East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership is a network of partners within the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF). The East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) aims to protect migratory waterbirds, their habitat and the livelihoods of people dependent upon them.
The Flyway is one of 9 major migratory routes recognised globally. Partners include National Governments, Inter-Governmental Organisations, International
Non-governmental Organisations, and International Private Enterprise, which agree to endorse the text and support the objectives and actions under this Partnership.
www.tideschart.com GET THE LATEST TIDES IN THAILAND AND AROUND THE WORLD - A must to check out times for HIGH and LOW water when going to look for waders / shorebirds.
ebird - Find birding hotspots with bird checklists from all over the world
Avibase - is an extensive database information system about all birds of the world, containing over 25 million records about 10,000 species and 22,000 subspecies of birds, including distribution information for 12,000 regions, taxonomy, synonyms in several languages
www.oiseaux.net This web page is also excellent for identifying birds. There is information and range maps for many many birds from all over the world. This page is almost guaranteed to give you any answer you have about any bird in the world.
Cloudbirders - Read birding trip reports from all over the world
Fatbirder - Linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see their sister site: WAND
Fatbirder is a fantastic web page with information from, I think every country in the world. My first stop when I plan for my bird watching trips. There is information about locations and guides, well, pretty much everything you need to know. Sometimes this is the only place I need to visit to plan my trip.
BirdingPal - find a birding Guide around the world
And the web page you cannot live without. I have been around the world looking for birds. I usually have a Guide, but sometimes it is not possible to find a Guide. So, well, I have lost count on how many times I have had help to ID birds at BirdForum. Joining this forum have been very very good for my bird watching experience.
ClimaTemps.com is the place to learn about the worlds climates with more than 4000 locations documented. Each aspect of the climate is represented using colour enhanced tables and professional graphs so that data can easily be compared by switching between locations in different tabs in your browser.
“A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South East Asia by Craig Robson”
A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South East Asia by Craig Robson. New edition updated with 76 species since previous edition “A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South East Asia by Craig” Nick Upton at www.thaibirding.com wrote “This quite excellent book is packed full of quality illustrations and written information on 1251 species recorded in Southeast Asia”
I bought this book for bird watching in Thailand, but it goes for all over SE Asia
I have been very happy with the “A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South East Asia by Craig Robson” But I had a fire in my condo 2019 and I needed to buy a new book. I was looking for the “A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand and South East Asia by Craig Robson” as I liked the book. But this book is not available anymore so I had to buy the “A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand” by Craig Robson.
What a disappointment this was, using the pictures in the book didn't helped to ID any birds.
“Birds of Thailand” by Uthai Treesuconand Wich'yanan Limparungpatthanakij
I met Peter Ericson, a famous bird watcher and he recommended the “Birds of Thailand” by Uthai Treesuconand Wich'yanan Limparungpatthanakij. I bought the book as soon as the book stores opened after the Wuhan virus. And I am very happy with the book and I have managed to ID some birds using the book.
This new field guide will help you identify all 1049 species to have been recorded in the country to date, including the 20 species endemic or near-endemic to Thailand.
-Taxonomy follows the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World.
-Detailed texts covering status, habitat and behaviour, age, sex and geographical variation, voice, and confusion species.
-Almost 2200 illustrations covering all species and distinctive subspecies, birds in flight, males and females, juveniles and non-breeding plumages, where appropriate.
-QR code for each species, linking to the Internet Bird Collection gallery of photos, videos and sounds.
-More than 1025 full-colour range maps for all species other than vagrants.
-Well-marked subspecies groups receive full accounts, and the distributions of subspecies breeding in the region are clearly mapped.
-Local species name and local conservation status included.
I like the book, but I miss the picture index.
Places to visit
Bang Pra Non-hunting Area
Bang Phra Reservoir has the origin of water resources from the Green Mountains. It is a combination of creeks, such as Huai Sukree, Huay Wang, Huai Khwang and Huai Khab, in the area of Bang Phra Reservoir. The height of the sea level between 12-35 meters around the reservoir, the people planted sugarcane and cassava to the foot of the green.
Bang Pra Non-hunting Area, in Chonburi province, consists of a semi-natural lake surrounded by grassland and woodland. The reservoir is one used to hold water for irrigation and drinking and as a fishery rather than for hydro-electric purposes, meaning that it is shallow and abundant in birdlife. Local people are permitted to fish, gather plants and graze cattle but hunting birds and mammals is forbidden.
We drove by the Bang Phra Non-hunting Area - Urban Forest just north of the Waterbird Breeding Center. But this area is an area I will avoid. They charge foreigners 200 Baht and Thai 20 Baht to enter the Urban Forest. I refuse to go in to places that charge me 10 times more just because I am a foreigner. So this place will be avoided in the future.
We drive by the Bang Phra Non-hunting Area - Urban Forest
Foreigners have to pay 10 times more
There are enough area in the eastern side of the Bang Phra Reservoir to skip the “Urban Forest”. Just continue south along the eastern side of the Bang Phra Reservoir and you will pass a few eBird hotspots.
• Bang Phra Non-hunting Area (general area) - eBird prefer that we use the nearest hotspots when reporting. But if you don't want that use this hotspot. I do it sometimes when I have been walking around, coming in and out from different hotspots, then I just use one.
Some places the hotspots are very close and it is really impossible to know the limits between them.
We drove through the gate and we entered a second gate after 200 meters and the road came to an end. I was a little bit chocked as it looked like a bird prison. Birds in cages and, well, not what I had expected. But there were many birds in the area, at least the area I got to see.
We crossed a stream on a wooden bridge hanging from wires and there were a few birds that took off when I stepped out on the bridge. The creek was almost dry, no rain, but the rain season will soon start. The water in the Bang Phra Reservoir is very low so rain is needed.
Gate to the Waterbird Breeding Center
I will have to come back here when the Wuhan Virus is gone as we were told to leave the area as it was closed due to the Wuhan Virus. We left and I really want to come back soon.
Further down south on the road from the Waterbird Breeding Center, about 3,5 km to drive. You will soon see a dirt road on the right hand side of the road. If the boom is open you can get on the dirt road and after 100 meter you reach an area where you can park the car. If the boom is closed there are space to park outside the boom.
But drive slow as it is easy to miss the dirt road down to the Bang Phra Reservoir.
Gate to the Noen Wang Hin Forest Protection Unit was closed today
The boom was open the first time I was here
We can see the parking at the end of the dirt road
Reaching the parking and the dry “Egret Lake”
From the parking there is a walk path on the right hand side and the dirt road on the left hand side. When I was here the first time they worked on this road and we were not allowed to drive. But last time I was there the boom was open and you could drive on the dirt track.
East of the dirt track there is what I call a swamp with dead trees and I spotted some barbets. On the west side there is something that Nick Upton call the “Egret Lake” on his excellent web page. There is a page about the Bang Phra Non-hunting Area, click HERE to read.
The “Egret Lake” is dry during the dry season and you can walk to the island. There are a lot of dead trees on the island and there are many birds. So there is a lot of different habitats in the area.
Walking to the island over the dry “Egret Lake”
Last time I was here the “Egret Lake” was full
Dirt track going south from the parking
Walking towards south along the dirt track
Swamp area with dead trees east of the dirt road
The walk path from the parking lot takes you along the northern side of the “Egret Lake” and here is many birds to be seen in the trees and bushes. When you reach the end of the walk path, you are either on the water front. Or at the dry bottom of the Bang Phra Reservoir if it is the dry seasson and the water is low.
The water was high the first time I was here and in April it was dry and there were dry bottom and mudflats to be seen far away from the walk path. And there was hundreds of Asian Open bills on the mudflats and in the trees.
Walk path from the parking area
Bang Phra Reservoir was full the first time I was here
Walking along the walk path and we see how low the water level is
Between the paved road and the parking lot there is a small entrance to the walk path going north along the east side of the Bang Phra Reservoir. Quite comfy to walk on the stone / concrete pavement, but there are some places where it is gone and you have to walk next to the paved path.
Walking along this path and you will see many birds in the bushes and trees.
Wherever you decide to go, DO NOT FORGET MOSQUITO REPELLENT AND WATER!! It is darn hot.
I never use any bird lists, but since I try to make it in to Cloudbirders. A very helpful site when planning your birding trips. But they ask for a bird checklist, and if I use their service, of course I want to contribute as well. My two first bird watching trip reports was rejected by Cloudbirders.
So I started to take ideas from the reports I found on Cloudbirders. So I have started to use bird lists, eBird generate one for me and I can post it on Cloudbirders. I will post my birds on eBird and on my different “BIRDS THAT I HAVE OBSERVED” pages.
Full Thai list updated to the taxonomy, nomenclature and sequence of the IOU/IOC World Bird List. The complete checklist, including Thai names and synonyms, can be downloaded in Excel format - Thailand Bird Checklist. - Version 8.2 (2018) - found at www.norththailandbirding.com
Check lists can come in handy to find out the local name of the bird etc. And Avibase have a list with pictures and sounds, excellent!
So I will post bird checklists here and if my Guides provide me with checklists I will also post them here.
Chonburi bird checklist from Avibase, click HERE - eBird version 2019 taxonomy
Avibase is providing you with bird checklists from all over the world. And I´m impressed by their web page. Select country and area and you get the bird checklist. Like the PDF files I got from Avibase on the links above. You also get the checklist with pictures and sounds.
The best part is that you get the local names of the birds and the online checklist gives the names in English plus the language you have selected. But it seems like the PDF cannot handle some alphabet.
For example the Japanese language so it is blank in the PDF checklist. But it worked excellent with Swedish. But you get them in the local language on the online version.
I only list birds I have got on picture on my list of OBSERVED BIRDS. But since I started using eBird I have changed a bit. I list all the birds on the eBird checklist. See the DAY TO DAY report in the itinerary below.
24th of April 2020 and we left my Condo at 6 o'clock in the morning and we got up on the Bangkok-Chonburi Motorway south bound towards the Bang Phra Reservoir. We don't expect any problem finding the place. I have been there before and we have a map and my friend received SPOKEN instructions from his phone.
Plunging down the highway towards Bang Phra Reservoir
But there are always some road constructions so you never know. Anyway, we were following route # 7 and we left the highway when we came to road #3701 and I started my eBird app at 07:25 at the Waterbird Breeding Center. I spotted a Coucal but I could not get a picture so I could not see the colours of the eye to see if it was a lesser or greater.
We parked the car and we walked across a hanging bridge. And we could see a lot of birds in the trees. Among them, one bird with a very long tail, most likely a magpie of some kind.
We reached a house and a lady told us that it was closed due to the Wuhan Virus and we had to leave the area. So first stop was a disappointment, but I will be back.
Today´s track at Waterbird Breeding Center
Bang Phra Non-hunting Area--Waterbird Breeding Center & vicinity, Chon Buri, TH Apr 24, 2020 07:25 - 07:38
X kilometer(s) GPS not working
Checklist Comments: We could not do any birding here because of the Wuhan Virus
3 species (+1 other taxa)
coucal sp. 1 Could not get a picture so I could not see the colours of the eye to see if it was a lesser or greater
Asian Koel X Heard only
Chinese Pond Heron 1
White-crested Laughingthrush 1
This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (https://ebird.org/home)
We left the Waterbird Breeding Center and we continued south along the east side of the Bang Phra Reservoir to the Noen Wang Hin Forest Protection Unit a few kilometres down the road. We found the dirt road on the right side of the paved road. The boom was down so we parked outside the boom and we walked along the dirt road to the parking area.
The “Egret Lake” was dry as the water level in the Bang Phra Reservoir is very low. He walked to the island and I followed the walk path along the north side of the “Egret Lake”.
We spotted a lot of birds, my friend spotted 3 Hoopoes on the island. I spotted Barbets, Woodpeckers and a lot of other birds, but I could not get any ID, and no pictures so I could not ID them when I was back home either. But it was a nice walk in a beautiful area, except for my new shoes, they need another couple of hours of walking to break them in.
And it was nice to be here in the dry season to see what a difference it was from when I was here the first time when the water level in the Bang Phra Reservoir was high.
Today´s track at Noen Wang Hin Forest Protection Unit
Bang Phra Non-hunting Area--Noen Wang Hin Forest Protection Unit, Chon Buri, TH Apr 24, 2020 07:48 - 09:03
Checklist Comments: Many many birds in the area but I was only able to ID some of them
Asian Koel X Only heard
Plaintive Cuckoo 1 Heard only
Black-winged Stilt 4
Red-wattled Lapwing 2
Asian Openbill 100 At least 100 birds
Painted Stork 1
Little Cormorant 1
Chinese Pond Heron 1
White-throated Kingfisher 1
Malaysian Pied-Fantail 1
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo 2 Last bird was heard fighting with another bird. It came out when a brown backed bird flew away and I guess it was a Coucal
Yellow-vented Bulbul 2 Two birds looking like they were kissing while sitting on a branch
Asian Pied Starling 7
Great Myna 1
Oriental Magpie-Robin 1
This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (https://ebird.org/home)
Time turned quick and we had to leave in order to make it to Bang Pakong River for the low water at 12 o'clock. I checked the time for the low water at www.tideschart.com Click HERE to find out if we find any birds in the Bang Pakong River area.