Suan Rot Fai + Queen Sirikit Park is what I call Suan Rot Fai even if it is two parks. But you hardly notice when you pass the “border” between the two parks. Just cross a small walking bridge over the “Kingfisher Creek” A small moat or what to call it where I have spotted the only Stork-billed Kingfisher I have seen in Thailand.
So I call the two parks with one name, Suan Rot Fai.
Never heard of the park before I got interested in bird watching and it is the second place I did bird watching at in Bangkok. And I have been back many times. But try to avoid weekends and holidays as it will be crowded.
My first visit was planned for 1st of January 2016 and I was convinced that I would be alone the day after New Year´s Eve. But I was disappointed, the park was full at 6 o´clock in the morning.
My first ever bird watching was on New Year´s Eve 2015 in the Sri Nakorn Kuen Khan Park. And my second ever bird watching adventure was here in Suan Rot Fai and I have been back many times since then.
Now I use the eBird app I go more and more for the eBird hotspots. What I call Suan Rot Fai is actually 3 different eBird hotspots and the park next to Suan Rot Fai, I get out of the taxi between the parks is a third hotspot. So from now on I will use the below eBird hotspots for the Suan Rot Fai:
• Rot Fai Park (Wachira Benchatat Park)
• H.M. Queen Sirikit Park (Suan Somdet Phra Nang Chao Sirikit)
• Chatuchak Park
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
Taxi is a very convenient way of getting to Suan Rot Fai. Suan Rot Fai can be a bit hard for some of the drivers to understand. So show this Thai Script:
• Suan Rot Fai สวนรถไฟ
• Wachirabenchathat Park สวนวชิรเบญจทัศ
Entrance at Kamphaeng Phet 3 Road ถนน กำแพงเพชร 3
Scan for map
If you don´t like the comfort in the back of a taxi you can go by sky train or subway. Nearest Sky train station: Mo Chit – take exit 1, turn into Kamphaeng Phet 3 Road and walk through the Queen Sirikit Park. Or take a motorbike taxi.
Nearest subway station: Chatuchak Park – take exit 1 and exit 2, turn into Kamphaeng Phet 3 Road and walk through the Queen Sirikit Park. Or take a motorbike taxi.
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, 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.
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
Suan Rot Fai
Wachirabenchathat Park (Thai: สวนวชิรเบญจทัศ) or State Railway Public Park (สวนรถไฟ, read suan rot fai) is a name of public park in Chatuchak district, Bangkok, Thailand. It was opened on 28 July 2002 and named by the Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn. The park borders on the Queen Sirikit Park and Chatuchak Park, and it is also the largest park of the complex, covering an area of 0.6 square kilometres. It is one of the most popular parks in Bangkok.
Before the park was transformed into a public park, it was a golf course that belonged to the State Railway of Thailand. The park is commonly used for biking. It has a winding three-kilometre track for walking and biking around the park. At the start of bike track, there is a rental shop where visitors can rent bicycles for riding.
Near the bike track, there is a lake where people can rent paddleboats to go around the lake. In the park, there is a beautiful butterfly garden and insectarium for visitor's relaxation and education.
The other interesting point is a miniature town. The town consists of Bangkok's famous buildings and tourist attractions in scaled-down version. It was created for children to learn about traffic rules by riding a bicycle in this area.
Moreover, the park also has a sports center that provides various types of courts where people play sports or exercise in many ways. For example, people can do fitness, do yoga, go swimming, play tennis, play futsal, and more.
- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Opening Hours: 04:30-21:00 every day
Location: Kamphaeng Phet 3 Road, near Chatuchak Weekend Market
Download thaibirding.com´s Checklist in Word Format HERE This checklist for Suan Rot Fai is by no means complete and is not to be mistaken for the official checklist maintained by the national recorders - it is only meant as a guide for visiting birdwatchers. More information about Suan Rot Fai can be found at thaibirding.com
Bangkok City Birding - Dave Gandy's Bangkok City Birding blog is the best source of up-to-date information on bird sightings at Suan Rot Fai.
There are 2 big lakes/ bonds at the north side of the Rot Fai Park where you can see birds that like to be around water. There are a lake in the NE corner but there are paddle boats for rent so they scare the birds. But you will be able to see the big Asian Openbill and Egrets and Herons.
There are fruit tree on the SE side of the lake/ pond and you can see birds eating fruit in the tree.
There are several ponds/ pools at the centre of the parks and I have seen Kingfishers here. And the Indian Roller like to sit in top of the high tress here.
The park is surrounded by a moat / canal going from the NE corner of the park to the SW corner. If you walk along the bike track you walk along the canal and you can see a lot of birds, BUT BE CAREFUL WITH THE BIKERS!
Access between owl area and the flower plantage have been improved during the Wuhan closedown (May 2019)
At the south end of the park you have two bridges crossing the moat / canal to the Queen Sirikit Park. One of the bridges is called the Bird Wave Bridge and there is a hide at the middle of the bridge.
Going to Suan Rot Fai and I usually enters from the Kamphaeng Phet 3 Road ถนน กำแพงเพชร 3 Cross the bridge and walk by the place where they sell water and I turn right going up on the field going north sneaking behind the bushes to see of there is any Kingfishers in the pond.
No more bushes to hide behind (April 2019)
No more bushes to hide behind (April 2019)
No more bushes to hide behind (April 2019)
At my last birding the bushes had been cut down and removed so it is not possible to sneak up on the Kingfishers anymore. March 2020 and I discovered a farmland area not far from the Kingfisher Pond, they were working with it when I was here back in 1919. But now it is ready and there is a bamboo walk bridge along the rice paddies. A very nice area just 200 meters west of the entrance.
There had been a lot of action in the park during the closure during the Wuhan Virus. The field in front of the Kingfisher Pond is now full of trees and in a few years it might be like a forest here. The trees are freshly planted and it will take for them to grow big.
They have built a full loop of Bamboo board walk in the farm land area
The field is full of new trees (May 2019)
Now the Bamboo boardwalk is a full loop (May 2019)
Now the Bamboo boardwalk is a full loop (May 2019)
Now the Bamboo boardwalk is a full loop (May 2019)
Now the Bamboo boardwalk is a full loop (May 2019)
Walking back and I usually enter the bike track following the moat/ canal/ pond between Suan Rot Fai and the Kamphaeng Phet 3 Road. But be careful, there are many bikers, especially on weekends and all of them are not very happy to have bird watchers on the track.
When the bike tracks bends to the left (At the butterfly house) there is an overgrown area where you can sneak in to look for Herons and Kingfishers etc. There is a small tongue or whatever they call it between the pond and the moat where you can walk. Keep an eye out for Water hens on the other side of the moat. This is also the area where I have seen the most Common Kingfishers in the park.
Walk pass the Butterfly House and you have soon reached the new bike bridge across my old Kingfisher Land. I have not seen any Kingfishers here since they built the bridge. Reaching the end of the bridge and you turn left for Queen Sirikit. I usually tune right to go look for owls. Then I come back and cross the bridge to Queen Sirikit Park.
Walking along the new bike bridge. At the end, turn left for Queen Sirikit Park and right to go look for owls
Bridge over the moat to Queen Sirikit Park
Turn right to go to the owl area
The Audubon Bird Caller I was kind of impressed with my Guide's Audubon Bird Caller in New Zealand. And I saw a Bell bird coming after him when he was using the bird caller.
I try my new Audubon Bird Caller in Singapore November 2017
Audubon Bird Call
When twisted, this simple birch wood/pewter instrument will produce sounds which attract a variety of wild songbirds. It is now the standard songbird call throughout the world. The Audubon Bird Call comes packaged with a capsule of rosin powder. Carefully apply to the metal surface to renew the call’s “voice.”
The bird call’s sound is produced by twisting the cast zinc plug against the wooden cylinder. Originally used by hunters in Europe, the bird call’s sound attracts birds by convincing them that there are other birds in the area. They are curious about the sound.
**PLEASE NOTE: When using your bird call, please do so ethically. Avoid stressing birds by calling near nesting areas.
The Audubon Bird Call measures approximately 2 1/4 x 5/8 inches.
I always have the Audubon Bird Call hanging around my neck and I, well, I always twist the darn thing, most likely some therapeutic reason, as using Worry beads. Walking over the open field towards the “owl area” BOOM! A Spotted Owlet landed next to me. I had to shot from the hip and the owlet took off again.
My Guide in New Zealand had have the same experience. He told me that the Audubon Bird Call sounds like a bird baby or a injured bird and the owlet come to eat the bird.
Walking north from the Bird Wave Bridge towards the main entrance to the park. Looking out for Sunbirds and there are Indian Rollers sitting in the trees in the ponds in the middle part of the park almost every time I walk by. But they are very scared, and they are not as beautiful as they are in India as this is a different subspecies.
I walk “off road” going north along the trees and ponds, Kingfishers and Indian Rollers are seen here almost every time. And there are many birds in the bushes and trees, try to find vegetation with small fruits and there will be birds enjoying the fruit.
Walking north towards the Main Entrance from the Bird Wave
H.M. Queen Sirikit Park is more “MAN MADE” park. Arranged vegetation and flowers along the walk paths. The park have several bridges crossing water and here are many small birds, and if I´m 5 times in Suan Rot Fai I see something new and interesting 1 time.
This is what´s exciting, you never know what´s going to show up here.
There is also a plant nursery on the east side of the park. ON the west side there is also many “gardens” with flowers. A nice area to walk around in even if you're not looking for birds.
One guy I met had seen an Oriental dwarf Kingfisher, a gorgeous bird and I only seen it once, and that was on Bali. So you never know what´s going to show up.
Queen Sirikit walking along the islands keeping my eyes out for birds. Plenty Coppersmith Barbets and in the nesting season you see their holes in the trees. Herons along the water. I have seen many colourful Minivets etc.
I met one bird watcher that showed me a board walk through the bushes that I had never seen before. He told me that they had seen a Blue-winged Pita there and he had seen a Slaty-legged crake there a few times. So this board walk will be included in my bird watching from now on.
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.
Bangkok Metropolis bird checklist from Avibase, click HERE - eBird version 2018 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.
Saturday 9th of May 2020 and I arrived started my eBird app at 06:26 when I stepped out of the taxi. I start to walk across the park to the Blue-winged Pitta area and I hope I can get a glimpse of the Pitta. There was a lot of people in the park. I spotted quite a few birds on the way to the Pitta area.
There was one guy in the hide and as there were no seats and he pushed a brick in my direction. I looked at the brick wondering what the...? But this was to sit on, ok, maybe 45 and 500 kg ago. I turned in 500 kg bird watcher and I got down on the ground “Commando Style”
OK, this was not what I had expected getting out of bed in the morning. The other guy was just gaping at me, and I am pretty sure that he had never experienced something like this before. Not easy to get any picture but I got one and I left the place.
I bought two bottles of water and I was enjoying the water sitting in front of the toilet. Two guys came carrying cameras and they were carrying cameras. I called on them and they came to me and I explained how to get to the hide just 20 meters from where I was sitting.
I walked back across the park again and I spotted the second Striated Heron for today. But the most important, I had get to see the Blue-winged Pitta for the first time in my life and I was happy walking back to get a taxi.
Today´s track at Suan Rot Fai
H.M. Queen Sirikit Park (Suan Somdet Phra Nang Chao Sirikit), Krung Thep Maha Nakhon [Bangkok], TH May 9, 2020 06:26 - 08:28
Feral Pigeon X
Asian Koel 3
Plaintive Cuckoo X Heard only
White-breasted Waterhen 1
Little Egret 1
Striated Heron 2
Indochinese Roller 3
Coppersmith Barbet X
Blue-winged Pitta 1
Large-billed Crow X
Black-collared Starling 1
Asian Pied Starling 1
Common Myna X
Great Myna 2
Oriental Magpie-Robin 5
This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (https://ebird.org/home)
Back home and I fired up the internet to look for a bird watching stool to carry with me during bird watching. I found a Swedish product, the Walkstool®. And I decided to buy the Walkstool® when I saw the picture of the car on the stool. This will be enough for me and I will hopefully never have to crawl around in the dirt any more.
Walkstool® - Steardy enough for me
I had to cancell my trip to Wat Tham Prathun in Chonburi as I was sick. So I could not get to bird watch until 13 May and I have planned to visit 4 eBird hotspots at Laem Pak Bia / Pak Thale. Click HERE to find out if I see any birds.