We are going towards Pattaya to visit the eBird hotspot: Wat Tham Prathun (Tham Prathun Temple) and it, well, people come here for the bird hide. During the Pitta season they are spotted here. You can walk around in the forest or at the temple area but the bird hide is the main attraction.
You should be here in the middle of the day when it is the hottest as the bird come here for bathing. So don't bother to come here if there has been rain as the forest will be full of water and the bird can have their swim at other places.
This is an area I discovered when I decided to use a birding guide. I decided to take two tours with Wild Bird Eco Tour back in the beginning of May 2020: “Birding West of Bangkok” and “Birding East of Bangkok” But now I go alone as I learned to ID many of the birds we spotted.
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 135 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 2000-3000 Baht (May 2020) depending on distances etc. And of course, depending on your negotiation skills.
To make sure that the driver understand you can show the below Thai Script:
Get up on the Bangkok - Chonburi Motorway in Bangkok and follow route 7. The motorway will change to Chonburi - Pattaya Highway in Chonburi but it is still Route #7. When you come to the huge junction west of Pattaya you exit to road #36 and follow route #36 towards SE for about 2 km when you turn left in to road #3240. After about 3km you turn left in to a very small road and you will be at the temple after a few minutes
Follow road #3240 and turn left at the sign วัดถ้ำประทุน (Wat Tham Prathun)
Turn of road #3240 and follow the small road to the temple
Take off road #3240 and follow the small road to the temple
You reach the gate
Keep right coming in to the temple
You reach a gate and you keep right after passing through the gate and turn right at the very small road, I think the third, 2 two first roads were closed by booms. There are not much parking space, but never mind, there is not much space in the hide, 6 to 8 people only, so if you cannot park you are better off leaving the place and go birding somewhere else.
Park the car and walk down to the right
Walk for 50 meters
You have a building on the left hand side
At the bird hide
The bird hide
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
Wat Tham Prathun
About 135 km from the Sukhumvit / Asoke intersection in DOWN TOWN Bangkok
I don't know, but the Wat Tham Prathun is known for nothing I have heard off. Searching the internet and it is most about birds. One guy asked the temple if he could build a bird hide at the temple overlooking the forest. He made a bird bath and the birds come here to bath. And I was here both during wet and dry condition.
Arriving the day after heavy rain and there is water all over the area and I didn't see any birds at the hide. No rain and there was plenty birds bathing.
Of course, you should be here at the height of the day when it is hot. There is a small hose (Grey coloured April and May 2020) going out to the birth bath. Open the valve to fill up the bath and the sound of water helps to attract the birds.
Keep the water on or turn it off if you want, the water is coming down from above so it can be in the way for the birds when taking pictures of the birds bathing.
View from the bird hide
And after visiting here I ordered a “Walkstool Comfort” Sturdy built in Sweden and I used on sitting in the tent during nights back in 2019 when I was in Sweden to look for the Western Capercaillie lek. Anyway, after having been in the bird hide here at Wat Tham Prathun I decided to buy a sturdy stool for my bird watching.
There are plastic chairs in the hide, but they are not comfortable at all. And the “Walkstool Comfort” is easy to bring and it can come in handy while birding.
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.
8th of May 2020 and we are very pleased to discover that there are no cars parked at the bird hide. Me and my friend walk down to the hide and YES!!!!!!!!
The bird hide was empty and my friend and I made our selves comfortable in the hide. There was a bird when we came, but the bird took off when we turned on the water.
We satt down and the birds were soon back again. It was pure enjoyment to see the birds splashing around in the water in front of us. Maybe 10 meters to the birds from the hide.
Bird bath at Wat Tham Prathun
Bird bath at Wat Tham Prathun
There were the White-rumped Shama, a beautiful bird with an even more beautiful song. A bird I have not seen for a very long time. There were several Racket-tailed Treepies, a bird I had seen before, but only at a very long distance. And I was amazed on how beautiful the bird was. And it is actually green and not black as it looks to be from a distance.
I also spotted a new bird, Stripe-throated Bulbul that I had never seen before. So it was a very good time in the bird hide. But it is a little dark so I will bring my F 2.8 lens next time I come here.
We were about to leave when the beautiful Emerald Dove entered the scene. I got a glimpse of the dove last time in the hide, but the bird took off immediately so no pictures or any good look. Now the bird stayed for a bath and I could really see how beautiful the bird was. I called my friend and he came back to look at the Emerald Dove.
We got a few pictures and I tried to make a video before we left. I have seen the Dove in India, but I have never been this close to the bird before. So it turned out to be a very good time spent in the bird hide.
This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (https://ebird.org/home)
We left the temple and we were both excited to come back. We never spotted any Pittas but as it had been such a good time we were not disappointed with the Pittas. I will go to Suan Rot Fai tomorrow morning to see if I can get a glimpse of the Blue-winged Pitta. Click HERE to find out if I have any luck.