Saturday, 12 February 2011

Banded on the run

Despite the pulse-quickening high of yesterday's Gurney's Pitta, half of us had unfinished business at Khao Nor Chuchi - we simply had to see Banded Pitta before moving on, even though we only had a morning to complete the mission. It was probably going to be tick and run, but Steve wanted this even more than the Gurney's, and would any of us get another chance? It's easy to appreciate why this species is so sought-after; just take a look at the back cover of The Clements Checklist of the Birds of the World to appreciate male Banded Pitta in all its flame-hued, bar-shouldered, black-banded glory.

Is male Banded Pitta even better looking than Gurney's? The jury is out.
So after another 5.30am wake-up and pre-dawn breakfast we were back in the forest. And this time, those of us with cameras went in first. In a partial re-run of yesterday's pitta session, we didn't have to wait long to clap eyes on the incredible beast that is a male Banded Pitta. However, unlike our co-operative Gurney's, this bird rarely stayed put for long, absconding for some time and giving us only three or four good looks in as many hours.

This male Siberian Blue Robin kept us company at times when the Banded Pitta went AWOL.
Passing the time between these amazing encounters was not all hardship, however, despite the heat. Winner of my personal runner-up prize for bird of the morning was a male Siberian Blue Robin which hopped into view, albeit rather more briefly than the female which lingered on the forest floor in front of us.

After finally succeeding with the pitta, it was time for lunch and then the long drive to Krung Ching National Park. This site proved more birdy than Khao Nor Chuchi, and though we didn't arrive until late afternoon we still managed to rack up numerous interesting species, including a day-roosting Grey Nightjar, Grey-and-buff Woodpecker, Maroon Woodpecker, Black-bellied Malkoha, Mountain Hawk-Eagle, Banded Broadbill and Black Hornbill. We stayed on after dark for nightbirds, scoring better looks at Javan Frogmouth but only hearing Collared Scops Owl.

While I like moths, I prefer to eat my fruit before they do - this one is busy leeching the juice out of these bananas.
After what had proved a long but bird-filled day, we retired willingly to our accommodation, a half-built lodge near the national park which should make a perfect base once it is completed. A late dinner was shared with a colourful but as yet unidentified moth which was attracted to bananas on the table. I'll have to remember to try that one for the next moth-trapping session at home.


  1. Hi Dom,

    Nice image of the moth with the bananas! I believe it's a Eudocima salaminia see here -


  2. I agree, Mark - just Googled a few images. Doesn't seem to have a species-specific English name.

  3. Banded Pitta, better-looking than Gurney's ?

    Both solid "10"s, I think !



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