Sunday, 13 February 2011

The last supper

Comical-looking Black-and-yellow Broadbills performed well along the entrance road at Krung Ching today.

"That lizard does not look at all happy." As I pondered Dave's penchant for understatement, the unfortunate reptile began its final journey at great height above the ground. Perhaps its life flashed before it in those closing moments as it made landfall in the nest of a Wallace's Hawk-Eagle, where the sitting bird eagerly accepted the terrified gift from its arriving mate, soon despatching it.

We were watching this drama of the animal kingdom unfold from a concealed vantage point at the top of a short but steep trail in Krung Ching National Park. Wallace's was one of three hawk-eagles to make our site list (the others being Mountain and Blyth's) in what was certainly the most impressive phase of forest birding on this excellent tour.

Rufous-collared (above) and Banded Kingfishers both showed well along the waterfall trail.
Kingfishers were a key target. I managed to locate the only Banded Kingfisher of the trip, a beautifully marked bird, high up in the trees after Yotin heard it calling, but we did better with more prolonged views of the impressive Rufous-collared Kingfisher. Scarlet-rumped Trogons also brightened up the glades, while White-rumped Sharmas sang like Nightingales and Red-throated Barbets 'tonked' away rhythmically in the background.

Black-throated Babbler was a lifer for almost everyone in the group.
It was bulbuls that dominated the birding as we set out, with Scaly-breasted, Black-headed, Red-eyed, Grey-bellied, Ochraceous, Buff-vented and Grey-cheeked all noted at or soon after the main entrance. On the return journey babblers took over, a noisy party of Black-throateds perhaps being the highlight, but Moustached, Chestnut-winged and Fluffy-backed Tit-Babbler were all noted too.

Other notable species before the long late afternoon drive back to Krabi included Drongo Cuckoo, Brown Barbet, Black-and-yellow Broadbill, Lesser Cuckooshrike, Whiskered Treeswift, White-bellied Yuhina, Eastern Crowned Warbler, Fulvous-chested Jungle Flycatcher, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, Grey-breasted Spiderhunter, Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker and a heard-only Rufous-winged Philentoma which refused to emerge from cover.

Tonight was our last on the ground before heading for home. To mark the end of a great day and a fantastic trip, at dinner I decided to celebrate with a cocktail and was seduced by something called a Slippery Nipple on the drinks list. When it arrived it looked disappointingly sludge-brown, like a sample from a sewage farm, and tasted just as vile. Note to self: grow up! But I got off lightly compared to Dave, for whom the waitress, off her own bat, suggested procuring a ladyboy. Great amusement all round, except on Dave's part, before we retreated to the safety of the hotel.

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