Kaeng Krachan …

Thailand’s largest national park covering an area of 2914 km² and just part of an even larger forest that extends west into Myanmar and north and south in Thailand. According to the Thai National Parks web page it is home to at least 420 species of bird, 57 mammals and about 300 species of butterfly.

Looking west into Myanmar

Just to conjure with some delicious possibilities, Tiger, Leopard, Asian Elephant, White-handed Gibbon and Great Hornbill are all here, although you might not want to meet all of them on a dark road. The possibility exists … there are three campsites!

The Great Hornbill has to be the signature bird, it may measure as much as 122 cm from tip of bill to tip of tail, that’s almost exactly 4 feet in the old money. Its wing beats can often be heard before the bird is seen. It’s a hole nester and therefore needs a lot of forest with a lot of very big, very old trees. It’s why places like Kaeng Krachan are so very precious.

That’s right, my photo was lousy but it inspired me to have a go with the crayons.

Spent three days here and divided the time between different elevations. The birding was excellent.For me the hornbills were the stars of the show, besides Great there were also Oriental Pied, Wreathed and Tickell’s Brown. Hanging Parrots, Barbets and especially the odd Trogon threw in some colour …

Orange-breasted Trogon

Occasionally the watchers were themselves under scrutiny …

Dusky Langur

Other primates we encountered were Banded Langurs and Stump-tailed Macaques. White-handed Gibbons were often heard calling but stayed out of sight.

Some of the 300 butterflies were about. I would be grateful to anyone who can identify this one, just drop me a comment …

Even large creatures can be hard to find in a dense forest, there was plenty of evidence of elephant but neither they or the tigers put in an appearance. But I am not prejudiced against smaller things …

Lantern bug

I have a reasonable faith in my identification of this little beauty as Pyrops candelaria. In the distant past it was thought that they emitted light from their proboscis. Sadly, this is not true.

And my chances of identifying a Skink aren’t especially great but this is probably Dasia olivacea in a confiding mood …

Olive Dasia

Three days amassed a good bird list but in many ways just scratched the surface. I would love to go back.

The serious birdwatcher should check out Nick Upton’s page for some great information on how to get the best from their visit or book through Rockjumper.

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