Monday, March 4, 2024

Bye-bye North Thailand (15/15)

After spending 4 intense days in Northern Thailand, our time there has finally come to an end. My friends and I will be catching a morning flight back to our respective countries.

Since we still have some time before our check-in, why not join the locals for breakfast at a nearby eatery?
We decided to visit a local coffee shop, which offered a wide range of dishes, from Western to Asian cuisine.
The local eatery had the typical setup with fish sauce and chili available to add flavor and cater to individual preferences.
We ordered some Chinese dim sum to share. 
I also got myself a bowl of congee.

Chiang Mai airport is conveniently close to the city, and we were able to check in within 30 minutes of leaving the coffee shop.
The airport was decorated with lanterns in preparation for the upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations.
Colorful lanterns adorned the walls.
Goodbye Thailand, until we meet again soon.

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Continue Exploration of Doi San Ju (14/15)

 After having a basic lunch of instant noodles, we continued our search for more bird species.

It was a pleasant surprise to come across the Ultramarine flycatcher. This beautiful bird has bright blue feathers, resembling the Sapphire flycatcher but without the orange throat and chest. We heard someone mention the Sapphire flycatcher earlier, but we were unsure if they had mistaken it for the Ultramarine flycatcher.
Following a faint yet familiar call, we discovered the Grey-capped pygmy woodpecker. It looks very similar to the Sunda pygmy woodpecker, which is quite common in Singapore.
As we proceeded with our exploration, we encountered another noisy bird that always makes its presence known - the Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler.
The Oriental turtle dove caused quite a commotion when it was spotted in Singapore some time ago, but it is very common in this region.
Just before calling it a day, we observed some medium-sized birds moving through dense undergrowth. We suspected it might be another one of our target birds. We moved ahead of them, waited at an opening, and confirmed our suspicion. It was indeed the Scarlet-faced Liocichla, which was on our list of desired sightings.

Feeling pleased with our discoveries thus far, we decided to end the day and enjoy a good dinner before heading back to Singapore and Taiwan.
While happily tallying the bird species we had seen, our guide suddenly stopped and pointed to a tree branch. After some searching, we finally spotted what the guide was trying to show us. 
Remaining motionless and blending in perfectly with the tree branch and moss, it was a well-camouflaged Hodgson's Frogmouth. What a great bonus to conclude our birding trip in North Thailand!
Since we still had some time before dinner, we stopped at the helipad overlooking an orange farm, enjoying the serenity and beauty of the scenery.
A ripple effect occurs when an initial disturbance in a system spreads outward to affect an increasingly larger part of the system... Instead of explaining it in a technical manner, this picture captures it all.
The reflection adds a natural dreamy effect to this photo. Can I call this unfiltered?
This photo, showing three shadows - myself and two friends from Taiwan, marks the end of another successful birding trip to North Thailand. Hoping for more explorations together in the near future.

Friday, March 1, 2024

Morning Exploration of Doi San Ju (13/15)

Starting early again on Day 4. When we depart from our hotel, the road to Doi San Ju is still completely dark.

Upon reaching our designated spot, we hide in camouflage and wait for the sunrise. The sky is clear, allowing us to see numerous stars with our naked eyes.
After about an hour of waiting, our desired birds appear - a group of Mrs. Hume's Pheasants. A male accompanied by around 10 females emerge from the bushes in search of food.
The male seems cautious, briefly retreats into hiding, leaving the females to feed on their own.
The female pheasant is notably large!
After an hour, the male reappears briefly before disappearing into the bushes on the other side of the road.
Gradually, smaller birds start to show up. I captured many photos of the Japanese Tit during my visit to Hokkaido with snowy background last year.
A flock of Olive-backed Pipits is spotted feeding, following the lead of the Japanese Tit.
I have encountered the Grey Bush Chat multiple times since arriving in Northern Thailand a few days ago. As the lighting improves, we keep our camouflage hide and observe the birds along the road in the national park.
Our excitement peaks when we notice something moving up and down a large tree trunk. It turns out to be our next target species - a Hume's Treecreeper.
We drive around different parts of the national park in hopes of encountering more bird species. Following a call, we come across the Golden Babbler.
In the same area, we find the White-spectacled Warbler.
Accompanying the same group of birds is the Yunnan Fulvetta.
Among the foliage, quietly feeding, is the Golden-throated Barbet.
The Rufous-backed Sibia is another bird species that joins the group.
The Chestnut-tailed Starling makes a brief appearance before disappearing from view.
Another highly sought-after bird species by many birdwatchers is the Himalayan Cutia.
While we prepare instant noodles purchased earlier from a convenience store for lunch. The Grey Bush Chat shows no fear of the foreign object I place for my macro shot. I am eager to explore other parts of the national park in search of more bird species on the final day of our trip.