Four Go Mad in Malaysia - A Birding Trip to Malaysia and Southern Thailand, April 16 - May 3, 2000

Chris Gooddie, Flat 1, 155 Hemingford Rd, Islington, London N1 1BZ, England; chrisg@focusrite.com

[A full version of this report with graphics is available for a fee from the Oriental Birding Club.]

Myself (Chris Gooddie) and three fellow UK birders, Kit Britten, Bob Harris, and Graham Hogan, put together a trip to combine 4 sites in Malaysia - Taman Negara, Fraser's Hill, The Gap and Kuala Selangor - with a short visit to Khao Nor Chuchi and Krabi in Thailand (principally to look for Gurney's Pitta).

Itinerary

Sunday 16 Apr  Left London Heathrow 2200Hrs on Malaysian Airlines MH1 (Virgin codeshare) direct to Kuala Lumpur (KL), arrived Mon 17 Apr at 1710Hrs (KL is 7 hrs ahead of the UK)
Tuesday April 18Day 2Transfer/boat to Taman Negara (TN) - TN pm
Wednesday April 19Day 3Taman Negara
Thursday April 20Day 4Taman Negara
Friday April 21Day 5Taman Negara
Saturday April 22Day 6Taman Negara
Sunday April 23Day 7Taman Negara
Monday April 24Day 8Boat back to Tembeling, transfer to Fraser's Hill (FH)
Tuesday April 25Day 9Fraser's Hill
Wednesday April 26Day 10Fraser's Hill, eve transfer to the Gap
Thursday April 27Day 11Gap, transfer to K. Selangor 6pm
Friday April 28Day 12 K. Selangor until 2pm, transfer to KL airport, Depart for Phuket on Thai air, drive to Krabi.
Saturday April 29Day 13Drive to Khao Nor Chuchi (KNC) for 7am. All day at KNC
Sunday April 30Day 14KNC, return to Krabi late pm
Monday May 1Day 15Boat trip to Krabi river mouth, drive back to KNC pm, return to Krabi via Khao Phenombencha eve
Tuesday May 2Day 16Khao Phenombencha for dawn, then Krabi mangroves boat trip early a.m. 11am-3pm drive back to Phuket, Fly Thai Air Phuket/KL, 6 hrs stop over, then 2355 Hrs Malaysian Airlines MH2 KL/LHR, arrived back Weds May 3rd 6am.

Avian Highlights

Details of Daily Birding

Mon April 17 - Day 1

Arrived at vast, shiny and largely empty new KL airport on time at 1710 Hrs. Met by Gopi of Kingfisher Tours at the terminal, who drove us to the Hotel Equatorial in KL. A short birding stop en route providing our first Malaysian birds: Asian Palm Swift, Greater Coucal, Spotted Dove, Brown Shrike, our only Changeable Hawk-Eagle of the trip, + 1 Nightjar sp, prob. Malaysian Eared. Night in KL, walked the nearby streets to find beer and dinner.

Tues April 18 - Day 2

Up at 5am to meet Gopi - we had pre-arranged a transfer from KL to Tembeling Quay/TN with Kingfisher, leaving KL at 5-30am to arrive at the quay 8-15am. On arrival we confirmed our boat places at the office and bought reserve and camera permits at the office next door. Time for a quick shufti around the quay, which produced Brown Needletail, Red-eyed and Stripe-throated Bulbuls, Common Tailorbird, Smyrna (White-throated or White-breasted just don't sound the same) Kingfisher etc, then the 9am boat in to Taman Negara. A cool breeze and relaxed birding on the way, highlights included 2 Black-and-Red Broadbills (stunning,) 1 Black Hornbill, 2 Red-wattled Lapwing, 3 Common Sandpipers, 1 Stork-billed Kingfisher, numerous Silver-rumped Swifts, 2 Paddyfield Pipits, a Crested Goshawk and lots of gorgeous Blue-throated Bee-eaters.

Arrived at c11am, checked in to the Taman Negara Resort (nice air-con. bungalows, comfortable beds, bug screens etc) then headed out along the Tahan Trail and the first two-thirds of the Jenet Muda trail, returning by the same route. 5m into the start of the Tahan trail we encountered our first leeches in numbers and retreated to the campsite to re-spray boots with 100% deet and don the life-saving leech-proof socks (thanks OBC). Highlights of the first day at TN included a Red-naped Trogon, 2 Straw-headed Bulbuls, a female Yellow-rumped Flycatcher, Rufous Woodpecker, our first Raffles Malkoha, a Crested Jay (seen briefly in the canopy after taping in), and a Pale Blue Flycatcher. The weather was VERY humid, making for tough going, but great birds. We returned to the resort to try at the Kuala Tahan jetty at dusk for Bat Hawk but no sign of any bats, let alone a Bat Hawk.

Weds April 19 - Day 3

Taman Negara. Woke at 6am and slowly realised that a Blue-winged Pitta was calling right behind our bungalow, so we roused the other 2 and crept out on to the veranda and attempted to tape in - the bird responded briefly, but did not come in. This was to become a familiar and frustrating scenario at TN: most Pittas would call once or twice and then shut up, presumably many birds already breeding and thus not very responsive?

Out at dawn (c6-30am,) a quick check around HQ (no major fruiting trees unfortunately) but we turned up a Black Magpie doing its usual bizarre machinery-breaking-down-recorded-backwards stuff, and a close perched Blue-crowned Hanging-Parrot. We then birded the nearby Swamp Loop/Tahan Hide until 11am (access is signposted from the back of the central area of K. Tahan). Heard a male Banded Pitta close to the trail on the upper side of the loop, which responded well to tape and gave excellent brief views to 3 of us, then continued to call whilst heading further and further off the trail. Also had excellent views of a male Malaysian Peacock Pheasant and 3 Crested Firebacks, the latter just 2m from the Tahan Hide. Checked the clearing in front of the hide (one of the very few open areas visible at TN) and had 2 Hill Mynas and our only Lesser Coucal of the trip, an Asian Pied Hornbill and a noisy Long-billed Spiderhunter. Heard our first Great Slaty Woodpeckers, but failed to see them (just as we did over the next 3 days, despite hearing them frequently).

Re-checked the HQ area on the way through (1 Arctic Warbler), bought some water, and then headed around the JM/Tahan loop - til dusk, this time the other way round, i.e., JM from the Bukit Teresek end. Highlights of the day were great views of 3 Green Broadbills, one of the birds of the trip, more Black-and-Red and 3 Banded Broadbills, plus 1 streak-by Blue-eared Kingfisher. We also heard a really close Great Argus on the JM slope (BT end) and 3 more Banded Pittas, but failed to see any of them.

Thurs April 20th - Day 4

Taman Negara. We started again with a brief visit to the Swamp Loop - quiet except for 1 female Malaysian Peacock Pheasant and a mixed flock of Rufous-winged, Rufous-crowned and Sooty-capped Babblers. Arrived at the quay for 8-30am to meet the boatmen we'd booked the day before (we had deliberately booked the first boat of the day), on a quest for Finfoot. Chugged slowly up the Sungei Tahan to Latah Berkoh and then drifted back down to the Tabing Hide jetty where we'd asked to be dropped. No sign of the Finfoot, but 6+ Blue-banded Kingfisher, more Black-and-red Broadbills, a Lesser Fish Eagle (at L. Berkoh drop-off point), 1 Black-bellied Malkoha and flocks of 15 Large Green and 10 Green Imperial Pigeon over. Drifting back down we scored a Slender-billed Crow at the nest (does indeed sound like a Rook!) and a (canopy-top) Brown-streaked Flycatcher. Having landed we met our first snake - a c5ft long common water snake - and were delighted to discover that the Tabing Hide was in the opposite direction, a few hundred metres up-river. We wandered through nice open forest hearing lots of Indian Cuckoos (a species we heard frequently but which we never managed to see) and connected with 1 Red-billed Malkoha, 2 Maroon Woodpeckers, a Thick-billed Flowerpecker, a male Great Iora and a female Black Hornbill. Hid from the heat of the midday sun in the hide, then walked the stream near the hide, our first of many unsuccessful attempts to find Chestnut-naped Forktail. (We also failed to find the 2m Cobra that is supposed to inhabit the area thank God.)

Spent the afternoon birding the Tahan trail back to Lubok Simpon, arriving there with an hour's daylight left. We cooled our feet in the river (bliss) and listened to calling Gold-whiskered Barbets, Great Argus, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Garnet Pitta, 2 Banded Pittas, a Banded Bay Cuckoo, and just before dusk, a Hooded Pitta c200m back towards HQ. Standing on the beach at L. Simpon, a White-breasted Wood-Swallow was a surprise, and we had good views of Malaysian Eared Nightjars emerging from the forest opposite, calling repeatedly, a nice end to the day. No sign again of the Bat Hawk, and only one solitary bat, maybe the BH has moved on to greener (blacker?!) pastures?

Fri April 21st - Day 5

Taman Negara. Briefly looked in on the Swamp Loop at dawn and again heard a close but unresponsive Blue-winged Pitta, then walked the Tahan/JM/B. Teresek (S. part) trail loop until noon. Highlights included a White-chested Babbler, Grey-breasted, Spectacled and Little Spiderhunters, but the bird of the day was undoubtedly a (first year?) male Great Argus, seen close to the trail at the top of the slope (B. Teresek end of JM trail). As TN was wet we were hearing Great Argus frequently every day, so finally connecting was a blessed relief, celebratory bottles of water all round!

We again heard good birds that we hadn't yet seen - Scarlet-rumped Trogon close to the JM trail, Drongo, Indian, Banded-Bay and Plaintive Cuckoos, plus more Broadbills and another Banded Pitta, just before the first (from the Tahan River end) JM stream.

Back at HQ we encountered a Bar-bellied Cuckoo-Shrike, before returning to the Swamp Loop which yielded another female Black Hornbill, a pair of Crested Firebacks and a couple of Hill Mynas before torrential rain intervened at 5pm, soaking us in seconds. Within a couple of minutes the trail had literally became a river, and we legged it to shelter in the Tahan Hide, about the only place not already under water. Having spent a while drying off, we headed back to Lubok Simpon before dusk to look for the Hooded Pitta heard the previous night, finding a Checker-throated Woodpecker on the way. No sight nor sound of the bird, but we heard another Blue-winged Pitta, and finally managed to connect with a Great Slaty Woodpecker which flew over us across the Sungei Tahan and disappeared into the low cloud, the only bird we saw on the entire trip. Shortly before dusk we picked up a shrike flying across the river which proved to be an adult female Tiger Shrike, a tick for all of us, and a suitable alibi for a few (massively expensive) beers in the restaurant in the pouring rain.

Sat April 22nd - Day 6

Taman Negara. Feeling rested and full of energy after a good (though typically short) night's sleep we decided to head up Bukit Teresek and then continue round to the top of the River Trail, then loop back down the Tahan Trail to HQ. It doesn't look too far on paper but it's a steep climb and an even steeper descent past the 2nd viewpoint, and any scrambling up and down hill trails in TN humidity is hard work.

The day started well when a Blue-rumped Parrot flew over the HQ clearing, and continued in similar vein as we finally got brief views of 2 Drongo Cuckoos. The view from the first BT viewpoint was shrouded in mist, which cleared long enough only for us to add a Greater Green Leafbird and a responsive Blue-eared Barbet, another bird we had been hearing everywhere but which had proved tricky to see. (Barbets etc are way easier at Fraser's Hill, as canopy and forest edge is a lot more visible from the wide tarmac roads there.) We met a couple of non-birders at the viewpoint who had (almost literally) bumped into a male Great Argus on the way up. We chatted to them, and demonstrated our Mini Disc/Speaker set-up. Having proved ourselves by taping in the Barbet we headed on to the 2nd viewpoint to feast on Garibaldi biscuits and water, enjoying a feeding flock which contained a single Ashy Minivet (finally a bogey laid to rest for GH who had missed them on an almost daily basis at Beidaihe a few years before,) another Tiger Shrike, Leafbirds and Rufous-winged, Moustached and Rufous-crowned Babblers. Descending the steep slope 200m beyond the 2nd viewpoint we suddenly froze as we heard a close Malaysian Rail-Babbler close to the trail - we whistled back for 30 mins, and the bird came in a little but then moved off. We eventually crept towards the calling bird but finally lost it without scoring - intensely frustrating but not a major surprise. A couple of Rhino Hornbills called from the canopy, and all but CG got brief views.

We spent a little while at the stream at the bottom of the hill failing again to find Chestnut-naped Forktail, then headed round to the Tahan trail. About half a km N. of Lubok Simpon, we came across a pair of Red-bearded Bee-eaters calling, and the birds showed well for a couple of minutes.

On the advice of the warden we had booked a second attempt for Finfoot on the last boat up the Tahan. The trip up river was very quiet, with no kingfishers etc (having all been disturbed by the numerous boats during the day), but the drift downstream from 5-30pm was restful and relaxing, if not initially bird-filled. A Whiskered Treeswift perched on a dead snag woke us up a little, and a few minutes later the boatman on our helm shocked us out of our reverie by yelling "Finfoot!" Sure enough, a male Finfoot was flapping up a bare overhanging bough on the right bank, and the panic gradually calmed as everyone got on the bird, by now c10ft up and peering out from under the low canopy of a riverside tree. The boatmen took the boat right up under the bank, and we were able to gaze eyeball to eyeball with THE BOY! After 10 minutes of incredible views the bird flew to the far bank and swam behind a group of logs, where we left it in peace.

By now we were on a roll, and we passed close to two Malaysian Blue Flycatchers on the edge of the riverside vegetation. CG then picked up a calling Violet Cuckoo which headed off over the canopy with indecent speed. A little further down-river we heard what was probably another Rail-Babbler on the Cegar Anjung side of the river, and a White-crowned Forktail shot across the river in front of us calling. Great views of Stork-billed and Blue-eared Kingfishers and another Drongo Cuckoo added to a memorable trip, and as we pulled in at the Kuala Tahan quay again, an Orange-backed Woodpecker undulated over the river. Tragically the bird landed near the bar, so the only decent thing to do was to go and look for it and celebrate the Finfoot with a few cold ones!

Sun April 23rd - Day 7

Taman Negara. Our last full day at TN saw us heading to a new area. We took a pre-booked 7-30am boat (earliest available after negotiation) to the Blau Hide area (far side of the Tahan River, c3km from TN HQ ie Kuala Tahan), walked down to the Yong Hide, back to the Blau Hide, and up the trail to Gua Telinga (Bat Cave). Then we retraced our steps back down the same trail and turned left to continue along the main trail back to the W. bank of the Tahan River.

The Yong Hide allows a nice view of all storeys of the forest, and CG had a brief Black-capped Jungle Babbler, with everyone seeing Long-tailed Parakeets, Blue-rumped Parrots and Yellow-crowned- and Gold-whiskered Barbets.

We left the hide and immediately heard a Garnet Pitta (which turned out to be the only one we saw all trip), finally tracked down after a painstaking hour off the trail immediately behind/c100m beyond the Yong Hide. The bird was c60m off the trail (opposite side of the trail from the hide) and at first we thought we were stalking a Rail-Babbler, the end-stopped nature of the call only becoming obvious as we got closer. We eventually stood in 2 groups 4m apart pointing in different directions and realised the bird was between us, hence very confused as the ground was clearly visible all around, until we finally twigged that the bird was up high. After a few minutes of scanning with bins we found the calling male perched out on a bare bough. We enjoyed the bird from every angle (except above!) for the next 30 minutes, during which time it called continuously, enabling us to get a nice recording. Suitably elated we headed out to the Blau Hide, and a speculative play of the Mini Disc brought an immediate response from a male Banded Pitta. Bob finally scored brief views as the bird bounced to the edge of the trail, stuck its head out, and then flew across the trail. A Scarlet-rumped Trogon responded well and gave brief views next to the hide (which is no longer accessible as there's no ladder up to it these days).

We moved on to the Bat Cave, coming across a calling Brown Hawk Owl 100m down the short Gua Telinga trail. We checked out the Bat Cave itself, but the very narrow dark entrance, big Cave Racer snakes within and the unmistakable stench of bat droppings in the midday sun meant we didn't venture in - apparently people do, they must be off their heads!

We returned down the trail and found a nice babbler flock, played Fluffy-backed Tit-Babbler and were delighted to hear an immediate response. A couple of minutes later we had crippling views of a male and female duetting on a low bough, sitting close together like Lovebirds. The same flock also contained 2 Striped Tit-Babblers, a species we saw/heard incredibly seldom. Headed back to the main trail and turning left, we heard a Large Wren Babbler calling by the obvious bridge across the river (shortly after turning left back on to main trail). We recorded the bird and played back, getting a prolonged response but failing to score views - denied again! 200m further on we had a close Banded Pitta calling, but again failed to see it.

By this time we were thoroughly enjoying ourselves; the level trail was easy going, and the slightly more open nature of the forest meant birds were easier to track down than elsewhere at TN. Further down the trail we bumped into a Banded Broadbill, 1 Banded (our sole sighting) and 4 Rufous Woodpeckers, 2 Crested Firebacks, and heard another Banded Kingfisher and a group of Chestnut-backed Scimitar-Babblers that failed to materialise. CG again dipped a fly-over Rhino Hornbill (picked the wrong sky-gap again!).

The last section of the main trail to the jetty on the W. side of the Sungei Tahan was very up and down, with only a 2nd White-crowned Forktail to reward our labour, so we were happy to pause at the jetty for a while to recover and look for Black-thighed Falconet. One conveniently arrived on schedule 10 mins after we sat down and perched up on the large telecomms mast on the other (HQ) side of the river. An Orange-bellied Flowerpecker put in an appearance before we took the 50c crossing boat back to K. Tahan. Two species of pitta and a great supporting cast made this probably our favourite day at TN.

Monday April 24th - Day 8

Taman Negara, Fraser's Hill. Following news (from a couple of Sunderland birders we had bumped into in the café the night before) of Giant Pitta sightings in the same area for two successive Springs at TN, CG and GH were in position at the junction of the Tahan and JM trails at dawn looking for them, but without success, not a squeak. We did, however, come close to a Banded Pitta which responded well to tape but didn't give views. Returning to the bungalow, news that the same birders had just seen a Blue-winged Pitta at the very start of the Bukit Teresek Trail (less than 100m from our bungalow) had us running down there to meet the other two, but we all failed to see the bird which had already become tape-shy it seemed. Running out of time we picked up our bags and headed back to the jetty for the 9am boat back to Tembeling. The trip out was quiet, seeing the same Red-wattled Lapwings etc, until we had a pair of Rhino Hornbills fly across the river in front of us, much to the relief of CG who finally caught up with the flying Rhino.

The ever-reliable and smiling Gopi from Kingfisher Tours met us at Tembeling Quay and drove us to Fraser's Hill, a thorough discussion of Malaysian politics being the main highlight for those of us not crashed out. We stopped off at The Gap Resthouse, waited for the up-traffic hour to arrive, and ordered noodles. We sat on the back veranda and had close views of a female and a 1st winter male Mugimaki Flycatcher, Red-throated and Black-browed Barbets, Streaked Spiderhunters, and a Green Magpie (GH, KB), all visiting a fruiting tree just behind the Resthouse. However, there was no sign of the Siberian Thrush, which had been reported a few days earlier, maybe it had already headed north?

We then drove up the hill and arrived at The Quest Hotel (formerly the Merlin) to check in, having arranged to rendezvous again with Gopi at The Gap Resthouse 3 days later.

We had c3 hours of daylight left, so we set off in the blissfully cool (all things are relative) afternoon to find our first Fraser's Hill birds. Gopi had recommended heading up the road towards the Telekom Loop, and the birding proved productive; it's easy to actually see birds (what a concept) compared to TN. Silver-eared Mesias, Little Cuckoo-Doves, Long-tailed Sibias, White-browed Shrike-Babbler, Mountain Tailorbird, Chestnut-capped and Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrushes, Mountain Leaf Warbler, Little Pied Flycatcher, Blue-winged Minla, Fire-tufted Barbets, Mountain and Ashy Bulbuls and a Long-tailed Broadbill all put in an appearance at what became known as 'tick corner' before a cracking male Lesser Shortwing was easily taped in close to claim the coveted 'bird of the day' crown. A flock of Everett's White-eyes proved the first of many, and even failing to elicit any response from our Cutia tape failed to dampen our spirits.

Tues April 25th - Day 9

Fraser's Hill. We headed out to the fabled Bishop's Trail shortly after dawn, and even before we had reached the start of the trail, we heard a Rusty-naped Pitta calling either side of the path down to the lily pond - a good omen? Sadly not today; despite hearing another 2 or 3 birds, none were very close to the trail. We did find a number of feeding flocks however, and activity was generally high. Highlights included a Collared Owlet which obligingly perched out in the open, a female Red-headed Trogon, 2 pairs of Pygmy Blue Flycatcher, a stunning male White-tailed Robin which came in to tape, Black-eared Shrike-Babblers, a Rufous-browed Flycatcher, a single Large Hawk-Cuckoo, and 2 more Lesser Shortwing.

After a couple of hours we paused to play tape for Large Scimitar-Babbler; GH had no sooner poured scorn on the comment on the tape that LS-Babs "will come in a long way through the forest in response to a tape," when 3 birds shot across the trail and spent the next 10 mins playing hide and seek with us next to the trail. As we exited the trail a Pygmy Wren-Babbler called from the bank next to the stone steps, but we were unable to tape it into view.

Having refreshed ourselves with a truly English repast of Tea and Scones at The Olde Smokehouse (our one act of true decadence on the trip), we walked slowly down to the dump, coming across our first Blue Nuthatch on the way. The dump appears to have been severely reorganised recently (large earth-mover still in evidence) but still had birds, and still smelled suitably appalling. The stench really does have to be experienced to be believed, but it yielded a couple of Malaysian Cuckoo-Shrikes, Grey-chinned Minivets, our first Black-and-Crimson Oriole, 2 Hill Blue, 1 Little Pied and 1 Dark-sided Flycatcher, another Tiger Shrike, and a Verditer that tried to land on CG's scope.

We started the slow climb back up to crossroads, but our efforts were spared as GH hailed a truck, which stopped and gave us a lift up the hill - the coolest and easiest solution on balance. As we got down from the truck we finally heard a Green Magpie which performed nicely for all of us, and we then walked up to High Pines and spent an hour there chilling out in the garden and waiting for a Cutia to put in an appearance. It never did, but we enjoyed a male Little Pied Flyc. flicking in and out of the low cloud, heard a pair of Long-billed Partridge duetting, and finally came across a calling Oriental Cuckoo on the way back to the hotel at dusk, which posed for our scopes.

Weds April 26th - Day 10

Fraser's Hill, night at Gap Resthouse. Having arranged our transport down to the Gap Resthouse through the helpful lady at The Olde Smokehouse yesterday (The Quest had suggested we walk the 8 kms down the hill with our luggage as there are no taxis at FH... there are private vehicles which can be arranged it transpired), we had the whole day free for birding.

We started just after dawn at the traditional site for Malaysian Whistling Thrush, the Upper Gate at FH, but failed to score, not a major surprise as we had heard in advance that the Thrush has not been seen at this site "for months." A pair of Slaty-backed Forktails provided a diversion however, whilst looking down the famous "hole in the vegetation" that provides a view into the stream, just above the gate. We then returned to The Bishop's Trail to try again for Rusty-naped Pitta. Just as yesterday, multiple pittas were calling as we arrived, and bearing in mind advice from Aidan Kelly's report that the first 200m of the trail (from the Mini Zoo end) were often the best for the pitta we started out extremely slowly and cautiously. We recorded and taped in a Streaked-Wren Babbler only 30m down the trail, and moved forward only c100m in the next hour. Yesterday we had avoided using tapes as so many others had reported that the birds responded only by shutting up immediately, but today we decided on a different approach - a bird fairly close to the trail provided an opportunity for recording, so we set up our mic and Mini Disc and obtained a reasonable minute or so of "Chom-wits" for our pains. We spent another 30 mins or so trying to see the bird unsuccessfully and decided to try a quick burst of tape - BANG! The bird responded immediately and flew in, still out of sight, but calling less than 5m away. KB had a quick glimpse, but we were still unable to get tickable views, as the bird moved a little further up the trail, still very close.

We crept to the corner and tried one more short burst of tape, and the pitta finally crossed the trail as we had hoped, a reasonable flight view as it continued down into the ravine. The bird continued calling so we stayed still and scanned the ravine floor below, but without success - a reasonable flight view would have to do - having had UTV's on Doi Inthanon in '99 CG was reduced to grinning inanely and slapping trees mumbling "we've seen Rusty-naped Pitta" for the next few minutes as it was.

We left the calling bird in peace and headed up the trail as far as the second shelter at the T-junction. Birds were pretty much the same as yesterday, with a second White-tailed Robin, Mountain Fulvettas everywhere, a couple of Chestnut-crowned Warblers etc. We rested up at the second shelter; two more Rusty-naped Pittas called close to the trail but we failed to find them, a close and obliging male Red-headed Trogon was some recompense. The walk back down the trail was relatively quiet, but we heard a Malaysian Peacock Pheasant and had a couple of Rufous-browed Flycatchers show well on the trail. Above the Roti shops on the way down to the centre of FH we had great views of a pair of Blue Nuthatches in a feeding flock before pausing for lunch. We then started out down the New Road (still closed to traffic due to landslides) to try to improve our Hornbill success.

Having checked the FH resort en route for Cutias, we strode out down the hill, finding White-rumped Munias, minivets, a Dusky Crag Martin, and a Black Eagle overhead. Rain stopped play at 3pm, but only for a little while, and we again hailed a truck to save the walk back up the hill, which allowed us just enough time to head around the Telekom Loop in full, our last chance for Cutia. We played the tape at a number of likely-looking locations, but no sign, but the Loop did provide our only 2 Grey-throated Babblers of the trip, 2 Golden-throated Barbets, a Lesser Yellownape, and a brief Hodgson's Hawk-Cuckoo for GH only. Our unofficial taxi arrived only 10 minutes late, and we squeezed the four of us plus luggage into a Proton (no mean feat) and slid down the hill and into the charming Olde Worlde embrace of the Gap Resthouse.

Any thoughts of catching up with Bat Hawk from the rear veranda were dashed as the rain returned, but not before we'd had a probable Yellow-vented Pigeon shoot over. We sat down with a well-earned beer as the sound of a Rusty-breasted Cuckoo calling brought another successful day to a close. In fact we'd managed to erect a passable empty-beer-can version of the Great Wall of China by 10pm - that's what even a flight view of a Rusty-naped Pitta will do for you...

Thurs 27th April - Day 11

The Gap. As we only had a single day at The Gap, we decided to sample a short section of each of the three roads (right to Raub, up the hill towards FH, and left to KKB). A full day gave us enough time to do c2km of each at birding (ie snail's) pace. The Resthouse turned up last night's Rusty-breasted Cuckoo without too much trouble, before we headed down the Raub Rd. About 1km down we finally bumped in to a small party of Black Laughingthrushes which glided, one at a time, over the road. Strolling further down the Raub Rd also provided a Green-billed Malkoha, another Oriental Cuckoo, 3 Scaly-breasted Bulbuls in a fruiting tree (surely not really a Bulbul? Far too interesting...) a couple of Blue-rumped Parrots, and 2 Slaty-backed Forktails at the stream c2km down from the Resthouse.

Whilst looking again for the Forktails on the way back up we came across a small canopy flock which included at least 4 Sultan Tits and a few White-bellied Yuhinas, plus Scarlet Minivets, Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrikes etc. GH had by now been appointed our official truck hailer following his earlier successes and was gradually taking us up-market, flagging down increasingly classy trucks. This time however he outdid himself and hailed a Police Van (the first time for most of us in the back of a police van, honest Mum), and the officers kindly dropped us back at the Resthouse, despite having asked us a few questions on the way up the hill about our binoculars, telescopes, mini disc recorder etc... we were happy to help with their enquiries before setting off up the Hill to FH.

On the way up the road to FH we played Marbled Wren-Babbler tape at every suitable ravine up to the 2.5km point, but not a squeak from any of them. However, an Orange-breasted Trogon appeared briefly, as did a few Yellow-bellied Warblers, a perched Rhino Hornbill, 2 more Black Laughingthrushes, at least one Chestnut-backed Scimitar Babbler and a Rufous-fronted Babbler in a feeding flock. On the way back down we heard an unfamiliar call that had also puzzled us as we ascended, so we broke out the water and paused to try to find the source of the sound - eventually GH found the bird on a bare branch just off the road, a juv. Banded Kingfisher begging for food. After scoping the bird (like a mini version of adult female with a black, pale-tipped bill, even raising and lowering the crown feathers as it called - very endearing) we waited at a distance for 30 minutes or so, but managed only to glimpse the adult female briefly, a little further up the road (CG).

We nipped in to The Resthouse to maintain our healthy balanced diet of Coke and Snickers bars, then headed down the KKB road from 3pm. This turned up a Drongo Cuckoo, another Scaly-breasted Bulbul, a Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker etc, but it wasn't until we were c1km down the road that the excitement started. A pair of Rhino Hornbills floated majestically over the valley and perched up in front of us giving great views through the scopes. Less than 5 minutes later a Helmeted Hornbill appeared high to the right, looking like some kind of bizarre stunt kite - having heard them daily at TN and FH we had become convinced that we would never see one, so to have good views in the last hour of our last day at FH was a huge relief. We headed back up to The Resthouse, and as we turned the last corner just before the Chinese restaurant, GH picked up a group of 10+ Pin-tailed Parrotfinches in a tiny area of flowering bamboo, the only flowering 'boo we had seen despite checking everywhere. The birds performed nicely, and we all enjoyed excellent scope views before heading back to the Resthouse to rendezvous with Gopi.

The transfer to Kuala Selangor took a couple of hours down the twisting roads towards KKB, and as we arrived the torrential rain that had started as we left The Gap had just abated, typical of the excellent fortune with the weather that we enjoyed throughout. We spent the night at the de Palma Inn, nice bungalows, but not the world's greatest food late on a Thursday night.

Fri April 28th - Day 12

Kuala Selangor. We arranged transport from the hotel to Kuala Selangor Nature Reserve to arrive on-site before dawn and bumped into the very helpful warden as we arrived. Having been informed ahead of time that the Buffy Fish Owl stake-out up on the hill was no longer active we had not expected to see this species, but the warden cheerily informed us that he had seen the owls every day that week. He also informed us that they were in the car park about 25m behind where we were standing, so we scurried over and sure enough had incredible views of a pair in the small trees on the edge of the parking lot just as it got light.

Elated, we set off for the mangrove boardwalk, promptly got lost, found the long way round (but not before KB had dipped Chicken, sorry, Red Junglefowl again) and arrived at the boardwalk. Within 15 mins we had found both Mangrove Whistler and Mangrove Blue Flycatcher, but no sight or sound of Mangrove Pittas. (NB the hide at the end of the boardwalk is no longer there, the boardwalk now just stops abruptly in the mangroves.) We scoped from the tower hides adding Flyeater, Common Greenshank, Yellow-bellied Prinia and a number of other common species to our list. A Chestnut-bellied Malkoha popped up, and a Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker flew in.

By 10am the heat was intense, and we decided to head to one of the hides on the Info. Centre side of the reserve to cool off. As we crossed the small stream on the way, KB called "Finfoot!" and to our collective amazement a male Finfoot drifted off under cover of the vegetation not 5m away and surveyed us with a nervous stare. We scribbled a few notes, thinking that we should at least have a basic description for such a rarity, and headed back to the Info. Centre to share our good fortune with the warden. On being told of our sighting he smiled and said nonchalantly "oh great, how many did you see?" It transpired that he had seen SEVEN Finfeet fly in together earlier in the year, and the birds had remained to winter on the reserve, the first record for KS.

We headed back out to the mangroves, sitting in the small shelter at ground level between the boardwalk and the first tower hide on the warden's recommendation to listen for Mangrove Pitta. By now it was hotter than a Macaque's bum however, and we heard and saw little of note. We tried the boardwalk again but only saw more Mangrove Whistlers, Common Ioras, 1 Common Flameback and a couple of Asian Koels. We followed the outer trail back to the info. centre (KB finally scores Chicken en route- ┴Yo!) and connected with our pre-arranged transport back to the hotel.

Gopi met us on time as ever, and we crashed out on the bus arriving at the airport a couple of hours later in plenty of time for our flight to Thailand. Our Thai Air flight arrived in Phuket on time at 1815Hrs, and baggage reclaim, customs, immigration and car hire took c20 mins in total, allowing a leisurely drive to Krabi in time to nip in to Chan Phen Travel to book Mr Dai for a boat trip a few days hence. The helpful Mr Dong booked our trip and translated the latest football scores for us (agony for BH as Watford were relegated, joy for CG as Man. City came one step nearer to securing automatic promotion to the Premiership), before we drove to the swanky Meritime Hotel for a night of luxury - 2001 Baht for a double room (outrageously expensive, ie about the same as one night's B+B on Scilly!).

As CG had seen Gould's Frogmouth behind the hotel on the path to the jetty the previous year, we checked the site, but progress had arrived in the form of a wide smooth path, cleared vegetation, a brand new jetty, and bloody efficient electric lighting all the way, so no chance. We crashed out at 11-30pm, our long days and short nights starting to take their toll.

Sat April 29th - Day 13

KNC. Drove to KNC, leaving at 6am, delayed slightly by KB forgetting his bins - doh! Arrived at KNC (with bins) via the newly improved roads at 7am. We dropped in to the Danish HQ to see if Yothin was around, but found the site derelict, so we headed out to Trail U to try for Gurney's where CG had seen a pair in Jan '99. As we reached the U0.20 ravine we heard a male Gurney's calling close by, so we sat down on the bank on the far side of the ravine to wait. Within 30 mins GH/KB had great views of the male, and 10 mins later BH/GH had also scored brief views of the male and female, calling to our left on the bend of the ravine. CG was blocked by a large tree and only had blip views. We waited sitting silently on the trail, for another hour but no further sign. Once we had retreated to a safe distance elation set in before we continued down Trail U, almost immediately recording and taping in a Large Wren Babbler - stunning views of the calling bird perched at head height. It was nice to finally connect with this bird having heard 3 in Malaysia and missed them twice before at KNC (CG). We spent the rest of the morning creeping along U and N, hearing Plaintive and Drongo Cuckoos, Crested Jay etc, but only seeing a couple of Blue-throated Flycatchers and 2 Crested Serpent Eagles.

We booked in at the excellent new Morakot Resort to a friendly welcome and chilled bottles of water, bumping into Mr Yothin and two English birders having lunch - they had been at the site 5 days and had only had brief flight views of a female Gurney's - and GH, BH, and KB started to appreciate how truly jammy we had been to see the birds immediately. Just how jammy became clear when Yothin told us that the pair at U0.22 hadn't been seen since April 6th. We arranged with Yothin for him to take us up to the Honeyguide stake-out the next day, before driving up to the car park by the reserve gate to hit trail B. As it was the weekend the food stalls were all out for business, so we had an excellent roast chicken/fresh pineapple budget lunch en route.

The birding was as hard as ever at KNC - lots of good stuff in there, but low numbers of everything. We managed to tape in a Hodgson's Hawk-Cuckoo and saw a flock of 4 Short-tailed Babblers, 1 Scaly-crowned Babbler (amazingly we had dipped in Malaysia), and a Grey-breasted Spiderhunter. We also heard 2 Hooded Pittas (coming very close to one in the ravine off to the left of B0.6-0.7), Banded, Black-and-Yellow and Green Broadbills, Banded Kingfisher, and a distant Red-crowned Barbet, the only sniff we had all trip.

We celebrated our early Gurney's success with cold Chang Beer and excellent Gaeng Keowan Gai/Tom Kha Gai at the Morakot before wrestling with mosquito nets and crashing out at 11pm.

Sun April 30th - Day 14

KNC. We were back at U0.22 sitting above the ravine at dawn with the other 2 UK birders we had met yesterday, but alas no sign of the Gurney's this morning - we heard 3 Large Wren Babblers along U and enjoyed our first perched Drongo Cuckoo of the trip, the only other bird seen being a single Moustached Babbler. We'd arranged to meet Yothin at 1pm, so we headed back a little early, driving 2kms down the road that forks left as you leave Bang Tieo (the right fork heads past Riverside House back out to the main road) to try for Blue-winged Pitta. We played a couple of seconds of tape, and a Pitta shot out of the forest, flew into the rubber plantation and sat out in full view calling for the next 20 mins, allowing us time to fetch a scope from the car, set it up and zoom in to 60x. I guess if all Pittas behaved this way there'd be less excitement in finding them in the first place, but it made a refreshing change.

We duly met up with Yothin at The Morakot and drove our 4x4 up onto the KNC Plateau. Stopping to look for a Gold-whiskered Barbet at the nest en route, we heard a male Gurney's Pitta calling just a few metres into the forest along trail Q, but failed to find it despite stalking for c30 mins - very frustrating.

Higher up, a brief but torrential downpour turned the roads into a mudbath within seconds, but our vehicle coped admirably. We climbed up the hill to the Honeyguide site, hearing the bird even before we reached the site - as KB pointed out, it sounds uncannily like a Vespa scooter accelerating up through the gears. Yothin found the bird within a couple of minutes, and we all enjoyed scope views. On the way back down we saw a couple of Plaintive Cuckoos, 4 Large Wood-Shrikes, a couple of Vernal Hanging-Parrots (sadly not upside down, but then you can't have everything), a 1w male Mugimaki Flycatcher, 2 Rufescent Prinias and a Sultan Tit, Mr Yothin's first at the site for 8 years. We also heard White-crowned Hornbill but no chance to see the tree in which it was sat. The drive back was enlivened by two Barred Buttonquail sprinting across the road in front of our vehicle (CG/BH), and we stopped again close to trail Q, encountering a feeding flock which included a nice white morph male Asian Paradise Flycatcher, a pair of dark-throated Orioles and a Red-billed Malkoha, with a Black-thighed Falconet perched out in full view nearby.

Finally Yothin took us to a stake-out for Spotted Wood Owl (on the left hand side of the main dirt road heading out, opposite side/beyond Riverside House- see Morakot log for details), and we had great scope views of an immature roosting. Having settled up with Yothin we headed back to Krabi to check in at The Royal Hotel (opposite the Meritime), cheaper (c£9 a night each, 2 sharing a room) and less ostentatious than the latter but with friendly staff and clean rooms nonetheless.

Mon May 1st - Day 15

Krabi, KNC. Having seen Gurney's on day #1, we had decided to book 2 Mr Dai trips, enabling us to do the river mouth today and mangroves tomorrow, so we met Mr Dai at The Floating Restaurant on the Krabi waterfront at 7am. The day was cloudy and cool, but things heated up at the very first sandbank we stopped at - a large wader flock contained 6 Common Greenshank, 1 Red-necked Stint, Terek Sandpipers, Whimbrel, Lesser and Greater Sand-Plovers and... a solitary Nordmann's Greenshank. As luck would have it, we had 'dropped anchor' on a very shallow sandy area, so we crept out of the boat and set up the scope to feast our eyes on the bird - having missed Nordmann's twice before at Krabi CG was delighted to finally see the bird, probably the only individual not to have already headed up North. We had noted in the log at Chan Phen travel that 4 birds had been present April 6th, only 2 by c24th, so we probably just scraped it late in the season. A couple of Oriental Pratincoles also flew in.

However, more was yet to come - the next flock we checked held 7 Great Knot, and we then headed to the other side of the bay (ie turned left) to a sandbar Mr Dai knew which held a large flock of Sand-Plovers (c280 Lesser and 15+ Greater) with a couple of Kentish Plovers mingled in. Scanning the flock, CG picked up a full adult male Malaysian Plover feeding alone on the left hand edge of the flock - again we were able to creep out of the boat and set up the scope for amazing views - a really cracking bird. The pale legs, complete black hind-collar, and especially, scalloped upperparts were very obvious even through bins from the boat. (Interestingly, we also noted that one of the nearby adult Kentish Plovers had legs that were black to the knee but strikingly pale from knee downward - this didn't appear to be sand/mud.)

We returned, jubilant, to the quay at 11-30am, and drove back to KNC for a final session. After a quick lunch at The Morakot we walked slowly down the first part of Trail B, intending to try for Hooded Pitta before forking right down Trail C. In the end, the pitta found us, a male calling ahead of us and seemingly very close to the trail. We crept forward and were rewarded with stunning views of a male calling in a sapling over the trail - the bird continued to call from a succession of exposed perches, gradually working its way round behind us, a real show-off - our guess is that it was a newly arrived bird, keen to establish territory. We heard more birds today than we had heard before at KNC, and Yothin had said that by early May few Hoodeds had arrived.

Trail C held a pair of Rufous-winged Flycatchers, a male Orange-breasted Trogon, another Short-tailed Babbler and a briefly-seen Rufous Piculet in the thicket just after the first stream crossing (CG only.) We also heard another White-crowned Hornbill and a Banded Kingfisher, and tried taping for Rufous-collared Kingfisher and Chestnut-capped Thrush, but no sign or sound of either. (The latter has been seen a number of times in the last few years at KNC. Trail C seems best, although we met a birder who had seen one a couple of years previously on the edge of the forest right next to The Emerald Pool. Given that this same gent's first ever pitta was a Giant Pitta at KNC he was perhaps lucky to escape without a good kicking.)

Resting at the junction of C/D trails we suddenly heard a male Gurney's Pitta calling further down C trail. We walked carefully down C towards the far junction with B, stopping a little way beyond C/D junction. The male continued to call, so we silently picked our way into the forest and sat scanning for a while. The male was clearly not more than 25m from us, and the forest floor was relatively open, but we still couldn't see the bird, so we advanced very slowly - KB and BH thought they saw a movement, but none of us could get on the bird. When we arrived at the area the bird must have been in, we noticed fresh droppings in the area where the movement had been, and suddenly a female Gurney's called behind us. As a result we then followed the ravine back to the trail to avoid causing disturbance - immense frustration, but at least we had found our own Gurney's location.

We continued up C and returned down Trail B without seeing much, and decided to shoot back to Khao Phenombencha to try for Chestnut-naped Forktail, having met birders at the Morakot who told us they had seen a pair there feeding young, from the first bridge over the river on the way up to the waterfalls. We arrived at the site only just before dusk, but no sign, the birds had probably already gone to roost. We drove slowly back to Krabi c25 mins away and returned to The Royal, then headed out for a slap-up meal of fresh Red Snapper etc at the beach-front restaurants at Krabi Resort, c20 mins drive West from Krabi town (follow signs for Noppharat Tara/the Phra Nang Inn, and you'll find the resort area, see below).

Tues May 2nd - Day 16

Krabi. Having missed the C-n Forktails the night before our chance of a lie-in until 6-30am was gone, and we dragged ourselves back to K. Phenombencha to be in position at the bridge at 6am. No sign again however, despite walking the trail up the river, so we returned to Krabi to meet up with Mr Dai for our appointed foray into the mangroves. Mr Dai is THE man to hire if you want to target specific mangrove species. He knows where they are, knows the calls, and even whistles birds in. As ever he didn't disappoint, and we had brief flight views of a Ruddy Kingfisher shooting across the river (CG, GH) and heard another 5 or 6, saw 2-3 Mangrove Pittas and heard another 7 or so, and Mr Dai also picked up a pair of White-chested Babblers. Brown-winged Kingfishers were common as ever along the quieter stretches, and we also found a couple of Black-bellied Malkohas, Greater Flamebacks etc. Highlight of the trip however was Mr Dai's hilarity at the antics of KB acting as "the boatman's apprentice" trying to free the outboard from submerged foliage in a narrow mangrove backwater.

We returned to the quay at 11am, said our goodbyes and drove to Phuket to dump the jeep and catch our 1545Hrs flight, despairing on the way at how totally the island habitat has been denuded. A small flock of Oriental Pratincoles, a couple of Paddyfield Pipits and 3 Red-wattled Lapwing made for a nice farewell, before we crashed out for 5 hours at KL airport, finally catching the 13 hour Malaysian Airlines return flight MH2 to London at 2355Hrs. We arrived back at Heathrow, exhausted but very satisfied at 6-30 on the Wednesday morning.

General Information

Ground Arrangements

All our ground arrangements in Malaysia were made through Kingfisher Tours: 11.07, 11th Flr., Bangunan Yayasan Selangor, Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia; Tel: 00-603-242-1454, Fax: 00-603-242-9827. Dennis Yong is the man, and their company is highly recommended. Their staff were helpful and efficient throughout our preparation, and also once we had arrived in Malaysia. Dennis will also guide if you want and if he's not booked up with tours, and he is one of Malaysia's top birders.

It's also well worth hiring Mr Yothin at KNC if you want to look for Malaysian Honeyguide - he can also significantly improve your chances of seeing Gurney's Pitta, as well as showing you a number of other specialities. He can be contacted on Tel/Fax: (66) (0)1-2284586, best time to call him is 8-9 p.m. local time) or contact him via The Morakot - just leave a message with the helpful ladies at reception.

For our morning boat trips in Krabi we hired Mr Dai contactable through Chan Phen Travel on the waterfront in Krabi town, see site detail below. At least 24 hrs notice is required for Mr Dai, it's definitely worth booking him specifically.

Accommodation

We pre-booked everything through Kingfisher in Malaysia, staying at The Equatorial Hotel in KL, The Taman Negara Resort at TN, The Quest Hotel at FH, The Gap Resthouse at The Gap, and the de Palma Inn at KS.

We didn't pre-book any accommodation in Thailand but found room easily at most places - highly recommended is the new Morakot Reserve at the Gurney's site (on the left just beyond Riverside House as you enter Bang Tieo), no aircon, and you need mozzie nets, but nice bungalows and an electric fan in each. The food is excellent, the beer is cold and plentiful, there's a small log book, and they even have Gurney's t-shirts for sale.

In Krabi we stayed at The Royal Hotel and The Meritime Hotel at the N. end of the waterfront High Street. NB Rong's Guesthouse in Krabi referred to in earlier reports is no longer open.

At Khao Nor Chuchi (Gurney's site) I've stayed previously at Riverside House where the accommodation is in huts on stilts, no fans/air con, but mozzie nets/pillow provided - the one I used was in good condition, and I had a good night's sleep in Jan 99 - however, it is very basic and hot and sticky in May, about £4 cheaper per person per night than the Morakot based on two sharing a room.

Staying on-site at KNC is fun, saves the dirt roads maze in the dark, allows a lie-in until 6am, the food is great, and you're contributing to the local economy - turning Gurney's into Baht is the only sustainable way of conserving them, so staying at KNC and explaining why you are there is a positive thing. You don't even need to take in your own beer these days, although we bought 12 litres of bottled water on the way in at Bang Khram for c70p total.

Reading

We sourced the following reports before travelling (most are now available free on the Internet through Urs Geiser's excellent site at: http://www.camacdonald.com/birding/tripeports/ - reports are text only) or through Steve Whitehouse (reports cost money but have the benefit of maps and are often more detailed.) Contact Steve at FBRIS, 6 Skipton Crescent, Berkeley Pendesham, Worcester. WR4 0LG, UK. Tel: UK (+44) (0)1905-454541.) E-mail: jwhiteh107@aol.com)

A Field Guide to the Birds of West Malaysia and Singapore - Jeyarajasingham. Essential for Malaysia, a major improvement on previous coverage.

A Guide to the Birds of Thailand: Boonsong Lekagul & Philip Round 1991, Publisher Saha Karn Bhaet Co Ltd. The standard ID text for Thailand. Very useful for Thailand but not essential if only doing the South - Jeyarajasingham covers 99% of relevant species.

Craig Robson's new Field Guide to the Birds of South East Asia is also excellent and very useful; we found the illustrations were consistently better on the small details than in Jeyarajasingham, although both are excellent.

A Birdwatcher's Guide to Malaysia: John Bransbury (Waymark) Not essential but has lots of site details, OK maps, useful if doing more than just TN/FH/KS etc. I photocopied just the relevant site pages from mine to keep luggage weight down.

Lonely Planet Travel Survival Kit: Malaysia; Useful for logistics etc if on a budget.

Climate

VERY hot and humid in general, making the steeper trails at TN very hard work, KS was also extremely hot by 11am. It's cooler at Fraser's Hill in the early morning (eg 15-18°C), nice climate for birding. It can rain heavily in the afternoon at any of the sites, usually only for max. 15 mins., but occasionally for a few hours, although April is not the wettest time. A small umbrella is useful for the showers - waterproofs make you sweat so much you may end up wetter than if you weren't wearing any - and a hand towel (not white) for brow-mopping indispensable at all lowland sites. I usually bird with a small towel permanently tucked into my belt. It was light from 6am (forest interior birdable by 6-15/6-30am) until 7pm in Thailand, 6-30am-7-30pm in Malaysia. Wear dull colours/not white/bright as Pittas etc b*gger off at the 1st sign of a Hawaiian shirt etc; with 4 of us it was tough to avoid flushing things as it was.

Visa

Visas are not required for UK residents for either Malaysia or Thailand for stays of less than 30 (?) days.

Car Hire

We pre-booked a 2-litre 4x4 for Thailand from Avis, picking up and returning from Phuket airport, standard UK license and credit card is all that's needed. The vehicle was a Hyundai Kia, $177 all in unlimited mileage, only other cost was petrol. All transfers were covered in Malaysia by Kingfisher, except for the short trip from FH down to The Gap which was easy to arrange on-site, just ask around.

Most roads are good, the road to Khao Nor Chuchi (KNC) is now much improved with only the last 6 or so kms being unpaved now. However a 4x4 may still be necessary after rain. See site details below.

Maps

Site maps are very useful for FH, TN, and especially KNC. See maps [available upon request from the author] which are for the most part updated versions of those in my report on Thailand in '97 and '99/updated versions of others' maps for Malaysia. We also had a basic road map for Thailand, it's easy to navigate around Krabi.

Tapes/Equipment

Get as many species as you possibly can on tape ahead of time. You'll see a lot more, especially at TN/KNC, with tapes. I had learnt most of the calls before we left the UK, and it made a huge difference. Although we'd heard TN was crawling with birds, it was still hard birding most of the time, and both TN and KNC can be extremely frustrating if you don't know what to listen for or have some way to pull birds in once you hear them. Needless to say, use tapes sensibly, especially at busy/well-known sites. Yothin requests that birders do not play Honeyguide at the stake-out, and extra care should obviously be taken not to disturb the Gurney's.

We had 7 cassettes, covering almost all of the major target species, c175 species in total, which I transferred to two Mini Discs. MD's are quicker to access in the field than cassette, hold up to 150 species on one tiny disk etc. The MD recorder was a Sony MZ-R55 MD recorder/player (2 x AA battery) and an AKG ATR55 shotgun condenser mic. (requires 1 x AA battery) so we could playback and record easily in the field. We also bought a battery-powered mini speaker (Walkman remote speaker type affair) from a hi-fi store, 6 x AA batteries add to the weight, needed replacing every 3-4 days, but overall compact and useable. I'd definitely recommend Audio specialists HHB in London if you want to kit yourself out; contact Tim Shaxson Tel 0181-962-5000, E-mail: sales@hhb.co.uk. I recorded and played back in mono.

I also invested in a '5 pocket tool pouch' ie builder's belt ("Town & Country" brand from Thomas Bros. at Archway roundabout, London N1, c£12.99) which was indispensable and enabled me to carry, hands-free, the MD player, mic., speaker, cables, note book and laser pen (all carried on one hip.) We took the precaution of bringing compact cassette player/cassettes so we had peace of mind with a back-up (never having used MD in humid conditions I was a little worried), however we had no serious problems. Material we used was sourced from:

We all carried laser pens for indicating the positions of those difficult-to-describe-exactly-where-they-are-in-a-hurry forest floor skulkers but didn't use them very much.

Health

Malaria prophylaxis is strongly recommended for interior Malaysia eg Taman Negara, and Yothin also mentioned that the localised area around the Morakot had recently been very malarial at KNC, so I'd recommend taking some kind of precautions whatever advice you get. We found that regular GP's hadn't a clue about the latest information; specialist travel clinics are a better bet. We variously took Doxycycline or the Progaunil/Chloroquine combo., neither of which have any serious side effects unlike the dreaded Lariam. (If your GP should recommend Lariam, get a second opinion - Check out the problems Antcliff, Cook, Gibbins & Hunter had with this drug in their report! Personally I'd rather take nothing than Lariam, and it shouldn't be necessary to take it anywhere in Thailand or Malaysia?)

Mosquitoes are present at forest and mangrove sites, mozzie-spray vital (I used DEET-free citronella-based sprays in '97 which were 100% effective with regard to mozzies but b*gger all use in deterring leeches). We used 100% DEET on boots and 55% DEET on exposed skin in 2000. Don't go out anywhere without spraying.

As with most places in Asia, up to date Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Polio are strongly recommended. Cuts and abrasions can very quickly become infected in tropical conditions - never regard any cut as too small to worry about - wash the wound, and apply antiseptic and cover with a plaster. Same goes for blisters on the feet, leech bites etc.

Animals

Not too much to worry about - Terrestrial leeches were a problem at Taman Negara, hundreds of the little b*ggers on almost every trail - however it's easy to stay leech-free and not worry about them - spray boots with 100% DEET (you can see the leeches approach, test the edge of your boot repeatedly and eventually give up in disgust!) and wear leech-proof socks at all times on the trails - available from OBC and worth every penny, we bought two pairs each. We saw lots of tourist on the trails in pumps and short socks which had started out white but which were stained vivid pink after the first few minutes! It was wet at TN when we were there, so I guess leech numbers were higher than usual, we saw very few at FH, only on the Bishop Trail.

To remove leeches, use salt or a lighted cigarette applied to the leech for a second - they fall off. Or you can leave them until they're satiated (yeah right!), in which case they fall off of their own accord, or just pull them off. Birding Guide to Malaysia notes "Leeches can be a real pest, and you can pick them up not just in the forest but also in damp grass, often when you least expect it. They are basically harmless, but leech bites can turn septic. Although there is no complete answer to them, you should wear light coloured trousers securely tucked inside long socks. Soaking your boots in insect repellent helps as well, and don't forget to check yourself regularly for leeches and ticks during the day." Leeches do not carry disease, so they are an irritation and a distraction, not a danger. However if you get a fair number, be prepared to lose a fair bit of blood - they excrete an anti-coagulant when they attach themselves. See the OBC web-site for a fuller discussion of how to avoid the leech menace!

Ticks carry typhus and Japanese encephalitis (the latter during monsoon only I think) and can be found at some sites. We saw a few but no bites, the leech-proof socks keep them off.

Snakes - we only saw a couple of Common Water Snakes (at TN), but there are Pit Vipers, Cobras, and others around in Thailand and especially at TN, so tread carefully - be sensible, don't pick them up (!) don't put your hands into places you can't see, don't go off trails unless it's for a Pitta or Rail-Babbler etc.

Spiders - quite a few, but mostly small, one or two big ones here and there.

Tigers do still occur at Taman Negara but they are seen extremely rarely. Kumbang Hide is the best bet, but you can safely assume you won't seen Tiger. Tapir is a better bet but still far from guaranteed - we met an unhappy German family who had stayed overnight at the Kumbang Hide and seen only very big rats and lots of leeches. However, you can take a boat out late in the day and arrange to get picked up next morning if you don't fancy the c10km walk each way, and the birding is also supposed to be excellent in the Kumbang/Trenggan area.

(NB: Do carry a trail map when at TN until you find your way around. We heard a great story of a guy who got lost at TN and spent a night alone in the forest. He survived OK but needed a large whisky and a change of underwear etc.)

Clothing/Footwear

Boots - see notes on leeches above, we used lightweight hiking boots (NOT leather as these get wet/heavy very quickly and never dry out) ie stout walking shoes. We all wore dull clothes so as not to scare pittas etc off, long trousers/usually long-sleeved shirts to avoid biting insects etc. Result: no sun-tan, but no distractions when birding.

Water

Bottled only is my advice throughout. Ice in drinks is usually OK in Thailand/Malaysia - we drank soft drinks etc with ice throughout and didn't have any problems at all.

Food

Food is great in Thailand, not bad in Malaysia, but if eating in country locations be a little careful - pack Immodium or similar if you suffer upset stomachs easily, avoid salads, washed fruit (ie basically as per India but less extreme). Recently there has allegedly been the odd report of people becoming very ill when eating at the floating restaurants across the river from the resort at TN. However, we variously ate at The Resort restaurant (very expensive, and the beer is extortionate - the restaurant have a monopoly, so take your own in to TN with you and drink in the bungalows), the budget café at the other end of the HQ (nice curry etc), and the floating restaurants, and had no problems anywhere.

Money/Shopping

The currencies are the Thai Baht in Thailand (c55/£1) and the Malaysian Ringgit in Malaysia (c4.7/£1). Haggle when shopping, for taxis etc. US dollars are easier to change than UK Pounds, traveller's cheques can be hard to change outside major cities (KL). We took almost all funds in US cash, usual precautions apply: carry it with you not in your luggage on the plane, once in Malaysia split up your money so it's not all in one place, get locks for luggage so you can leave it unguarded all day when you're out in the field etc. Travellers' Chqs are safer but less convenient; if you want to go this route make sure you have a list of the chq numbers kept separately from the chqs themselves and make sure you get US dollar chqs not sterling.

Passport

We usually carried ours with us at all times except out on trails etc, when we left them in locked luggage at TN/FH/KNC - you should carry it when eg out in KL, as if you are stopped by the police and don't have it, theoretically you can get thrown in jail thus wasting valuable birding time...

Insurance

Get some. I busked it without this time and was OK but I wouldn't recommend it.

Vital things

Bins, scope, tapes, mic and playback system, field guides, notebook, bin cleaning cloth, small sweat towel, mozzie spray/net, anti-malarial pills, leech-proof socks, boots, portable umbrella, sun-tan lotion, reports, passport, tickets.

Costing

We paid £685 flights (Malaysian Airlines increased the fare by £53.70 1 month before departure...), £287 to Kingfisher for Malaysia travel + accomm., and additional costs were approx. £15 misc. travel + £10 KNC accomm. + £30 Krabi accomm. + £100 food + £30 car hire + £80 misc. (mostly beer...) = c£1,237 each. If doing it on the cheap you could probably get this down to c£800 fairly easily if you can find a cheap flight and are prepared to rough it a little.

Site Information

Taman Negara

The birding site in W. Malaysia, loads of goodies, but we were surprised how hard going TN was, having heard some great stories. We did well and had a great time, but the numbers of birds were lower than expected (still not down to KNC levels tho'!). For TN in particular, spend as much time as possible before you travel getting stuff on tape and learn the calls - you'll see at least twice as many of the scarcer species if you do. The trails are reasonably easy to walk, not brilliantly maintained these days but it's not a case of hacking your way through the jungle or anything. Note however that Bukit Teresek and to a lesser extent the BT end of the Jenet Muda trails are quite steep, so it's hard going in the humidity - there are ropes and tree roots to help you up and down the steeper sections, no problem for anyone reasonably fit. Jenet Muda, the Swamp Loop and the River Trail are all easily accessible from HQ, The Tabing Hide is c3km from HQ and a good hour's walk if not birding, the Kumbang area is a full day out and another day back (if walking), Blau and Yong Hides/Gua Telinga cave make a nice full day if you take the boat out and walk back at birding pace.

On-site information - we saw only 3 other birders in 6 days; ask the warden at the Information centre where you book the boats (next to the shop) for specific recent gen. Boats work out reasonably cheap between 4 - there's a notice-board to advertise for boat-shares etc next to the info. centre if you're on your own.

Fraser's Hill

Easy birding, mostly from paved roads, a relief from the sweaty leech socks syndrome (ours were walking around on their own after 2 weeks...) - even the Bishop's trail is easy going though narrow in places. Best areas for us were the famous sites: Bishop's Trail, start of the Telekom Loop, The Dump etc. The new Road is also supposed to be good, but we only walked it early afternoon, ie not ideal. All sites are max 30 mins. walk from the centre, so easy to get around even without transport. Reasonable food at eg Spices Restaurant (Asian and Western menus, but don't be a sad git and eat Western food the whole trip!), the Roti shops are OK too, browse and see what you like the look of. Durai is still contactable thru the Nature Centre (on the right hand side half way up the hill on the road up to the Bishop's trail etc), but it was closed when we checked. He is a good source of up to date information apparently.

Bishop's trail - it's easy to find the start when you know what you're looking for: walk up the hill from the centre of the resort (roti shops etc) towards the playground/Dump/High Pines etc. At the t-junction at the top (left to The Dump/High Pines etc) look for a narrow paved path that is directly opposite the junction (this used to lead to the Mini Zoo I guess). Follow this as it winds down the hill, and just before the Lily Pond, turn right onto a small track (overgrown) that leads past the now derelict toilet block - the trail starts immediately after the toilet block which is on your right hand side as you head in. The trail comes to a t-junction by the 2nd shelter after c400(?)m and then continues to the left - the right fork here only leads back to the road after 50m.

The Gap

Any direction from the Gap Resthouse can be good, all paved roads, uphill all the way walking back up the Raub Rd or the KKB Rd when returning to the Resthouse but easy to hitch. Nice and open so lots of opportunity for forest edge species, bird waves, hornbills etc. The Resthouse is great, food is pretty good, beer cold, atmosphere nostalgically colonial.

Kuala Selangor

Easy to walk around; the mangrove boardwalk is best for the mangrove species, tower hides for the wetland stuff, HQ-side of the wet areas for Finfoot! Best to get a taxi to the reserve from KS town to get there for first light. Birding is useless by 11am, too hot for anything to move, so start early. Evenings can also be good; we only had a morning; one day is enough to cover the site.

Khao Nor Chuchi (KNC), aka Khao Pra Bang Khram

Now the only confirmed site left for Gurney's Pitta following extensive clearance in Tennasserim (S. Burma) and at Khao Phenom Bencha near Krabi, where birds persisted until 1988 at least. KNC is now under more intense pressure than ever from forest clearance - former Gurney's sites close to the edge of the forest have been cleared by locals during the last 2 or 3 years, and the future of the whole site looks very bleak. 13 pairs were known to have bred in the '98 season, so the species is certainly not increasing from the precarious position in the early 90's. 2000 looked even worse, with 10 pairs max. located.

How to get there: From Krabi, take route 4 east/south (bypass Krabi town to the North if coming from Krabi resort, or follow Uttharakit Rd north to Route 4 and then turn right if staying in Krabi town). Turn left off Route 4 just after a PTT gas station (NB: no longer Esso) 40kms after leaving Krabi. There is still a very battered large plaster cast of a Gurney's Pitta at the edge of the gas station forecourt, but this is difficult to see (just like the real thing...). This road left off Route 4 is the A4038 and is signed "Wildlife Sanctuary" amongst other things.

The route to KNC from here is a little difficult, but getting easier - I got lost both days in the dark in '97, but using the following instructions/on-site road improvements made it easier in 2000:

Turn left off Route 4 onto the A4038 as described above, then take the right turn (90° right) after only c0.1km. (The road you are on, the 4038, bends to the left at this point, and another dirt rd continues straight ahead. There are a number of signs in Thai pointing to the gentle right fork, ie, straight ahead - ignore these and take the 90° right.) After 0.3km further, turn left at the cross-roads. Follow this road for 4.7km, then turn left signed to the "Hot Stream." Follow this 1.6km and turn right. Follow this for 2.8km to a fork, take the right fork, then after 0.7km take the left fork signed (ambiguously) to KNC, Thung Tieo, Crystal Pool. (The 90° right fork is signed "Hot Springs" - ignore it.) 0.7km on you cross a concrete bridge, and 0.3kms beyond this you come to a cross-roads - turn right onto the dirt road signed to KNC etc. 2.2km on you cross a 2nd concrete bridge, and a further c4km on the road bends gently left (ignore a sharp right here). Follow the rd round to the left and you'll soon see Riverside House (look for the sign and the thatched huts just beyond), just before a final concrete bridge. The Morakot resort is just beyond, also on the left. Directly opposite, set back to the right of the road, is the HQ - signed "Danish Co-operation Project" or similar, now derelict.

To reach the main forest/reserve, continue on past the Morakot, and less than half a km further on turn 90° left on a driveable dirt rd - this is the start of trail A. There is a white sign on the right hand side of the road at the turn signposting Thung Tieo, Crystal Pool etc. (NB: Nor Chuchi MT or similar is signed straight on here - this road also leads to the trail-heads for Trails U, S etc.)

Follow for 0.1kms, ignoring the car park on the right, and park in the car park on the left just before the sentry pole/food stalls. Total distance from Route 4 - c18.5kms. There is no vehicular access beyond this point for B, C, Crystal Pool etc.

The road in to KNC can be barely passable by 2-wheel after rains, but it should be just about OK if you don't mind doing it slowly and preferably in daylight. Bring a torch to check directions if driving in before dawn as there are no lights at all except in Bang Tieo.

For Trail B (and some others, eg C) walk from the car park ahead past the bridge/sentry pole/stalls that mark the start of the reserve proper. A further c0.1km up you come to the main trail (B), well-/multiple- signposted, on the left - the famous pole bridge is c300m up this trail - Gurney's were regularly seen either side of this pole bridge in the past, but Trail U and other areas now seems better - get up to date gen. on site. Trails B and C are still good for other stuff, maybe also for Gurney's; B leads for c2km, initially through secondary and finally primary forest (after c1km). Beyond the pole bridge after another c600m, trail C branches off on the right into the swamp forest; we only birded it once in 2000 but wished we'd had more time - C probably offers the best chance for Chestnut-capped Thrush and Giant Pitta...

For the Crystal Pool, walk past the sentry pole on dirt road (trail) A, past the start of trail B on the left, and continue on the main dirt road, ie Trail A for c400m until you come to a clearing with the "substation" on the left (pillars and roof but no walls). Bear right and cross over a small foot-bridge, and follow the new boardwalk (bear left) over the rocks until you see the pool. A swim after a day's sweaty birding is a relief and a magical experience in the amazingly blue pool - if you fancy a jacuzzi, just lie in the shallow channel cut into the rock that feeds the pool from above! It's also possible to walk up to the upper pool over the rocks, but it's extremely slippery.

For trails U, S, Q etc, drive 0.1km from the (sentry pole) car park back to the junction with the main dirt road leading out of the reserve - turn left (right is back towards The Morakot, Bang Tieo, Route 4 etc), and park after a few 10ths of a km opposite whichever trail-head you choose. The trails all lead off to the right, but the trail-heads are not very easy to see. Copy down the trail map from the large board at HQ if you don't have one - it's extremely useful - this is the same map as in Eddie Myers' report.

Gurney's can be seen in Winter/Spring if you're lucky, but are easiest in March/April when calling. They always associate with spiny palm trees (Salacca rumphii) and seem to have a preference for areas with small ravines/streams. Blue-winged and Hooded Pittas are wet season breeders and so do not arrive until mid./late April earliest.

I saw a male and a female Gurney's briefly together on my 2nd day at KNC in Jan. '99, after sitting down on the bank just beyond the 1st ravine that cuts across trail U at km0.20. There are small, blue, diamond-shaped metal signs on trees every 100ms on most trails giving the trail name and distance (eg, U0.20 = 0.2 kms from the start of trail U.) I also pulled in a stunning male Gurney's in '99 whilst sitting on the trail playing a Banded Pitta tape at U0.37km the following day. The bird came in to c5m range, eventually called once ("whilip"), stayed close for a while, and then disappeared back into the forest. (I had never realised it was possible to stay silent whilst every fibre of your body is screaming "HOLY F*** THERE IT IS," but it can be done.)

We saw presumably the same birds at the exact same location in 2000. If the birds are being seen at U0.22 it's not too hard to see them if you sit silently on the trail where it climbs up out of the U0.20 ravine and scan with bins back down around the ravine floor. In 2000 we staked out U in this way which provided our only sighting, but we were extremely lucky to score as the birds were not being seen regularly in the area. The best plan is to get up to date info. before you travel, and also to find Yothin and get gen./pay him to help you try to track one down if you're struggling.

Krabi and Area

How to get there: Krabi is an easy 2.5 hour drive to the South of Phuket, via Route 4 toward Phang Nga (turn right onto the A415 just before Phang Nga) and Ao Leuk. (NB: the 415 forks left 96kms after you have left Phuket airport at a cross-roads - continue straight on here on Route 4 again to Krabi.) It's c155kms easy drive in total Phuket to Krabi.

Most of the mangrove specialities can only be seen by boat. The famous Mr Dai is strongly recommended, as he knows where to find the birds, and which species birders want to see. Rate was 300 Baht/Hour in '00. To find Mr Dai, first find Chan Phen Travel on Krabi waterfront. It's approx. opposite the floating restaurant, in one of the 1st blocks on the left hand side of the road as you head North on Uttharakit Rd towards Route 4, ie opposite side of the road from the waterfront. It's best to book 24hrs in advance if you can, insist on Mr Dai if possible; he's more expensive than the other boatmen and definitely worth it. See Mr Dong who speaks good English to book. Specify whether you want to go to the river mouth or the mangroves. Rising or high tide is best for the river mouth, low tide for the mangroves, so bear this in mind when booking your boats if you have flexibility. Early morning is much better for the mangroves before the shyer species stop calling/get disturbed by fishermen. It's certainly worth taking a scope/tripod for the river mouth in case you can get out in the shallow areas. Trips to the Mangroves are 3-4hrs duration, to the sand bars, 2-3hrs.

If you can't get Mr Dai, tell whichever boatman you get what you want to do (cruise slowly in the narrower mangrove tributaries, not down the centre of the main channel where you'll see nothing, ask them to stop when you come across a feeding flock/hear something good etc.). The other boatmen are all willing and helpful but don't know the birds - hence Mr Dai is especially useful when trying to find Mangrove Blue Flycatcher, Mangrove Pitta, Ruddy Kingfisher, Mangrove Whistler etc. This is still the only site for the whistler and the flycatcher in Thailand so far as I know - but a few trips and a little luck should still mean a fair chance of connecting - if you're going to KS in Malaysia don't get stressed about them at Krabi.

To reach the Krabi resort area (possible Malaysian Plover on the sand flats west of the resort, and Great-eared Nightjar at dusk c200m W. of the resort main gate on a small hill - NB rapid development in Krabi may soon drive them out) from Krabi Town, take the Western route back towards route 4, then turn left c1km before reaching route 4 onto the A4034. Follow this for c15km approx. until you see the A4202 on the left. Take this, and follow to the coast. The beach opposite the end of this road is Ao Naang. You can also turn left again and drive parallel to the coast (alongside Ao Naang Beach) on the A4203 - this leads to Krabi Resort/beaches/'the strip' after c2km. Ao Naang is the long beach immediately west of Krabi Resort, with Noppharat Thara at the West end (widely signposted).

Khao Phenombencha/Huay To Waterfall

How to get there: Easy to get to if you have your own transport. From Krabi Town, head North on Uttharakit Road to Route 4. Turn right, and after c0.2km (?) before leaving the built-up area at the edge of Krabi Town, turn left on a paved road signed to Huay To Waterfall. Follow this road to its end (c19km from the junction) and park in the car park area. This area and the main track can be productive early morning. The climb to the series of 7 waterfalls is worth doing for the scenery. Probably worth a look here and there en route also, eg Chestnut-naped Forktail certainly bred in 2000 (although we dipped).

KPB is also the only other recent site for Gurney's Pitta in Thailand/the world (recorded as recently as 1988), but the area of forest in which they formerly occurred has been cleared - Phil Round may have more details.

Ban Nai Chong

How to get there: Only c15 mins max. drive North from Krabi Town on Route 4 heading for Ao Leuk. We didn't have time to bird here in 2000, but it's a nice site and very convenient for Krabi hence included here. Ao Phraa Naang (old Buffy Fish Owl site) is on the same page from my old Thai report as a bonus!

The forest is a thin strip either side of the road from km c118-122 (look for roadside kilometre posts. A Ban Nai Chong village sign appears at km c114 - keep going). There is a road on the left leading to a plantation checkpoint at km122 (just after this point the forest on the right stops). Better access on this side is via a small overgrown track at km c120, which is driveable with care after rain, easy when dry. The best birding here however is down the track off to the right of the road at km122 (I think - anyway, it's definitely where the power lines cross the road). Park up along the track and then find a way in to the forest to the left. It's also possible to bird from the main road itself dawn-7am when the traffic increases. According to Mr Yothin at KNC, Gould's Frogmouth ("try at 3am or 4am with a flashlight") and Malaysian Rail-Babbler still occur at the site.

Systematic Species List

TN = Taman Negara
FH = Fraser's Hill
KS = Kuala Selangor
KNC = Khao Nor Chuchi (aka Khao Pra Bang Khram)
Kr = Krabi

[ ] indicates species heard but not seen

  1. Grey Heron - Ardea cinerea
    Only seen at KS, where 20+.

  2. Little (Green) Heron - Butorides striatus
    Seen on 4 days, max 6 birds, various sites in both Malaysia/Thailand.

  3. Chinese Pond Heron - Ardeola bacchus
    A couple of Pond Herons spp. seen from transport in Malaysia, presumed to be this species.

  4. Pacific Reef Egret - Egretta sacra
    8 at Krabi river-mouth, close views on the fish traps, all dark phase.

  5. Great White Egret - Egretta alba
    Only seen at KS, 1 or 2 birds.

  6. Little Egret - Egretta garzetta
    A few at Krabi and 1 en route to KNC.

  7. Brahminy Kite - Haliastur indus
    Very common at KS and Kr.

  8. White-bellied Sea-Eagle - Halieeatus leucogaster
    Common at KS and Kr.

  9. Lesser Fish-Eagle - Icthyophaga humilis
    1 at Lata Berkoh, up the Sungei Tahan (Tahan River) at TN 20/4 - take the first morning boat as the first boat up the river usually flushes the bird.

  10. Crested Serpent-Eagle - Spilornis cheela
    Commonest raptor, seen on 7 days, max. 3/day, TN, KS, KNC.

  11. Crested Goshawk - Accipiter trivirgatus
    2 on the way in to TN, and 2 on the way to KNC.

  12. (Indian) Black Eagle - Ictinaetus malayensis
    1 over the New Rd at FH, and another (possibly the same bird) over forest above the Raub Rd the following day.

  13. Changeable (Crested) Hawk-Eagle - Spizaetus cirrhatus
    Only 1 seen, en route in to KL from the airport on the first evening.

  14. Black-thighed Falconet - Microhierax fringillarius
    2 seen; 1 on the Telecomms mast at TN, Kuala Tahan (main resort side of the Tahan river, but viewed from the opposite (Blau/Yong) side), and 1 at KNC, on the road up to the Honeyguide site ('KNC plateau') approx. opposite the start of trail Q, 30/4.

    [Long-billed Partridge - Rhizothera longirostris]
    2 heard duetting from the heavily wooded slope immediately below main High Pines garden area, 25/4.

  15. Barred Buttonquail - Turnix suscitator
    2 ran across in front of our vehicle on the way back down from KNC plateau, 30/4 (CG.)

  16. Crested Fireback - Lophura ignita
    TN only, 3 on 19th, 2 on 21st, 2 on 23/4, Swamp Loop best.

  17. Red Junglefowl - Gallus gallus
    Heard every day at TN, but only seen on the scrub trail to the mangrove boardwalk at KS - a covey of c20 (BH, GH) and a single.

  18. Malaysian Peacock-Pheasant - Polyplectron malacense
    Heard daily at TN; a male seen on 19th, a female seen the following day (both on the Swamp Loop), and a male seen from the main trail back from Blau/Yong Hides on 23/4. 1 also heard on the Bishop's Trail at FH, 27/4.

  19. Great Argus - Argusianus argus
    Heard all the time at TN as conditions were relatively wet, a couple of times we heard birds very close to the trail but still failed to connect - finally scored an imm. male at the top of the steep slope at the Bukit Teresek end of the JM trail on 21/4 - anywhere along this slope seems consistently to be the best place to see them at TN. Also heard along the KKB Rd at The Gap.

  20. White-breasted Waterhen - Amaurornis phoenicurus
    A couple seen in transit in Malaysia (BH) and 2 at KS.

  21. Common Moorhen - Gallinula chloropus
    Seen somewhere I think, obviously a memorable event.

  22. Masked Finfoot - Heliopais personata
    A cracking male seen at the 2nd attempt on the Sungei Tahan above the Tabing Hide, 22/4 at c6pm after all the other boats had finished running. The boatmen had been seeing the bird daily until a week before we arrived, but the bird had then disappeared completely - it can move around up and down the Tahan River; check any suitable Tahan river edge areas with overhanging vegetation. It's also possible to get up to date info. from the warden at TN (contactable at the office where you book the boat trips next to the shop) when you arrive, first or last boats of the day give the best chance.
    A second male seen at KS on 28/4, from the small, screened footbridge that crosses the stream near the Milky Stork aviary. Also 2 possibles seen briefly from our hire car whilst driving along Krabi quayside, flying out of the mangroves and off over Krabi town 2/5. If not Finfeet, then what?!

  23. Red-wattled Lapwing - Vanellus indicus
    3 on the way in to TN, on the large flat shingle/grass island on the right heading in c15 mins after leaving Tembeling Quay, 2 on the way out (presumably the same birds,) and 4 at Phuket airport.

  24. Grey Plover - Pluvialis squatarola
    C30 at Krabi river mouth, 1/5.

  25. Kentish Plover - Charadrius alexandrinus
    3 at Krabi river mouth, 1/5.

  26. Malaysian Plover - Charadrius peronii
    1 stunning male scoped for 30 mins, Krabi river mouth, 1/5, at the edge of a mixed Sand-Plover flock on a sandbank c1km+ from the Krabi Quay - ask Mr Dai. I haven't heard of this species being seen at Krabi river mouth before, although there are a number of older reports from birds on the sand flats to the W. of Krabi resort.

  27. Lesser Sand-Plover - Charadrius mongolus
    250+ at Krabi river mouth, 1/5.

  28. Greater Sand-Plover - Charadrius leschenaultii
    15+ Krabi river mouth, 1/5. Nice to be able to directly compare the two sand-plovers in a range of plumages.

  29. Eurasian Curlew - Numenius arquata
    30+ Krabi river mouth, 1/5.

  30. Whimbrel - Numenius phaeopus
    60+ Krabi river mouth, 1/5.

  31. Bar-tailed Godwit - Limosa lapponica
    30+ Krabi river mouth, 1/5.

  32. Common Greenshank - Tringa nebularia
    4 at KS, 28/4, 7 at Krabi river mouth, 1/5, giving a nice comparison with...

  33. Nordmann's Greenshank - Tringa guttifer
    1 scoped at length, at rest and in flight at Krabi river mouth, 1/5. The 4+ that had lingered through April slowly diminished to 2 as birds headed north, nice of this one to wait for us.

  34. Terek Sandpiper - Xenus cinereus
    Only 5, Krabi river mouth, 1/5. Much bigger numbers over-winter.

  35. Common Sandpiper - Actiti hypoleucos
    4 on the way in to TN, and 1 at KS.

  36. Ruddy Turnstone - Arenaria interpres
    10+ Krabi river mouth, 1/5.

  37. Great Knot - Calidris tenuirostris
    7 Krabi river mouth, 1/5.

  38. Red-necked Stint - Calidris ruficollis
    1 (prob. 1st winter) Krabi river mouth, 1/5.

  39. Oriental Pratincole - Glareola maldivarum
    2 Krabi river mouth, 1/5, and 5+ at Phuket airport along the edge of the runway.

  40. Common Tern - Sterna hirundo
    3+ Krabi river mouth, 1/5.

  41. Little Tern - Sterna albifrons
    10 Krabi river mouth, 1/5.

  42. (Great Crested Tern - Sterna bergii
    2 birds probably of this species seen briefly at Krabi river mouth 1/5.)

  43. Pink-necked Green Pigeon - Treron vernans
    20+ at KS, 28/4.

  44. Thick-billed (Green) Pigeon - Treron curvirostra
    A male on the 19th and a pair on 23rd at the KT resort, TN, and a pair at the KNC plateau 30/4.

  45. Little Green Pigeon - Treron olax
    Common at TN, up to 10 seen most days, often around the resort.

  46. Green Imperial Pigeon - Ducula aenea
    12 on 20th, 8 on 23rd, 2 on 24/4 at TN, usually seen in single-species flocks, early morning only, flying over the Tahan river.

  47. Large Green Pigeon - Treron capellei
    10 at TN over the main Tembeling river, early morning 20/4, 1 at Yong Hide 23/4 (GH.)

  48. Emerald Dove (Green-winged Pigeon) - Chalcophaps indica
    TN: 1 under Tahan, Swamp Loop, 18/4, 3 on the 1st section of the Bukit Teresek trail from the resort 19/4 at TN, 1 on the way up to KNC plateau, 30/4

  49. Little Cuckoo-Dove - Macropygia ruficeps
    Very common at FH only.

  50. Spotted Dove - Streptopelia chinensis
    A few seen in open and urban areas when travelling in both Malaysia and Thailand.

  51. Peaceful Dove - Geopelia striata
    Common (30+) and easy to see on paths at KS

  52. Long-tailed Parakeet - Psittacula longicauda
    Only seen at TN from the Blau Hide, c15 there early morning, 23/4.

  53. Blue-rumped Parrot - Psittinus cyanurus
    At TN 1 on 21st, 3 on 22nd, 8 on 23/4, mostly fly-overs, 1 flock perched behind Yong Hide. At The Gap, 3 in flight on 28/4.

  54. Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot - Loriculus galgulus
    Seen every day at TN, max 10 birds, usually in fruiting trees at the resort, or flying over the forest, easy once you learn the call (similar to the 'ski-stix' flight call of Vernal Hanging-Parrot).

  55. Vernal Hanging Parrot - Loriculus vernalis
    3+ seen at KNC plateau on 30/4.

  56. Large Hawk-Cuckoo - Cuculus sparveroides
    Heard daily at FH, The Gap and at KS, but only 1 bird seen, on the Bishop's Trail at FH 25/4 (CG, BH, GH.)

  57. Hodgson's Hawk-Cuckoo - Cuculus fugax
    1 from the Telekom Loop at FH on 26/4 (GH) and 1 recorded and taped in at KNC, in the ravine left off the Trail at B0.6-0.7, 29/4.

    [Indian Cuckoo - Cuculus micropterus]
    Heard on 3 different days at TN, but did not respond to tape, either falling silent, or calling from cover/not moving. Also heard at FH, The Gap, and KNC but never seen.

    [Banded Bay Cuckoo - Cacomantis sonerratii]
    Heard on 2 successive days at TN but not seen, see comments for Indian Cuckoo.

  58. Oriental Cuckoo - Cuculus saturatus
    Heard at FH 24/4, and 1 bird heard and seen at dusk the following day on the road down from High Pines. Another heard the following day, and a 2nd bird seen at The Gap 27/4.

  59. Plaintive Cuckoo - Cacomantis merulinus
    1 heard at TN 21/4, 2-3 hrd at KNC, junction of trails U/N 29/4, 1 seen on the way up to Honeyguide site, KNC plateau 30/4, another heard Trail B KNC 1/5.

  60. Rusty-breasted Cuckoo - Cacomantis sepulcralis
    Heard at The Gap Resthouse at dusk 26/4, and one seen well there the following morning. A second bird heard at KS, 28/4.

  61. Violet Cuckoo - Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus
    1 flew over the Tahan river calling 22/4 (CG.)

  62. Drongo Cuckoo - Surniculus lugubris
    Heard most days at TN, but not very responsive to tape - 2 brief flight views 22/4. Heard at FH, and 1 seen on the KKB road at The Gap 27/4, 1 at KNC on Trail U near junction with N, 30/4, heard again the following day.

  63. Asian Koel - Eudynamys scolopacea
    Male and female seen at KS, relatively easy to see there.

  64. Black-bellied Malkoha - Phaenicophaeus diardi
    4 seen - 2 from the early boat up the Tahan river TN 20/4, 2 in the mangroves at Krabi 2/5.

  65. Chestnut-bellied Malkoha - Phaenicophaeus sumatranus
    Only one seen, at in the mangroves at KS, 28/4.

  66. Green-billed Malkoha - Phaenicophaeus tristis
    Only 2 seen, on the Raub Rd at The Gap, 27/4.

  67. Raffles's Malkoha - Phaenicophaeus chlorophaeus
    The commonest Malkoha at TN; 1 on 18th, 4 on 21st, 2 on 22/4. Also 1 at KNC 30/4.

  68. Red-billed Malkoha - Phaenicophaeus javanicus
    1 at TN on the Tahan trail 20/4, 1 at KNC plateau 30/4.

  69. Lesser Coucal - Centropus bengalensis
    Only 1 seen, an imm. in the clearing in front of the Tahan at TN, 19/4 should be common?

  70. Greater Coucal - Centropus sinensis
    Common, seen and/or heard daily at TN, KS, KNC, Kr.

  71. Buffy Fish Owl - Ketupa ketupa
    We were delighted to stumble across a pair in the Car Park at KS at dawn on 28/4, excellent scope views perched on low boughs etc. The birds had been showing daily at dawn for the past week according to the warden - check with him on arrival at the visitor's centre if he's still there - (however NB he was saying he will sadly be transferred to a desk job soon.) The former stakeout on the hill with the lighthouse seems not to have been used as a roost site in recent months, so it's now more a matter of luck connecting with the birds here. There was also apparently a new stakeout at the back of Railley beach, Krabi (this is only c300m from the old site at Ao Phra Naang Beach/Lagoon - see Eddie Myers/Chris Gooddie Thai reports), see log book at Chan Phen for details.

  72. Spotted Wood-Owl - Strix seloputo
    1 imm. scoped at the stake-out off the main dirt road in to KNC, c500m before the bridge by Riverside House on the right as you head in to KNC - ask Yothin for details or better still hire him to take you to go and find them - he relies heavily on birders for income now that the Danish project is no longer financing conservation at KNC.

  73. Collared Owlet - Glaucidium brodiei
    1 seen well perched in the open at head height c500m along the Bishop's Trail at FH 25/4, c50m beyond the horseshoe bend (after turning left at the T-junction at the 2nd shelter.)

  74. Brown Hawk Owl - Ninox scutulata
    1 watched calling from a bare branch in the middle of the day, 100m down the Gua Telinga trail on the right, TN 23/4.

  75. Malaysian Eared Nightjar - Eurostopodus temminckii
    Up to 5 seen 20th and 21/4 at TN standing on the small beach at Lubok Simpon 20 mins before dusk, and 3 at dusk over the Tahan seen from the main resort quay 22/4. The call is a far-carrying 'psee-ooweeeoooh' not unlike a mini version of Great-eared Nightjar.

    [Large-tailed Nightjar - Eurostopodus macrurus]
    1 heard from the resort at TN 18/4, somewhere near the Tembeling river, 1 heard at KS, 28/4.

  76. Edible-nest/Black-nest Swiftlet - Collocalia fuciphagus/maxima
    Common at TN, FH, over urban areas etc, max 30 per day. None identified specifically since we didn't see any at the nest...

  77. White-bellied (Glossy) Swiftlet - Collocalia esculenta
    Very common at Fraser's Hill, the Gap.

  78. White-vented Needletail - Hirundapus cochinchinensis
    1 briefly over the KKB Rd (GH.)

  79. Brown (-backed) Needletail - Hirundapus giganteus
    Common at TN, typically max. 10 per day, but 200+ low over HQ in overcast conditions on 21/4 giving great views.

  80. Silver-rumped Swift (Needletail) - Rhapidura leucopygialis
    Common at TN, and easily seen, especially from boats, max. 40 per day. Also 4 at The Gap 27/4, 5 at KNC plateau 30/4, 3 at KNC, 2/5. Very distinctive flight profile.

  81. Pacific (Fork-tailed) Swift - Apus pacificus
    Common everywhere, seen almost daily, max. 100.

  82. Little (House) Swift - Apus affinis
    Only 2 at TN on 18/4, but very common everywhere else, 100+ per day.

  83. Asian Palm-Swift - Cypsiurus balasiensis
    Common at TN and KNC, max. 20 per day.

  84. Grey-rumped Treeswift - Hemiprocne longipennis
    Common in small numbers at TN, seen every day. Also a flock of 25 in a bare tree at KNC plateau drying off after a rain-storm, and 3 over the Krabi mangroves, 2/5.

  85. Whiskered Treeswift - Hemiprocne comata
    Only 1 seen on 22/4, perched on a dead snag S. off the Tabing Hide along the Tahan river on the 2nd Finfoot mission at TN, excellent views as we drifted downstream, a really smart species.

  86. Red-naped Trogon - Harpactes kasumba
    Heard most days at TN, especially on the JM trail, but only 1 tracked down, on our 1st day, we didn't pursue them too hard after that. The commonest Trogon at TN.

  87. Scarlet-rumped Trogon - Harpactes duvaucelii
    Heard on 3 days at TN, and 1 taped in right next to the Blau Hide 23/4. The call accelerates, like a trogon doing an impression of a broadbill.

  88. Orange-breasted Trogon - Harpactes oreskias
    A male seen at The Gap Rd 27/4, and a male seen in primary forest/trail B c1.1 at KNC 1/5.

  89. Red-headed Trogon - Harpactes erythrocephalus
    A female on the Bishop's Trail at FH 25/4, and a very obliging male performed well, also on the Bishop's Trail by the T-junction/2nd shelter, 26/4. Also heard elsewhere at FH eg Telekom Loop.

  90. Common Kingfisher - Alcedo atthis
    1 at TN (GH) and 1 in the Krabi mangroves (CG) were the only birds noted.

  91. Blue-eared Kingfisher - Halcyon meninting
    Fairly common at TN, but tough to see. Listen for the call - a typical high-pitched kingfisher affair - and then try to catch the blue streak as it speeds by. Singles (all but one flight views) seen at TN 19th, 20th, 22nd and 24/4 (last date a nice view of a fly-by at Lubok Simpon), and 1 heard at KNC on 30/4. 1 perched, seen from HMS Finfoot on the way down the Tahan river 22/4.

  92. Blue-banded Kingfisher - Halcyon euryzona
    Only seen on the 1st boat trip up the Tahan river, when 5+ seen easily - none seen on 2nd boat trip; book the first boat of the day to be sure of seeing this species - should also be visible from the Tahan trail of course.

    [Oriental Dwarf (Black-backed) Kingfisher - Ceyx erithacus]
    1 heard at the 1st JM stream, TN, 20/4.

  93. Banded Kingfisher - Lacedo pulchella
    Heard at TN (JM trail, wet area of trail between Yong and Blau Hides) and KNC (Trail B0.6-0.7 ravine, access from a small trail off B to the left as you head up) but failed to respond strongly to tape. The only bird we saw well was a juvenile 750m up the Rd to FH from the Gap. It looked exactly like a miniature female, but with a black, pale-tipped bill - extremely cute as it sat on an open bough calling for food. The adult female was calling a little further up the Gap Rd, seen briefly (CG)

  94. Stork-billed Kingfisher - Halcyon capensis
    Fairly common on rivers at TN, seen every day except one, usually at least one around the main quay area at TN resort. Also 1 at KS.

  95. White-throated (Smyrna) Kingfisher - Halcyon smyrnensis
    Very common, up to 10 per day at TN, up to 5 on other days in open areas etc.

  96. Brown-winged Kingfisher - Halcyon amauroptera
    A mangrove species - only seen on 2nd trip with Mr Dai, common in the quieter mangrove channels, 8+ seen.

  97. Ruddy Kingfisher - Halcyon coromanda
    Not at all easy, 1 briefly in the mangroves at Krabi, 2/5 (CG, GH) Mr Dai can get them to respond to his whistles and knows where they are, so book him to greatly increase your chances of success. Even then they are still a b*gger to see. We heard another 5 or 6 on the same boat trip but failed to glimpse them, CG has also missed them on 2 previous winter trips - little chance if they're not calling (a soft, whickering, descending 5-6 note trill).

  98. Collared Kingfisher - Halcyon chloris
    Fairly common in small numbers at Krabi, common at KS.

  99. Blue-throated Bee-eater - Merops viridis
    Very common at TN, especially on river banks on the way in/out of the reserve, 100+ on 18/4, at least 20 most days.

  100. Blue-tailed Bee-eater - Merops philippinus
    4 at KS, 28/4, (GH.)

  101. Red-bearded Bee-eater - Nyctyornis amictus
    1 pair on the Tahan trail, between the Tabing Hide and the JM trail, nearer to the latter, 22/4. Attract attention with their bizarre guttural calls, a really smart-looking forest bee-eater when you track them down.

  102. Indian Roller - Coracias benghalensis
    3 seen returning from the KNC plateau, 30/4, also 1 at Krabi river mouth 1/5.

  103. Dollarbird - Eurystomus orientalis
    Fairly common in low numbers, 1-2 seen most days at TN, often perched up on dead snags. Also heard at KNC 2 days running.

    [White-crowned Hornbill - Berenicornis comatus]
    3 heard, the call is very distinctive, 2 distinct, different-pitch notes, 1 heard at KNC Honeyguide site, 1 from the Trail B ravine B0.6-0.7, 1 from C/D junction, all calling in areas we couldn't access.

  104. Black Hornbill - Anthracoceros malayanus
    We saw 4, a male on the way into, and on the way out of, TN, a female by the Tabing Hide on 20/4, and a female on the Swamp Loop, 21/4

  105. Oriental Pied Hornbill - Anthracoceros albirostris
    Surprisingly, only one seen, in the clearing in front of the Tahan Hide, TN 19/4. Also heard on 2 other days at TN.

  106. Rhinoceros Hornbill - Buceros rhinoceros
    First seen when stalking the Rail-Babbler at TN on the steep slope beyond 2nd lookout on Bukit Teresek (GH, BH, KB) another brief fly-over between the Yong and Blau Hides (GH, BH, KB). 2 birds flew across the Tembeling River on the way out of TN 24/4, and 3 were finally seen perched, 1 on the Gap Road, and 2 c1km along the KKB Road at The Gap on 27/4.

  107. Helmeted Hornbill - Rhinoplax vigil
    Heard almost daily at TN and FH, just one seen in our last hour of Malaysian forest birding, c1km down the KKB Road, flying high from the road up to FH to forest along the KKB road 27/4. Phew.

  108. Fire-tufted Barbet - Psilopogon pyrolophus
    Only seen at Fraser's Hill where common, and heard all the time.

  109. Gold-whiskered Barbet - Megalaima chrysopogon
    Heard almost daily at TN, 1 seen 23/4, also 1 at The Gap 27/4 and 1 at KNC 30/4 opp. Trail Q. Learn the calls in advance and you'll pick up most barbets OK, easier at FH/The Gap than at TN though, as there's more open space/forest edge visible.

    [Red-crowned Barbet - Megalaima rafflesii]
    One heard on Trail B at KNC, 29/4.

  110. Red-throated Barbet - Megalaima mystacophanos
    Heard most days at TN, 1 seen 21/4, 2 seen at The Gap 24/4, 1 at KNC Plateau, also heard at KS.

  111. Black-browed Barbet - Megalaima oorti
    Heard daily at FH/the Gap, 1 seen each day at FH, and 2 seen at The Gap. Call is 'big-fat-buddha' (or 'pea-nut-butter'...and yes, I know our interpretation of Barbet calls is a little strange, but it worked well as an aide-de-memoir!

  112. Golden-throated Barbet - Megalaima franklinii
    Only 2 seen, on the Telekom Loop FH, 26/4 and 2 heard on the New Rd the same day.

  113. Yellow-crowned Barbet - Megalaima henricii
    Heard every day at TN, but only 1 seen on the last day when we finally decided to get serious about finding one. Appropriately enough for 'Blonde Barbet', the song is a distinctive 'did-you-touch-my-brrrrrraaa.'

  114. Blue-eared Barbet - Megalaima australis
    Heard everywhere, but only a couple seen - at Bukit Teresek first lookout, and 1 on the Raub Rd at The Gap.

    [Brown Barbet - Calorhamphus fuliginosus]
    Two heard at the Malaysian Honeyguide site on KNC Plateau 30/4.

  115. Malaysian Honeyguide - Indicator archipelagicus
    The single bird at the KNC plateau stake-out remains for its twelfth year, get Yothin to take you up, the site/bird is impossible to find on your own. We scored within a minute, but it is missable if not singing. 12 noon to 3pm is best according to Yothin.

  116. Rufous Piculet - Sasia abnormis
    One seen briefly in thick scrub over the trail, in the wettest swamp area of Trail C (Trail B end, just after crossing the first stream) at KNC 1/5 (CG.)

  117. Rufous Woodpecker - Celeus brachyurus
    One at the start of the Tahan trail 18/4 was our first forest bird at TN. 2 also seen 23/4 on the main trail back to the resort from the Blau Hide.

  118. Laced Woodpecker - Picus vitattus
    Only seen at KS where common and conspicuous.

  119. Greater Yellownape - Picus flavinucha
    1 seen both days at FH.

  120. Lesser Yellownape - Picus chlorolophus
    2 at FH on 26/4, New Road, Telekom Loop, 1 heard the day before.

  121. Checker-throated Woodpecker - Picus mentalis
    1 by the shop at TN resort 21st, (KB, CG, BH,) 1 on the main trail back to the resort from the Blau Hide, 23/4.

  122. Banded Woodpecker - Picus miniaceus
    Only 1 seen, on the main Blau trail back to the resort near the junction with the Gua Telinga trail, 23/4.

  123. Great Slaty Woodpecker - Mulleripicus pulverulentus
    Heard frequently at TN, but only one seen, a bird flying over us across the Sungei Tahan at Lubok Simpon, 21/4. Never responded to tape, usually shutting up immediately.

  124. Brown-capped (Sunda) Pygmy Woodpecker - Picoides moluccensis
    1 female in the mangroves at KS, 28/4.

  125. Maroon Woodpecker - Blythipicus rubiginosus
    1 on the JM Trail 18/4 (GH,) 2 on the Tahan Trail, TN on 20/4, and 1 the following day.

  126. Bay Woodpecker - Blythipicus pyrrhotis
    2 in the High Pines garden, FH on 25/4.

  127. Orange-backed Woodpecker - Reinwardipocus validus
    Only one seen, flying over the quay at TN resort at the end of our successful Finfoot excursion on 22/4, adding to the general euphoria.

  128. Common Flameback (Goldenback) - Dinopium javanese
    2 at KS, 28/4.

  129. Greater Flameback (Goldenback) - Chrysocolaptes lucidus
    Only two seen, in the Krabi Mangroves 2/5.

  130. Black-and-Red Broadbill - Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchus
    Rather common at TN and seen there every day in small numbers max. 6, usually along river edges, easy from boats. Really smart birds - the bills are an amazing blue colour.

  131. Banded Broadbill - Eurylaimus javanicus
    Rather uncommon at TN, heard on 4 days but only seen twice, 2 on the JM trail, (B. Teresek end) flocking with Green, and Black-and-Yellow Broadbills, 19/4, 1 seen briefly after it responded well to tape on the main trail back from the Blau Hide 22/4. Song is similar to Black-and-Yellow but starts with a loud falling 'wheeeeo.'

  132. Black-and-Yellow Broadbill - Eurylaimus ochromalus
    Commonly heard at TN but rather hard to see; as with many species at TN you may well struggle without a tape to pull them in. We only saw 1 party, 4 together on our first day 18/4, along the Tahan trail before the junction with the JM trail coming from the resort, and even these took a while to find after they came in.

  133. Long-tailed Broadbill - Psarisomus dalhousiae
    Fairly common at Fraser's Hill, singles in about half the feeding flocks we encountered on all 3 days.

  134. Green Broadbill - Calyptomena viridis
    Heard daily at TN but again difficult to see without a tape (and fairly difficult with). We saw three with other broadbills on the JM trail 19/4, and a single the following day (but owing to my notebook getting drenched, not sure exactly where the last one was!). Truly an amazing bird when you do get on them though, one of the birds of the trip for all of us; it's difficult to imagine how a bird could be any greener or more groovy.

  135. Rusty-naped Pitta - Pitta oatesi
    Heard 3-4, immediately on arrival at the Bishop's Trail, 25/4. The same birds heard the following day, and finally had a good flight view c200m down the trail from the Mini Zoo end, 26/4. 2 birds consistently calling just beyond the T-junction at the second shelter. Not the best-looking pitta in the World, but still a major thrill to actually see one, especially if you've dipped them in N. Thailand before...

  136. Mangrove Pitta - Pitta megaryhncha
    2-3 seen and c8 others heard on Krabi mangrove trip with Mr Dai. Early morning is best; they respond well to whistled imitations of their call/tape. NB they usually call from mid-storey or mangrove canopy, so don't spend the whole time scanning the mud!

  137. Gurney's Pitta - Pitta gurneyi
    A male and female at KNC U0.22 - KB, BH, GH had good views for c30 seconds here, CG had blip views. We also came very close to another calling male and a calling male/female on Q c0.1, and C/D junction but failed to see any of them despite coming close after an hour's careful approach each time. Birds had also been seen by others earlier in April along the boundary trail, and along Trail N.
    The good news is that one or two pairs had been located a few km away from KNC in 2000, the bad news is that they are in small, degraded forest blocks surrounded by rubber plantations, ie the habitat is unlikely to survive uncultivated for long. Only 10 pairs had been located by Yothin in total by late May, lower than recent totals, although his coverage had been less thorough than in previous years which may well have been a factor. Whichever way you look at it, in the absence of a concerted International conservation effort the future looks extremely bleak for the survival of the species. What can be done? If a bird this enigmatic and stunning cannot be saved, what price the rest of the world's species?

  138. Blue-winged Pitta - Pitta moluccensis
    At least 3 heard at TN, we came close but none seen. 1 finally seen at KNC, 30/4, 2km down the rd that forks left as you leave Bang Tieo heading back to the main road (the right fork heads past Riverside House and eventually back out to the main road). Having taken the left fork, follow the dirt road for 2km until you come to a rubber plantation on the left of the road, and another on the right with a small block of forest ahead/to the right by a right turn. We saw 1 bird here extremely easily, and heard at least 2 others. Blue-winged can apparently be seen anywhere around The Morakot, Bang Tieo etc from late April onwards; we heard one opposite the Morakot on 1/5, others were being seen in scrub edges around the village etc, not hard to connect in scrubby/degraded forest.

  139. Garnet Pitta - Pitta granatina
    1 behind/just beyond Yong Hide at TN, watched calling for 30 mins 30ft up a tree. Garnet proved very difficult as not many birds calling/not responding, presumably as breeding already.

  140. Hooded Pitta - Pitta sordida
    1 heard calling at dusk down the Tahan Trail back towards the resort from L. Simpon at TN, 20/4.
    We came very close to one in the ravine off to the left of Trail B 0.6-0.7 KNC but failed to see it. However, 1 performed incredibly well the next day (our last afternoon), giving stunning views on Trail B c0.5 at KNC 1/5, 2-3 others also calling further along B/C, a highlight of the trip.

  141. Banded Pitta - Pitta guajana
    Heard every day at TN, probably 12-15 birds in total. The best areas included the Swamp Loop and JM Trail, especially before/by the 1st river from the Tahan end (although we never actually saw birds here, just heard a few). Two were seen in the end after lots of frustration and tantalisingly close calling birds. Many only called briefly and did not respond to tape, and we only ever had brief views. 1 on The Swamp Loop on 19th (KB, CG, GH) showed well but briefly. BH was very relieved to finally catch up with 1 behind the Blau Hide 4 days later. Surprisingly not even heard at KNC, they are breeders there.

  142. Dusky Crag Martin - Hirundo concolor
    6 at FH around the dump etc, 1 the following day on the Telekom Loop, and 3 at Krabi, above the twin limestone peaks on the edge of the mangroves as ever.

  143. Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica
    Only a couple of singles noted, 1 at The Gap and 1 at KS.

  144. Pacific Swallow - Hirundo tahitica
    Common everywhere and seen almost every day, max. c1000 roosting at dusk in a small town en route between The Gap and KS.

  145. Red-rumped (Striated) Swallow - Hirundo daurica (striolata) badia
    A few at The Gap, easily seen at The Resthouse, all of the attractive badia race (nomenclature above follows the Robson SE Asia book).

  146. Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike - Hemipus picatus
    Fairly common in bird waves at FH.

  147. Large Wood Shrike - Tephrodornis gularis
    2+ in a large tree on the walk back down from the Honeyguide site at KNC plateau, 30/4.

  148. Malaysian (Javan) Cuckoo-Shrike - Coracina javensis
    Fairly common at FH, 1-3 seen daily.

  149. Bar-bellied Cuckoo-Shrike - Coracina striata
    Only 1 seen, in the main clearing at TN resort, 21/4.

  150. Lesser Cuckoo-Shrike - Coracina fimbriata
    1 seen in Bang Tieo, KNC, 30/4

  151. Ashy Minivet - Pericrocotus divaricatus
    1 female heard calling and picked up flying past the second lookout on Bukit Teresek, TN, 22/4

  152. Grey-chinned Minivet - Pericrocotus solaris
    Fairly common and easily seen at FH, max. 8 per day.

  153. Scarlet Minivet - Pericrocotus flammeus
    c15 at The Gap in total.

  154. Common Iora - Aegithina tiphia
    4 at KNC, 2 at Krabi, 3 at KS.

  155. Great Iora - Aegithina lafresnayei
    1 on the upper section of the Tahan Trail at TN, 20/4.

  156. Greater Green Leafbird - Chloropsis sonnerati
    1-3 seen on two days at TN, JM Trail, Bukit Teresek first and second lookouts.

  157. Blue-winged Leafbird - Chloropsis cochinchinensis
    6 at The Gap on 27/4, 1 female at KNC 29/4.

  158. Orange-bellied Leafbird - Chloropis venusta (hardwickii)
    1 male on the Raub Rd at The Gap 27/4, also 2 at the Gap, 27/4 .

  159. Straw-headed Bulbul - Pycnonotus zeylanicus
    Big and cool-looking, and globally scarce to boot so worth looking at, common and easily seen (especially on boat trips) at TN. This species and Finsch's Bulbul are the ones to find at TN, we dipped the latter. If you can see both the target species early on it frees you from having to look at any other Bulbuls you may encounter, which is a bonus in my book.

  160. Black-headed Bulbul - Pycnonotus atriceps
    We didn't do that well for bulbul species, basically because whenever we found them we would fall into a deep slumber within seconds, wake me when it's all over etc. Black-headed is very common at TN and KNC.

  161. Black-crested Bulbul - Pycnonotus melanicterus
    Common at FH and The Gap.

  162. Scaly-breasted Bulbul - Pycnonotus squamatus
    Probably not actually a species of bulbul at all as they look really smart, 4 seen in fruiting trees down the Raub and KKB roads at The Gap.

  163. Grey-bellied Bulbul - Pycnonotus cyanventris
    Scarce - 1 at TN 20/4, 1 in fruiting tree on KNC plateau, 30/4.

  164. Puff-backed Bulbul - Pycnonotus eutilotus
    1 trail B at KNC 1/5.

  165. Stripe-throated Bulbul - Pycnonotus finlaysoni
    Look like they've been hit in the face with yellow paint thrown at high speed ie not bad. A few at TN, KNC.

  166. (Asian) Yellow-vented Bulbul - Pycnonotus goiavier
    Very common and very dull.

  167. Cream-vented Bulbul - Pycnonotus simplex
    1 on the Tahan trail at TN 22/4, 2 at TN on 20th, 1 at KNC Plateau 30/4.

  168. Olive-winged Bulbul - Pycnonotus plumosus
    Only one seen at KNC 30/4. Another thriller.

  169. Red-eyed Bulbul - Pycnonotus brunneus
    Singles seen on 4 days at TN, 1 at KNC 30/4.

  170. Ochracheous Bulbul - Alophoixus ochraceous
    Only seen on the Raub Rd at The Gap where common.

  171. Yellow-bellied Bulbul - Criniger phaeocephalus
    Fairly common at TN, 1-3 daily, also 1 at KNC.

  172. Hairy-backed Bulbul - Hypsipetes viridiscens
    Scarce - singles on 2 days at TN and a pair at KNC.

  173. Streaked Bulbul - Ixos malaccensis
    1 at TN and 1 at The Gap.

  174. Ashy Bulbul - Hypsipetes flavala
    Common at FH and The Gap.

  175. Mountain Bulbul - Hypsipetes mcclellandii
    Fairly common at FH only, up to 3 daily.

  176. Black Drongo - Dicrurus macrocercus
    Fairly common in open areas, none in forest habitat.

  177. Bronzed Drongo - Dicrurus aeneus
    Common at TN, The Gap etc.

  178. Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo - Dicrurus remifer
    Common at higher altitudes, FH and The Gap.

  179. Greater Racket-tailed Drongo - Dicrurus paradiseus
    Common at low altitudes eg TN.

  180. Dark-throated Oriole - Oriolus xanthonotus
    A pair seen in a feeding flock opposite trail Q KNC, and a male seen at KNC Plateau, 30/4.

  181. Black-naped Oriole - Oriolus chinensis
    Only 2 or 3 seen at TN, common at KS.

  182. Black-and-Crimson Oriole - Oriolus cruenus
    Fairly common at FH, we saw up to 3 daily, and 1 at The Gap.

  183. Asian Fairy Bluebird - Irena puella
    Common in lowland forest, up to 8 daily at TN, 4 at The Gap, heard at KNC ('be-quick').

  184. Crested Jay - Platylophus galericulatus
    The machine-gun toting gangster of the canopy - amazing call, tough to see, we had brief views of 1 bird in the canopy off the JM trail, TN, 18/4. 1 or 2 then heard most days at TN, and 2 heard at KNC.

  185. Common Green Magpie - Cissa chinensis
    We sweated for these on our first day at FH, finally connecting with a pair near the Olde Smokehouse. Then felt foolish the next day when we bumped into quite a few all over FH. Also 1 at The Gap.

  186. Black Magpie - Platysmurus leucopterus
    1 singing out in full view behind our chalet on the edge of the clearing at TN 19/4 was clearly deranged. Singles heard on 3 other days at TN, and 1 at KNC were more true to form, i.e. all refused to co-operate. The song is amazing, lots of recorded-backwards and antiphonal stuff.

  187. Slender-billed Crow - Corvus enca
    Only 1 seen, from a boat trip, at a nest in a dead tree well up the Tahan river TN 20/4. Calls like a Rook, and, er, has a slender bill. Exciting stuff.

  188. Asian House Crow - Corvus splendens
    Common in open areas, eg lots at KS.

  189. Large-billed Crow - Corvus machorynchos
    Common; up to 6 a day and seen almost everywhere.

  190. Great Tit - Parus major (ambiguus)
    Imagine our joy when we caught up with this scarce mangrove specialist at KS. 3 singles seen, a valuable addition to the list.

  191. Sultan Tit - Melanochlora sultanea
    Excellent value - huge and brightly coloured. We played lots of tape and saw nothing, then bumped into 4+ in a feeding flock c2kms down the Raub Rd at The Gap, 27/4. We also saw a bird up on the KNC plateau, Yothin's first record for 8 years at the site.

  192. Blue Nuthatch - Sitta azurea
    Another cracking species, bright and cute. Took us a while to connect with our first, then we saw 5 or so more at FH, near the Olde Smokehouse, on the hill up towards the Bishop's Trail from the Roti shops, up towards the Telekom Loop etc.

  193. Black-capped (Jungle) Babbler - Pellorneum capistratum
    Learn the songs for babblers, and you'll be able to find most of them, we located 90% by call. They are also very responsive to tape, and often occur in mixed flocks, so playing a variety of babbler calls when you hear a flock will often pay dividends. We only saw 1 B-C J-B, from the Yong Hide at TN, 23/4 (CG.)

  194. Buff-breasted Babbler - Pellorneum pyrrogenys (ticknelli)
    Not the best-looking babbler, only seen in small numbers at FH and The Gap.

  195. Puff-throated Babbler - Pellorneum ruficeps
    Incredibly, we only saw one at KNC, and that was after taping it in, even then we only had glimpses, along the main road back from the far end of Trail N. Heard lots at KNC though, call is a distinctive 'nuh-menu.'

  196. White-chested Babbler - Trichastoma rostratum
    For those of you into 80's music, this species usually whistles the first three (ascending) notes of Thomas Dolby's "Keys to her Ferrari," which helps. We had 1 on the Swamp Loop 21/4, heard another there on 24/4, and 2 in the Krabi Mangroves whistled in by Mr Dai 2/5.

  197. Short-tailed Babbler - Pellorneum malaccense
    Like mini-pittas, they look totally tail-less and groove around on the forest floor in an attractive manner. We saw them on 2 separate days at KNC, seem to prefer wetter areas eg Trail C, damper sections in Primary Forest along Trail B.

  198. Abbott's Babbler - Trichastoma abbotti
    Common at TN, up to 3 seen every day but one.

    (Horsfield's Babbler - Malacocincla sepiarium)
    We came across one bird which we thought possibly of this species, along Trail U at KNC, and recorded the song. Suspecting a Horsfield's we played tape (Terry White's tape of Horsfield's Babbler), and the bird responded strongly. However, Dr Phil Round has since commented via e-mail "There are no Horsfield's Babblers at KNC, and the song supposedly of this sp. on Terry White is actually Abbott's again. Horsfield's has an incredibly distinctive song: an explosive 'chip, chop, tiu.' It is usually found near rushing streams but does not seem to get north of the Malaysian rainforest zone."

  199. Moustached Babbler - Malacopteron magnirostre
    Fairly commonly heard in lowland forest, TN, KNC, but only a few singles seen eg JM Trail.

  200. Sooty-capped (Plain) Babbler - Malacopteron affine
    Scarce, we only saw 2 together on the Swamp Loop at TN 21/4. Song is distinctive; weak and random groups of 3 notes.

  201. Scaly-crowned Babbler - Malacopteron cinereum
    Only 2 ID'd for sure, together on Trail U near junction with N at KNC, 29/4.

  202. Rufous-crowned Babbler - Malacopteron magnum
    The commonest babbler at TN after Abbott's. Seen most days, and often heard.

  203. Large Scimitar Babbler - Pomatorhinus hypoleucos
    3 on The Bishop's Trail at FH came in to tape, 25/4.

  204. Chestnut-backed Scimitar Babbler - Pomatorhinus monatus
    1-2 in a bird wave on the road up to FH from the Gap, 27/4.

  205. Large Wren-Babbler - Napothera macrodactyla
    3 singles heard at TN on different days, 2 on the Tahan Trail (both N of JM junction,) and 1 by the wooden bridge that crosses the main trail on the way back from Blau/Yong Hides which called for 30 mins but refused to show itself. 1 finally seen extremely well, perched c3m up a tree singing for a few minutes on U0.3 at KNC, 2 others heard in the same section of U the same day and the following day.

  206. Streaked Wren-Babbler - Napothera breviacaudata
    Reasonable views of 2 birds taped in at the start of The Bishop's Trail (Mini Zoo end) FH 26/4, responded to tape but still hard to find grovelling around in the dirt.

    [Pygmy Wren-Babbler - Pnorpyga pusilla]
    Heard twice at the start of The Bishop's Trail at FH but we were unable to find them despite brief tape-response.

  207. Rufous-fronted Babbler - Stachyris rufifrons
    Only one seen, on the road up to FH from The Gap, 27/4.

  208. Golden Babbler - Stachyris chrysea
    Common in bird waves at FH.

  209. Grey-throated Babbler - Stachyris nigriceps
    Only 2 seen, on The Telekom Loop, FH, 26/4.

  210. Chestnut-winged Babbler - Stachyris erythroptera
    Fairly common at TN, heard and a few seen, often in mixed Babbler flocks.

  211. Striped Tit-Babbler - Macronous gularis
    2, in a mixed Babbler flock on the Gua Telinga trail at TN, 23/4, and a pair with young in the nest in Bang Thieo, KNC, 30/4.

  212. Fluffy-backed Tit-Babbler - Macronous ptilosus
    Really fabulous, we had 2 pairs calling in a mixed babbler flock on the Gua Telinga trail, c100m down from the junction with the main trial back to HQ. One pair showed really well on an exposed low bough, the male and female duetting sat next to each other; male: "poop (pause) poop (pause) poop-poop-poop" whilst the female goes "wickety-whurr" etc in the background - top value.

  213. Black Laughingthrush - Garrulax lugubris
    1 Telekom loop 24/4 (BH/KB), CG/GH finally caught up with a flock on the Raub Rd at The Gap, 27/4.

  214. Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush - Garrulax mitratus
    Common at FH.

  215. Chestnut-crowned (Red-headed) Laughingthrush - Garrulax erythrocephalus
    Very common at FH.

  216. Silver-eared Mesia - Leiothrix argentauris
    Common in bird waves at FH.

  217. White-browed Shrike-Babbler - Pteruthius flaviscapis
    Fairly common in bird waves at FH.

  218. Black-eared Shrike-Babbler - Pteruthius melanotis
    Fairly common in bird waves at FH, nice-looking though surprisingly small.

  219. Blue-winged Minla - Minla cyanouroptera
    Common in bird waves at FH.

  220. Mountain Fulvetta - Alcippe peracensis
    Common in bird waves at FH.

  221. White-bellied Yuhina - Yuhina zantholeuca
    Only seen at The Gap, a few in bird waves.

  222. Long-tailed Sibia - Heterophasia picaoides
    Abundant at FH only.

    [Malaysian Rail-Babbler - Eupetes macrocerus]
    We whistled in and latterly stalked a calling bird for c45 mins, but no views, c300m down very steep slope N. of Bukit Teresek (beyond the 2nd viewpoint) at TN. The Sunderland birders we met also heard the bird later the same day in the same place, but also failed to see it. Very disappointing, but at least you expect to dip this elusive and enigmatic skulker, which eases the pain a little.

  223. Lesser Shortwing - Brachypteryx leucophyrs
    Really sexy, the Malaysian birds look like White-browed Shortwing and respond very well to tape giving stunning views with patience. Once you learn the song you realise they are everywhere at FH. Way easier (and better-looking) at FH than in N. Thailand, eg Doi Inthanon.

  224. Oriental Magpie-Robin - Copsychus saularis
    Common everywhere, seen almost every day.

  225. White-rumped Shama - Copsychus malabaricus
    Common in lowland forest, frequently heard, 1-2 seen most days.

  226. White-tailed Robin - Cinclidium leucurus
    1 seen 2 days running on The Bishop's Trail at FH, seem to like damp corners near streams with lots of cover. Song is fluty and pretty, rather slow.

  227. Slaty-backed Forktail - Enicurus schistaceus
    2 at the Upper Gate FH 26/4, and 2 at the river that crosses beneath the road 2km down the Raub Rd at The Gap.

  228. White-crowned Forktail - Enicurus leschenaulti
    1 seen from the boat drifting down the Tahan River at TN 22/4 by the Tabing Hide drop-off point, and 1 at the small stream which crosses the main trail just west of the village on the W. bank of the Tahan River heading towards Blau/Yong Hides etc 23/4. Shy.

  229. Flyeater (Golden-bellied Gerygone) - Gerygone sulphurea
    Common at KS only.

  230. Chestnut-crowned Warbler - Seicercus castaniceps
    Fairly common in bird waves at FH, max 7 per day.

  231. Yellow-bellied Warbler - Abroscopus superciliaris
    6 seen at The Gap, commonest on the road up to FH.

  232. Arctic Warbler - Phylloscopus borealis
    Scarce - only 1 at TN in the main resort clearing (CG, GH) 3 at KS, 6 at KNC on Trail U, (1 poss. of race xanthodryas (GH.))

  233. Mountain Leaf-Warbler - Phylloscopus trivirgatus
    Only 3 singles seen at FH, 2 on the way up to the Telekom Loop from The Quest hotel, 1 along the New Rd.

  234. Oriental Great Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus orientalis
    1 seen at KS whilst scoping the Finfoot (CG, BH, GH.)

  235. Common Tailorbird - Orthotomus sutorius
    Fairly common, singles seen on a number of days at TN and FH.

  236. Dark-necked Tailorbird - Orthotomus atrogularis
    The commonest Tailorbird, seen at all sites, max. 4 per day.

  237. Ashy Tailorbird - Orthotomus sepium
    10+ at KS, 2 at Krabi.

    [Rufous-tailed Tailorbird - Orthotomus sericus]
    We heard 2 at KNC up on the plateau and in Bang Tieo Village but failed to persuade them out of dense cover - probably common?

  238. Mountain Tailorbird - Orthotomus cuculatus
    The best song of any species we encountered (except Helmeted Hornbill): a ludicrously happy tuneful whistle that then loses the plot and changes pitch for the last phrase, really funny. We were whistling it for days, Bob even started writing lyrics to the tune... Common at FH.

  239. Rufescent Prinia - Prinia rufescens
    2 on KNC plateau 30/4.

  240. Yellow-bellied Prinia - Prinia flaviventris
    2 at KS were the only birds we saw. Still, never mind eh?

  241. Dark-sided (Siberian) Flycatcher - Muscicapa sibirica
    Only 1, at The Dump at FH 25/4.

  242. Asian Brown Flycatcher - Muscicapa dauurica
    1 at FH and 1 at The Gap.

  243. Brown-streaked Flycatcher - Muscicapa williamsoni
    1 seen from a boat, atop the canopy along the Tahan river at TN, 22/4.

  244. Mugimaki Flycatcher - Ficedula mugimaki
    A female and a 1w male were in the fruiting tree behind The Gap Resthouse on the way up to FH on our first day at the site, and another female was seen in a fruiting tree up on the KNC plateau 30/4.

  245. Yellow-rumped Flycatcher - Ficedula zanthopygia
    1 female showed well on the Tahan Trail TN on 18/4.

  246. Rufous-browed Flycatcher - Ficedula solitarius
    Fairly common on the Bishop's Trail FH, seen both days there, max 3.

  247. Little Pied Flycatcher - Ficedula westermanni
    4 seen at FH, 2 on the Telekom Loop, 1 on the Bishop's Trail, 1 at High Pines.

  248. Pygmy Blue Flycatcher - Muscicapella hodgsoni
    2 pairs seen on the Bishop's Trail FH, 25/4, cracking birds, small but perfectly formed.

  249. Grey-headed (Canary) Flycatcher - Culicicapa ceylonensis
    Only 1 seen, on the Tahan trail at TN 19/4.

  250. Large Niltava - Niltava grandis
    Common at FH, also heard at The Gap.

  251. Verditer Flycatcher - Eumyias thalassina
    1 or 2 per day at FH, including one that tried to land on CG's scope at the Dump, 5 at The Gap.

  252. Blue-throated Flycatcher - Cyornis rubeculoides
    One male seen on Trail U at KNC 29/4, and another heard on U the following day.

  253. Pale Blue Flycatcher - Cyornis unicolor
    1 on the Tahan trail TN, 18/4.

  254. Hill Blue Flycatcher - Cyornis banyumas
    2 at the Dump, FH 25/4, and 2 at The Gap on the rd up to FH, 27/4.

  255. Malaysian Blue Flycatcher - Cyornis turcosa
    A pair seen in river-edge vegetation from 'HMS Finfoot' drifting down the Tahan river above the Tabing Hide at TN, 22/4. Birds were also seen in the same spot by Jon Hornbuckle a week or two earlier, a consistent site?

  256. Mangrove Blue Flycatcher - Cyornis rufigastra
    Easy to find along the mangrove boardwalk at KS, we saw 2 birds in c20 mins on 28/4.

  257. White-throated Fantail - Rhipidura albicollis
    Common in bird waves at FH.

  258. Spotted Fantail - Rhipidura perlata
    A pair on 2 days at TN.

  259. Pied Fantail - Rhipidura javanica
    1-2 daily at KNC.

  260. Black-naped Monarch - Hypothymis azurea
    Common in small numbers at TN and KNC.

  261. Rufous-winged Flycatcher (Philentoma) - Philentoma pyrhopterum
    A pair along trail C at KNC, 1/5.

  262. Asian Paradise Flycatcher - Terpsiphone paradisi
    Common at TN and KS, c10 seen in total, plus 1 at KNC. This bird and 3 of the TN/KS total were white morphs, pretty stunning.

  263. Mangrove Whistler - Pachycephala grisola
    Easy to find along the mangrove boardwalk at KS, we saw 4 birds, respond well to tape.

  264. Paddyfield Pipit - Anthus rufulus
    2 seen on the way into TN, 2 at KS, and 1 at Phuket airport. All were at long range/from a boat and thus were clinically/conclusively identified on the grounds that Richard's has yet to be ID'd in Malaysia...

  265. White-breasted Wood-Swallow - Artamus leucorhynchus
    2 over the Tahan river from Lubok Simpon, TN, with swifts and hirundines, eve of 20/4, 2 on the journey from TN to Gap 24/4.

  266. Brown Shrike - Lanius cristatus
    7 seen in total, mostly singles in open areas, none in primary forest.

  267. Tiger Shrike - Lanius tigrinus
    An adult female at Lubok Simpon on the 18th, an adult male at the 2nd Bukit Teresek lookout 19th, an adult male at FH 25th, and another adult male on the rd up to FH from The Gap, 27/4.

  268. Philippine (Asian) Glossy Starling - Aplonis panayensis
    Seen at TN, KS, KNC, max 20 per day.

  269. Common Mynah - Acridotheres tristis
    Very common.

  270. White-vented Mynah - Acridotheres javanicus
    Common at KS and in KL.

  271. Hill Mynah - Gracula religiosa
    1-2 heard and/or seen most days at TN, the clearing in front of the Tahan Hide seemed reliable, also seen from boats.

  272. Brown- (Plain-)throated Sunbird - Anthreptes malacensis
    Singles on 2 days at TN and the same at KNC.

  273. Ruby-cheeked Sunbird - Anthreptes singalensis
    3 at KS in the mangroves.

  274. Olive-backed Sunbird - Nectarinia jugularis
    Amazingly we only saw 3, all at KS.

  275. Black-throated Sunbird - Aethopyga saturata
    4 on the Bishop's Trail FH 25/4, and a male there the following day.

  276. Little Spiderhunter - Arachnothera longirostra
    2 at TN, 1 at FH, heard at KNC plateau.

  277. Long-billed Spiderhunter - Arachnothera robusta
    Only 2 seen, at TN in the clearing in front of the Tahan Hide, 19/4.

  278. Spectacled Spiderhunter - Arachnothera flavigaster
    2 birds seen on 2 days at TN, on the Tahan trail 21st and at the Yong Hide 23/4.

  279. Yellow-eared Spiderhunter - Arachnothera chrysogenys
    1 at TN resort clearing 19/4, and 1 at KNC plateau, 30/4.

  280. Grey-breasted Spiderhunter - Arachnothera affinis
    2 at TN, 4 at KNC (Trail B and the plateau.)

  281. Streaked Spiderhunter - Arachnothera magna
    Very common at FH and The Gap.

  282. Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker - Prionochilus thoracicus
    One male at FH 25/4 was the only bird we saw.

  283. Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker - Prionochilus maculatus
    1 at TN and 1 at The Gap.

  284. Thick-billed Flowerpecker - Dicaeum agile
    1 on the Tahan trail at TN 20/4 and 1 at KNC 30/4.

  285. Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker - Prionochilus percussus
    Single males at FH 25th and down the Raub Rd at The Gap 27/4.

  286. Yellow-vented Flowerpecker - Dicaeum chrysorrheum
    1 at TN 19th, and 2 at The Gap 27/4.

  287. Orange-bellied Flowerpecker - Dicaeum trigonostigma
    4 singles at TN.

  288. Plain (Plain-backed) Flowerpecker - Dicaeum concolor
    1 at TN 20/4.

  289. Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker - Dicaeum cruentatum
    A few singles seen at KNC.

  290. Oriental White-eye - Zosterops palpebrosus
    Common in lowland forest.

  291. Everett's White-eye - Zosterops everetti
    Common at FH and The Gap, max. 20 per day.

  292. Eurasian Tree Sparrow - Passer montanus
    2 at TN, 3 at the KS hotel, lots in Krabi.

  293. Pin-tailed Parrotfinch - Erythrura prasina
    10+ in flowering bamboo on the 1st corner down the KKB Rd from The Gap 27/4 (just beyond the Chinese restaurant on the other side of the rd) showed extremely well and were a nice parting shot from The Gap.

  294. White-rumped Munia - Lonchura striata
    8 at FH along the New Road/approach to the Telekom Loop, 26/4.

  295. Scaly-breasted Munia - Lonchura punctulata
    2 at the quay at TN, 10 at KS.

(295 Species total + 11 heard)

Stuff We Missed

Acknowledgments

Thanks to: all the people who responded to my request for recent information via the OBC forum especially Phil Benstead, Wim Veraghtert. Thanks to Paul Holt, Eddie Myers and Ashley Banwell for copying tapes, to Dennis and all at Kingfisher for ensuring a smooth, birding-time-maximised, hassle-free holiday, to all authors of reports mentioned above, and to Urs Geiser for his excellent free website, to Mr Yothin at KNC, Steve Whitehouse for reports, and Dr Phil Round for his update on KNC. Finally thanks to OBC for the invaluable leech-proof socks and for setting up the OBC forum in the 1st place - an invaluable source of information - if you're not an OBC member, shame on you! Join today and help protect the forests for future generations to enjoy. You can get more information at mail@orientalbirdclub.org, write to OBC, c/o The Lodge, Sandy, Beds, SG19 2DL, UK, or visit their website.

If you have any questions or need further information (eg, maps), you can reach me at chrisg@focusrite.com, or on 0207-609-1108, or at Flat 1, 155 Hemingford Rd, Islington, London N1 1BZ, or daytime at work 01494-462246. If you have any recent reports of your own I'd be delighted to receive them at chrisg@focusrite.com or at the address above.

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This page served with permission of the author by Urs Geiser; ugeiser@xnet.com; July 28, 2000; updated February 28, 2003