This trip report covers my visit to Tat Mok National Park, Phetchabun on Monday 19th November 2018.
With the weather still a little unsettled I had been debating whether it was better to wait a little longer for my first cool season(2018/19) visit to the park. However I am glad I decided to go as the birding was good and photographic opportunities were also plentiful, with good light until about 2.30pm.
I didn’t make an early start and was not on site until 10am. Good to see the friendly staff again who know me quite well now. Also pleased to see the admission charge is still only 100 Baht and 30 Baht for the car.
This year I have planned to visit the park each week and concentrate on the various areas I have previously found birds. Given that the 19km access road to the waterfall provides the best birding opportunities it seems to make sense to me to try and concentrate on hot-spots along the route.
Initially as I made my way up the mountains I saw little in the way of bird life, however this changed as I passed the first view point and turned left into the road leading to the lam Chom Dao campsite/view point. Up here I found several winter migrants, notably Taiga Flycatcher with several leaf warblers although most I could not identify. I did however identify several Yellow-browed Warbler. Given that I see these in my garden back home I decided to head uphill to my main target, the first campsite near park headquarters.
Along the way I spotted a Chestnut-headed Bee Eater feeding from a high Perch and this provided nice break and some photo opportunities. Then onward and upward to the park HQ and the campsite beside the mountain stream. As I approached the HQ I spotted a migrant Grey Wagtail on the road and a few moments later another one welcomed me as I descended down the short slope onto the camp ground. In fact this bird just walked in front of the car and didn’t move till I parked and exited the vehicle.
After a walk round the campground, I noticed that the vegetation had returned to the far bank of the stream( previously removed by camp staff). This is a great habitat for some of the smaller birds and it was obvious from the calls that they had returned.
I settled myself down in the Thai sala(open sided shelter) in front of the toilet block and waited.
I didn’t have long to wait as a large group of Chestnut-headed Bee Eaters arrived and started hawking insects and drinking on the wing from the stream bed. These were then joined by several Verditer Flycatchers, a bird I hadn’t seen in Tat Mok for a while. For the next hour or so the action was non-stop and the arrival of an Asian Emerald Cuckoo made my day. Although getting unobstructed pictures of this beautify bird was impossible.
The appearance of a Little Spiderhunter feeding on a banana flower and a species of Ashy Drongo that I was unable to identify added to the bird count and just before I left to head home because of impending rain I was treated to a close view of a female Rosy Minivet.
I left Tat Mok at 3.30pm to dark skies, thunder and some heavy rain showers.
My e-Bird Checklist for this visit can be found here.
I also visited the park again on 28th November 2018 in company with 3 Birding Pals . A rather overcast day that produced the usual suspects for this area but I also found a Banded Kingfisher and a Slaty-backed Forktail near the waterfall car-park.
My e-Bird Checklist is here.