April is never the best month for a birding trip in Phetchabun Thailand. The weather is very hot, 40C is not unusual, there can also be sudden violent storms with strong winds and heavy rain.
During April 2019 I made three visits to Tat Mok National Park and two visits to Nam Nao National Park.
The trip to Nam Nao NP on 3rd April was my first trip of the month but I had to cut it short after 3 hours due to a storm breaking. Needless to say I saw very little and apart from the weather extensive work on the roads in the park didn’t help much either.
I visited Tat Mok National Park on the 10th, 18th and 22nd of the month. Although the birding was OK and I got a few decent images of raptors in flight, notably a Crested Goshawk and Crested Serpent Eagle, the hot weather made for poor conditions after around 10am in the mornings.
I did however add a new species to my park and Thai list in the form of a male Mugimaki Flycatcher that I saw on two separate visits. This bird is either a passage migrant or a winter visitor, possibly the former given the time of year.
The semi tame Silver Pheasant continues to hang out near the park HQ and chased my car on a couple of occasions!
My final trip of the month was to Nam Nao. Work is progressing on the roads and two bridges which makes access to the campgrounds difficult. Add to that a couple of coach loads of noisy Thai kids hanging around so I decided to bird the HQ area and stream. I kitted out for leeches but only one found me, trying to attach itself to my bare arm.
Birding was fairly decent and I got good views of a Common Green Magpie and added a Blue-throated Barbet to my Phetchabun list.
I decided to leave the park early and went to explore the small lake near a helipad a kilometer or so down the road toward Khon Kaen and the trail to Phu Goom Khao ranger station a further kilometer on. Both these turnings are on the right side of the road when heading towards Khon Kaen.
I shall return to these locations again in the future particularly the trail, which is 14km long, since I only explored the first 3km on this visit.
Overall a fairly disappointing month on the road. However I fully expected poor returns for my efforts given the time of year and despite the hot weather it was still good to get out and about.