THAILAND RAPTORS, WHALES AND MORE
October 12-26, 2016
Extension Ocotber 26-November 1
Photo Tour: This tour focuses on photographing the raptors of Thailand as well as whales and other birds. On this tour we should photograph at least 20 species of raptor. We will photograph resident raptors at several locations and spend 4 days photographing the annual raptor migration near Chumphon where over 200,000 raptors are counted each October. We will have 2 full days photographing Bryde's Whales, Irrawaddy Dolphins and seabirds in the Gulf of Thailand and we will photograph pheasants, partridges and small birds from blinds near Keang Krachan National Park.
Extension: The extension visits Huai Kha Kheang Wildlife Sanctuary and Mae Wong National Park. The focus of the extension is both bird and mammal photography. Some of the highlights include Black-headed Woodpecker, Gray Peacock Pheasant, Silver-eared Mesia, Laughinghthrushes, up to 3 species of Deer, Leopard Cat and Yellow-throated Marten.
Tour Leaders: Ken Archer and Ian D. Ken is an award winning nature photographer. Ian resides in Thailand and has co-led Trogon Photo Tours 4 other photo tours to Thailand with Nate Chappell. Ian is an excellent birder and a good photographer as well. We will also have a Thai birder and photographer guiding us.
Number of Participants: Maximum of 6 photographers with a maximum of 10 total participants (including nonphotographer spouses and companions).
Cost: $4,950 per photographer, $4,250 per nonphotographer spouse/companion, $400 single supplement includes all meals, lodging, drinking water, transportation within Thailand (including in country flight), guiding, instruction, park fees. It does not include airfare to get to Thailand, drinks other than water, tips and items of a personal nature such as phone calls or laundry. Cost of extension is $2,150 per photographer, $1,850 nonphotographer spouse/companion, single supplement $200.
October 12th - Arrive to Bangkok International Airport. Transfer to a comfortable hotel 10 minutes from the airport.
October 13th - Morning flight from the Bangkok airport to Hat Yai. From Hat Yai our van will take us Thale Noi, the largest freshwater lake in Southern Thailand. Afternoon boat trip to photograph the stunning Brahminy Kites and many other waterbirds. Hotel: Thale Noi
October 14th - Morning and afternoon boat trips to photograph the Brahminy Kites and other birds. At this time of year there are hundreds of Swallow-tailed Bee Eaters migrating through. Whiskered and White-winged Black Terns are common. Herons include Purple Heron, Chinese Pond Heron and Yellow Bittern, we sighted a rare Black Bittern during our scouting trip this year. Hotel: Thale Noi
October 15th - Morning boat trip to photograph the kites and other birds. Then we will transfer to Khao Sok National Park. We arrive to the lake and take a long-tailed boat to our accommodation in comfortable floating bungalows. On the way we pass beautiful limestone cliffs which come straight down into turquoise colored waters. It's one of the most beautiful locations in Thailand. Accommodation: Floating Bungalows
October 16th - We will spend the full day photographing from boats on the lake. Our target raptor species here are White-bellied Sea Eagle, Gray-headed and Lesser Fishing Eagles, Oriental Hobby and Black-thighed Falconet. Several species of hornbill are often seen and photographed on the lake and this is a good area for mammals with a good chance to see Asian Elephant bathing. Accommodation: Floating Bungalows
October 17th - One more morning photographing on the lake then check out and return to shore. We will then transfer to Chumphon, Thailand site of the raptor migration. In the late afternoon we will do a bit of photography around our hotel grounds with Indian Roller and several species of starling likely. Accommodation: a 3 or 4 star hotel with good grounds for bird photography
October 18th-20th - We will have 3 full days of raptor photography at the raptor migration sites of Khao Dinsor and Radar Hill. It's about a 20 minute hike up Khao Dinsor to get to the raptor count platforms and looks outs. We can drive to the top of Radar Hill. We have timed our time there to coincide with both large numbers of birds and a large species count. The most common species we photograph are Japanese and Chinese Sparrowhawks, Shikra, Oriental Honey Buzzard and Grey-faced Buzzard. The spectacular Black Bazas should start arriving in good numbers at this time. Another 20 species of raptor are possible with Booted and Crested Serpent Eagles putting in regular appearances. Accommodation: a 3 or 4 star hotel with good grounds for bird photography.
October 21st - We will photograph raptors in the morning then check out and transfer to Phetchaburi, Thailand. Accommodation: A hotel on the lake in Phetchaburi
October 22nd - We will spend the full day on a good sized boat photographing Bryde's Whales and seabirds on the Gulf of Thailand. The whales regularly bubble feed on schooling small fish making for spectacular photo opportunities. Numerous gulls and terns swarm around the feeding whales. We will also be on the lookout for Irrawaddy Dolphins and seabirds such as Swinhoe's Storm Petrel are possible. Accommodation: Phetchaburi
October 23rd - We will have a 3/4 of a day trip photographing the whales and seabirds again and then have a late afternoon transfer to the Keang Krachan area. Accommodation: Baan Maka, a birding lodge.
October 24th - We will spend this morning photographing from blinds where Kalij Pheasant, Red Junglefowl and a few different species of partridges put in regular appearances. In the afternoon we will go to blinds where small birds such as laughingthrushes and bulbuls come into a bath to drink and bathe. Lesser Mouse Deer and squirrels of a couple different species show up here regularly. Accommodation: Baan Maka
October 25th - One more morning photographing the many different birds from the blinds followed by an afternoon transfer back to Bangkok. Hotel: A comfortable hotel 10 minutes from the airport.
October 26th - Shuttle to the airport for your flight home.
October 25th - We will spend tonight in a nice hotel in the Ayhuthuya area after dropping off the people not going on the extension at their hotel in Bangkok.
October 26th - We spend the morning at the Ayuthuya Historical Park photographing the ruins and historical treasures. Then we transfer to our lodging outside of Huai Kha Kheang Wildlife Sanctuary. We will have an evening walk looking for Spotted Owlet.
Ocotober 27th - Today we spend the whole day at Huai Kha Kheang Wildlife Sanctuary. Hog and Sambar Deer are usually seen in the open areas. This is the best location for the rare and striking Black-headed Woodpecker. Accommodation: Outside the sanctuary.
October 28th - We spend the morning at Huai Kha Kheang. Beautiful Blue Magpies inhabit the area and several species of Laughingthrush come to a small pond to drink. Then we transfer to our accommodation at the chalets inside Mae Wong National Park. Accommodation here is in 3 bedroom, 2 bath chalets so you could be sharing a bathroom with another participant.
October 29th and 30th - We spend 2 full days photographing inside the park. There are blinds which Gray Peacock-Pheasant and partridges come into. We will have small bird setups for beauties like the Silver-eared Mesia and Flavescent Bulbul. Yellow-throated Martens often come in during the day to food put out by the rangers. At night time we will spot light with a very good chance to photograph Leopard Cat at a location it comes to regularly. Occasionally on night drives rarities such as Clouded Leopard are seen. Accommodation: National Park chalets
October 31st - We spend one more morning photographing the many species of birds in the park and then check out and return to Bangkok. Accommodation: A nice hotel 10 minutes from the airport.
November 1st - Shuttle to the airport for your return trip home.
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