I can officially call myself a novice ornithologist!!Â This morning a good friend, Marisa, took me with her on a birding expedition just a few kilometers from our apartment.Â She had scoped out the location, Mae Hia Agricultural College in Chiang Mai, a few days ago, and thought it would be perfect for a novice, such as myself.Â We left our apartment at 6:30am (I know…way too early!) and it took about 15 minutes to drive down the Canal Road to the campus.Â When we arrived, it was raining, so we sought shelter, but after 30 minutes the rain stopped and we started exploring.Â The area is mostly grasslands at the base of Doi Suthep with a few ponds.Â There is also a large forested area near by, but we didn’t make it that far.
As my first experience, it was highly successful!Â We probably saw at least 10 different species in 2 hours, 6 of which I remember, and have shown above.Â I also saw a rooster, which Marisa thinks could have been the undomesticated Red Junglefowl, and another large bird that could have been a pheasant of some sort.Â This trip was very encouraging and now I want to purchase better binoculars and wake up every morning at 6:30!!!
By the way, birding is huge here in Thailand.Â There are over 900 native species in this country, which is about the same number as all of the United States and Canada combined.Â Some other locations in Northern Thailand for bird watching are Doi Inthanon National Park (wish I would have known this last week!), Doi Chiang Dao National Park, Doi Ang Kang, Doi Lang, Chiang Saen, and Doi Phu Kha National Park.Â Marisa has also taken some early morning trips up to Doi Suthep and has seen the stunning Grey-Chinned Minivet.Â I think I’ll try that next!
Here are some great resources in case you’re more interested:
And according to my friend, the field guide of all field guides for Thailand is the Princeton Field Guides: Birds of Thailand by Craig Robson.
In other birdwatching news, this month the Vaux Swifts will be in Portland, Oregon at the Chapman School for their annual migration.Â The Chapman School is in Nik and I’s old neighborhood near NW 23rd Ave, and I recommend spending an evening on the hill with friends, take-out and a cardboard sled!Â The best time to go is at sunrise or sunset each day.Â For more information, visit the Audubon Society of Portland’s Swift Watch 2008 website.