The journey north from Ipoh took us via Penang (see here for the report combined with the stop on our way south), Hat Yai and Trang to get to the large Thai Andaman Coast Island of Koh Lanta. Although not affected quite as disastrously as much of this coastline there was still a great deal of damage in the wake of the 2004 tsunami. Just one backpacker type remains among the resorts along the west coast and so it was Klong Khong we headed to. At around £8 or £9 a night for a small, en suite bamboo hut with a scooter thrown in it was an absolute bargain. Places right behind the shoreline were more expensive but we were only a short walk from all the beach bars with their music, fire poi and stunning sunsets.
I took very few photos of birds here and most were very common species but I did see my first Buff-vented Bulbul here and there was a small flock of Lesser Sand Plovers on the beach to the south.
|Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus|
Unfortunately we were unable to find any suitable accommodation further south on the island near the National Park so we reluctantly took a hideous, cramped 2 hour 40 minute minivan journey north to Krabi town.
We spent a couple of days here and I concentrated birding effort on the mangroves, accessed via the boardwalk at the north end of the town. The tricky Ruddy Kingfisher and Mangrove Pitta proved a step too far but I had a couple of good sightings of another mangrove specialist; the impressive Brown-winged Kingfisher. A pair of Collared Kingfishers at the nest were also great to watch.
|Brown-winged Kingfisher Pelargopsis amauroptera|
I was definitely missing birds here as I could hear some unfamiliar calls and feeding sounds, plus I had fleeting glimpses of unidentified birds deep in the tangled roots. I did identify my first Crow-billed Drongo here though and these Swinhoe's White-eyes showed very well. The subject of recent taxonomic revision, the erwini subspecies here was formerly part of Japanese White-eye (Z. japonicus - now known as Warbling White-eye).
|Crow-billed Drongo Dicrurus annectens|
|Swinhoe's White-eye Zosterops simplex|
As everywhere along the coast White-bellied Sea Eagles and Brahminy Kites were regular.
|White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster|
We took a boat trip around the mangroves but that failed to reveal any new birds. I did find the Archer Fish and Mudskippers pretty cool though.
|Archer Fish Toxotes sp.|