Nature Study Trails in Kung Krabaen Bay

Tips Visitors on Nature Study Trails

Be a Responsible Visitors 

  • Before starting out at the head of the trail, check for information on the route, and a description of the fauna and flora and other highlights that you might reasonably expect to see.
  • Allow sufficient time to explore the route or a predetermined part of the route and discover the things you want to see. 
  • Never venture off the trail on your own.
  • Walk slowly and try not to make sudden noises that might disturb wildlife or other visitors.

Be a Respectful Visitor

  • Take your garbage out with you when you leave.  Don’t reach into the vegetation to touch nesting birds, or venture into the mud to catch crabs or mudskippers. 
  • Avoid trampling vegetation and damaging habitats that animals depend upon by always sticking to the marked route.
  • Never take animal or plant life home with you. 

What to Bring 

  • A pair of 8 x 30 binoculars is most useful for watching birds in forest habitats.
  • A camera and zoom lens, (70 – 300mm) allows you to photograph forest birds but a longer lens is needed for waterbirds.
    • Bring a macro lens for close-up photography of insects and mangrove trees.
    • A flash may help you illuminate an interesting subject in low light. 
  • Wear clothes and footwear appropriate to the terrain and weather conditions.  

10 Keys to Bird Identification

1. WATCH ITS ACTIONS

To identify a bird you need to see how it acts. Certain birds are known for standout behavior.  

  • Is the bird clinging to the tree trunk? 
  • Is it hopping on the ground pulling bugs? 
  • Does it scare away all the other birds from the feeder? 

By recognizing that behavior, it may make identifying a little easier if you don’t catch all of the physical characteristics.
 2. THE BEAK

Some beaks are long and thin, others are fat, some orange, and a lot are brown.  Make note of the color and size of a beak, and any
unusual characteristics: long, thin, thick, curved, pointed, short, etc. The type of beak will also give clues as to what the bird eats. 

 3. THE PLUMAGE

Jot down all of the colors and where they are visible.  Sometimes wing bars on a bird are only seen while it’s in flight.  If it’s flying away, it may be hard to get any of the other visuals to
identify it.

  • What is the main colored feather of the bird? 
  • Is the chest or head a different color? 
  • Does it have spots, stripes or wing bands? 

4. SIZE MATTERS

  • Is your bird very small or very large? 
  • Does it have a long tail compared to the rest of the body? 

For an easy comparison, use a bird you are familiar with. You can easily gauge the size of the bird you are viewing to one that you see quite regularily and late try to determine what it might be.

5. LISTEN

In general, birds use a whole repertoire of sounds in their vocabulary.  From short calls, to squawks to lovely songs, each is instrumental for communicating to other birds.  They also have special calls for certain activities they are performing.  Some calls can even be recognized and heeded by birds of other species.  
 
As for songs, each bird song is unique in its melody and quality. The songs usually happen between meals during daylight hours.  

6. FIGURATIVELY SPEAKING

The shape of a bird is indicative to what category it belongs to. Remembering
its general shape and appearance will lead you to its category.

The categories of birds are: perching birds, woodpeckers, water birds, birds of prey, owls, gulls, ducks and ground birds.  Certain
categories have more in depth sub-categories.

7. LET’S EAT!

Take note of what the bird is eating.  Determining its food will give you good clues to as to what type of bird it is.

8. WHERE ARE YOU WATCHING THE BIRD?

 Bird species will be more commonly found in areas where they nest or feed. If you know about the birds habitat and behaviors, it can help you determine the likely suspects andeliminated those which are unlikely.

Some birds prefer wide open grasslands, while others like pine forests and dead trees. Some birds will only be found along the shoreline or are only in the area at certain times of the year.

9. FLIGHT PATTERN

Birds have different wing lengths and styles of flying, just as people do walking.  Some will flap their wings quickly and non-stop, others slowly and glide. 

10. SEASONS OF CHANGE

The time of year you are watching birds can help determine the species. The weather turns cold in your area and some feathered friends
migrate during cooler months, mate in certain areas, then return “home” to raise babies.

By keeping a notebook near your bird watching station, you can quickly jot down features of an unknown bird until you can find it in your field guide. Digital cameras can provide instant replay until you have identified your subject.
 

Birdwatching Sites in Thailand

Thailand is scattered with national parks and wildlife sanctuaries that are prime locations to observe birds or go on birding trips. There are about 96 national parks, 100 wildlife sanctuaries and non-hunting areas, 65 forest parks, watersheds and biosphere reserves that are protected legally.


Some of the wildlife and non hunting sanctuaries adjoin one another. Most of the parks are accessible by road, offer simple accommodation and charge a small admission fee. In the larger ones such as Khao Yai, rangers can be hired as guides for long treks. Wildlife sanctuaries are not tourism areas, however, so visitors must bring food and camping gear and observe the no disturbance rules set up to protect the animals.

  1. Birds can be seen all year round, but November-February is the migration period. This is the best time of year to look for birds, especially in the north were the weather is cooler.
  2. During March-June is the next best time to go birding, since passage migrants and resident species are breeding. The best areas in this time is the West, Southwest and the South.
  3. The rainy season lasts from July-October and there is less bird activity. There are the resident species, breeding visitors and during August-October there are some passage migrants.

CENTRAL or AREAS NEAR BANGKOK

  • BANGPU, Samutprakarn
  • KHOK KHAM, Samutsakhon
  • PAK TALE, LAEM PHAKBIA, Petchburi
  • KAMPANGSAEN, Nakhonpratom
  • RANGSIT, Pratumthani
  • SOUTH EAST

  • BANG PRA Reservoire, KHAO KHIEO Wildlife Sanctuary, Chonburi
  • NORTHEAST 

  • KHAO YAI National Park, Nakhonsratchsima
  • LIMESTONE OUTCROP in Saraburi
  • SAB SADAO Sub-station of Tab Lan National Park,Nakhonrachsima
  • SOUTH and SOUTH WEST

  • KAENG KRACHAN National Park, Petchburi
  • KHAO SAM ROI YOT National Park, Prachuabkirikhan
  • KORENG-KAVIA Wildlife Sanctuary, Kanchanaburi
  • TUNG YAI Wildlife Sanctuary, Kanchanaburi
  • LOWER NORTH

  • BUENG BORAPHET Non-hunting area, Nakhonsawan
  • MAE WONG National Park, Kampangpetch
  • NORTH

  • DOI INTHANON National Park, Chiangmai
  • DOI PUI-SUTHEP National Park, Chiangmai
  • AREAS IN CHIANGMAI
  • DOI CHIANGDAO Wildlife Sanctuary, Chiangmai
  • DOI ANGKHANG, Chiangmai
  • THA TON, Chiangmai
  • DOI LANG, Chiangmai
  • CHIANGSAEN, Chiangrai
  • SOUTH

  • KHAO NOR CHUCHI (or Khao Pra-Bang Kam Wildlift Sanctuary), Krabi
  • KRABI mangrove, rivermouth, BAN NAI CHONG and KOH PHI PHI
  • AREAS in Phang-nga and KOH SIMILAN National Park
  • Top 5 Birdwatching Tips

    1. Get up early– The sunrises between 6 and 7 am and this is when birds are the most active. At dusk, (2-3 hrs before sunset) birds are also active but not as intense as the morning hours. The best thing is to not miss the morning rush.

    2. Pick a good location – National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries are places to start. Rural areas, such as farms, temple and areas of secondary growth, will provide another setting for birdwatching.

    3. Be silent and patient – Tread lightly and look around slowly as you search for small movements. Another strategy is to stop often and wait for birds to come into view, especially if you are near a food or water source.

    4. Stake out fruiting and flowering trees – Food sources are an excellent place to sit and watch many species as they visit the trees and feed. You will also be able to observe different feeding behaviors and social interactions.

    5. Wear appropriate clothing – Comfortable and protective clothing will keep you better able to stand your time birding in the elements. Long-sleeved cotton shirts provide sun cover, protection from insects and sweat control. Leech socks are needed is the rainy season to keep you safe from the nasty bloodsuckers.

    Premier Bird Guide for Thailand

    A Field Guide to the Birds of Thailand
    by Craig Robson

    This book has been called the “must-have” for any birder in Thailand. It is recommended for novice and expert bird watchers alike since it is the most up-to-date book for Thailand. This guide includes all but the most recent additions to the Thai list. It also is convenient for use in the field as it’s size and weight do not compromise portability for the completeness of the book. The organization of the book is something to mention as it is very clear and precise. All left side pages contain text relating to the illustrations on the opposite page. The text for each species consists of a clear and updated distribution map. The illustrations also include several varieties of the species such as male, breeding male,  female and juvenile, when appropriate.

    One downside to this field guide is the lack of mention of the birds’ habitats. It appears that space has limited the amount of text dedicated to matters other than pure identification features. Perhaps the authors forgot that another way to identifying and differentiating bird species is via bird behavior.

    Despite this major fault, this books is essential for any birding trip in Thailand. It is more than sufficient for identifying all of the bird species that you may encounter in around Thailand.

    Price: 695 baht

    Features:

    • 128 color plates
    • great detail and organization
    • well spaced and clearly annotated
    • size and weight good for field
    • text page opposite illustrations

    Why should you take up birdwatching?

    There are many hobbies out there ranging from sports to collecting. Birding is a hobby that has many benefits and rewards. It can be enjoyed in your backyard or in a new country, in urban or rural settings, it’s portable and you can enjoy it throughout your lifetime.

    Here are a few of the main reasons people enjoy birdwatching:

    1. You don’t have to be an expert to participate.
    2. It’s entertaining to watch bird behavior.
    3. Birdwatching is relaxing.
    4. Birds are everywhere, so they are easy to watch.
    5. Birdwatching can cost as little or as much as you want.