Birds and Elephants

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During the crazy times of flooding in Bangkok, our family decided to spend some time in higher ground and what could it be better than Khao Yai, with the National Park of the same name which is a World’s Heritage Site from Unesco and a paradise of wildlife and with my good friend Guide A, a keen birder’s guide living in , a few miles away.

I went out with Guide A three times in those days and every time came home with a smile and great birds in my memory cards… I highly recommend you this gent that knows the area as his hand and has a relaxed way of getting you to find and enjoy wildlife, which by the way, it’s abundant! To complete the story, Guide A is an avid wildlife photographer and this helps you as he knows and shares the moves to get the cool image, beyond the cool sight.

The first time we hunted photos together, was November 11th and it was a nocturnal session in the search for a good looking and not easy to get Brown Hawk-Owl; it was amazing. The bird was at Guide A’s spot like if was waiting for us and by the first time I had a real… no, a surreal photo-moment with the elusive bird. A total of 4 owls and 2 nightjars were the summary of the adventure in Pak Chong City.

by Alex Vargas, 2011

Guide-A by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

Brown-Hawk-Owl by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

Greater-Spotted-Eagle by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

The second time (Nov 14th) Guide A took us (daughter and me) to some fish farms where our target was a good image of the Black Kites that are always around catching fish. Just before the ponds, we saw a bird on the distance and was notoriously bigger than a kite… oh yes, a lot bigger! as it resulted to be a Greater Spotted Eagle, a young bird having a piece of fish in the pasture lands

The Black Kites then were considered a bonus and to finish on style, Guide A found us an owlet in daylight!

Black-Kite by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

Elephant-night-KY by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

The second part of the adventure was at night and with my girls (wife and daughter) searching for mammals. Again, a massive success!. Guide A was pretty happy of finding a Gaur (massive wild cow) at a salt-lick and the adventure seemed already pretty promising. We found several mammals, but the most exiting encounter happened with a family of Asian Elephants on the roadside… the very first time my daughter saw a wild one ever, an important occurrence. With my beloved and powerful flashlight, photos and videos were possible

Great-Hornbill by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

We were so exited of the great night outing, that decided to go again next morning for a bird-photo session. This time, my daughter and I loaded blinds and gear in Guide A’s car and got up to the National Park real early. Our friend had told us of some fruiting trees and how some hornbills could come to enjoy the sweet figs… and he was absolutely right again! Just on the way up, a pair of majestic Great Hornbills seemed pretty happy on a relaxed feast. They were at the top op a tall tree, but although far away, from the roadside they were at eye level for us. Later, another pair was found at a different spot and it was all good!

An smaller fig tree -at the Campground- gave us some great chances for smaller birds up close

Moustached-Barbet by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

After lunch, we set up our blinds and some worms for a chance on the Blue Rock-Thrush, the one with the red belly, from the subspecies philippensis

Blue-Rock-Thrush by Alex Vargas

Blue-Rock-Thrush by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

It was time to call off a fantastic and successful day, but nature had us a great farewell surprise, as on the way down, we found a huge male Elephant on the road

…which we followed to the salt-lick

Elephant 2 by Tamara Vargas

Elephant 2 by Tamara Vargas, Thailand 2011

Three wonderful days full of success and nature, thanks to the amazing wildlife of the zone and the unparalleled knowledge of our good friend Guide A

Yellow-vented-Flowerpecker by Tamara Vargas, Thailand 2011

Some related links:

http://www.facebook.com/khaoyai.guidea

http://www.facebook.com/pages/KHAOYAI-THAILAND-TOURS/286525848035745

http://www.pbase.com/alex_vargas/my_birds_thailand

This post is mirrored from here: http://birdingblogs.com/2012/alexvargas/birds-and-elephants

Tammy by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

My Galleries are here: http://www.pbase.com/alex_vargas

My Forum: http://www.birdphotoforum.com

My personal Website: www.birdphotoworld.com (under construction at the moment)

Happy Bird-Photo Adventures

Brown-Hawk-Owl – portrait by Alex Vargas, Thailand 2011

Alex Vargas

Alex Vargas is one of the best-known bird guides with experience in Latin America, the Caribbean Islands. He originates from Costa Rica, a paradise hosting 4% of the world's biodiversity. Alex is now based in Thailand with his Costa Rican wife and his lovely daughter. Here he spends a good part of his life chasing amazing and exotic birds with a camera in hand. Bird-photography has become his big passion and today he has a growing gallery with birds from several hotspots of the world. Alex has been widely published in books and magazines from around the globe and his video channel is full of jewels!

Alex Vargas

Alex Vargas is one of the best-known bird guides with experience in Latin America, the Caribbean Islands. He originates from Costa Rica, a paradise hosting 4% of the world's biodiversity. Alex is now based in Thailand with his Costa Rican wife and his lovely daughter. Here he spends a good part of his life chasing amazing and exotic birds with a camera in hand. Bird-photography has become his big passion and today he has a growing gallery with birds from several hotspots of the world. Alex has been widely published in books and magazines from around the globe and his video channel is full of jewels!

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Ken_Billington
Ken_Billington

Alex, once again your article has exceeded all expectations. Not only have you shared some great images of Brown Hawk Owl, Black KIte, Great Hornbill, Moustached Barbet, Blue-Rock Thrush (my favorite) and Yellow-vented Flowerpecker with us. You have also shared with us video clips of these birds – and also my favorite mammal – the elephant. One gets the impression to be there next to you in the forest. Congratulations on your outstanding article.