A week in south/central Thailand - Feb 2015

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krisbell
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A week in south/central Thailand - Feb 2015

Post by krisbell » May 4th, 2015, 4:18 am

Rather late than never, here is a very brief trip report from a week in Thailand at the beginning of February 2015, from Hua Hin in the north to Khao Sok in the south. Most of the time was spent with my brothers, who aren't big on herping but considering the low intensity herping effort I did OK, with 8 lifers over the course of the week.

We started with 3 days in Hua Hin - where the highlight was an afternoon spent in the nearby Sam Roi Yot wetland area. Plenty of birds seen and no shortage of snakes either. Two got away but I got snaps of another 2, including a big burmese that gave both me and my brother a hell of a fight. By the time we had tired it enough to get it on the road we were knackered and so I only had the patience for a voucher shot before moving on.

ImageSam Roi Yot, Thailand by Kristian Bell, on Flickr

ImageBurmese python (Python bivittatus) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr

ImageGreat Myna (Acridotheres grandis) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr

ImageGreen Bee-eater (Merops orientalis) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr

ImageGreater Coucal (Centropus sinensis) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr

ImageRadiated Rat Snake (Coelognathus radiata) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr

ImageBrown Shrike (Lanius cristatus) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr

Next I hooked up with a locally-based herper Dave Frohlich for a day of moped-herping around some excellent-looking habitat near Hua Hin. Unfortunately luck was not on our side though it was great fun scooting along dirt tracks with the possiblity of seeing king cobras and spitting cobras. That evening we went up into the hills inland from Hua Hin but again, our luck was not in.

My only other herping outing was to the Pran Buri mangrove area. Lots of juvenile water monitors were using the boardwalk through the mangroves but otherwise all was fairly quiet.

ImageAbandoned Boat in Forest by Kristian Bell, on Flickr

Next up my brother and I headed towards Kaeng Krachan, Thailand's largest park for a couple of days of rest and relaxation. The habitat was almost too good, and it made spotting animals difficult but nevertheless we did OK.

ImageBaan Maka, Thailand by Kristian Bell, on Flickr

ImageHimalayan Striped Squirrel (Tamiops mcclellandii) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr

ImageSiberian Blue Robin (Luscinia cyane) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr

ImageLesser Mouse Deer (Tragulus kanchil) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr

ImageWhite-rumped Sharma (Copsychus malabaricus) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr

ImageMany Spotted Cat Snake (Boiga multomaculata) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr

ImageFemale Red Jungle Fowl (Gallus gallus) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr

One night was spent down in Chumphon to collect my other brother from the Koh Tao ferry. Through just driving around looking at the sights we came across a DOR pipe snake, and as night fell we caught a sunbeam snake crossing a road. Despite it being my first live sunbeam snake, it was such a pain in the ass to photograph I simply gave up after 10 minutes of it refusing to stay still and constantly burying its head to the point I let it go on its way without getting a single useable picture, much to my immense frustration.

My final mini-expedition was for a day and a half down at Khao Sok as one of my main Asian targets for a long time has been a Waglers, and I knew they were reasonably commonly encountered here. The whole area was fantastic and I could have done with another few weeks there. Over the two nights I found a young Waglers 5metres up a tree, a pipe snake crossing a road, a rat snake in long grass at the edge of a rubber plantation, a stunningly coloured toad and a cool Bronchocela lizard in the resort grounds, which none of the staff had ever seen before.

ImageRed-tailed Pipe Snake (Cylindrophis ruffus) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr

ImageWagler's Pit Viper (Tropidolaemus wagleri) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr

ImageGiant River Toad - Khao Sok, Thailand by Kristian Bell, on Flickr

ImageIndo-Chinese Rat Snake (Ptyas korros) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr

ImageKhao Sok National Park by Kristian Bell, on Flickr

ImageEmma Gray's Forest Lizard by Kristian Bell, on Flickr

ImageLesser Brown Scorpion (Isometrus maculatus) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr

ImageGunther's Bloodsucker (Bronchocela smaragdina) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr

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Antonsrkn
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Re: A week in south/central Thailand - Feb 2015

Post by Antonsrkn » May 4th, 2015, 4:54 am

Excellent work, for such a short time and not focused on herping you really killed it! Your photography is stunning as well, gives the rest of us a level to strive to achieve ourselves.

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orionmystery
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Re: A week in south/central Thailand - Feb 2015

Post by orionmystery » May 4th, 2015, 7:02 am

Excellent set!

NACairns
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Re: A week in south/central Thailand - Feb 2015

Post by NACairns » May 4th, 2015, 8:40 am

Great post, the photography is gourgous and the diversity is amazing. You saw a lot of wildlife in a week. I love the chipmunk and Farancia abacura... I mean Himalayan Striped Squirrel and the Cylindrophis ruffus.
Great stuff, thanks for sharing,
Nick

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krisbell
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Re: A week in south/central Thailand - Feb 2015

Post by krisbell » May 4th, 2015, 9:38 am

Thanks for the comments guys, much appreciated. And I agree Nick, those similarities have not gone unnoticed - pretty incredible convergent evolution.

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: A week in south/central Thailand - Feb 2015

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » May 4th, 2015, 10:05 am

Great photography! The last one is such a cool pose... Was it green at first?

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krisbell
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Re: A week in south/central Thailand - Feb 2015

Post by krisbell » May 4th, 2015, 11:31 pm

Jeroen Speybroeck wrote:Great photography! The last one is such a cool pose... Was it green at first?
Yep, I found it high up a thin stand of bamboo at night and it was vivid green like B.cristatella. When I went to take photos of it the following morning it had its angry suit on. I sat and watched it change back to green but just as the colours were starting to get really pretty again he shot off at approximately 3,000mph.

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Kelly Mc
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Re: A week in south/central Thailand - Feb 2015

Post by Kelly Mc » May 5th, 2015, 3:30 am

It was an honor to look at this exquisite work.

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