Few birders come to Thailand in the rainy season, there are a number of reasons for this:
Reasons not to visit Thailand for Birdwatching in the Rainy Season
1. It keeps raining.
2. Winter visitors such as Spoon-billed Sandpiper are not present.
3. Trees have more foliage on them, making bird finding harder.
However, my recent rainy-season trip with Robert L. King proved very successful and we found a number of species that are usually very hard to find at other times. There are a number of good aspects to birding in Thailand in the rainy season:
Reasons to visit Thailand for Birdwatching in the Rainy Season
1. You will have the trails to yourself.
2. Cheaper prices for accommodation, car hire etc can be negotiated.
3. Species such as Asian Golden Weaver and Pheasant-tailed Jacana are in breeding plumage.
4. Species such as Blue-winged Pitta, Black Bittern and Oriental Pratincole are present.
5. Many resident species are breeding and the increased activity that goes with this makes them easier to find.
6. Pittas are calling and are much easier to find.
Along with these points it is also useful to note that often the rain is not that bad and even when it is, even the shortest break usually results in a flurry of bird activity. Another point is that leeches are not always that big a problem – on my recent trip only 1 leech bite was sustained on the whole 9 days and although we had to remove leeches most days, they certainly were not numerous enough to become a fixation.
I have written a trip report that describes our recent trip to Tung Bang Jak, Kaeng Krachan, Doi Inthanon, Huay Tueng Tao and Doi Ang Kang, it is located here: Wet Season Birding Tour of Thailand, 17-25th July 2008.
For me the highlights of this trip were Spot-billed Pelican, Painted Stork, Banded Kingfisher, Black-backed Kingfisher, Blue-winged Pitta, Blue Pitta, Brown Hornbill, Great Hornbill, Great Slaty Woodpecker, Black-and-red Broadbill, Rufous Treepie, Spotted Owlet, Spot-breasted Parrotbill and Black-throated Parrotbill. Also the summit of Doi Inthanon is always a highlight for me, along with all its colourful resident species and excellent hot chocolate.
So don’t be scared of birding in Thailand during the rainy season.