Doi Inthanon is one of the best birdwatching locations in Thailand with a variety of habitats that makes for a wide range of bird species with one of the biggest checklists of any national park in Thailand.
The well known jeep track at kilometre 37.5 is one of the best spots on the mountain for finding a number of species including some hard-to-find ones such as Green Cochoa and Slaty-bellied Tesia. Currently the entrance to the track is quite overgrown but can be found next to a small parking area with toilets, just after a checkpoint and it is well worth squeezing through the first few metres of overgrown vegetation to spend some time on the trail.
Sometimes birding along this trail can be quite difficult with little bird activity but at other times there can be a lot of action with many species in mixed flocks. Whatever the level of bird activity on any given day, it is worth persevering as there are a number of nice birds to be found along here. However, even if there are few birds to be found, one thing that never changes is the quality of the forest along this track and few visitors fail to be impressed by the size of some of the trees and the abundance of fern, mosses and fungi – it really is a beautiful place.
On a recent trip on the 26th July (A Day Trip to Doi Inthanon), Phil Hitchens and myself found time to appreciate the forest; here are some photographs of plants and fungi along this trail.
Unfortunately, a few photographs cannot do justice to this beautiful, mossy forest so I suggest going to Chiang Mai, hiring a car and driving to Doi Inthanon to experience it for yourself.
In terms of birdlife on the jeep track Km 37.5 virtually every mixed flock will contain Grey-cheeked Fulvetta, Golden Babbler, White-tailed Leaf Warbler, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, White-throated Fantail and Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo whilst Rufous-winged Fulvetta, Yellow-cheeked Tit, Large Niltava, Chestnut-fronted Shrike-babbler, Rufous-backed Sibia, Grey-throated Babbler, Brown-throated Treecreeper, Mountain Tailorbird, Mountain Bulbul and Grey-chinned Minivet are also frequently found in mixed flocks.
Some of the specialities are harder to find though, and it can be frustrating to read trip reports listing Rusty-naped Pitta, Slaty-bellied Tesia, Green Cochoa, Black-throated Parrotbill, White-necked Laughingthrush, White-tailed Robin and Silver Pheasant for the jeep track and then walk along it oneself and see only a few leaf warblers and fulvettas for your trouble. To get the best of the birding here one needs to know the calls of the “good” birds, be patient and spend several sessions on the track and have some good fortune into the bargain. But don’t forget, if the birds are not performing just enjoy being amongst such beautiful forest and take a closer look at some of those ferns and mosses.