The north of Thailand is known as having the greatest diversity of bird species in the country and Chiang Saen is one of the most important bird areas. In an average weekend in the cool season here, you may see a couple of hundred bird species, so, during the winter months a great many bird-watchers visit the area.
A Black-naped Blue Monarch bird was nesting in the corner of Viang Yonok garden in March this year. Wonderful to see the male and female during nest-building.
Woody Woodpecker had chipped a beautiful hole out of the inside of this old post in the garden at Viang Yonok. It was about 1 1/2" diameter and about 4" deep. He then sat in the entrance and waited for a mate. She arrived later, took a look around, but flew off again....
Whistling Ducks stretching their wings in the afternoon at Chiang Saen Lake. You can hear them whistling too.
Chiang Saen Lake, otherwise known as Nong Bong Kai Non-Hunting Area is a very important wetland for waterbirds and became a Wildlife Sanctuary on 4th April 1985. It is currently protected by the International Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, which Thailand signed up to in 1998. The National Wetlands Committee and the National Wetlands Policy will help to protect the lake for the future.
Towards the end of each year, starting in September, many thousands of migrating birds visit the lake area for several months. The most numerous species is the Whistling Teal, not a particularly rare bird but a magnificent sight when there are 5,000 of them flying at the same time around the lake.
Some of the birds seen at Chiang Saen Lake in the last year or so.
Little Grebe (Great Crested Grebes a couple of years ago), Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Cormorant, Chinese Pond-Heron, Great & Little Egret, Purple Swamp Hen, Northern Pintail, Spot-billed Duck, Garganey, Northern Shoveller, Baer's Pochard, Lesser Whistling Duck, Black-shouldered Kite, Eastern Marsh-Harrier, Pied Harrier, Waterhen, Watercock, Moorhen, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Grey-headed Lapwing, Black-winged Stilt, Oriental Turtle-Dove, Spotted Dove, Zebra Dove, Plaintive Cuckoo, Ashy Wood-Swallow, Common Koel, Greater Coucal, Barn Owl, Common Kingfisher, White-Throated Kingfisher, Hoopoe, Stripe-breasted Woodpecker, White Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Red-whiskered Bulbul, Sooty-headed Bulbul, Black & Ashy Drongo, Oriental Magpie-robin, Black-collared Starling, Purple Sunbird and many, many, more we haven't identified yet.
We welcome all nature lovers and birders. Birding tours can be arranged with our local experienced guide, Mr Mick Davies of the Friends of Yonok Wetland project; http://yonokwetlands.awardspace.com/
Hotel and tour discounts may be arranged for birding groups.
The Wiang Nong Lom wetland area, just to the southwest of the lake is home to 2 large roosts of over 300 Pied Harriers and Eastern Marsh Harriers. These are the biggest known roosts of these species in the world. To see these large birds come in to roost together for the night is unforgettable. The Baer’s Pochard is a rare species, found only in a couple of places in the world, one of which is Chiang Saen Lake. Many birders visit the lake to see this bird.
We also support; http://www.bcst.or.th/
Here is a selection of pics;
Junior Guest and our cat Fy Tong
All photographs by Ian Smith, Viang Yonok.