Hiking and Birding Trip: Phu Suan Sai NP, Phu Soi Dao NP, & Phu Luang WS (Loei & Phitsanulok) – December ’18

My friend and I had been chatting about doing some hiking and birding, and when the opportunity arose with us both having time off over the Christmas-New Year period, we decided to head up to Loei and Phitsanulok provinces to hike in two national parks – Phu Suan Sai and Phu Soi Dao – which would also allow us to do some birding in a part of the country that is a little off the usual birding trail. The following is an account of our week-long trip from December 17th until the 24th, 2018.

December 17th

After hiring a car from Loei airport, my friend and I grabbed some supplies from Loei and headed off to Phu Suan Sai NP where I had pre-booked accommodation. The drive from Loei to the PSS took just over two hours, and after double-checking our hiking/camping booking for the following day, we checked into our bungalow before doing a little late afternoon birding along the road that heads north from the NP’s HQ and accommodation. Though nothing terribly interesting presented itself, we were greeted with a birdwave of small forest birds at the corner directly above the culvert hide (at which we’d sat for a short period of time before deciding the time of day and temperature probably weren’t conducive to high bird activity). The hide itself produced nothing more than a few bulbul species, but the birdwave contained Brown-cheeked Fulvetta, Black-throated Sunbirds, Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike and a single Golden Babbler.

Ebird Checklist, December 17th:

Phu Suan Sai NP – December 17th

December 18th

The following morning we set off up to ‘Noen 1408’ campsite at around 9 am, and along with the required guide, we were joined by a Thai tourist couple from Loei, and four monks accompanied by a female relative. Initially we’d planned on carrying our own
rented tent and bed mats, but once seeing the size of these, we decide to simply carry our own backpacks with gear and food etc., and pay the 30B/KG/day for the porter, who happened to just be one of the two park rangers who joined the trip. The cost of the ranger/guide was 600B for the trip, not per person, and the rental cost for the camping gear was nominal.

After a bit of morning birding around the campgrounds that collected us Grey-backed Shrike, Hill Blue Flycatcher, Blue Whistling-thrush and Blue Rock-thrush among others, we finally set off up the trail at around 9 am. The first two kilometres of the hike went through mostly bamboo thickets, and was relatively steep, though utilized numerous switch-backs, and was completed within an hour owing to a small break after about 30 minutes. The bamboo started to give way to more evergreen-type forest after this break, but due to focusing on the hike, not a lot of birding was done during this first hour, but the usual species of this type of habitat, such as Pin-striped Tit-babbler and White-rumped Shama, were present.

After this first two kilometres, we came upon a fork: head north along the ridge to the campsite, or head south to a strange rock formation in the forest. Given we had more than enough time on our hands, we left our packs at the fork and headed to the rock
formation with one of the rangers and the monks. Along the way we came across some sapria himalayana, but little else, and once at the rock formation – four large boulders in a square formation – the monks prayed for a while and my friend and I looked for birds; nothing much showed itself, but a Common Green Magpie was heard. All in all, this side-trip to the rock formation was about 1.7 km each way through the forest, with the way there descending very slightly.

Once we’d made our way back to the fork, and our packs, the monks decided to stop for lunch, but my friend and I decided we’d prefer to press on and reach the campsite. The campsite ended up being another four to five kilometres north along a ridge, and the trek was very easy with only slight, gentle inclines at times, and we arrived at the campsite around an hour and a half after we’d left the fork, owing to a few water stops at viewpoints.

As before, not a lot of birding was done along this trail, but several areas, especially some more open areas closer to the campsite seemed like quite good habitat, with several species of bulbuls seen, along with Scarlet Minivets and other smaller species. It was also along here that we first encounter the leeches, and there were many!!!

The ‘Noen 1408’ campsite itself is situated at the northern edge of the ridge, and affords fantastic views over the surrounding countryside east towards Phu Ruea, and north over into Laos. Once we’d set up our tent, we set out exploring the small, yet open campsite, which had three other trails leading off it, not including the trail we’d arrive on: one very steep trail leading down off the eastern edge; another trail that led through forest from the western side of the campsite; and, the last trail that lead north-west from the northern end of the campsite; it would this trail that we’d leave the campsite from the following day.

From the campsite clearing both Crested Goshawk and a Black Eagle were seen while later in the afternoon I explored the north-eastern trail, and came across Stripe-breasted Woodpecker, and both Blue-throated and Great Barbets calling from treetops. Another walk around the campsite before dark also had us seeing Black-winged Cuckooshrikes, more bulbuls, including Ashy Bulbuls, and we also had a bird that went unidentified, but which may have been a female Blue-and-white/Zappey’s flycatcher, either of which would have been quite a find.

We had a dinner of mama noodles cooked over an open fire, and at one stage thought about searching the campsite after dark for owls, but once the sun finally set we decided that we’d had enough for one day and called it an early night.

Phu Suan Sai summit marker

Ebird Checklist, December 18th:

Phu Suan Sai NP – December 18th

December 19th

Overnight the temperatures didn’t really drop too low (the elevation is only 1408 m asl after all), with it probably getting into the low teens, but no lower. Nonetheless, it wasn’t the most comfortable night (is it ever when camping), and we were up around 6 am to see the sun rise from the eastern edge of the campsite, which was then followed by a couple of hours of birding around the top.

The morning was relatively productive, with much better views of Stripe-breasted Woodpecker (this time right above our tent, as well as Orange-bellied Leafbird Streaked Spiderhunter and a Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher, all seen around the campsite. The flycatcher was a bird that my friend had seen previous evening, but at that stage I was birding a trail by myself.

During our afternoon and morning at the summit, there seemed to be quite a lot of bird ac and along with species already noted, many smaller birds were also present, including phylloscopus warblers, minivets and swifts, among which was seen a single Asian House-martin. However, despite the birds that we turned up, more astute birders than my friend and I would undoubtedly be able to turn up some more exciting species, especially at this time of year.

We began are descent of the mountain from the path leading off from the north-west of the campsite a little after 9 am after everything from all campers had been packed up. This trail led down more steeply than the trail that led directly to the trail along the ridge, and after about 300m, we were in evergreen forest and came upon a small bird wave which entail several Brown-cheeked Fulvetta, and White-throated Fantail, as well as a single White-bellied Erpornis and a lone Large Niltava. The trail then continued west for another kilometre or so through a mix of evergreen forest and bamboo thickets before reaching a small, grassy hill with a small shrine at the northern end – a place the monks once again stopped to pray.

After the area with the shrine, the trail became quite steep, and led through much more open, drier forest than the trail we taken up the mountain, and like our ascent,
concentrating on carrying packs and footing became more important that birding;
although, we did have a close fly-by from a vocal Crested Serpent-eagle, which
was a nice experience.

In all, after leaving the campsite at around 9 am, we reached a pick-up spot on a dirt road at the base of the trail at around 11:30 am, having walked just over 4 km. We did, however, have to wait quite a while after our truck had arrived to leave, for the monk’s friend must have unfortunately slipped on the way down and exited the forest with her arm in a sling. Once in the back of the pickup truck, the drive back to the park’s HQ was a couple of kilometres and took around 10-15 minutes.

I think I will definitely do the hike up again at some stage, but next time I will camp for two nights to allow for more exploration of the trails off the summit, and I will definitely leave the mountain off the same trail that we originally hiked up. Aside from birds, and a single macaque – possibly Assamese – was seen crossing the road while we were being driven back to HQ, there was significant signs of wild boar, especially on the way down the north-western side of the mountain.

Once back to the HQ, we checked back into our bungalow, then headed into the nearest town to get a few extra supplies for the night, including a few cold beers. We then arrived back at the park for a little afternoon birding, and by just after 3 pm, we were back in the culvert hide, and this time it was more more rewarding, with great views of Golden Babbler, Siberian Blue Robin, Asian Emerald Dove, Hill Blue Flycatcher and several bulbul species, including Grey-eyed Bulbul among other species. We then finished the afternoon with a walk further along the road that leads down a steep hill before flattening out and crossing two small bridges. In the past I’ve seen good birds along here, but on this afternoon, it was very quiet.

So, after a full morning of hiking and a full day of birding, we decided to retire back to the comfort of our bungalow – which has a great balcony for hanging out on – and once again dined on mama noodles, but with added accompaniment of a few cold beers to wash them down with. In all, a very good day.

Ebird Checklists, December 19th

Phu Suan Sai NP (morning) – December 19th

Phu Suan Sai NP (afternoon) – December 19th

December 20th

We only had a little time on this morning to do any birding, as my friend’s wife had caught an overnight bus up from Bangkok and would be joining us for the second leg of the trip. Nonetheless, after packing our belongings, we were still able to get an hour’s worth of birding done, and we decided to once again try the lower stretch of road that runs along a gully and crosses a few bridges, and to say time, we drove the kilometre or so further along the road.

While there wasn’t anything too exciting at first, with the sun yet to hit the treetops due the shadow of the mountain, Ashy Bulbuls, and a lone Orange-bellied Leafbird was the highlights until loud drumming right next to us on the roadside turned out to be a female Bamboo Woodpecker, which unfortunately my friend was unable to get good views of. With a drive of an hour needed to pick up my friend’s wife, we called it quits after an hour and hit the road.

Ebird Checklist, December 20th (Phu Suan Sai NP)

Phu Suan Sai NP – December 20th

So, after three nights at Phu Suan Sai NP, my friend and I drove to Dan Sai to pick up his wife; we left Phu Suan Sai at around 8:30 am and by the time we’d picked her up from her Dan Sai guesthouse, had a quick breakfast and stocked up on supplies it was around 10:30 am. The drive from Dan Sai to Phu Soi Dao NP – our next destination – took us approximately two hours, and had as passing back by the entrance road Phu Suan Sai NP about half way through the trip.

Having arrived at Phu Soi Dao NP headquarters at around 12:30 pm, we quickly set about organizing the porters to carry the water and food we’d require across the two nights at Lan Son campsite. My friend’s wife also had her large backpack carried up by a porter; however, my friend and I decided to carry our own. After a short pickup truck ride up the road to Phu Soi Dao Waterfall – where the trailhead up the mountain is located – we were off up the trail. It should be noted that I had pre-booked the tent ‘site’ online prior to coming, but I doubt this is necessary unless visiting over a long holiday etc.

Our hike began at around 1:20 pm, and the first several kilometres follow (and cross several times) a stream, and is mostly flat, with a few small dips and metal staircases to climb. It should be mentioned that while the trail is signposted as being 6.5 km in length, it is actually much closer to 10 km, with the park rangers at the top of the trail admitting as much. On several occasions further up the mountain, several signs a kilometre or so apart signal ‘1.5 km to go’ – not the most encouraging signs t continue reading when you tired and sweaty!

As mentioned, the first part of the trail followed a rocky stream, and while we didn’t do a whole lot of birding on the four-hour hike to the campsite, Slaty-backed Forktail was seen along this steam, and in the bamboo thickets close to the first true ascent, a pair of Bamboo Woodpeckers was seen – my second sighting of this species for the day – as well as a male Hill Blue Flycatcher.

From the trailhead, the ‘6.5km’ trail ascends around 1000 m,with the Lan Son campgrounds and surrounding pine fields sitting at an elevation of around 1600 m. The trail seemed to become very ‘birdy’ after an elevation of around 950 m, and we actually stopped to do some birding here, and among the smaller birds, woodpeckers were very evident, with Grey-capped Pygmy, Stripe-breasted and Lesser Yellownape all seen. The whole way up, the sounds of barbets was also constant presence, and both Blue-throated and Great were seen. Other birds seen included Buff-breasted Babbler, Green-billed Malkoha and Bronzed Drongos.

The last section of the trail begins at ‘Death Hill’, and it’s a fitting name, especially after carrying a pack for more than three hours up a hill. I won’t lie and say this part was easy, because it was difficult, but that was mostly because of the steep ascent and fatigue from to carrying a large pack (13+ kg I found out once I weighed it at the rangers camp at the top!). This last steep section took me quite a while, with numerous stops to rest, but this turned out to be more than made up for with extremely close fly-by views of at least thirty Dusky Crag-martins, a bird I’d not seen before. In the end, by a little before 5:30 pm, I had arrived at Lan Son campsite – my friend and his wife had at this stage gone ahead of me – meaning the hike took approximately four hours. Needless to say, we slept well that night.

Ebird Checklist, December 20th (Phu Soi Dao NP):

Phu Soi Dao NP – December 20th

December 21st

We were up just before 7 am the next day to prepare for the hike to the summit, which ascends the further 500 m or so to Phu Soi Dao’s highest point – 2102 m above median sea level. This trail is a little over 2 km in length, but the last few hundred metres of so are a scramble up a dirt track that quite thankfully – especially for the descent – has ropes almost the entire way up. Before the hike, there was a bit of bird activity around the campgrounds, including Black-crested, Flavescent, Mountain and Black Bulbuls, Large Cuckooshrikes and a surprise in the form of a Blue-winged Minla sitting in a tree directly above our tents.

The hike to the summit began at around 8:20 am, and there was a group of perhaps 20 people, including the three of us, but not including the four rangers/guides who were required. The fee to climb to the summit was 500B per person, and everyone had to wear helmets, gloves and a harness; however, the harness must only be required if you wish to use it, as neither my friends nor I were asked to attached it to anything on our ascent.

The path begins through the pine fields behind the campsite for several hundred metres, and it was here that we saw a lone Burmese Shrike. However, once we entered the denser forest, focus was more on keeping footing and focusing on the ropes, with the steepness of much of the trail making active birding very difficult. In all, to reach the
summit, it took us about 2 and a half hours, which included a few quick rest stops along the way.

My friends and I, along with a couple of other climbers, were well ahead of the rest of the group, and as such were afforded almost an hour on top of the mountain to enjoy the views and eat our lunch before the remaining, larger group arrived, and it’s a good thing too, as there is not a long of space up there. We were told by the rangers that at times it can get very crowded up there; though luckily there are no immediate cliffs which would make a crowded summit more perilous.

So, after our rest, we headed back down, which was actually a lot of fun, with the ropes making the descent both a lot faster and more enjoyable than I has envisioned on the way up, and the descent took us a little under two hours. Towards the bottom, where the path had flattened out, I had walked off ahead of the group, and due to this I was afforded fleeting views of a family of wild boar that I had startled. However, not much else in the way of wildlife watching was done during once again on the descent, but a small group of Sooty-headed Bulbuls added to the list of birds seen at the park thus far.

The rest of the afternoon was spent walking around the pine fields that make up the plateau on which the campsite is located. There is a 2.2 km circuit trail that runs around part of this plateau, as well as a trail that leads down to a waterfall. We didn’t walk to the waterfall, but we did walk the circuit, which is a flat, open trail. Around the stream that runs through the campsite, Olive-backed Pipit seemed to be particularly abundant, and on our walk we came across a pair of Grey Bushchats in some long grass, as well as Grey-backed Shrike, Great and Blue-throated Barbet, Stripe-breasted Woodpeckers, Yellow-browed Warblers and also a very large, dark raptor that was too far away to get a positive ID on.

By the time we’d finished the circuit loop, the sun was beginning to go down, so we collected some wood for a campfire and proceeded in making dinner – once again, mama noodles. As with the previous day, we slept early, and well.

Ebird Checklist, December 21st:

Phu Soi Dai NP – December 21st

December 22nd

We had only booked two nights at the campsite, so we were off the following morning back down to our car at the park’s headquarters, and by the time we’d packed everything and arranged our belongings for the porters – this time all three of us had our gear carried down to allow for an easier trip and some birding – it was about 8:30 am. We’d only gotten as far at the trailhead down the first, steep hill when we were greeted with a lot of bird activity in the tree tops, easily viewed from cliff top.

In just a 15-20 minutes, the list of birds seen flitting about and sitting in the treetops including both Black-winged and Large Cuckooshrikes, a Verditer Flycatcher, several Velvet-fronted Nuthatches, more Striped-breasted Woodpeckers – a species that seemed very common in this area – Great Barbets, and a magnificent Blyth’s Shrike-babbler, that unfortunately flew away before I managed to unpack my camera. While watching birds at this location, a single porter passed by carrying all three of our belongings on his back – approximately 30kg!!!

On our way down the first, steep hill, Dusky Crag-martins were again easily viewed, and we also had a close fly-by from a pair of Mountain Imperial-pigeons. Once again, we again stopped at around 950 m asl to do some birding as once again the forest seemed to be alive with small many, fast-moving species, with several species of leaf warbler being very well represented, though some more exciting species were also seen such as Speckled Piculet, Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo, and Black-throated Sunbird. 

Aside from the birds, we noticed  a steady trail of young Thais slowly making their way up the mountain – it was Saturday morning, and the campsite was sure to be rocking that Saturday night; we could only imagine what the place must be like on a long weekend/holiday – surely NOT a time to come and enjoy the nature. Additionally, it seemed that many of these young ‘hikers’ were ill-equipped/informed about the length and steepness of the hike to Lan Son; we passed one group of young people obviously looking forward to partying at the top, with one young man hilariously carrying up a plastic bag full of ice – he had about another three hours to go. Another instance of the unaware nature of these young hikers was when we came across a small group stopped not even a kilometre from the trail’s starting point; this group hadn’t even reached the first hill yet, though still asked us how much further it was to Lan Son. They also seemed unaware that food was not available at the campgrounds and that you must arrange your own prior to the hike.

In all, our hike back down the mountain, accounting for a few stops to do some birding, took a little less than four hours, and once at the bottom, we tipped our porter, then took a pick-up truck back to the park headquarters for lunch. The headquarter’s restaurant sits next to a small stream, and while eating we were afforded close views of several interested species including yet more Stripe-breasted Woodpecker, a pair of Grey-capped Pygmy-Woodpeckers, both Grey-backed and Brown Shrike, and close views of several Blue-throated Barbets.

After lunch we set off to Phu Ruea in Loei, as a base for an early morning trip the following day to Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary before heading into Loei town. We hadn’t pre-booked any accommodation, but found a cheap and relatively comfortable place on the outskirts of Phu Ruea that would suffice, with the trip from Phu Soi Dao NP to Phu Ruea taking a little over three hours, which included a brief stop to see what the lump on the back of my head was – a tick (albeit tiny and not engorged)!!!

My verdict on this Phu Soi Dao NP after my first visit is that it is a great place, and I will hopefully return some day. While I doubt I’ll do the summit climb again, I would probably camp at Lan Son again for several nights, which would allow for easier access to the great forest halfway up the trail – as well as the pine fields themselves – without having to worrying about getting to the top to set up camp or get to the bottom to leave. However, I definitely think that Phu Soi Dao NP would be a place to avoid during long holidays, and possibly even normal Saturdays in the cool season.

Ebird Checklist, December 22nd:

Phu Soi Dao NP – December 22nd

December 23rd

With Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary not officially opening until 8 am, we didn’t bother with an early start on our final day of birding, and after a quick stop to grab some breakfast, we arrived there at around 9 am – it’s only a 30 minute drive from Phu Ruea.  Once tickets were bought (200B for foreigners, free for Thais), we were given a warning about dangerous elephants on the road and began our drive up the mountain. Phu Luang itself is the tallest mountain in Loei province, standing a little under 1600 m asl, and is well known for its large and active elephant population which quite often make forays out of the forest to raid adjacent farms – incidents that on occasions end in human fatalities.

The road up the mountain is windy at times, but never terribly steep; however, the surface condition is quite poor at several sections. I had once before been to PLWS, but that was during the rainy season, and access during this time is restricted to the headquarters and surrounds; seeing the road condition when dry, it’s little wonder why they don’t want people driving up to the summit when it’s wet.

On the drive up, several birds were seen along the road, such as Asian Emerald Dove and Red Jungle Fowl, but once at the top, with the forest becoming much more open and tall trees quite sparse, the bird life increased significantly. At the summit, we set off along a path that leads 4 km to some dinosaur footprints, but given our slow, birding pace, we only made it around half that distance before we decided to head back to the car.

A little way along the path, there was a shady area through which ran several small gullies, and it was here that we can across a significant bird wave that included both Chestnut-flanked and Japanese White-eyes, Golden Babbler, Mountain Tailorbird, Grey-crowned Warbler, Yunnan Fulvetta and a single, very skulking Red-billed Scimitar-babbler. After waiting around this area until the wave had moved past, we continued further along this trail where plenty of elephant activity was evident. Nonetheless, we continued along the trail, walking past a viewpoint at a cliff, and passing through very low, dry forest, characterized by stunted, orchid-covered trunks, and while nothing of significance was seen as we walked out, once we turned back to return to our car, we had close views Blue-winged Minla, a small, vocal band of Streaked Wren-babbler, a pair of Fire-breasted Flowerpeckers, both Mountain and Flavescent Bulbuls,  and a very confiding Golden-throated Barbet.

Once back at our car, we had lunch and had a quick look around the accommondation blocks and other building scattered around the summit, but by around 1 pm, we decided to call it quits and hit the road for our drive back into Loei town where we had our night’s accommodation already booked. In all, the cool temperature and different forest types at the summit of Phu Luang, along with the myriad orchids and rhododendrens, made for a very pleasant final morning of birding on our trip.

Once back in Loei, and sitting in the beer garden of Loei Palace Hotel after an incredibly satisfying hot shower, I managed to pick up one final new bird for the trip, with a low-flying Eastern Marsh Harrier flying close by – a bird I’d not previously seen in Loei.

Ebird Checklist, December 23rd:

Phu Luang WS – December 23rd

Additional report:

While the following day trip wasn’t part of my original trip, it did take place only eight days after the above trip to Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary. On this occasion, my wife and I had driven up from Bangkok to spend the New Year period with her family, but we did manage to slip out one morning for a little bit of birding at Phu Luang, a location that surprisingly my wife had never been before despite her being from Loei.

December 31st

We left my wife’s family home a little before 7 am, and by 8:30 am we were beginning to walk along the trail to the dinosaur footprints – a site that I planned on reaching this time around. And as with the week before, the bird activity along the first couple of hundred metres of this trail was the highest, owing to the fact that it passes through the densest, moistest forest of the trail.

Many of the birds seen on my early trip were once again prominent along this section of the trail, with Mountain and Flavescent Bulbuls present, while Hair-crested Drongos seemed to be very active, as were a pair of Orange-bellied Leafbirds; although, the male was far more camera-shy than the female. However, the most exciting species to be seen this time were a pair of Large Niltavas, a bird I’d seen only briefly on a couple of prior occasions. Additionally, further along the trail when it became drier, we were afforded views of a pair of Hill Prinias, but they proved impossible to photograph.

After having walked for over an hour through much drier, more open habitat, and much further than the previous week, we arrived at a second cliff/viewpoint, which gave fantastic views over a rocky escarpment; in arriving at this clearing we also flushed a Blue-bearded Bee-eater from its perch. While at this viewpoint, however, a small band of park rangers passed by, and were quite shocked to see us alone at this section of the trail; it turns out that to walk this far along this trail, one needs to take a ranger along, too! Despite our wrong-doing, the rangers understood our innocent mistake, and invited us to join them for the rest of the patrol, and even offered to take us to the dinosaur footprints in the process.

The rangers took us along the trail to yet another viewpoint, this time overlooking a well-known section of cliffs where the rangers told us, that while not common, serow are occasionally seen in this area. Bird life in this particular area wasn’t great; however, I did encounter a small flock of Dusky Crag-Martins zipping around, as well a pair of Siberian Stonechats in the open summit field. Aside from elephants, other signs of mammalian life includes muntjac hoof prints, dhole pugmarks and civet scat, all found along the trail.

After leaving the last cliff, the rangers then took us to the dinosaur footprints, and without their guidance, there would’ve been no way we’d have found them – they were located several metres from the trail in long grass, without any signage to point to the way. There were perhaps 6 of 7 prints that could be easily made lout of what must’ve been a reasonably sized bipedal dinosaur, and after snapping a few pics, the rangers lead us down a trail through damper, ever green forest towards the access road that leads to the summit. It was along this trail that my wife found out about the leeches of Phu Luang, which are absent from the drier summit plateau, and while none actually bit her, the few that did make contact with her skin were enough to cause a ruckus that greatly amused the rangers and I, but not so much her.

Once the rangers had dropped us back to our car, they were fine with me walking the first section of the trail alone, as long as I didn’t go further than the first cliff/viewpoint, and given this section is the best for best, I was fine with that. So for most of the next hour, I hung around the damper areas of the trail, and despite it being around the middle of the day, there were still a considerable number of birds around with even better views of Blue-winged Minla obtained, as well as a very active female Slaty-backed Flycatcher. By around 1:30 pm, however, I was back at the car and I took my wife’s suggestion to head back into Loei after another pleasant morning at this great wildlife sanctuary. –> Phu Luang WS

BIRD LIST ( identified species):

LOCATION CODE – Location seen first

PSS – Phu Suan Sai NP (all locations)

PSD – Phu Soi Dao NP (all locations)

PLW – Phu Luang WS (including 2nd trip)

EW – Elsewhere (incidental birding)


  1. Red Junglefowl (PLW)
  2. Asian Emerald Dove (PSS)
  3. Mountain Imperial-Pigeon (PSD)
  4. Green-billed Malkoha (PSD)
  5. Large Hawk-Cuckoo (PSS)
  6. Himalayan Swiftlet (PSS)
  7. Eastern Marsh Harrier (EW – seen in Loei town)
  8. Crested Serpent-Eagle (PSS)
  9. Black Eagle (PSS)
  10. Rufous-winged Buzzard (EW – along the road to Dansai)
  11. Crested Goshawk (PSS)
  12. Besra (PSD)
  13. Green Bee-eater (PSD)
  14. Blue-bearded Bee-eater (PLW)
  15. Coppersmith Barbet (PSD)
  16. Great Barbet (PSS)
  17. Golden-throated Barbet (PLW)
  18. Blue-throated Barbet (PSS)
  19. Speckled Piculet (PSD)
  20. White-browed Piculet (PSS)
  21. Grey-capped Woodpecker (PSD)
  22. Stripe-breasted Woodpecker (PSS)
  23. Bamboo Woodpecker (PSS)
  24. Lesser Yellownape (PSD)
  25. Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike (PSS)
  26. Ashy Woodswallow (PSD)
  27. Scarlet Minivet (PSS)
  28. Large Cuckooshrike (PSD)
  29. Black-winged Cuckooshrike (PSS)
  30. Burmese Shrike (PSD)
  31. Brown Shrike (PSS)
  32. Grey-backed Shrike (PSS)
  33. Blyth’s Shrike-Babbler (PSD)
  34. White-bellied Erpornis (PSS)
  35. Ashy Drongo (PSS)
  36. Bronzed Drongo (PSS)
  37. Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo (PSD)
  38. Hair-crested Drongo (PSS)
  39. White-throated Fantail (PSS)
  40. Black-naped Monarch (PSS)
  41. Grey Treepie (PSS)
  42. Large-billed Crow (PSS)
  43. Dusky Crag-Martin (PSD)
  44. Striated Swallow (PSS)
  45. Asian House-Martin (PSS)
  46. Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher (PSS)
  47. Velvet-fronted Nuthatch (PSD)
  48. Black-crested Bulbul (PSS)
  49. Red-whiskered Bulbul (PLW)
  50. Flavescent Bulbul (PSS)
  51. Sooty-headed Bulbul (PSS)
  52. Puff-throated Bulbul (PSS)
  53. Ashy Bulbul (PSS)
  54. Black Bulbul (PSD)
  55. Mountain Bulbul (PSD)
  56. Grey-eyed Bulbul (PSS)
  57. Mountain Tailorbird (PLW)
  58. Yellow-bellied Warbler (PSS)
  59. Grey-crowned Warbler (PSD)
  60. Sulphuer-breasted Warbler (PSD)
  61. Davison’s Leaf Warbler (PSD)
  62. Rufescent Prinia (PSD)
  63. Hill Prinia (PLW)
  64. Chestnut-flanked White-eye (PLW)
  65. Japanese White-eye (PLW)
  66. Pin-striped Tit-Babbler (PSS)
  67. Buff-breasted Babbler (PSD)
  68. Golden Babbler (PSS)
  69. Red-billed Scimitar-Babbler (PLW)
  70. Streaked Wren-Babbler (PLW)
  71. Brown-cheeked Fulvetta (PSS)
  72. Yunnan Fulvetta (PLW)
  73. Large Niltava (PSS)
  74. Blue-winged Minla (PSD)
  75. Oriental Magpie-Robin (PSD)
  76. White-rumped Shama (PSS)
  77. Hill Blue Flycatcher (PSS)
  78. Verditer Flycatcher (PSS)
  79. Siberian Blue Robin (PSS)
  80. Blue Whistling-Thrush (PSS)
  81. Slaty-backed Forktail (PSS)
  82. Slaty-backed Flycatcher (PLW)
  83. Rufous-gorgeted Flycatcher (PSS)
  84. Taiga Flycatcher (PSS)
  85. Blue Rock-Thrush (PSS)
  86. Siberian Stonechat (PLW)
  87. Grey Bushchat (PSD)
  88. Orange-bellied Leafbird (PSS)
  89. Fire-breasted Flowerpecker (PLW)
  90. Black-throated Sunbird (PSS)
  91. Streaked Spiderhunter (PSS)
  92. Grey Wagtail (PSD)
  93. Olive-backed Pipit (PSS)

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