October 30, 2015: Bangkok, Thailand — One of the perks of birding in Thailand is its excellent infrastructure: The roads are great, the cars are modern, and the drivers are well behaved. Bangkok has traffic like any other city, but as we waded through it this evening I had the feeling that something was missing. Nobody was honking! I heard not one single, solitary honk in an hour of heavy traffic. This is the kind of thing that blows my mind these days.
Today dawned in pristine evergreen forest, in Khao Yai National Park, where Par, Tui and I looked for a few clean-up birds before descending this afternoon toward the big city. It was sort of a slow morning, but we squeaked out some nice ones, including an Orange-breasted Trogon and Laced Woodpecker, before the midday doldrums set in.
“I usually go back to my bungalow for a couple of hours after lunch and take a nap,” said Par, as we kept birding straight through the afternoon. On this trip, without the luxury of free time, I usually stay out from dawn to dusk, and I’ve learned to survive the slow early-afternoon hours. The period from about 1 to 3 p.m. is always tough—bird activity is at its lowest at the same time that humans are geared toward a siesta.
No matter where you are, the energy level picks up again in late afternoon, at least until about 9 p.m. When you get up obscenely early every day (this week in the Philippines, I set my alarm 10 days in a row for something starting with a three or four), 9 o’clock is the new midnight. Throw some owling into the mix, and things get downright hallucinatory!
By the time the sun set today, we were cruising an urban outskirt of Bangkok, looking for introduced Java Sparrows, which were staked out in a parking lot between a flea market and the Aviation Health Center (whatever that is). So much for pristine forest. Birding certainly takes you to some interesting places.
New birds today: 9
Year list: 5051