Two Months in Thailand: A Forest Cabin Awaits

by Richard Baines, ecologist and birder enjoying a two-month “biodiversity holiday” in Thailand.

Reporting from home in the North Yorkshire Forest: a place where I know my birds, I know their sounds. Sauntering through the trees I am immersed in the beauty of the woods; I am in control.

Flash back to my first visit to Thailand, winter 2011: I encounter dense towering forests where I don’t, despite extensive research, know my birds. What the hell is that sound? Birds flick into the foliage but the views are too brief – I’m tripping on biodiversity and I am most certainly NOT in control!

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A familiar desire is nearly fulfilled: the desire to return to a country, to enrich my birding knowledge and experience. So here’s my project…the launch of my skiff. At last I have my chance to return to the montane forests of northern Thailand – but this time with time to think, time to drink in the experience; time, maybe, to gain a measure of control and prolong the bio-rush! For a modest sum my wife and I are renting a log cabin from the head man of a village. From here we will have the privilege to concentrate on one area: Doi Chiang Dao, Thailand’s third highest mountain.

Thailand is a bird-rich country with a huge variety of habitats. According to the World Wildlife Fund, in 2000 almost a third of the land was covered in forest. Montane forest is split into categories dependent on moisture, altitude and disturbance. A typical mountain is evergreen above 1,000 m, sloping down through mixed deciduous and evergreen all the way to bamboo, which merges into Dipterocarp* Oak forest on the lower slopes.

On our last trip I was dazzled and inspired by the mix of resident and migratory forest birds to be found, from gorgeous stream-side Forktails to travelling parties of wintering Olive-backed Pipits from Siberia. The latter is a species we are familiar with back home, though not in large numbers. This presents one of many challenges: can I nail the sub-species this time?

So from the insanely beautiful to the spectacularly nerdy I will be posting a diary of our trip.  Watch this site for my next entry.

*The Dipterocarpaceae are a large family of tropical hardwood trees that are long-lived and can grow to exceptional sizes.

Stay tuned for next week’s post!

Also see:

Part I: Two Months in Thailand: A Forest Cabin Awaits 

Part II: Two Months in Thailand: Asia’s Winter Jewels 

Part III: Two Months in Thailand:Stakeout at the Cherry Tree

Part IV: Two Months in Thailand: Wild Gardens

Part V: Two Months in Thailand: Secrets of Forest Birding

Part VI: Two Months in Thailand: Bulbul Bonanza!

Part VII: Two Months in Thailand: Asian Fairy Bluebirds

Part VIII: Two Months in Thailand: Birding Nirvana


Richard Baines

Richard Baines started birding as a child and is a lead tour guide at Yorkshire Coast Nature. He takes great personal pleasure in showing people the wonders of nature. With a specialized interest in birds and Read More

Leave a Comment

  • Rachel January 1, 2014, 10:53

    Hope you have a fantastic time there Rich, and hope you get to nail a sub-species!

    • mike January 21, 2014, 17:46

      Keep the images coming rich, they’re keeping an old man happy. You’re obviously enjoying yourself, gudonya, cos’ its hard on these “biodiversity holidays”. Incidentally, what lens are you using ? All the best, Mike

    • Richard Baines January 22, 2014, 01:11

      Hi Mike thanks for reading the blog! I am using a Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 70-400 L 1.4-5.6 Only put this combination together at the start of the winter and boy its great!

      Kind Regards

    • Richard Baines January 22, 2014, 01:14

      Thanks Rachel, when the ecology work goes thin over winter get over here its great!

      Kind Regards