Two Months in Thailand: Wild Gardens

Part three of Two Months in Thailand: A Forest Cabin Awaits by Richard Baines, an ecologist and birder enjoying a two-month “nature holiday” in Thailand.

From a very early age I have loved the mystery of the wild woods and untamed gardens with hidden corners where nature is in charge! I grew up with Henry David Thoreau’s quote ringing in my head “Hope and the future for me are not in lawns and cultivated fields, not in towns and cities, but in the impervious and quaking swamps.”

Blue-throated Barbet by Richard Baines

Blue-throated Barbet by Richard Baines

When we first visited the outer reaches of Chiang Do village beneath Doi Chaing Dao Mountain two years ago, I was inspired by the gardens, many of which merged seamlessly with the jungle. On our return, despite the presence of several new houses, the area still maintains its natural beauty and wildness.

Thai Landscape by Richard Baines

Thai Landscape by Richard Baines

Our birding wanderings this week uncovered a wealth of birds in these wild gardens. Among many highlights: seven species of Bulbul, Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Blue-fronted Barbet, Hill Blue Flycatcher and close to the last house in the village Crested Serpent Eagle, Greater-necklaced Laughingthrushes and an Oriental Pied Hornbill! Garden species keeping very close company with primary forest species.

Crested Serpent Eagle by Richard Baines

Crested Serpent Eagle by Richard Baines

I have also noticed the enormous difference in species between gardens and orchards retaining native trees and wild flowers and those without. We return again and again to one such wild garden, teeming with birds pouring out of the jungle to feed on tall fruiting trees and insects on the flowers. Interestingly the owners of gardens cleared of ‘jungle’ have retained the tallest few trees towering above the houses. But for wildlife the value is in the small detail, colour, structure and messy corners!

Hill Blue Flycatcher by Richard Baines

Hill Blue Flycatcher by Richard Baines

A small corner of eco-tourism thrives here and the owners of these businesses hopefully appreciate the link between habitat and their income. To use an old English saying ‘where there’s muck there’s brass’. Let’s update that with brass and birds!


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

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