Thailand 2023

16th Jan 2024

Images on this article are from Chris & Sheila Ragg and Chris & Pauline Morgan.

Article by Paul Cardy

For all of us this was a memorable tour- especially for butterflies. From the first morning on which two of the group told me was their best morning ever, throughout the tour, on every day were special highlights.

Mud puddling was superb with discrete assemblages of swallowtails, pierids, crows, and blues especially packed so densely it was stunning.

Birdwings, Batwings, Windmills, Helens, Mormons, Roses, Jays, lovely Paris Peacock, and characterful Green and White Dragontails gave a great swallowtail diversity. Pierids featured, with their strange English names, Jezebels, Sawtooths, Gulls, Albatrosses, Puffins, and Wanderers.

On mud and other bait we admired Tawny and Black Rajahs, and Jewelled, Indian Yellow, and Common Nawabs. The highlight for most of us was the scarce and very special Glorious Begum, a well named charaxid, we saw it on two consecutive days at Khao Sok.

Nymphalids were myriad with Sergeants, Sailors, Commanders, Cruisers, Lacewings, Leopards, and Yeomen. Grandly named forest floor limenitinids featured, with Barons, Counts, Marquises, Archdukes, and Viscounts. Crows massed to take nutrients, a variety of species, among them the stunning Striped Blue Crow, Blue King Crow, and Magpie Crow, and many tigers too.

The dense assemblages of blues comprised many Pierrots, Hedge-blues, Line-blues, Quakers, Caeruleans, and Ciliate Blues. Hairstreaks were unusually numerous, with Sapphires, Silverlines, Oakblues, Plushblues, Imperials, and the wonderfully named Common Posy and Fluffy Tit. The skipper variety was remarkable, with Aces, Bobs, Demons, Flats, Swifts, Darts, and Wights, ‘here’s a new skipper’ was a regular statement.

More memorable highlights were Wizard, at least two species of Gem, Jungleking, Eyed Cyclops, Blue Dandy, Green Commodore, all four Map species, Maplets, all three Assyrian species, the distinctive blue Una usta, Common Faun, and the amusingly named Common Duffer. I’ve never seen so many Autumn Leafs (leaves?) anywhere. The metalmark White Punch was rather common at Doi Suthep, and Punchinello was seen at various sites.

Birds struggled to compete, but highlights were White-crested Hornbill (together with the more usual Great and Oriental Pied Hornbills), Violet Cuckoo, Collared Kingfisher, five Black Bazas lined up on a wire, Golden-bellied Gerygone, and Ruby-cheeked Sunbird. The mixed flocks on Doi Inthanon were as always active and seen closely, compriring the now split endemic Doi Inthanon Sunbird, as well as Black-throated and Gould’s Sunbirds, Ashy-throated Warbler (only here in Thailand), Dark-backed Sibia, Rufous-winged Fulvetta, and Bar-throated Minla.

Hard to believe we saw two Sun Bears in one day, but we did! The first was a great surprise, and a bonus, seen so closely and for so long. But a few hours later to see a second bear was just remarkable. That one we watched for as long as we wanted. This was near to where we’d chanced upon a Leopard on my previous visit!

Gibbon calls gave a memorable soundtrack at Kaeng Krachan and Khao Sok. Dusky Langurs were seen closely, and Long-tailed Macaques and Stump-tailed Macaques remarkably closely. Kitti’s Hog-nosed Bat, the world’s smallest mammal, was found by venturing into a cave.

Fine damsels and dragonflies were a feature, alongside a great variety of other insects and invertebrates. Among the damsels were Aristocypha fenestrella, Rhinagrion mima, and Megalestes kurahashii, and notable was the distinctivedragonfly Pseudothemis jorina.

All this with a variety of great accommodation (notably a superb new hotel for us in Chiang Mai), and the varied and delicious food much enjoyed, made for a memorable tour just before Christmas.

Prev News

Next News