Tmatboey Lodge is solar powered. Luckily January the nights are cooling and the table fan is sufficed. The meals I must say were rated 3star.
Day 3 - saw us up at 6.00am and ready to try the Giant Ibis again. At 6.15 am we move out to the hide again for the waterhole during the dry season of January. By 7.00 am we were already set up to shoot. We stayed for a good 3 hours plus but our target bird did not show up. Maybe the construction of the new hide specially for us may have frightened it off or the open burning yesterday have disturbed the surrounding. However, it was no lost cause as we have some surprise catch. First was the Taiga Flycatcher which responded to my call from yesterday.
This time it came closer to 30ft out and everyone managed good pictures. Next came another Malaysian lifer the 2 barred Warbler. The surprise keeps coming when I spotted a thrush which was later id as the Japanese thrush (Lifer no 6). I only managed record shots at a distance 80 ft at the only open patch. The best came last was the Fujian Niltava which pop out at close quarters of 30 ft in the open perch on a tall mimosa stalk.
We call it a day after shooting a violet cuckoo at a distance barren tree as the port was getting warm and birdlife dwindle to nought. Before we return to our chalet we have a chance to see a nesting of White-shouldered Ibis (lifer 7).
For the above spend usd201 for chalet 18 usd per head/nite and meals for 2day which include 2 to 3 dishes; local community guides at Usd 10 x 4 pax.
Our last lunch meal back at the chalet I must say is surprising palatable though on the sweet side.
|Common Hoopoe should be familiar by all|
At about 1.30pm we move on to our last destination which our driver says is a 5 hours bumpy and slow journey by car thru a mix of tar road, laterite and earth terrain. The guys in the back have mixed feeling and dreaded the journey. Along the way we saw at least 4 Indochinese Rollers and a Barn Owl perch on the power line and the later on a tree stump.
We arrived at Changkran Roy Eco tourism port by 5pm. A sumptuous dinner under battery lighting was a surprise with plenty of veggie which I like.
After dinner we tried to call out the resident Blyth's fm but again was unsuccessful. We only hear it calling from the dense jungle fringe. After an hour or so we adjourned back to camp to sleep early as tomorrow it will be armchair birding on a makeshift hide fronting a few water holes and feeding ground. Here they use termite and rice as their lure. The hide record was 40 diiferent bird species appearance. We would be happy to get 15 species. Our tent accommodation were spartan and untreated water is limited. So the guys skipped their bath nor brush their teeth walao.
Day 4 we begin our birding at 6.30am. At the hide we cater to about 6-7 pax. We have chicken porridge breakfast on special request. At dawn in dim lighting; the first bird that arrive is the resident Barred bellied Pitta and followed by a female SBR. Later a male SBR did a cameo. The other birds are as shown. All in all we managed less than 10 species. After early lunch we return to the hide to try once more. By 1 pm we call it quits to return to SiemReap and on the way to get the Asian Golden Baya Weaver. For today excursion the cost was 121 usd.
Day 5 Sun our last morning for birding. We check out at 7am and took the morning to get the Great Myna at nearby padi fields in Siem Reap. There were about 100 birds that congregation at some acasia casicapa trees. We manage some record shots as the mynas were skittish and do not let us come near. The nearest was about 150 ft. Then we saw a dusky warbler and a pair of Tiaga fc hunting at some undergrowth. Looks like it quite common migrant here. By 10 am we do a excursion to a local market to experience the ambient with Nara our guide in tow. After an hour we left for the airport to take our flight home.
It was tiring bird trip over long distance and the longest journey was 4 hours out All in all the ground cost came out to about Usd 900 excluding tips and bird guide fees and air tickets. The better time to catch the Giant Ibis and Sarus Crane is in March till May when the grass land are really dry and the birds comes to feed at the limited water holes.
In conclusion for this trip birding in SiemReap spell trouble for yourself if have heavy Dslr- lens gear as there will a lot of walking. Shooting birds in the open ground was suited for digiscoping and 1200-2000mm reach. Anything lower you will be getting record shots only.
Birding in Cambodia is more to Bird-watching.
Until the next time overseas trip in search of Malaysia lifers.......Borneo & Thailand is calling. Appreciation goes to Dennis for the organising the trip and the good company of
Noreen & Richard.