Sunday, April 24, 2016

Climbed Phnum Aural with Stefan Harrison during Khmer New Year 13th-16th April 2016. Linked up with Mr. Chim- a local villager 0975033399 who takes tourists to the top. It was dry and Mr. Chim said he had never seen the forests so dry. Lower elevations it was hot, dry till we went above the 1st camp. We saw Asian fairy-bluebirds, Puff throated bulbuls, Green-billed malkohas, Grey-eyed bulbuls around the 1st camp. Black and Spangled drongos were also there with a few Greater-racket-tailed drongos.
Stefan saw a pair of Wreathed hornbills and a great hornbill on the way to the top. Wreathed was in the higher elevation after the difficult part of the climb. At the second camp Stefan saw a Common hawk-cuckoo. Next morning waited at the waterhole (6 am) and saw the Blue pitta, a brief glimpse of Chestnut-headed partridge. A pair of Mountain-bulbuls and a White-throated fantail gave us away so left the water hole around 8 am. We could hear Blue pittas calling. Stefan climbed up to the Wat at the peak while I stayed lower trying to photograph the partridges and laughingthrush. I was playing the partridge call and this attracted an accipeter that flew in stealthily, but no answering call from the partridges. The thick litter of dry leaves made approaching the partridges difficult, I flushed several but approaching for photos was difficult. Stefan also saw White-throated needle tails at the wat. In the evening waited on the other stream with flowing water which was good. A lot of birds came including White-tailed robins, Blue-whistling thrush. Other small birds also came but could not see due to our position. It is important to take a hide next time.
Some photos from the trip.

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