Our first overnight stop was at a very pleasant little hotel, a mere 10 minute and £6 taxi ride away from the airport but you would never have guessed it. No noise and close to the rather pleasant beach of Nai Yang.
At around £44 for B&B Seapines Villa Liberg was excellent value and somewhere I would use again and happily stay for longer. The garden held a pair of Koel that were coming back to a fruiting plant and giving fabulous views, unfortunately my camera was packed away and the light was fading so I never got a shot of these often heard but seldom seen out in the open birds.
Instead we had a taxi arranged to take us north to Kuraburi where we were booked for three nights at the Greenview Resort.
The price for one of the Clay Houses was around £35 per night B&B, a bargain. The restaurant food was excellent and well priced too, as was the bar ! A large 650ml Chang beer was £2.
Basic but very clean.
Ensuite, well sort of. The loo and sink was under cover
The shower was an outdoor one.
There's something very liberating about out door showers !
In the centre of the resorts grounds was a good sized lake.
All around and up in to the hills were rain forest and did we experience rain on our first afternoon! We sat and watched from our veranda as it hammered down!
It stopped as suddenly as it started and to my delight out of the forest but high up and away in the distance a pair of Great Hornbill made a brief appearance.
Then huge numbers of Swifts and Swallows started over flying the resort catching the insects that had been forced down by the rain.
Over the next few days we had regular visits from Red-rumped Swallow,
Asian Palm Swift, and these Grey-rumped Treeswifts.
The male has a red cheek patch
The female doesn't.
Right next to our Clay House we had a fruiting tree and that proved to be a magnet for lots of different species.
With lots of branches often getting in the way, and with the subjects sometime in the shade I was grateful to get a record shot just to identify what I had seen later !
This Golden-whiskered Barbet a typical example.
Some were difficult to spot they were so well camouflaged.
The male Blue-winged Leafbird
not quite as hard to spot as the female.
As a contributor to Birdguides photo galleries I was amazed to find that this tree provided 4 new species for their records. No mean feat considering they have well over 6000 species in their collection !
It had been a lucky but inspired choice for a 3 night stop. Claire was happily lying by the pool, as I was too as we were both in recovery mode from our jet lag, but when reading a book started to bore me I could wander off with the camera.
On one occasion I stopped in my tracks as ahead of me I suddenly spotted a snake crossing the path up ahead. It was heading straight for the bridge entry to the swimming pool area where Claire was sunbathing all alone. All I could do was yell "Watch out, snake!" then try and get the picture.
She didn't hear me and the snake was far too big to fit in the frame.
It was at least 4 metres long, probably 5 , maybe even 6! Huge!
Fortunately it didn't cross over in to the pool area but slithered down towards the stream to simply vanish.Amazing for such a large creature.
Besides the fruiting tree, the Greenview resort has quite large acreage to wander.
Some of the other birds encountered and recorded were:-
Spectacled Bulbul( I think!)
Asian Brown Flycatcher
Oriental Honey Buzzard
Red-throated Sunbird (I think!)
and this one, a Little Spiderhunter.
Don't ask me why but it's one species I have wanted to see for a long time and I was thrilled to actually get a usable image in the few seconds I had available.
Green view Resort had turned out to be something of a birders paradise. There were many more birds that could be seen and heard but at distances too far to photograph and, as I hadn't remembered to take my bird guide book with me I didn't bother searching them out with my binoculars either.
I guess the only down side was that photo opportunities were not always the best, I only took one shot I was really pleased with, this one of a Black-crested Bulbul
but I'd certainly been entertained in the process and could happily have stayed longer and maybe journeyed to the nearby National Park.
Greenview was good but isolated with nothing other than impenetrable woodland and forest nearby. The nearest town was Kuraburi which was over 10km away and a £7 taxi ride which the hotel provide. We decided to visit the Friday Night Market and have a meal in town.
The market was interesting mainly for the superb food stalls.
We had to try a few nibbles before having dinner on the kerb at the excellent Mr Kosak restaurant.
However, tourists are few and far between here, it's mainly the ones heading out to the Surin islands or backpackers travelling through. Trying to get a taxi wasn't easy and after waiting for 2 hours the restaurant rang the Greenview Resort to ask them to come and get us which thankfully they did.
Our stay was over all too soon. In the morning we were being picked up to be taken to catch a boat over to Koh Phra Thong, a comparatively unpopulated island just off the coast.