With the weekend over, the big plan was for me to head for the summit today. Unfortunately the big plan hadn't taken into account that today, for the first time since August last year, it rained almost all day, and the summit was shrouded in dense cloud!
Still, what could have been a wash-out actually turned out to be my best day yet! This was entirely due to meeting up with two Thai bird photographers, who invited me to join them. Time to introduce the team!
In front, Uncle Deang and his lovely wife; at the back from the right, Dr Piya and Mr Porn, and yours truly!
The latter two kind gentlemen took me along to a 'stake-out' at dawn, to see two eagerly sought-after species at Checkpoint 2:
The rarely photographed White-gorgeted Flycatcher...
... and the spectacular Rufous-bellied Niltava. These were about the only shots I got that didn't turn out milky due to the swirling fog.
Dr Piya and Mr Porn then decided to go and look at a nesting Great Tit. Great Tits are nice birds, but don't have a big draw factor for me, with them being rather common in the UK, so I decided to stay at Mr Deang's and sit in a hide that had been erected under the restaurant. A stream caused by wastewater from the kitchen (laden with rice and other bits of food) proves a magnet for certain birds.
This female Siberian Blue Robin was my constant companion, and was ludicrously tame.
A Dark-sided Thrush is a regular visitor at Mr Deang's. Usually a skulker in thick undergrowth, fleeting views in poor light are normally the best one can hope for, so what a treat to get frame-filling views for over an hour!
After lunch the urge to get to the summit overcame me, so, despite the weather, I set off on my rented motorbike for the top! The fog was dense and the temperature extremely cold, so a I found a place behind the kitchen of the summit restaurant (I'm a fast learner!) and sat and waited!
This Blue Whistling Thrush was a brief visitor.
After about 45 mins, when I had almost reached the limit of my resistance to the cold, three Rufous-throated Partridges walked into view.
Well worth the wait! (Spot the raindrops on the birds!)
So, despite the weather, a fantastic day. Still, I prayed for better weather tomorrow!