Bird Watching in Bottle Beach

I don’t know much about the names of all the different birds that I’ve seen around Bottle Beach and around Koh Phangan island. While some birds are far from shy (I’ve been attacked by birds in Koh Phangan), many others avoid the tourist spots and are harder to see.

I was staying in Thong Tapan Resort in Thong Nai Pan Noi and every time I made the walk from the beach up the hill to the bungalow a common myna would swoop low over my head. You only see a blur, but strangely enough you are very aware of being dived at, like you had an extra sense. I think it had younglings in the nest and was bring protective.

Just back from the beach at Bottle Beach there is a mountain covered in jungle. The conditions are ideal to create thermals for raptors to circle gracefully looking for prey.

Here is a great list compiled by thaibirding.com (see http://www.thaibirding.com/news/kophanganlbirdlist.htm). The list was compiled at Chaloklum, literally just a few miles over the headland.

1. Chinese Pond Heron – Ardeola bacchus
2. Little Egret – Egretta garzetta
3. Pacific Reef Egret dark morph – Egretta sacra
4. Cattle Egret – Bubulcus ibis
5. Great Egret – Casmerodius albus
6. Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker – Dicaeum cruentatum
7. Common Myna – Acridotheres tristis
8. White throated Kingfisher – Halcyon smyrnensis
9. Common Kingfisher – Alcedo atthis
10. Greater Racket-tailed Drongo – Dicrurus paradiseus
11. Brahminy Kite – Haliastur indus
12. White-bellied Sea Eagle – Haliaeetus leucogaster
13. Chinese Sparrowhawk – Accipiter soloenis
14. Grey-faced Buzzard – Butastur indicus
15. Blue-throated Bee-eater – Merops viridis
16. Black-naped Oriole – Oriolus chinenis
17. Stripe-throated Bulbul – Pycnonotus finlaysoni
18. Red-whiskered Bulbul – Pycnonotus jocosus
19. Large-billed crow – Corvus macrorhynhos
20. Greater Coucal – Centropus sinensis
21. Pacific Swallow – Hirundo tabitica
22. House Swift – Apus affinis
23. Copper-throated Sunbird – Nectarinia calcostetha
24. Black-browed Reed Warbler – Acrocephalus bigistriceps
25. Grey Wagtail – Motachilla cinerea
26. Rock Pigeon – Columba livia

Not on the list but I think I one bird have seen near Bottle Beach is a shikra, a small raptor. I am sure Koh Phangan also has black eagles and sea eagles.

As yet, there are no twitching facilities in Bottle Beach or Koh Phangan. The closest thing is probably the jungle tour offered by Jungle Flight at Baan Tai. I would love for some dedicated bird watchers to stay in Bottle Beach and properly document their sightings. This might encourage conservation as well as better appreciation of the stunning natural beauty of the area.

The video above is of a myna bird who in captivity in Koh Phangan has learnt to make noises like its captors. Fascinating birds.