Running Time:

188 min

Release Date:

January 2022

Recording Location:

Umphang Trail, Mae Wong National Park, Western Thailand

A Forest Trail to the Burmese Hills

The eastern extent of the Himalayan range collapses into a chaotic geography of ranges and valleys, which arc through southern China and on, turning southward to form the highland barrier between Thailand and Myanmar. This region is the meeting place of some of the world’s great bioregions, and thus home to a great diversity of unique flora and wildlife.

On the summit of one of these ranges, a forest trail threads its way into dense, tropical forest. Somewhere on the horizon not far to the west, but hidden by dense vegetation, lie the Burmese Hills, part of the same habitat system.

In the predawn, a Collared Owlet is heard calling distantly along with the chiming of nocturnal crickets. In the darkness, giant beetles take flight, their wingnoise being audible as they purr past nearby.

Soon, the sharp calls of a Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo herald the dawn chorus, as bulbuls, babblers, warblers and fruit pigeons begin waking. A red-cheeked squirrel scrambles up a tree trunk, giving incisive, spitting calls. With sunrise, light shafts through the humid air, and the place starts to come alive with birdsong. The songs of barbets, niltivas, pittas, scimitar babblers, laughing thrushes, pheasants, flycatchers, woodpeckers, sunbirds and mesias continue into the morning.

This recording will transport you to one of the most ecologically rich areas of the world. Imagine yourself listening among cool fernery, under a dense forest canopy, experiencing a morning alive with exotic birdsong.

 

Andrew comments:

"Planning our visit to Mae Wong National Park using satellite imagery, I identified a small camping area surrounded by primary forest - hopefully a location which would allow access to an otherwise remote region. It lay at the summit of the range, at the end of a switchback road climbing up from the lowland plains of Central Thailand.

Hiring a vehicle, Sarah and I set out in the company of our driver, Suchat, who turned out to be a character, entertaining us with tall tales of his life as a martial arts practitioner. Eventually, we rounded a final bend and there, just as anticipated, was the small area of grass on which we would pitch our tent.

The Umphang trail that led on into the forest was a continuation of the road, but overgrown. Even as a walking track, I could only follow it for a kilometre before it became impassable. However this was enough to be totally enclosed within primary tropical forest. The place was alive with birdsong, even though many remained hidden among the foliage and only occasionally seen flitting through the canopy.

We spent three days there. This recording coming from the final morning, the most sonically interesting of the three. It is a single, unedited take, from predawn through to that point in the morning when vocal activity declined."

 

Audio sample of this album

1.

Arboreal Crickets, Microbat, Greater Coucals and Collared Owlet

5.36

2.

Blue Flycatcher Begins the Dawn Chorus

6.49

3.

Dawn Flight of Large Beetles

4.24

4.

Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo

8.05

5.

A Chorus of Barbets, with a Buff-breasted Babbler and a White-browed Scimitar Babbler

3.04

6.

Black-crested Bulbul

2.59

7.

Golden Babbler

2.23

8.

Mountain Imperial Pigeon

3.49

9.

Asian Red-cheeked Squirrel and Greater Yellownape

5.23

10.

Great Barbet and Streaked Yuhinas

5.26

11.

Mountain Bulbuls

10.16

12.

Buff-breasted Babbler Song

3.04

13.

White-browed Scimitar Babbler

2.22

14.

White-necked Laughing-Thrushes

3.53

15.

Small Niltiva

0.34

16.

Rufous-throated Partridge

3.54

17.

Great Barbet

8.48

18.

Golden-throated Barbets

8.56

19.

Rufous-browed Flycatcher and White-throated Bulbuls

12.13

20.

Grey-throated Babbler

10.12

21.

Stripe-breasted Woodpecker and Drongo

9.50

22.

Blue Pitta

10.06

23.

Rufous-browed Flycatcher and Streaked Spiderhunter

7.48

24.

Black-throated Sunbird

1.20

25.

Grey Peacock-pheasant and Bronzed Drongo

10.30

26.

Songs of Buff-breasted Babblers

6.28

27.

Verditer Flycatcher and a Golden-throated Barbet

7.33

28.

Yellow-browed Leaf Warbler

1.27

29.

Buff-breasted Babblers, Alarm Calls

4.29

30.

Asian Red-cheeked Squirrel & Agitated Silver-eared Mesias

7.59

31.

Mountain Bulbuls Return

8.21

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