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Adventures In Thailand!

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    I just realised I put this in the wrong place, should be in the lounge! Please move if you can, sorry.

    I just returned from a quick trip to my second home country. I had the pleasure of meeting some very interesting young men who let me tag along on one of their naturalist excursions. Nonn is the leader of the group along with his friends Orm and Nick. These three know everything there is to know about Thai flora and fauna and wore this old man out trying to keep up!
    Our first foray into the wild was around mid-day on a very hot ( apporox. 35c) Thai afternoon. We headed into the Khao Wong Caves in search of a cave gecko, Cyrtodactylus sumonthai, on which Nonn is surveying for his PHD thesis. We would make our way through the forest and series of caves once in the day to see what’s out and about, and return after dark to survey the night creatures. A beautiful place with amazing variety of creatures and my guides knew them all!

    Collecting data outside the cave.Checking the air temp, surface temp of the rock etc.

    Into the darkness with the “kon khao”…. Bats!

    Here’s what we’re looking for. We found a half dozen or so on the day trip. They would be gently caught ,not by the tail as it is easily separated.

    Body parts measured and temp recorded.

    The head was photographed as they each have their own distinct pattern

    Each was given a pedicure on one foot to mark as having been caught, and released unharmed

    This one has visible eggs

    And a forked tail!

    A nest of already hatched eggs.



    Oh my! That is impressive, those caves! I love gekko’s, because I have had friends from Mailasia, Java and Ambon. They’re wonderful little creatures. Thx so much for sharing this!



    After the day survey we found our way to the National Park headquarters where Nonn had a very comfortable cabin reserved for the night. Sorry, I guess I was too tired to take pics? We feasted on some wonderful Thai food at a local stand and headed back to the caves to await darkness. On the way we saw some local fisherman catching dinner and just had to see what they were catching. These guys don’t let anything go unexamined, even chasing snakes down the road in the middle of the night to identify the species. Didn’t get a pic of that either unfortunately.

    The fisherman.

    And the catch! A lsit of species from Nonn.. Pretty amazing array of fish!
    Tilapia sp.
    Clarius batrachus
    Notopterus notopterus
    Oxyleotris mamoratus
    Cyclocheilichthys apogon
    Anabas testudineus
    Next stop on our way back to the caves was a nursery of native plants that the guys had spotted. There was a particular plant that caught their eye. Cycas chamaoensis . An ancient species that i believe they said was just recently described and the locals had begun bringing them down from the mountains & propgating them for sale. Very expensive!

    The owner of the nursery with a beautiful specimen!

    Looking over the seedlings for a good one to take home.
    Almost dark, off to the caves!



    While the geckos were a bit scarce during the day, as exepected, they seemed to be everywhere after dark! We lost count(I’m sure Nonn has it recorded) but we they must have caught in the realm of 30 or 40? There were many other creatures stirring, got pics of a few.

    I don’t remember the name of this snake but it is poisonous,but not aggressive. Beautiful!

    Nonn yelled,”come jim, you want to see this!) I crwaled through a tight hole in the rock and looked above my head, inches from my face, this thing was staring at me! “I hate spiders” was my reply. Nonn laughed and said “It’s not a spider, it eats spiders” Didn’t make me like any better that close to my face! It’s a good 4 inches across!

    I didn’t get the name of this frog either. Hopefully Nonn will visit and fill in the blanks!

    I think this is some sort of scorpion?

    Something like a katydid, about 6″ long!

    Golden land crab. Eaten with Som Tam!

    Nick on the hunt!

    Orm the photographer!

    Off to bed, tomorrow is fishing!!!

    By the end of the night I was Exhausted! It was an amazing experience and I truly thank Nonn & crew for bringing me along!



    very good /smile.gif” style=”vertical-align:middle” emoid=”:)” border=”0″ alt=”smile.gif” />



    Great photos!



    Top Banana Jim, what an experience and some great pics. I’ve got a few pics of various Thai beasties but nothing that compare to that!

    Thanks for sharing, mate.



    Next Morning we’re off to find some fish! I thoroughly enjoyed the gecko hunt but this was why I was here!! Nonn had special stream in mind where he visited once a year to the south near the Cambodian border. In the past he had found many interesting species there and I was excited to have a look. We drove for an hour and a half or so through the hilly country made up of mostly fruit tree & rubber tree farms. We finally turned off onto a one-lane road and arrived at the river.

    Only to find that the heavy rains, 2 days before, had hopelessly muddied the water and there was nothing to see here today! The guys were distraught and talked of heading home to BKK but decided to try another waterfall/stream in the area that was clsoer to the headwaters in hope of finding clear water. Back in the truck and on the road to see what we could find. Every small stream we passed looked the same, brown and murky, and it didn’t seem likely that wwe would find anything else. It’s the beginning of the fruit season and there are many stands along the highway, we stopped at one to get some fruit for the road.

    The tan fruit is longan, I can’t remember the name of the red fruit? There are so many varieties growing in Thailand and having them available and often growing in your yard is one of the many things I miss about living there!
    After another hour or so drive and lots of fruit munching we arrived at another small National Park/Waterfall. Being a very hot Sunday, and the beginning of the Thai school summer holiday, the place was bustling with people looking to cool off in the CLEAR pools beneath the waterfall. Yes, the water was clear! Hungry from the trip Nonn ordered somtam(spicy green papaya salad), gai yaang(barbecue chicken), and khao niow(sticky rice) from the resident vendor for a luch snack before hitting the water. I was too eager to get wet so I quickly downed a piece of chicken, grabbed my mask & snorkel, and headed for the small stream below the waterfall & pools full of swimmers. I was the only non-Thai in the crowd and donning my mask & snorkel can only imagine what these folks were thinking about this farang baa = crazy white guy!

    The stream! I picked a likley looking pool and did my best to get submerged in water often not deep enough to cover my head, mask, snorkel. I was almost immediately greeted by a small, beautiful schistura species not particularly shy and willing to stay within inches of my face so I could have a good look. I lifted a roch or two and there was a lovely little reddish brown catfish . A few more rocks and there was a homaloptera, I knew this one, h. smithi! Schistura everywhere it seemed!! I was so excited I got out of the water and hurried back to find Nonn for help with ID and to share my find.

    The guys arrived with their underwater cameras and we spent the next few hours scouring the creek bed observing the surprisingly abundant fish species. I was particularly surprised by the density of the schistura sp., mostly s. kohchangensis with a few n. masyai. There were places with 6-8 fish per sq.meter and they seemed quite content with each other. The eels were also everywhere it seemed with catfish under nearly every rock! I saw maybe a dozen h. smithi, mostly under rocks in the riffles, and one stunning h. sexmaculata. Also one large gara cambodgiensis and a few chana limbata. Of course I wanted desperately to bring a few of these home, maybe next time? Fishing wasn’t allowed here so we left the nets and photo tank in the truck. I did manage to catch a few with my hands.

    Big fat h. smithi

    Glyptothorax major

    A list of fish seen from Nonn:

    Neolissocheilus soroides
    Poropuntius normani
    Hampala macrolepidota
    Puntius orphoides
    Rasbora sumartrana
    Garra cambodgensis

    Homaloptera smithi
    Homaloptera sexmaculata
    Schistura kohchangensis
    Nemacheilus masyai

    Cat fish:
    Glyptothorax major
    Psudomystus siamensis
    Hemibagrus nemurus

    Macrognathus circumcintus
    Mastacembelus armatus

    Everything else:
    Pteolepis fasciatus
    Channa limbata

    In my excitement I forgot to take pics and document the habitat as I would have liked. The stream was cool and clear with good movement and obviously good oxygenation. The rocks were well covered with algae and looked like paradise for aufwuchs grazers! Next time I will have an underwater camera for sure! You can see a better accounting at Nonn & co.’s Thai website here. Fish pics are at the bottom of the page. http://siamensis.org/board/14003.html
    and Orm’s website of stunning photography: http://www.mirrorwild.com/

    My new friends, Nonn, Orm, & Nick!



    Looks like you had a great day mate, the pics on Nonn and Orm’s website are awesome!



    Hi Jim, some very nice pictures there!

    The yellow fruit are not longan they are of Bacccaurea remiflora. It mostly sour with 2 seeds inside, not one as in longan. The red one come from a species of palm, Salacca sp.

    Too bad for the first stream, it would have been even better!!!!

    The picture shows what you have missed in the upper pool.

    Attached files



    Thanks Nonn! I can’t keep the fruit names straight, too many varieties! Glad to see you here!! Thanks for the pic, I guess i should have had a look up there. I was having too much fun with ths small fish downstream!



    The trip went by in a flash and I still hadn’t been to Chat u Chak market, I usually spend at least 2 afternoons here as there’s so much to see! We had a few hours on the last day before the flight so Nonn agreed to meet us there for a quick tour. It was a Weds. morn and many of the shops were closed, it’s typically a weekend market, but we found some interesting fish. Again I was contemplating how to stuff a few in my suitcase but my bags had been randomly searched on the way to BKK by US customs and I wasn’t willing to chance it.

    These were the biggest kubotai I’ve ever seen. 4-6″ all of them!

    There were at least 2 species here. Y caudipuntata & lecontei i believe? Nonn???

    nemacheilus longistriata?

    serpenticobitis octozona a bit grayed out.

    I don’t remember what this is. I only remember Nonn saying it was a Thai fish.

    A labiobarbus sp., possibly s. spilopluera.

    Nonn didn’t have these yet so he picked out a few.

    What is this?? Looks like s. wui but i don’t think so. Charles?????



    luciocephalus pulcher



    Thanks tyrano, It’s in our knowledge base!



    Oooh that’s one of the profiles that still needs work.

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