Stake-out birds at a temple site.
This temple (Wat in Thai language) set in an amphitheater of limestone outcrops is possibly the easiest site in Thailand
to find Limestone Wren Babbler. An added value is that the Babblers that occur at this site in Saraburi province are of the
restricted range subspecies Calcicola.
When I first surveyed this site several years ago it took me over 2 hours to find the place, having followed up some basic
directions that proved to be wrong to make matters worse. Finding the birds just took 10 minutes, which clearly indicate
how easy to find these birds are, or how good the site is if you wish… (All this happened 'before' I posted directions on
the internet which got the site known better by the general public.)
With this information on Birding2asia, hopefully nobody on a birding tour to Thailand has to miss out on these special
For most birders, the sole reason for visiting Wat Phra Phuttabath Noi would be to twitch Limestone Wren Babbler.
There’s a few other resident birds in the grounds but nothing special to note.
As noted, it should be no problem to find the Wren Babblers, just follow directions explained in ‘getting there’. While
mornings and evenings are undoubted the best times to visit, if this doesn’t fit in your travelling plans just pop up around
noon which should eventually still produce your Limestone Wren Babbler. Please do not use tapes, it is not necessary at
all to get this species and possibly just a disturbance for the birds and therefore not a nice gesture to birders that might
come after yourself.
Other species usually present in the temple grounds include Lineated and Coppersmith Barbets, Olive-backed Surnbird,
Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker, Streak-eared Bulbul, Sooty-headed Bulbul, Taiga Flycatcher, Asian Brown Flycatcher,
Yellow-browed Warbler, Ashy Woodswallow and Ashy + Black Drongos.
Green-billed Malkoha, Black-naped Oriole, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher and Spangled Drongo have been seen.
The dry fields and scrubs just outside the temple and along the approach road might produce Spotted Owlet, Blue-tailed
Bee-eater, Lineated Barbet, Racket-tailed Treepie….
Getting there & around
From Saraburi take HW 1 north towards Lop Buri. (Either through
town or from the bypass.) From the by-pass – HW 1 intersection
it’s 11 km to Phu khae Intersection. Follow left to Lopburi and
after only few hundred meters take a U-turn in front of the
botanical garden entrance, back towards Saraburi. Back at the
Phu Khae Intersection follow right-hand to Saraburi and exactly
200m after the intersection and 100m before a walkway bridge
turn left into route 1002. Follow this for exactly 9,9 km. Turn left
into black top road with many Thai signs at intersection. After
150m turn right into narrow concrete road. Follow 800m to temple
grounds. Enter grounds, park and search for the Babblers on the
slope at the left side behind the buildings and into a small valley
a little further on the left.
Exact location is at 14°39’10 N - 100°58’42 O
It is essential to have your own transport to get to this site.
B2A guided trips / tours / trip reports
Accommodation & food
This site can easily be visited from Saraburi which has a few hotels. It might even be a convenient stop-over while
travelling between for example Khao Yai and Bung Boraphet or Bangkok-Khao Yai…
There is no food or drinks at the temple site, bring your own from Saraburi or buy some from the small shops on your
way in along route 1002.
Notes & info
Some of the residents/monks at the spot know about the birds so you can ask if necessary. They’re used to birders visiting.
Trip reports & articles
-A trip report with directions on another site for Limestone Wren Babbler can be found here. Wat Tumphaphothisat used
to be ‘the’ site to get the birds before the better Phra Phuttabath Noi was discovered. I would like to regard this site as
unreliable these days however, despite the birds still being present. Don’t expect to get them on your first visit and be
aware of those nasty dogs.
- Another site, Hellfire Pass, is located in Kanchanaburi province and this is where you can find the ‘crispifrons’ subspecies.
- Cuc Phuong National Park
in Vietnam is another good place to see Limestone Wren Babbler. Birds here belong to the
very dark subspecies annamensis. Be careful however to correctly ID the birds at this site as this is one of only a few
places in Asia where Limestone Wren Babbler & Streaked Wren Babbler live in the same areas of limestone forest. The
birds don’t mix however so you’ll be seeing a pair or group of just 1 species in a certain spot. Just note that the same
spot might have Limestone Wrens today and Streaked tomorrow.
-Nick Upton visited Phra Phuttabath Noi on 11 October 09 and did a nice report with some extra info and photos.
This information page has been published on 29th October 2008 by Stijn De Win © www.birding2asia.com