Overview of 2012.
2012 started in Furano Japan. I never remember new years events because I am not really into that getting off my face trip. but the skiing was nice and lots of nice people.
Lots of light dry powder to ski and some fun times with my friends – both Australian and Japanese.
I should have worked for the rest of the year in Australia but instead I took off to South-east Asia to do some bird photography. I got a new lens and headed to the dark depths of Bali. First stop was Bingin Beach, along the Bukit and away from the yobbos in Kuta.
I headed up the hills to the Bali Botanical Gardens, then down the coast to Lovina, Gilimanuk and across the water to Java.
Baluran National Park in East Java is one of the best birding spots in Java. It is a great place to visit, so do not miss it! Take some food with you and stay at Bekol.
First stop in Malaysia was Mersing, the port for Pulau Tioman. Pulau Tioman was a big disappointment. Not much there, just lots of mynas and pest birds.
Melaka had some good birding along the mud flats with lots of waders along the mangroves. Port Dickson was well worth it, and they have a raptor migration event in March each year at Tanjung Tuan.
The Cameron Highlands is quite cold with lots of jungle and walking tracks. Taman Negara was well worth a visit, but photography was difficult in the dense jungle. I struggles to get enough light with my slow lens.
I travelled from the south at Krabi where I photographed mudskippers and some egrets. Ao Nang is a tourist town, with some random beaches. Phang Nga is a small town a bit inland and a real delight. I found some nice Red-throated Barbet. In Ranong I did a visa run to Burma and saw a Lineated Barbet. Koh Chang was mostly deserted but there were Oriental Pied Hornbill and heaps of Brahminy Kites.
Going north to Prachuap Kiri Khan – Red-wattled Lapwing, Little Tern, Black-naped Tern. Kanchanaburi – Coppersmith Barbet, Asian Openbill. Ayutthaya – Pied Kingfisher, White-throated Kingfisher, Javan Pond-heron. Sukhothai – Spotted Owlet, White-browed Crake.
In Chiang Mae I took some great photos of Sepak Takraw and Muay Thai. Doi mae salong had the remnants of the Kuomintang army.
I crossed the Mekong and travelled north to Luang NamTha then down to Nong Khiaw with its karsts and river boat ride along the Nam ou river to Luang Prabang. Ban Na had no elephants. Tha Khek, Savanakhet, Pakse were along the Mekong Rivere, Tad Lo had waterfalls. Champasak was quiet.
The birding along the Mekong River trail at Stung Treng was fantastic. I saw heaps of exotic birds and got some great photographs.
Up into the hills of Ban Lung, back along the Mekong to Kratie to see the Mekong Dolphins. Kampong Cham. Kampong Thom.
Siem Reap – tourists. Battambang. Koh Kong. Sihanoukville I liked despite the tourists and the sleaze.
In Kampot I finally got a shot of a Grey Heron. Bokor Hill – Blue-eared Barbet. Blue-winged Leafbird, Black-crested Bulbul. Then on to Kep, Rabbit Island and Phnom Penh.
From Phnom Penh I caught a bus to Ho Chi Minh City then flew to Hanoi to buy bike to ride the length of Vietnam. First stop was Ba Vi National Park, then Cuc Phuong National Park, Phong Nha caves, Dalat.
Last stop was Mui Ne. I wanted to go surfing but the waves were crap and the wind was always howling onshore.
Back home to Australia then off to Griffith after buying a car to make money for trip to Japan. I worked the Grain harvest then did a few weeks working in a winery on the production line. There is some great birding spots around Griffith at Campbell Swamp and Nericon Swamp.
I also did a side trip to Leeton and Narrandera.
Full circle back to Japan. I flew in to Osaka, spent a few days wandering around, then off to the ski fields of Niseko, in Hokkaido and another year.
Lets adventuring in 2013!