Difficulties in the search for wild green peacocks

On the way to work

I will give you an example to show you how difficult it is to spot peacocks in the wide open country without knowing its place. As mentioned above I am living here in Chiang Mai. My friend Wolfgang Mennig, who is an expert in peacocks and who also keeps animals for breeding drew my attention to the Ping river, an area which is believed to have still wild living peacocks. This information goes back to Ms. W. Meckvichai who has reported on the incidence of the green peacocks on a recent World Galliform Symposium in Thailand. I have consulted the map where I came upon the Mae Ping National park.
Without the slightest hesitation I set off to the park with my little motorbike, equipped with a camera, map and a dictionary. After a three hours ride under the burning sun and having asked quite a few times for the way and if people have ever seen those rare birds ,I made it to Mae Ping. At the park administration people were lost in wonder to see a Farang (white person) ask for peacocks. At my question if there were peacocks in the park or out in the wilderness, I could only perceive mei mi, that is to say, there are not. Then they picked a book with illustration of birds they give shelter to, but peacocks there were none. By the way, the Park is beautiful and like so many other parks suitable for bird watching.
Disappointed as I was I returned home. My bottom was aching after a 350 km ride. A week later I started out for the Mae Ping dam but neither there I struck it lucky after 250 km. Three month later at a meeting at the Chulalong university, Ms. W. Meckviachi told me that there were peacocks along the Mae Ping river, which she herself has seen near the village of Hot. The lady professor is also an expert in peacocks.
My friend Wolfgang Mennig found the information of the location
indirectly via the professor three month ago but without the additional remark of the village.Back in Chiang Mai, once again I set off but this time to Hot. Having arrived there, the population denied the existence of the peacocks. Twenty km off the village is the responsible forestry office where I turned to in order to inquire about it. There they willingly gave me information that in this area were no more peacocks, but pointed out that in Om Koi were lots of wild living peacocks, tigers, elephants and a lot more. I was all ears. The official, having called other forestry offices told me to get as soon as possible back to Chiang Mai in order to get a permit to enter the reserve at the forestry administration there, but it was indispensable to do it the on same day, since only this day I could find a superior official there. So I hurried back to Chiang Mai.
There they told me that in the further proximity of Hot were peacocks to be found and that I should set off to Ban Hong and make further inquiries on the spot. After 230 km and a sore bottom I called it a day.
The next morning I set out again cheerfully, this time via Lampuhn to
Ban Hong. The area around Ban Hong looked promising. Maybe this time luck will be on my side I thought. About 5 to 10 km before the village I asked again for the birds, but all I got was negative. My mood has reached rock-bottom, but there was no other remedy then to go on asking.Having arrived in Ban Hong, some elderly women told me that there are peacocks high in the mountains but they can't be seen. They spoke of huge birds and they said there were more of them 10 km further up the road. After 6 km at a filling station they talked of peacocks coming down during the dry season in January to find water in their orchard. That sounded good. Some km further in a mountain village I met an illegal hunter, and I thought to myself, he should know if there was a stock of peacocks. But all I heard was, there is not. Later it turned out that the hunter didn't want to draw any attention to himself nor to the area where he illegaly hunted. Another 3 km further on I came upon a forestry office where they confirmed the existence of peacocks but they let me know that it wasn't the right time to watch them and should return in winter. Then they sent me 10 km back and just look! A new reserve was just being inaugurated. Also there my inquiries were answered in the affirmative, but they also suggested me to come later. With so many positive statements, I was quite relieved. The chance of finding them was real. To watch the peacocks in the wide open country you must wait for the mating season which starts in December. During this time the cocks often call out loud what indicates their territory and that helps to spot them out easier. Otherwise peacocks can't be heard, leave alone to see them, since they are very shy and have a very good eye-sight. Only to mark out their location, more than 1000 km and who knows how many days and hours on the motorbike were necessary.