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Mick Davies

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Yonok Wetlands Project 2007 - 2013 - Our 7th Year

Yonok Wetlands Project - hands on public responsibility project We remind and persuade people who work in Conservation Groups, Public Organization and Local Government of their responsibility to their chosen field. This has been most effective in protecting Yonok Wetlands and other important areas of conservation in the Chiang Sean Basin.

Dowroong & Mick Davies ..................Up Dated - Feb 2013

Achievements - 7 years on and what have we achieved. First of all I have to say that the area I look for out "now" for is reduced as I don't have the time or resources to cover the whole area.
For what we endeavored to do from the start became impossible through lack of financial support, a missed opportunity by those who failed us. Even so we have achieved so much in Yonok Wetlands in the North and Wat Bamak No Harrier roost.

The greatest achievement really has been the support and respect we have gained with the local people and communities in Yonok and we are very proud of that and has made our task easier.

All Hunting - Shooting and Trapping of Birds has stopped completely and for several years now. Very occasionally I find Nets set in perimeter areas and I take them out myself.

I have also removed all gangs of Probe Electrocutors of fish
which is illegal in Thailand and I see it as a responsibility to tell them to get out. I don't have a problem with that and it would seem that local people are in support, as fisherman and shrimpers lively hood must be seriously damage by these Gangs of 20 or more.

Birds: All water birds are on the increase - Swamp hens up from near 0 - 350 or more, Whistling Duck rarely seen resting in Yonok are now in 1000's - Spot-billed Duck is also increasing in small numbers and breeding.

A small increase Bronzed-wing Jacana and both White-browed Crake, Moorhen are doing well. Black Bittern also up in numbers.
Pygmy Goose unrecorded in recent years. A pair were seen displaying this year.

Wat Bamak No - Harrier Roost remains a success and a tribute to Dowroong and all that care for Our Roosts.
A record count was close to 500 in January 2012 -was exceptional and more usual numbers fluctuate with a normal max count of 250 - 300.

Future - One never knows and we are always available to those that wish our help and advice. But we seek only those who are genuine.

This world of ours is our responsibility. it is hard to force change on those who have the power. If we don't we and the world are lost and we are loosing.

The future of Humanity for many - I believe - lies in self supporting communities. No Power on Earth wants that. as it would mean freedom and happiness to all that seek it.

Yonok Wetlands Project is a “hands on public responsibility project” – We remind and persuade people who work in Conservation Groups, Public Organization and Local Government of their responsibility to their chosen field. This has been most effective in protecting Yonok Wetlands and other important areas of conservation in the Chiang Saen Basin. Please see the Yonok wetlands website for full details.
We also help local people to understand the need for conservation and we help them to gain benefits from this

The Prime objective here is to conserve the three major wetland roosting sites for; Pied Harrier and Eastern Marsh Harrier, these are the largest known roosts in the world for those species. Located at Wat Bamak No, Nong Lom and Little England. All of these sites are under threat and have been so far protected through the effort of Yonok Wetlands Project. Also of prime conservation need and within the Chiang Saen basin are the following sites of International importance to Thailand and World Nature Conservation.

Please Read on:

Urgent Help required

Welcome: The aims of our Project are:
To protect and conserve the Wetland, Birds and Animals of Yonok and Chiang Saen Area.

To promote an awareness and understanding in communities of a valuable heritage.

OK - Maybe you've heard it all before !

This is a new and novel idea - Please have a read.

Our successes so far, have been greater than we could have imagined. (see also Home Page Two )

Volunteers: Environmental Studies, Bird Survey and Teaching - Click Here

Latest News - His Excellency Visits Yonok. wwwwwwwwwwwwwwlargedEnlarged Map & Legend

Dowroong's Woman Conservation group has attracted around a hundred new members. All are strongly in favor of conserving Yonok and have stopped the selling of wild birds for the table in the village Huai Nam Rak. A open day event will be held in Wat pa Mak No in the near future.

Your help is required. We cannot succeed alone.

Dowroongs Woman Conservation

The group has attracted around a hundred new members.

Strongly in favor of conserving Yonok and have stopped the selling of wild birds for the table in the village Huai Nam Rak and further afield.

Contact Details

Dowroong & Mick Davies.

Enquires English - contact Mick at

Enquires Thai - contact Dowroong at


A Day at the office:

It takes us by bike about an hour to get to work, a pleasant ride (except for the mud) past Chiang Saen Lake, and through the heart of Yonok, with a few stops for anything out of the ordinary, today was a clean up day for the villagers of Tung Far ham. After Teaching for a while, I made the presentation of Binoculars to Pra Ajan Sane (kindly donated by Ian Smith of Viang Yonok Hotel), Ajan Sane (A J) was very happy to receive this aid to his efforts to remove any hunters that may still be lurking.

New Signs for Yonok: We spent some time congratulating the Sign makers on they're work. I am very impressed
that teenagers have given they're time to do this work. The remainder of the morning was spent with the younger
children, planting trees
, A J showing the Kids the importance of wild trees and the healthy benefits they afford.

After lunch at Wat Ba Mak No, we searched out new sign locations with A J and then left for our afternoon class at
Wat Yonok. Mr May of Nong Bong kai (NHA) met us there, he had brought 2 telescope and some bins for the children
to use so we all went off birding: We saw a few interesting species: Highlights were 2 male Watercocks and a dark
phase Honey Buzzard perched in a dead tree, other species included Brown Shrike, Little Grebe with 3 young, waterhen, Pond,Green Herons, Whistling duck, Iora etc

Girl Power - Yonok - A New begining

19th December 2007 Pa Mak No.

We today welcomed Khun Kritsana from the BCST, Kritsana and Dowroong are now working closely together to determine the best strategy to protecting Yonok. I am most grateful to Phil Round and Dr Mong for arranging her visit here and the support of the BCST.

The intention is with the support of the BCST, to involve all groups that have interest in Yonok and Nong Biong Kai and work towards to common good for all and the preservation of Yonok Wilderness - That was the River !

Dowroong YWP & Kritsana Kaewplang BCST.

We are most grateful to Phil Round & Dr Mong for supporting this project. By encouraging naturalists involved in conservation to visit us at Yonok.

This month we will be meeting with Dave Gandy and from the RSPB UK - Joanne and Nigel who have come to look at Dr Mong's WLS and Our Own Yonok

The Abbots and Monks of Ba Mak No are thrilled that this interest has been created and will be pleased to receive them.

Celebrities at Yonok - We are steadily acquiring a list of well known Birders and naturalist who have visited Yonok Wetlands.

Thanks also for the support of Dave Gandy andJohn Roberts.

Dr Mongs Team from the Bird Conservation Society of Thailand - BCST; with Joanne and Nigel from the Royal Society for Protection of Birds UK - RSPB; come to Yonok to meet with Dowroong and Mick to discuss how we can best manage Yonok's Future. The talks have been highly successful. Joanne and Nigel are part of the RSPB wetland management team and we are very grateful for there positive help and advice.

Joanne tries out the floating observation Raft

Ba Mak No; Harrier roost -Yonok Discussions

Once again John Roberts comes up "Trumps" for the Yonok villages children.


A Day at the Anantara Hotel - Elephant Camp for the Children of Tong Far Ham - Wat Yonok

This event was staged by John Robert and The Staff of tha Anantara Hotel - Golden Triangle

This Sign was Painted and Designed by Teenagers of Wat Pa Mak No.

Trapping and Mist Nets: The Final Nets removed today.

The final mist nets were removed this morning by Suriya and his team. This brings the total of nets removed from the Chiang Sean area to 80 and involved 10 sites. Nets have also been removed by us over the previous year from 4 other sites, resulting in only one repeat offense and that site is now safe in the hands of the Temple.

Photographs: 1 Dowroong and Suriya, 2 Net 3 Catapult / net, 4 dead weaver and remains of a wader (as Dowroong explains in ourGrass Owl article) they just ripped off the inedible parts on site. 5 Nong Bong Kai NHA staff.

Mr Surya takes his job seriously and has obtain the book that clarifies the Law on Netting: The Law clearly states that is illegal to set nets in order to catch birds. There is no other reason for setting nets other than the catching of birds and so Suriya will be dealing with any offenders he finds. Following the removal of the nets, Mr Suriya has a polite word with the village head man and hopefully there will be no reoccurrences.

Yonok Wetland Project

In just a little over four months we have a dream of a start:

Use Link for Full Version - Highlights scroll down

Our original idea was to stop the hunting and trapping of Birds and Animals in the Yonok: With the help of Pra Ajan Sane and the full co-operation of Suriya, we have not only stopped most of the hunting and trapping in the Yonok but also have widened the area to a radius of forty kilometers of Chiang Saen.

How did we achieve this: First and foremost it was an idea I had some five years ago. I had noticed that some of the Buddhist Temples had persevered the Forest in and around the Temples. The Abbots and Monks had also placed signs, asking not to Damage the Trees and Wildlife.

I wondered if it would be possible to join in friendship to bring Buddhists and like mined people together to save what remains of our World in Thailand and the saving of Habitats, allowing, Birds and Animals to live in harmony with Man.

After all this was the teaching a great man Buddha: His words were so true that his stories and code for life has lasted for more than two thousand years. Buddha preached a Harmony between People, friends, neighbors and all Creatures that live in they're world.

When I enter many Buddhist Temples the one thing I notice are paintings of Buddha and his followers sitting in a Forest clearing, where Birds and Animals have NO FEAR.

Through Dowroong's love of Buddha and concern for her countries people and nature she has found it easy to speak with Abbots and Monks, as well as people in position to effect a change in attitudes. For myself I give my full support to her by advising and attending meetings.

Grass Owl


River Tern

May 2007

Yonok - A chance meeting.

We started the Yonok Wetland Project on the afternoon of 28th of may 2007. It was just a chance meeting with a young fisherman who asked Dowroong if she minded if he did some fishing! Well why ask us, were just standing here looking at a River Tern. Well he says the village Head Man says we should not harm the Birds in the wetland.

I realized we had a chance here; to stop the killing that has decimated the wildlife of Thailand over the last few decades. Within half and hour I had worked out the idea for a project for the Yonok.

In the northern part of the Yonok there were situated two Temples: Wat Yonok and Ba Mak No. We had visited these temples and recently met with the Abbot of Wat Yonok, Wat Ba Mak No, has been a favorite Temple of ours for a long time and so we approached the two Abbots to see if they liked our ideas.

They seemed interested and suggested we taught the local children some english in the Temples and so it was agreed we would do that at weekends. We talked about the need to protect the birds and wetland and how we hope to achieve this.

It was here at Ba Mak No, that I first met Pra Ajan Sane, he told us that he had battled for conservation in the east of Thailand and had fought for Democracy in Bangkok. He then became a Monk in order to reflect on his life and live for the future with guidance through Buddha.

Pra Ajan Sane explained that people had tried in the Yonok before but didn't really show any commitment. So maybe they were testing us out as events started slowly:; However the pace soon quickened.

We got on with the Job

Teaching in the Temples, talking to local people about they're needs, they wanted tourists to come to they're village and home stay and help with ideas for mutual benefit. I also had to write up this project, that in it self has taken a vast amount of time, and now I'm working hard on our Yonok Project Web Site. We also have to spend time in the Yonok: birding, identifying problem areas and try to meet with as many people as possible.

It's all GO

In just six weeks we had a firm base and a lot of success, we had won the respect and trust of Abbots and Monks and many local people. Our teaching classes were highly successful and we had some help. Candice Fiztsimonds helped out with the teaching on a number of weekends and had a lot of fun with the kids. Several Thais were very helpful: Mr May has taken the kids birding, donated 200 books. Dr Mong also came along to see our kids and donated to the no hunting signs. Quite a few monks attend and one has a walk of 6klm to see us.

Others away from Chiang Saen have supported us greatly: in particular John Roberts, Nick Upton and Phil Round. But in truth our lucky break came from High Abbot Khru Ba Boun Chum, He told us he had a recurring dream that he had to acquire the area now named Wat Viang Cum and to award the position of Abbot to Pra Ajan Sane.

Wat Viang Cum is sited in woodland and opposite Wat Ba Mak No: between these two Temples lies a most beautiful Harrier roost, sometimes containing more than 200 birds, it is also a roost of grass Owls a new species breeding in Thailand. So Yonok is an important wetland, at the last series of counts it probably has the largest number harriers Roosting in Thailand.

Today this project has being running for just a little over 4 months. I could have never dreamt how much one can achieve in such a short time.

The reason for this project was that I was so sick of seeing problems where ever I went, mostly mist nets and guns. Our breeding discovery of Grass Owls led us to find two of the Owls dead. When a hunter suddenly appeared close to the River Tern, well could have been our last days in Thailand.

Mick Davies and Dowroong Danlamajak.

Mick, Dr Mong, Andy Pearce, Phil Round. - Pra Ajan Sane, Monks and Children of Wat Ba MAk NO.


Nok in Thai means bird and this area was formally full of birds, similar to what Ben King said of Bangkok in the fifties, the skies were darkened with the number of birds. The Latter Years have been a disaster, It's about time to do something about it.

That's probably not achievable now, however we can do a lot by looking after the Yonok: it is a vast area: containing, two Grass Owl roosts and three Harrier roosts with a peak total of 360 Pied and Eastern Marsh Harriers roosting.

I am confident that between us we can change attitudes to hunting here.

This project is initially aimed at the smaller Northern Sector: as it is more easily managed.

We hope to start the much larger Southern Sector very soon.

As the Project goes along we will provide regular updates.

Please Note: you will see that I have included all updates up till now in that section.

I have had the idea for some time now of uniting Temples that have an interest in protecting our world. Many Thai Temples are headed by monks that care greatly for the areas in there custody.

Please help us to do so: Full details are contained within this Web Site.

Hope for Future

Friends of Yonok Wetlands

Thanks once again to:

Ian & Vassana Smith: Viang Yonok, hotel

for continuing support to Yonok Wetlands.

"Ian has provided a much needed donations box at his Hotel & Restaurant"

Chiang Saen Lake.

Sponsor - Yonok Wetlands (Company or Public sponsorship): We are in urgent need of public or company sponsorship. Yonok Wetlands Project has been amazingly successful in our first two years Please Help Us to continue: Sponsor Yonok _ Details


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Sponsor Yonok

Species List

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All the documents contained on this web site are written by; Mick Davies


Dowroong & Mick Davies.

for all enquires please contact Mick (it can wastes days if messages have to be passed on and often forgotten as we are busy

If you are Thai Please contact Dowroong as I don't speak Thai.

We are a partnership - A Simple view

Dowroong handles all conservation meetings.

I advise and support on all conservation issues and so Jointly its all a mixture of our ideas.

Bird and Site recording is what I do.



All rights reserved. © 2007 Yonok Wetlands Project - Mick Davies & Dowroong Danlammajak.