Monday, December 28, 2009

27th December - Lam Pak Bia

A day trip to the Lam Pak Bia area produced a nice contrast to Khao Yai's forest birding on Christmas day.

I started at the Royal Project, hoping to find Manchurian Reed Warbler.  I scored ORIENTAL and BLACK-BROWED REED WARBLERS easily, and got onto an acro briefly that seemed to have a diminished dark "eye-brow" but the views were not good eough to determine if it was just a poorly marked B-BRW.  Subsequent reading makes me wonder if Lam Pak Bia is a reliable site for Manchurian (I thought I had read this somewhere?) but looking at Phil Round's "Birds of Bangkok" he suggests that the most reliable site is Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park (roughly another 100 km south).

Other goodies to be enjoyed at the Royal Project included nice views of both SLATY-BREASTED (1) and RUDDY-BREASTED (2) CRAKES, as well as a group of RACKET-TAILED TREEPIES.

After this I moved on to Lam Pak Bia sandspit, taking a boat with Mr Deng (his place is on the south side of the small harbour, about 200 meters east from the main road, and he has set up a small Birding Centre in his house). Once out on the Sandspit we quickly located the male WHITE-FACED PLOVER that is wintering here, as well as two pairs of MALAYSIAN PLOVERS and several KENTISH PLOVERS.  The White-faced is very obvious; apart from the unmarked lores, the bird's steep forehead and strangely "chisel-shaped" bill, its big-headed appearance and low gait gave the bird a very different jizz to that of Malaysian Plover.

Male Malaysian Plover (above and below)

Female Malaysian Plover

Male White-faced Plover (above and below)

We then moved over to the rocky islets off the end of the sandspit and sure enough we quickly located a CHINESE EGRET in the company of a LITTLE EGRET, a GREAT WHITE EGRET and two dark morph PACIFIC REEF EGRETS.  I was bit surprised to see that the Chinese Egret looked slightly smaller that the accompanying Little Egret (they are supposed to be the size of the biggest Little Egrets), which made me want to eliminate white phase Pacific Reefer, however the leg colour seems to be consistent with Chinese (much to my relief!).

Chinese Egret in the middle - strangely small-looking

Bare part colour looks good though...

A short journey back along the sandspit provided nice views of three PALLAS'S GULLS.

I stopped at some pools a couple of kms north of the Royal Project to check out a HUGE wader roost, which include several hundred GREAT KNOT as well as at least 10 NORDMANN'S GREENSHANK.  Another group of 10 Tringa at the very back of this massive roost was unidentifiable in the heat haze, but I suspect they were  also Nordmann's.

Poor record shot of Nordmann's Greenshanks

I had commitments to get back to in Bangkok, so didn't have time to check Pak Thale, but was told by some visiting birders that they had seen two SPOON-BILLED SANDPIPERS there earlier in the day.

Some other pix from the day:

Marsh Sandpiper

Red-necked Stint

Whiskered Tern

Richard's Pipit

...and here is a Paddyfield Pipit for comparison (taken in Suan Rot Fai)

White-throated Kingfisher

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