Sunday, July 22, 2012

Asian Dowitchers and Great Knots...and a cobra!

Made a morning trip to Bang Poo which didn't yield too much as the tide had already dropped quite a way by the time I got there.  Best was a Spot-billed Pelican high overhead, and three Wood Sandpipers on the scrape.  The falling tideline held several Greater Sand Plovers, whilst the brackish lagoon had  constant stream of Barn Swallows on groups of 2-3 birds heading west along the gulf coast.

This evening I headed to the high tide roost at Khok Kham, which was much more productive.  I ran into Mt Tii and he helped me to locate the right pool, which held probably 2,000 waders.  The bulk of these were Black-tailed Godwits, but the flock also held many Asian Dowitchers, I counted 124 Dowitchers in the fading light, but there were certainly more present as I didn't have time to thoroughly check the most densely packed part of the flock. There were also smaller numbers of Great Knot, and a small party of Red Knot present, with flocks of Eurasian Curlew passing over, and groups of Red-necked Stints and the occasional Common Greenshank here and there.   It's great to see that wader passage is well under way!

Asian Dowitchers

Red-necked Stints

euhinus Common Redshank
On the way back to the car I almost stepped on a small Monocled Cobra that was lying in the path - I didn't notice it (it looked like a stick!) until it moved  when my leading foot was about 18 inches from it - at which point it reared up and hissed at me.  I must admit that the middle of the salt pans was not really the kind of place I'd expected to run into one of these things, but I felt pretty stupid for having my guard down (my mental "snake radar" is normally more engaged when birding in forest) and there was I happily wandering about in shorts and sandals!  Just goes to show that cobras are highly adaptable and should probably be regarded as being present in most habitats in Thailand.

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