Monday, November 2, 2015

Pak Thale - 29th October

I visited Pak Thale on 29th October with my old buddy Tom Brooks and Filipino birder Mark Villa.

Our aim was to get both visitors a Spoon-billed Sandpiper, which we half managed - I got onto the bird in its favourite area and Mark also got views, but it moved out of sight before Tom could get onto it and then the flock it was with flew off and was lot to view. This meant that we dedicated most of the day to Pak Thale in an effort to relocated it, however being the beginning of the season, when only one bird has arrived and does not seem to be settled into a routine meant that luck was really against us.

Whilst we were searching we did have some other successes, however.  mark found a Chinese Egret (the first I have seen at Pak Thale, rather than on the estuary at Laem Pak Bia) and I located three Nordmann's Greenshanks - possibly the first in Thailand this winter? Other locally notable birds were a juv Little Stint and single Heuglin's and Black-headed Gull.

Waders were present in very impressive numbers, with more than 2,000 Great Knot seen in the late afternoon, plus good numbers of Terek Sandpiper.

During the 48 hours prior to our visit it became apparent that there had been an oil spill somewhere close by, with local media displaying images of oil being washed up on beaches near Hua Hin.  This has affected some birds as well - definitely bad news when it happens near an internationally imporatant site like  Pak Thale and our careful interrogation of the waders in our bid to relocate Spoonie lead to us encountering a number of oiled birds.  It became apparent that Sanderling have been seriously affected by this spill - we saw perhaps 20 individuals during the day and of those 18 birds (ie 90%) were oiled. Other species were much less affected, with a couple of sandplovers, a single red-necked stint and a single Great White Egret  being oiled.

oiled Sanderling

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