Monday, February 15, 2016

A day of waders

I didn't have any birdy expectations yesterday (14th Feb).  A colleague of mine had asked me to help him figure out the basics of using his recently purchased DSLR, so I took him to Suan Rot Fai  for a walkabout with cameras. However things turned a bit birdy whilst explaining f-stops and ISO numbers, as we walked over a bridge in the park and I laid eyes on a Red-wattled Lapwing standing next to the khlong spanned by the bridge - this was the easiest patch tick ever!

Red-wattled Lapwings are a ubiquitous part of the central plains landscape (and elsewhere besides), but I have never seen one in the city before (compare that with three records of the much less numerous migrant Grey-headed Lapwing).

After dropping my colleague off I went home to do some chores, but by early afternoon started thinking about the fact I hadn't had a "Spoony" for a while and thought I could make good use of the afternoon by heading to Khok Kham to try my luck.  I arrived about 4pm, just as the heat of the day was very slowly starting to wane.  The tide was low and so the salt pans were pretty empty of birds, but after a hour  I found a pool holding about 30 Red-necked Stints. I checked a couple of other areas then I returned to this pool to find that a single Great Knot and Pacific Golden Plover had dropped in, so I decided to settle down and see if more birds would appear, and if they'd come a bit closer if I sat quietly below a large bund.  The sun was dropping by this stage giving a lovely golden light, a gentle breeze was making the temperature very agreeable, and though there was no sign of Spoony it was a rare pleasure to sit alone on the edge of a scrape, listening to waders calling and watching their numbers gradually swell as birds came in from the foreshore.  As I started one more left-to-right scan of the flock the first bird I got onto was a Spoon-billed Sandpiper, offering excellent scope views!  In fact this was the leg-flagged female "green 05" which has wintered at Khok Kham for at least the last two winters. I watched her for about five minutes but as I switched back from Camera to scope I looked back and found that she had gone, so I was left to watch a couple of flocks of Great  and Red Knot buzz the pools, and a few Broad-billed Sandpipers that had dropped in to join the other waders.

Spoony & friends


Red-necked Stint

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