Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Driving to Cha-am

On Sunday afternoon I had to drive to Cha-am which is about 35km south of Laem Pak Bia.  Given this proximity it seemed rude not to stop off for a spot of birding along the way!

My first stop was at KM 55 on Rama 2 Road (the main road heading south west out of Bangkok).  This road has saltpans right next to it in this area and I have explored here several times in recent months, having found a flock of a couple of hundred Great Knots and a handful of Asian Dowitchers in the past. This time I chose a random track to explore, not really expecting to find many waders, given the date and the fact that I knew that the state of the tide was less than ideal - but I had to work with what I had.  I eventually found a pool that hosted a reasonable number of herons and a few Sandplovers, and a amongst the 20 or so Javan Pond Herons I was pleased to find  two Indian Pond Herons (a vagrant to Thailand) and a late Chinese Pond Heron.

Indian Pond Heron (bird 1)

Indian Pond Heron (bird 2)

Chinese Pond Heron

 I then headed on to Pak Thale (the wintring site for Spoon-billed Sandpipers and thousands of other waders) which was pretty much devoid of birds, save for a single pool which hosted about 100 Marsh Sandpipers, 10 or so Black-tailed Godwit and a party of 11 Spotted Redshank. Passerine interest came in the form of a late Black-browed Reed Warbler.


Further south, towards Laem Pak Bia I was fortunate enough to find an impressive flock of 160+ Painted Storks feeding close to the road,  joined by seven Spot-billed Pelicans.  A look in a saltpan behind this flock revealed a small group of Red-necked Stints and encouraged by this I scanned further to find a couple of Pacific Golden Plovers and a party of seven Curlew Sandpipers including one brandishing a bright orange flag above the right knee.  I knew that this was not a local bird (inner gulf flags are a combination of black and green), so I banged off a few record shots as "evidence".  Looking at various resources on line it seems that this bird was ringed in the Australian state of Victoria!  This means that if the bird travelled in a straight line it would have covered a minimum of 7,300 km to get to where I was watching it, but that would mean a direct flight traversing the outback (I've no idea how likely that is).  If the bird were to have travelled along the coat from Melbourne to Perth and the north to Thailand it would have had to cover a total of about 10,000 km to reach me.

G'day, mate!

Painted Stork

1 comment:

John Holmes said...

Nice find with the leg-flagged wader - they make the idea of long-distance migration a reality.
Three possible species of pond heron ? ID must be a challenge sometimes.