Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Thailand- Getting the target bird early in the game, Feb. 22, 2016

There is always a sense of relief when you get the target bird. We were going to have a couple of chances to see the Spoon-billed Sandpiper, but earlier is better! We left the hotel at dawn, stopping at Seven-Eleven for the first of many breakfasts. (If you go to Thailand, get the toasted ham and cheese sandwich, it was great!) After scarfing down our sandwiches we headed for the salt pans of Pak Thale. Salt pans are shallow ponds, filled with sea water, which evaporates down to salt. They are incredibly good for shorebirds. The pans at Pak Thale had at least one Spoonbilled Sandpiper all winter.

The number of shorebirds was overwhelming. We had 24 species at Pak Thale. It didn't take long to find the Spoon-billed Sandpiper. Unfortunately, it was too far out to get a photo, but I was happy. Other species we saw included both Greater and Lesser Sandplovers, Spotted Redshanks, Common Greenshanks, Great Knots, Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwits, a huge flock of Eurasian Curlews, and Broad-billed Sandpipers. There were more Painted Storks, many egrets and herons and two species of cormorants. We had one more rarity, Nordmann's Greenshank, so we returned to Laem Phak Bia, where we found one pretty quickly.

We tore ourselves away and went looking nearby for raptors and wading birds. Yearly burning was going on, causing some uncomfortable breathing, but it seemed to bring out the hawks, kites and eagles. Some of the fields were flooded and were full of egrets and storks. One spot had both Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-winged Jacanas. Black-eared and Brahminy Kites were common. A couple of Black-shouldered Kites, which are very similar to our White-tailed Kites, hovered over head. We had four Greater Spotted Eagle, a Booted Eagle, and best of all, a White-bellied Sea-Eagle. We added the first of many woodpeckers to our list, one with a great name- Freckle-bellied Woodpecker. A flock of Scaly-breasted Munias was in a weedy field. This species was recently added to the ABA list for North America, the population coming from escaped cage birds. It was great to see true wild ones!

We then set out for Kaeng Krachan National Park. This park is a fabulous spot for birds, butterflies and mammals. Both northern and southern species reside here. It has several species of monkeys, Sun Bears and wild Indian Elephants. We arrives late in the afternoon at the Ban Maka Resort and did a little bit of birding, right around the hotel. We had a great meal and made plans for the next day.

Here are my photos for the day:

Here is the bird list:
 Lesser Whistling-Duck  200
Little Grebes 25
Asian Open-bills 150
Painted Stork  3
Indian Cormorant  2
Little Cormorant  51
Gray Heron  10
Purples Heron 1
Great Egret  40
Intermediate Egret 2
Little Egret  6
Cattle Egret  14
Striated Heron 1
pond heron sp.
Black-shouldered Kite 2
Greater Spotted Eagle  4
Booted Eagle  1
Black Kite (Black-eared)  15
Brahminy Kite  15
White-bellied Sea-Eagle  1
Black-winged Stilt  127
Pied Avocet 2
Black-bellied Plover  72
Pacific Golden-Plover  20
Red-wattled Lapwing-5
Lesser Sand-Plover  50
Kentish Plover  15
Little Ringed Plover  2
Terek Sandpiper  18
Common Sandpiper  1
Spotted Redshank  20
Common Greenshank  12
Nordmann's Greenshank 1
Marsh Sandpiper  45
Wood Sandpiper  1
Eurasian Curlew  750    Huge flock
Black-tailed Godwit  17
Bar-tailed Godwit  10
Great Knot  201
Ruff  20
Broad-billed Sandpiper  10
Curlew Sandpiper  30
Long-toed Stint  20
Spoon-billed Sandpiper  1
Red-necked Stint  46
 Sanderling  2
Red-necked Phalarope  2
Pheasant-tailed Jacana  3
Bronze-winged Jacana  2
Oriental Pratincole  12
Whiskered Tern  4
Brown-headed Gull  120
Little Tern  30
Gull-billed Tern  1
Caspian Tern  15
Whiskered Tern  30
Great Crested Tern  3
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  20
Red Collared-Dove  6
Spotted Dove  2
Zebra Dove  1
Asian Koel  12
Germain's Swiftlet  10
Black-capped Kingfisher  1
White-throated Kingfisher  2
Indian Roller  1
Freckle-breasted Woodpecker  2
Brown Shrike  2
Black Drongo  10
Large-billed Crow (Eastern)  1
Malaysian Pied-Fantail  1
Barn Swallow  12
Streak-eared Bulbul  1
AOriental Reed-Warbler  2
Plain Prinia  1
Oriental Magpie-Robin  1
Siberian Stonechat (Stejneger's)  3sian Pied Starling  4
Common Myna  4
Great Myna  25
Eurasian Tree Sparrow  2
 Baya Weaver  15
Asian Golden Weaver  1
White-rumped Munia  1
Scaly-breasted Munia  4
Chestnut Munia  36

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