I didn't think that I was goin to see 2 SPOON-BILLED SANDPIPER and get mega views at Pak Thale Salt Pans!!!
I left Bangkok, in the wrong truck, heading on the highway. The truck did rock, in the hostel I left my sock, the truck was taking me to LA. That's enough of that but I did leave my socks back in the hostel. No I wasn't goin to LA, I was on my ways south to hopefully to see the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper at Pak Thale Salt Pans. There maybe only 500-800 left in the world!!
This morning I made my ways east on the highway 4021 on a hired scooter (recommend) and fifteen minutes later I was at the sandpiper site. First, I went and my breakfast at the information center before birding. The pans stretched as far as the eye could see and I had no idea where to start. It said in the Thaibirding http://www.thaibirding.com/locations/central/lpb.htm that a scope was essential. I didn't bring mine with me for the simple reason, weight. It was 10.00 and the first birders were already leaving. One of the birders told me that they had no joy but had seen Long-toed, Red-necked Stint, Marsh sandpiper, Spotted Redshank, Black-winged Stilt, Greater Sandplover and Malaysian Plover. I told him that I had just had all of them in the first pan I looked at where I parked the scooter as well as Redshank. He told me that he was with a tour leader and they will return and try again later.
The cook outside the information center
Greater Sandplover. All these photos were taken on the forst salt pan I looked at with other waders
Waders feeding on the salt farm
So I had only been here for an hour and I had already connected with 2 SPOON-BILLED SANDPIPER with some crippling views!!!
Searching through 1000s of waders for the mega prize payed off
2 Spoon-billed Sandpiper including an individual with the flags on it's legs
Note how low the banks are that I tried to hide behind
I only saw 5 Great Knot
Large numbers of Marsh Sandpiper
Small flocks of Brown-headed Gull were flying over with Caspian Tern
Whiskered Tern were actively feeding over the pans
The last Red-necked Phalarope I saw was the female that Dave Barnes found at Knighton Res, '95 I think.
Black-winged Stilt are all over the shop
I only saw 10+Pacific Golden Plover
Small numbers of Long-toed Stint
Broad-billed Sandpiper was the only new species of wader for me with the Spoon-billed Sandpiper
All the waders flushed by the kites
Lots of stray dogs also on the salt pans
With my belly full, at 16.00 I left the information center and heading south on the 4028 towards Laem Pak Bia taking dirt tracks to the direction of the sea to hopefully score with Pallas's Gull. No sign but I got 4 amazing looking Painted Stork and discovered that Mangrove Kingfisher are all over the shop and are superb to observe! Also Wood Sandpiper, Temmink's Stint, Bar-tailed Godwit and a single Red-wattled Plover. What away to end a day I will never forget after seeing the 2 Spoon-billed Sandpiper!!
I recommend hire a scooter if you visit this area at only £10 a day!
2 Long-toed Stint with a single Little-ringed Plover
Black-winged Stint with straw coloured legs
Pair of Asian Koal
100s of Whiskered Tern
Eastern Marsh Harrier