Monday, 15 March 2010

Laem Pak Bia: Pretty in Pink

I didn't do any birding this weekend. Instead I took it easy as I have been feeling a bit under the weather. This morning was different. I was out in the Laem Pak Bia salt pans at 06:20h and took a new access route thanks to a tip from Phil Round. This didn't yield spoon-billed sandpiper, alas, but it yielded a tremendous bird count for the morning and more to the point was great fun.

Let me apologise to purists. However this flamingo is irresistible. It is a regular visitor to Laem Pak Bia and is a beauty. It is generally considered to be an escapee. Pretty in pink, enough said.

Pretty flamingo, Laem Pak Bia, 15.03.10

Now if you look at the top photograph to the right of the flamingo at about 1300h, is a bird which is much more important from an ornithological perspective; a great cormorant, phalcrocorax niger. Last year I went on a BCST boat trip, led by Phil Round into the Inner Gulf from nearby Bang Tabun and we saw a number of  great cormorants in the estuary with evidence to suggest they were breeding. Sadly I do not have the photographic evidence to show you what a beautiful looking bird this is in breeding plumage. Maybe a 500 mm or 600 mm lens would do this bird justice from a distance. Fortunately I have a decent telescope so I was able to get a good look at it. I reckon it is a juvenile.

Other highlights of the morning were 11 Nordmann's Greenshanks, washed out gray upperside and stout, two toned bill, and 14 Caspian terns mixed up in a flock of 45 brown-headed gulls. Add in huge flocks of black-tailed godwits, ( c 425 ), eurasian curlew and black-naped terns (c 275).

eurasian curlew,numenius arquata, Laem Pak Bia, 15.03.10

This Caspian tern was a simple point and shoot. When I took the photograph I didn't know what species of tern it was and I must say I was pleasantly surpised to see its big red bill when I downleaded these onto my notebook. Later in the day I saw 14 of these terns mixed up with a flock of brown-headed gulls. This may well be one of them.

Caspian tern, sterna caspia, Laem Pak Bia, 15.03.10

In the absence of soon-billed sandpipers there were plenty of small calidrids, plovers and other birds: curlew sandpiper, common sandpiper, greenshank, marsh sandpiper, kentish plover, malaysian plover, lesser sandplover, red-necked stint, long-toed stint, grey plover and pacific golden plover.

Long-toed stint, calidiris subminuta, Laem Pak Bia, 15.03.10

Many other commoners: Brahminy kite, collared kingfisher, black-capped kingfisher, pied fantial, and abundance of egrets, herons and cormorants. What a lovely way to spend a Monday morning! I reckon 30 species.
Some brown-headed gulls with some of the Caspian terns to the right.

1 comment:

  1. Good collection. We saw birds in the salt pans but did not stop to investigate. Thanks for sharing