Saturday, 10 April 2010

Ko Libong

In the end our trip to Ko Libong turned into a rest which was very welcome from my perspective. In real terms though it was an excellent introduction into what I imagine will prove to be a very special birding area. I hope we can return and if we do we now know a little bit more about logistics which should make it easier to get around and make realistic plans.

I reported the sighting of the Asian Dowitchers with accompanying photographs. For my efforts, Phil Round, in effect the Thai recorder, advised me that, due to the photographs, he was treating my report as the first confirmed records of Asian Dowitcher for Ko Libong. I can also confirm the species is classified as "globally near-threatened" and my enquiries suggest that not a lot is known about this species.

Ko Libong, specifically the non-nunting  area, is a designated Important Bird Area, "IBA". I think the likelihood is the whole island is rich in bird and other natural life. One of the key tourist attractions is the possibility of seeing Dugongs or sea cows. I believe the forests will be worth exploration and will yield many species. We had a beautiful Paradise Tree Snake, chrysopelea paradisii, in the shrubs outside our bungalow.

paradise tree snake, chrysopelea paradise, Ko Libong 01.04.10

Key Sites for Conservation ( Bird Life International & Bird Conservation Society of Thailand, Bangkok, March 2004) describes Ko Libong as " a large inhabited island, several smaller satellite islands, intertidal mudflats, sandy beaches, mangroves, terrestrial forests,( including beach forest in a few areas), extensive sea grass beds, open sea and coral reefs". It goes on to say that Ko Libong is " an important staging area for migratory shorebirds and terns." It then says "Asian dowitcher ....... has been recorded at the site but is not thought to regularly occur in significant numbers."

In so far as tourism is concerned it is fairly undeveloped. I was spectacularily unimpressed by our accommodation: poor quality and very expensive. Sadly much of tourist southern Thailand appears to be about the redistribution of wealth, a crude exercise in overcharging simply in the basis of being a faraing. Thai people wouldn't be charged and wouldn't pay what we paid for food and accommodation. Once we discovered the villages our costs for eating and boat hire dropped and our morale improved accordingly! The locals, mainly Muslim fishermen and their families, were a delight.

I rather fancy a return visit this time next year with our new tent!!!!

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