Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Malaysian Plovers at Bang Kao

Monday, yesterday, being a public holiday in Thailand in honour of The King's birthday, I had a long lie and mid-morning we went off en famille for a day out. Just like in the UK on public holidays there was rain in the air and it was unusually overcast and dull!  I thought Bang Kao would be the ideal compromise for my non-birding wife and my small son as there is a beautiful, deserted beach there and the possibility of some decent birds. This also meant we could go into Cha-am later for our favourite crab curry and steamed sea bass - ah, the real pleasures of life in Thailand!

So we drove to the beach area and we were rewarded with a small flock of some 20 or so Malaysian plovers. Nearby a small group of 6 Sanderlings were also very active on the beach but nowhere near as co-operative for the camera. I had the perfect shot set up and off they went!

I have to say my initial reaction to the Malaysian Plovers was in fact Kentish Plovers. However I have had a good scout around the literature and photographs, plus talked to Tom Backlund and I am happy to say these are Malaysian Plovers and will happily accept being unreliable if I am wrong. In part I was initially influenced by the lack of a joined up breast band in the males but I also thought that Malaysians were usually solitary or in pairs ..... not really sure where this comes from. On looking through the literature I realised that if these plovers were to be Kentish they would have black legs and at this time of the year would be sporting non-breeding plumage. So Malaysians they must be and very elegant birds to boot.

Mischievous Sanderlings

There were plenty of birds around - common sandpiper, brown headed gulls, black-tailed godwits, redshanks, greenshanks, painted stork and a couple of raptors : the above Brahminy and also a Black Kite were hovering around. Most enjoyable really for a leisurely afternoon.

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