My friend Tom Backlund texted me yesterday afternoon to tell me he had just seen several hundred Spot-billed Pelicans and an equally large number of Painted Stork in the Khao Yoi area of Phetchaburi Province. (I have amended this because Tom's text said "sev hundred" which I took to mean "seven" and he has now corrected me! So probably not a record!) So there really was only one place to head for today! The habitat here is predominately fish farming ponds.
Well the big birds did oblige. There were plenty of Spot-billed Pelicans and Painted Stork. I really don't know how to count such large flocks. The pelicans were exclusively in the air and I would estimate between 300 - 400. The Painted Stork were more obliging in photographic terms but equally difficult to count. In real terms a spectacular show as they formed huge kettles. There were thousands of egrets in attendance too. But photography was difficult! Well digiscoping was difficult, the simple act of framing moving birds in the viewfinder was beyond my powers and apart from a few storks in trees, none of the big birds were on the ground.
Painted Stork - juvenile?
There were also a couple of Brahminy Kites on the premises, keeping an eye out for opportunities. Also some Collared Kingfishers which unhelpfully stayed in the shade and otherwise might have given me a great shot
I stayed in bed this morning and had a long lie instead of heading to the reservoir. I am glad I did so. It's good that the big birds appear to be in such vigorous good health and I hope I can make it back to Khao Yoi soon and hopefully some better shots. I am not sure how long this convention will last!