Monday, 28 November 2011

Wat Khao Takhrao

Northern Pintail
Anas acuta
Wat Khao Takhrao

I made it to the right side of the big pond in the Wat Khao Takhrao area, Phetchburi Province, on Sunday afternoon but of course the birds had moved away from this area! Anyway by "right" I mean  the sun was behind me and this allowed a great view over the pond. I walked from the road and it was a little bit hard going as the path is very overgrown. I was also mindful of the possibility of stepping on snakes and other delights!

The sight, however, was truly spectacular. Medium-sized groups of ducks liberally scattered everywhere. However sorry to say they were once more too far away to get decent shots. Two species dominated: Garganey and Northern Pintail; I couldn't pick out any other species. My estimate is 1300 Garganey and 400 Northern Pintail but these are very rough figures. I would say they are way  too low as there were big flocks coming and going. Interestingly I didn't see a single Lesser-whistling Duck and I suspect the brown birds I had taken previously as this species were in fact pintails.
Whiskered Tern
Wat Khao Takhrao

It was a delightful spectacle and the ducks were joined by small flocks of other birds including a mixed group of Brown-headed Gulls and Caspian Terns; lots of Little Grebes; huge numbers of Black-winged Stilts; and lots of Whiskered Terns; equally generous numbers of Egrets ( Little & Intermediate) and Grey Herons. As the sun set the sky was peppered with small to medium sized flocks of ducks, a large flock of Black-tailed Godwits and a Caspian tern or two flew over along with abundant Whiskered Terns. A few Painted Stork flew in to roost for the evening.

The setting sun lit up the whole sky and for at least half an hour after sunset the sky on the horizon had a beautiful glowing dark orange layer for as far as the eye could see, which then gently merged into the dark night sky. Just a joy to be out and part of this. It really felt like a miniature Bung Boraphet.

I have started to chat with a few of the local people who work in the pond. They recognise my face and know my interest in the birds. I am hoping to get out to one of the small islets on the pond by boat next weekend and I hope this will enable me to get a more accurate count and some good shots.

On the subject of identification, a subject which causes me nightmares,  I was reading a thread on a bird group which quoted an American birder, Pete Dunne, as saying: "The only difference between experienced and inexperienced birders is that experienced birders have mis-identified a lot more birds." I rather like that!

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