Sunday, 5 February 2012

A Day in Pak Thale & Laem Pak Bia

White-faced Plover

I consider myself a very fortunate fellow to be able to jump in my truck and be in Pak Thale, Phetchburi province in a little over an hour. Just after 0700h I was viewing two Black-faced Spoonbills there. I wanted this species for my year list! What incredible birds with their very striking cooking spatula-like bills. Fortunate indeed, to have easy access and by virtue of this, never really feeling under pressure.
Chinese Egret at ISO 800 

I then headed back to Phetchburi at my leisure to pick up Padraig Quinn, a Birdforum contact.  I had  agreed to show him round the area. We had some great birds today and great to go birding with a kindred spirit.

As a novice and having done next to no birding in the British Isles I really don't know what species Padraig would be interested in. So a delight to stop for Greater Coucal, Collared Kingfisher, Asian Openbill and Red-wattled Lapwing. Pak Thale was a bit disappointing: we had a good look but couldn't find Spoonbill Sandpiper. Plenty of Marsh Sandpiper, Common Redshanks, Spotted Redshanks, Kentish Plovers, Little Cormorant, a solitary Indian Cormorant, huge numbers of Eurasian Curlews,  few Long-toed Stint, lots of Red-necked Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, more Broad-billed Sandpiper than I can ever recall seeing, but no Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

We headed south to Laem Pak Bia for lunch and over a well-needed cold drink we decided it would be a good idea to head out to the sandspit. Mr Daeng was booked but he got us an alternative; instead of waiting we had a quick scout around the main Laem Pak Bia site. Padraig added  Green Bee-eater and Great Knot to his list of lifers. Lots of Gull-billed Terns,too. I rather fancy I saw Red Knot but conditions were hazy and the birds were a distance away, so no claims.

Off we then went out to the sandspit in near perfect conditions where the birding was quite fantastic: Greater Crested Tern, Caspian Tern, Brown-headed Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Little Tern ( I called it a Common, don't know why!) a Sanderling, a fair few Malaysian Plovers, lots of Greater and Lesser Sand-plover, Great Knot, Red-necked Stint. Nice and easy birds and they were putting on great aerial displays every so often. Then our boatman received a text to say Mr Daeng has located two Spoon-billed Sandpipers on the island nearest to land. So we legged it and Padraig located one Spoon-billed Sandpiper and I think we were both mightily relieved,  and grateful to Mr Daeng for letting us know. We only saw one but it showed well.

Next up Mr Daeng put us on a Whited-faced Plover, an exquisite little bird. Then the final coup-de grâce: 2 Chinese Egrets as we headed back in the gloom. I even managed some shots notwithstanding the poor light. What sublime beauty. Mr Daeng told us there had actually been three. Who cares?! One is erfectly adequate!

So a classic Spoon-billed Sandpiper - on the sandspit. A great day and great conversation, or should I say "craic" or perhpas the less affected "crack"!? .


  1. Great birds here! You seem to have ticked all the major rarities in that area. I still haven't seen the White-faced Plover and the Chinese Egret.

  2. Hey Ton thanks.....I want Eastern Curlew and Red Knot. I don't think I'm good enough to call Eastern Curlew unless it is in the air. But I am having a lot of fun and will take whatever comes. Hope all well in Japan

  3. I've only seen an Eastern Curlew in Thailand once when I spotted it flying in a flock of Eurasian Curlews at Pak Thale. You just have to look for a large flock of Eurasian Curlews. I think there's always a few Easterns in it.

  4. Very well written Gerry. Well remembered.
    Of course the big one that got away was Nordman's Greenshank, which I also missed on my return trip with Tombec.
    All the more reason to return!
    Thanks once more for a great day's birding.


  5. Great report Gerry!

    Its a shame I was preoccupied, I was with Khun Daeng!

    Next time!

    Mark aka Rockfowl

    1. Mark what a bummer that we were so close and managed to miss each other! Yeah some other time, some other place! I have to say getting Spooner on the sand spit was a real classic. Give us the heads up when next you are in these parts.