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"!? .