Saturday, 7 April 2012
Spoon-billed Sandpiper @ Khok Kham, Samut Sakhon
Unexpectedly I chanced upon a solitary Spoon-billed Sandpiper late today at Khok Kham, south-west of Bangkok near Samut Sakhon. We had been doing a bit of shopping in Bangkok. I got lost on my way to the main site and so lost virtually all of the available light for photography; we arrived at the SBS site after 18:00h. I saw a family saloon out in the salt pans and deduced this was a birder as the locals drive trucks. Sure enough it was. I need to thank a visiting Thai birder/photographer (Ton was it you?! ......I ask because I noticed your car plate was from Chiang Mai but didn't make the connection at the time we spoke between you and Chiang Mai, plus whoever I spoke to spoke impeccable English...if so, nice to meet you!) who put me onto the birds. I walked out into the salt pans with my rig but the camera had to come off as there wasn't enough light to shoot and I needed to use the scope to see the birds. I got Spoonie in my sights and had a brief look before he flew off with his entourage of Red-necked Stints. So if you are visiting I can assure you SBS is still around at Khok Kham; I don't know its status elsewhere. So funny to end up on one of the most sought after birds in Thailand. As I drove around unfamiliar roads, constantly checking time, I was saying to my wife and son: "All I want is a photograph of one bird". I narrowed that down to a breeding plumaged Whiskered Tern but none would oblige. Finally I made it to familiar territory and voilà.