Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Thirty-three Pied Avocets at Laem Pak Bia

Encouraged by Saturday's unexpected Spoon-billed Sandpiper at Khok Kham and feeling energetic, I decided to head to Laem Pak Bia this afternoon. I had no expectations. I decided to start at Bang Kaew a small fishing village to the south of Laem Pak Bia to check out what was on the seashore. Nothing unusual but plenty of great photo opportunities and I had a bit of a laugh talking to the fisherman and explaining in my basic Thai how the very prominent brown head on the Brown-headed Gull was its breeding plumage. For a digiscoper it is important every now and then to have good light and co-operative birds. It makes a huge difference being able to shoot at fast shutter speeds. I got that here. In fact soon after the light changed as rain clouds began covering the sky moving from west to east.

At Laem Pak Bia there wasn't much too get excited about although small flocks of waders were on the move. What drew my attention however was a distant group of white birds with a black lateral ridge on their heads - I thought these might be Pied Avocets and so walked in and sure enough, Pied Avocets, quite  a rare bird in Thailand. I made two separate counts, about 30 minutes apart,  both of which matched at 33 birds. Now that was exciting and excitement levels increased as the flock took to the air and swooped and cascaded before settling down again in the salt pans. The effect of this is brilliant due to the monochrome colouring - it really enhances the effect of synchronisation as the birds move.

Four Spot-billed Pelicans were roosting further up in the same saltpan - large immobile lumps looking from a distance like large bean bags. Probably very tired after a long flight. First of the year and it will be interesting to see how their numbers build. Also noteworthy was a distant aerial group of at last 50 Painted Storks, but this species is resident year round and numbers in general are high. So a pleasant afternoon.

In the fading light to the Kings Project which is still under repair. All the pools remain empty and they appear to have hacked down a lot of the perimeter trees favoured by roosting starlings. Little of note here but a Peregrine Falcon perched on a radio transmitter and allowed me to shoot it.

Sterna albifrons
now you know why if "albifrons" means "white forehead"

1 comment:

  1. This is just great, Gerry!
    I just left Laem Pakbia yesterday and now I'm back in Chiang Mai. A flock of Red-necked Phalarope was showing really well while I was there. But sadly, I didn't see any avocet...