Saturday, 16 March 2013

Far eastern Curlew, Pak Thale, Thailand, 27th Feb 2013

A recent birding holiday to Thailand with Sean Johnston and Adrian Zabukas
had us inevitably, visiting one of the shorebird meccas of the world, that is
Pak Thale. Myself and Sean had been in 2009 and seen Spoon-billed Sandpiper
quite easily but for Adrian it was all new. We had a 500 Baht wager on who
could find the first 'spoony'.
It took less than an hour to locate one and i found myself a little better off
for it!

Mixed Wader group with bathing Little Tern

Mainly Sand Plovers

Great and Red Knot

A sleeping Spoon-billed Sandpiper

Mainly Great Knot

Spotted Redshank

From a European Birders' perspective Pak Thale is an exciting place to be.
Many of the Waders that occur as vagrants in the UK are very common here,
with Red-necked and Long-toed Stints, Sand Plovers, Marsh Sand's and Great
Knots all easy to see. Not forgetting of course, Spoon-billed Sandpiper, which
is an almost certainty here.
One bird we missed during our 2009 visit was Far eastern Curlew. This was due
to the Curlew flock at the time being very distant and beyond scope range.
On day two of our stay, we arrived at the salt pans and found a large roosting
flock of around 750 Curlews quite close and hopes were high. As we edged
closer they became more nervous and eventually flew, revealing two Birds among
the flock.

Part of the Curlew flock.

Two Eastern Curlew, can you pick them out?

Eastern Curlew (bottom right)

In flight the bird stood out with dark under-wing and rump.

Salt pan workers

our driver 'Timmy'

You've got to!

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