Cranes in the Citizen Controlled Zone – South Korea Birding

Today we spent almost the whole day on the South Korea/North Korea border, spending much of our time in the Citizen Controlled Zone, having obtained special permission to enter this area of high military presence. This area of the Cheorwon Plain is the main wintering area, in Korea, of Red-crowned Crane with also large numbers of White-naped Crane and our expectation was to see large numbers of these birds as well as a host of other top quality wintering species, including Raptors, Buntings, Finches and Wildfowl. Read more »


National Arboretum – South Korea Birding

Today was the first of an eleven day birding trip to South Korea that I am leading on behalf of Zootherabirding, having led a similar trip to the country one year ago. After meeting everyone at Incheon airport, Seoul, we drove straight to the National Arboretum where we spent the whole afternoon birding around this lovely woodland park with a covering of snow and with intermittent snow showers creating an idyllic winter scene. Our ┬ámain target here was Solitary Snipe but there was also a lot more to enjoy here. Read more »


Petchaburi Birding Trip – Thailand Birding

Just yesterday I finished a nice trip which lasted for 8 days of birding in Petchaburi province with a group of birders from Wales. Although the first day of the trip was plagued by some really awful weather, and more was forecast, we had some really good birding in a number of sites which gave us a really good variety of species, resulting in over 300 species in just the eight days! Some of the highlights included Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Red-bearded Bee-eater, Siberian Rubythroat, Pied Harrier, Black-headed Woodpecker and Blue Pitta. The following is a brief summary of the trip and some photos. Read more »


Photographic Report From a Recent Trip: Northern Thailand – Thailand Birding

After a 15 day trip with just two of us armed with cameras I now have an enormous amount of photos to wade through. I recently finished a 15 day trip with Nick Robinson who has set himself a quest to photograph all of the world’s Leaf Warblers, a tricky task given not only the difficulty in actually identifying many species but their high activity levels make them hard photographic subjects. We managed to photograph 17 species of Leaf Warbler on our trip but along the way we also enjoyed seeing and photographing a wide range of species and in particular, the northern leg of our trip provided us with a lot of good birds and great photos. The following are a selection of bird photos from the northern section of our trip. Read more »


“Wasteland” as a Bird Habitat – Thailand Birding

On a recent bird photography trip in Petchaburi province myself and Colin Rogers spent some time photographing a number of common species in a quite ugly scrap of “wasteland”. At first glance the area looks of little value with scrubby invasive bushes, piles of illegally dumped rubbish, murky pools of water and rutted tracks – certainly it is exactly the sort of place that “developers” love to turn into something else. But spent a little time there in the late afternoon and it becomes apparent how valuable a habitat the small area is to a large number of individual birds and a fairly wide range of species as they come to feed on dumped scraps and bathe in puddles of rainwater.

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Photography at Ban Song Nok – Thailand Birding

Getting really close to birds and watching them go about their business is just about the best way to really appreciate them; even some of the apparently dull and very common birds can suddenly reveal themselves to be very interesting. There is probably no better place to be able to do this than some of the hides close to Kaeng Krachan National Park and on the afternoons of 18th and 22nd November I made a couple of visits to Ban Song Nok to sit in the hide and watch birds coming to feed, drink and bathe. Auntie Ek, the owner of Ban Song Nok, keeps a log of which highlight species arrive each day, so we had a good idea of what we might see but as always there were a few interesting surprises.

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Shorebird Heaven – Thailand Birding

As I will be heading back to Pak Thale & Laem Pak Bia for a few days tomorrow I thought I would process some of my photos from my last visit on 3-4th November. Of course for most birders viewing the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper is the top priority and I was successful on both mornings with this bird, getting quite close one day; I spent more than an hour watching some Spoonies feed at a distance of just 10 metres with at one point four individuals of the species feeding together including one white-flagged bird.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about my visit on these two days were the huge numbers of shorebirds at both Pak Thale and Laem Pak Bia salt farms. Not only were the numbers of birds very impressive but the variety of species was very high too with the star species being Spoon-billed Sandpiper, Nordmann’s Greenshank, Asian Dowitcher, Far Eastern Curlew, Terek Sandpiper, Malaysian Plover and White-faced Plover. Such numbers also allowed for many close encounters and photography opportunities. Read more »

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