One of the most anticipated arrivals each year is Spoon-billed Sandpiper. Birdwatchers from all over the world come to Thailand to watch this critically endangered shorebird at Pak Thale and Khok Kham.
A few days ago on 25th October, 2012, I did a little birding at Pak Thale in the company of Jules Tolboom from The Netherlands. We spent around 1.5 hours in the late afternoon at Pak Thale watching large numbers of shorebirds.
Curlew Sandpipers with Broad-billed Sandpiper
Photo by Alex Vargas
We had a long hard look at all the shorebirds that could be seen from the dirt road at the Spoon-billed Sandpiper site at Pak Thale but despite looking hard none appeared to be present. In fact this is pretty much as expected as it was probably about 1 week too early for the bird.
Despite the lack of Spoon-billed Sandpiper there were very impressive numbers of Great Knot (1500+) and Eurasian Curlew (250+) as well as good numbers of Red-necked Stint, Lesser Sand Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Kentish Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Eastern Black-tailed Godwit and Marsh Sandpiper.
The most uncommon bird was one Eastern Curlew amongst the flock of Eurasian Curlews which I picked out due to its warm brown buffy appearance. Identification was ensured when it began to preen and showed me its dark underwing (pale/white on Eurasian Curlew). It ought to be noted that length of bill is not an identification point here where the female Eurasian Curlews have bills that are as long (if not longer) than the Eastern Curlews.
Other species present were Red Knot, Dunlin, Whimbrel, Spotted Redshank and Common Greenshank.
Elsewhere at nearby Wat Komnaram a Milky Stork was seen alongside two Painted Storks and 6 Black Ibis and 36 Grey-headed Lapwings were feeding.
Spoon-billed Sandpiper should be back next week!