Returning Migrant Shorebirds – Thailand Birding


A few days ago I had to make a trip out of town and found myself with some time on my way back so I decided to drive back into Bangkok along the coast, coming from the East. I stopped at the first coastal habitat I found, a set of salt pans, with a convenient track through them, which when I looked at a map were just inside the boundary of Chachoengsao province; not a province famed for its shorebirds, in fact I did not even realize the province had a coastline. Anyhow, the habitat looked fairly good, just the sort of place that one could find a Spoon-billed Sandpiper if they were lucky. I did not have a telescope with me so I could not mount a proper search for this prize but instead I just enjoyed the common, returning migrant shorebirds that I was able to see right next to the vehicle and it turned out there was quite a nice variety to see.

I did not see any species in large numbers but Red-necked Stint was the most numerous with about 20 birds close to the dirt track. I also saw a couple of Long-toed Stints as well as a single Temminck’s Stint.

Red-necked Stint

red-necked-stint2Red-necked Stint

temmincks-stint8Temminck’s Stint

 A few Common Greenshank were around and several of these very elegant Marsh Sandpipers too, this one of which was very accommodating. I just sat in the car and waited for it to get ever closer to me as it was feeding in the shallow water.

Marsh-sandpiper5Marsh Sandpiper

Some of the other larger waders here were 7 Black-tailed Godwits, 5 Common Redshank and this very colourful Pacific Golden Plover which actually blended into the background of the mud until it moved.

pacific-golden-plover3Pacific Golden Plover

On the subject of large shorebirds this male Ruff looked like quite a monster standing next to this Red-necked Stint. Ruff has to be the most variable shorebird in terms of its size with adult males often being about twice the size of females.

Ruff (right) & Red-necked Stint (left)

There were a dozen or so Kentish Plovers too and it often seems that they are one of the tamest shorebirds as I often get close to them in the car. Maybe there are just more of them so there is a higher probability of getting close, I’m not sure; selective memory syndrome might have set in there. It has to be said that this is one species that looks much better in breeding plumage but it was nice to get close and capture a lot of feather detail.

kentish-plover7Kentish Plover

Kentish-plover6Kentish Plover

There were also some Little Ringed Plovers, Lesser Sand Plovers and Greater Sand Plovers too. Other waders included Common Sandpiper, Black-winged Stilt and Wood Sandpiper; there were also a few Painted Storks in the area. A nice short stop on my way home and a useful place to remember, it might one day be a site for Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

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