An amazing afternoon’s birding on the Inner Gulf taking in the two main sites of Pak Thale and Laem Pak Bia. Not necessarily on account of the birds, after all I didn’t get to see a Spoonbilled Sandpiper today. In fact the first thing that was remarkable was that soon after arrival at Pak Thale I managed to get stuck in mud on the access road to the pans favoured by Spoonie. I was hardly in an inch deep but I simply couldn’t get traction. I was cursing and there was no immediate assistance available. So I did a little bit of digging, scraping and levelling and then gave it some wellie, alternating between first, second and reverse and remarkably I started sliding, a bit too close to a salt pan for my liking at one point, and then I got some traction and was able to get onto gravel road proper. Talk about relief! I think I might have given up birding had I needed to summon assistance! In this context not getting Spoon-billed Sandpiper was a minor detail. Amazing getting stuck again, amazing getting unstuck.
Then I decided to try digiscoping with a different lens. I fitted a Panasonic 20 mm to my camera and started playing around with it on the 20-60 zoom and 24 LER Kowa scope lenses. Virtually all recently digiscoped images here have been taken using the Panasonic 14-42 zoom lens. I have to say I am very encouraged by the results and will have to experiment a bit more. A further issue was my cable release packed in on me so I was using the self-timer with a 10 second delay – the pro being a very stable rig at exposure, the con lots of time for the bird to move. Nonetheless I like what I see.
Oh!….. and the birds, even without Spoon-billed Sandpiper, were brilliant.
Ah! I can’t load any photos. Google want me to pay for a subscription. I think I now understand why some much more prominent blogs have migrated to wordpress. So here we are at wordpress. New system, a slow learning curve.
Anyone the Grey Heron, photogrpahed in the King’s Project at Laem Pak Bia, is the first effort with the Panasonic 20 mm lens. It was about 30 yards away and allowed me to fiddle using the truck door as cover. There was also a Ruff which I just missed. A Black-capped Kingfisher was also perched up but didn’t like me me getting my tripod out of the back of my truck. It’s always a relief to get a few decent shots.
There were a few Bar-tailed Godwits in Laem Pak Bia and I am pleased that I managed to get a usable image. The detail is not bad given they were 80 yards away in dodgy light. I’d estimate about 20 were present in Laem Pak Bia.
There were at least 30 Nordmann’s Greenshanks in Laem Pak Bia this afternoon. The image shows four of them helpfully on the bund out of water and showing their distinctive yellowish legs. The legs are also visibly shorter than those of Common Greenshank. The detail is not perfect but the shot also shows the slightly upturned, two-tone bill in one bird and the general washed out grey effect on neck and head, whereas the Common is much more streaked and darker. Nordmann’s is probably the second most sought after wader in Thailand after Spoon-billed Sandpiper so I was very pleased to see so many. They are really beautiful birds, virtually silent, I believe. A further feature I noted, confirmed by the literature, is that Nordmann’s legs in flight don’t project beyond their tails. I also managed to get sight of the Milky Stork which appears to have settled here; alas it flew before I could get my sights trained on it. Lots of Great Knot too.
On arrival Pak Thale was loaded with waders,terns and Brown-headed Gulls. Unfortunately my exertions in extracting my truck from the mud put many of them up and they didn’t drop dow
n in front of me. I counted lots of Lesser Sand-plover,a few Red-cecked Stint, Curlew and Broad-billed Sandpiper, very large number of Curlews and Bar-tailed Godwits. There were a number of Gull-billed and White-bellied Black terns mixed up in the main pack of Whiskered Terns; the Brown-headed Gulls had a fair few Caspian Terns.
A brief detour to Wat Kamnorin yielded 10 Grey-headed Lapwing and one White-headed Ibis. All in all a great afternoon.